The Piranhas sort of got their revenge after several losses against the Squirrels by bouncing them from the playoffs Thursday, 4-2. The Squirrels had beaten them twice this season, and 8-0 in last winter’s finals.
The Squirrels dressed a full bench but the league’s leading scorer, John Kucharski (who had 14 more points than the second league leader), notched two goals, including the winner in the third. In his final game before moving to Kentucky, Jason Nehmer (No. 88, pictured) scored twice.
The Piranhas, the third seed, advance to the finals for the second winter in a row, where they will face the No. 1 seed, the Highlanders, who beat DC Fire in overtime.
The Squirrels will be back on the ice soon as they’re fielding another summer team.
The Gardens IH – Patrick Thu, Apr 07, 2011 at 9:44 pm
The Winter Bronze 2 defending champions Screaming Squirrels began their title defense last night with a well-played 6-4 win over the 3rd seeded team, Strange Brew. Officially outshot 33-22, the Squirrels were able to capitalize early and then often to build a lead that they would never fully relinquish.
The Squirrels’ scoring came entirely from two players. Brent Machado scored three times and Tony Richelsen netted two. Two of Machado’s goals came on the power play, the first coming early in the 1st period, and the second after a wonderful passing play early in the 3rd. The early 3rd period goal would stand up to be the game winner but for good measure, Machado would finish off his hat-trick about five minutes later. Meanwhile, Richelsen’s first two goals came on spectacular end-to-end rushes. Fellow defenseman Don Marks said, “Every time they (Strange Brew) dump it in the corner, it’s like a breakaway for Tony.” After leading all Squirrels in playoff scoring last year, Tony is well on his way to repeating the feat this season. But can he hold off regular season scoring leader Brent for the playoff scoring lead?
The Squirrels dominated the special teams play, scoring on 2 of 4 power play opportunities and killing off all three short-handed situations. Assists were credited to Rob Myers (2), Machado, Chi Pham, Ben Sumner, and goalie Eric Coulson who was all over the score sheet with 29 saves on 33 shots, the lone assist on Richelsen’s 2nd goal, and a tripping penalty in the 3rd period.
The Squirrels opponent in the divisional semi-finals is undetermined until the last quarterfinal game between the Highlanders and Laughing Skulls is played on 4/5. The other winners of quarterfinal games were the 7th seeded DC Fire with a stunning upset of the 2nd seeded Heineken Light, and the 4th seeded Piranhas beating the Bullets. Assuming the top seeded Highlanders handle the Laughing Skulls, the Squirrels will play the Piranhas on 4/7 @ 9:40. If the Skulls manage to upset the Highlanders, then the Squirrels would play DC Fire (their only meeting this season) in the same time slot.
The Gardens IH – Patrick Sun, Apr 03, 2011 at 8:20 pm