Squirrels Say Farewell to Hockey North America

Playing with only three regular defensemen, the Screaming Squirrels on Tuesday bid farewell to Hockey North America by losing in the playoffs to the Cobras, 3-2, in Wheaton.

Once again, the Squirrels outshot the Cobras, this time 23-20, and controlled the zone much of the time but had a hard time finishing. Down 1-0 after the first, the Squirrels had several power plays, including two two-man advantages, but couldn’t put the game away.

Phil Van der Vossen got the Squirrels on the board in the second period by putting in a rebound on a shot by Desmond Richelson. Later, on the power-play, Don Marks passed out front to Sergio Balatan, who top-shelved the puck to put the Squirrels up 2-1.

Midway through the third, the Squirrels turned the puck over at the blueline and the Cobras sent a floater through a screen to tie the game. After that, the Squirrels failed to score on power plays, breakaways and a penalty shot, and the game went into overtime. Needing a victory instead of a tie to move on to the finals, the Squirrels turned the puck over at the blue line again halfway through overtime, and the Cobras’ shot sailed in to end the game.

The Squirrels played without Matt Borlik, Chi Pham, Jon Magi, Charles Wolstein, and Juan Canchasto. Forward Adam Hughes played defense to make the lines even.

The Squirrels finished the season 8-13-1. Don Marks led the team in scoring with 19 points. Wade Marks led the team in goals with 11, and Don Marks and Balatan led the team in assists with 10 each.

The first game of the new Laurel season is Monday, 10:15 p.m. against former roller rival Honkey Kong.

2004-05 Ice Results

Finished 8-13-1

4/20/2005 Cobras (Playoffs) L 3-2 Wheaton
4/14/2005 ? ? ? ?
4/10/2005 Cobras (Playoffs) L 3-2
3/31/2005 Cobras W 5-2 Rockville
3/20/2005 Panthers L 3-2 Cabin John
3/14/2005 Barbarians W 5-4 Wheaton
3/6/2005 Stingrays W 5-2 Rockville
2/27/2005 Bulldogs L 4-3 Columbia
2/20/2005 Green Hornets W 6-3
Wheaton outdoor
2/13/2005 Cobras L 4-2 Rockville
2/1/2005 Panthers L 9-2 Wheaton indoor
1/30/2005 Invaders L 4-1 Rockville
1/24/2005 Green Hornets W 4-2
Wheaton outdoor
1/16/2005 Tigers W 5-4 Wells
1/5/2005 D.C. Bulldogs L 7-3 Wells
12/21/2004 Lords L 5-0 Wells
12/13/2004 Panthers L 4-1
Wheaton outdoor
12/8/2004 Moose L 7-3 Cabin John
11/24/2004 Americans L 4-1 Cabin John
11/17/2004 Cobras W 6-3 Wells
11/14/2004 Homerhawks L 5-1 Rockville
11/7/2004 Barbarians W 5-0 Tucker Road
10/21/2004 Vikings T 5-5

Too Little, Too Late

If there was any consolation to Sunday’s 3-2 playoffs loss to the Cobras, it’s that the Squirrels will get to play again Thursday against the loser of Tuesday’s Panthers-Cobras game.

Like in last week’s 5-2 victory, the Squirrels outshot the Cobras and controlled the zone much of the game. But the shots didn’t start falling until late in the third period after the Cobras had already taken a 3-0 lead. The teams skated to a scoreless first period, and then the Cobras stormed out in the second, scoring on fastbreaks.

Adam Hughes finally put the Squirrels on the board with about 7 minutes remaining in the game, and Chi Pham scored from the blueline to cut the score to 3-2. But the Cobras held on, despite being outshot 27-17. The Squirrels played without Matt Borlik, Joseph Wu, and Jon Magi. Defenseman Don Marks played with a broken toe.

The next game is Thursday, April 14, 9:30 p.m. in Wheaton, only two hours after the first roller game of the season in Laurel.

Well-Dressed Squirrels Win in Rockville

An absurd number of power plays and improved all-around play made the difference for the Squirrels in their 5-2 victory Thursday against the Cobras in the regular-season finale.

The game started with Hockey North America’s referees enforcing the dress code and penalizing the Cobras 3 times û including twice at once û with minors during the first period. Even the Squirrels didn’t care that their opponents had mismatched helmets or socks, violations under HNA rules. If it was any consolation to the Cobras, the Squirrels failed to score in the first period, but it helped the Squirrels hold them to only 3 shots.

Chris Long got the scoring started during an early second-period power play on a centering pass from Don Marks. Long scored his second during a penalty kill soon after, assisted by Wade Marks. Later, Long’s rebound fell behind the net to Jared Genser who put it in the net during another power play, to put the Squirrels up 3-0. The Cobras had only 4 shots in the second period.

The Cobras put on far greater intensity and cut the lead to 3-2 in the third period. They posted 14 shots and scored twice during flurries around the net, including once during the first half of a double-minor penalty. The Squirrels killed the remainder of that penalty, and afterward took back control of the game. Don Marks û only one of four defensemen to suit up û scored on his second breakaway of the period, assisted by Philip Van der Vossen and goaltender Drew Theimann. With less than a minute to go in the game, Ben Sumner and Wenograd forechecked the Cobras deep in the zone during a penalty kill. After several takeaways, Wenograd shot from near the point and Sumner flipped in a backhanded rebound for the second short-handed goal. It was Sumner’s first goal in seven games. The Squirrels went 2 for 7 on the power play, and scored in 2 of 5 short-handed situations while only giving up one goal on the penalty kill.

The Squirrels played without Juan Canchasto, Charles Wolstein, and Jon Magi. For the first time in months, the Squirrels skated four sets of wingers and three centers. The playoffs begin Sunday, April 10, 7:45 p.m. in Wheaton, also against the Cobras. Center Matt Borlik will miss all of the playoffs due to a scheduling conflict.