The last time the Screaming Squirrels played the Fish, they gave up three goals in the last few minutes to turn a sure victory into an embarrassing loss. The Fish were in position to do the same thing Thursday, but the Squirrels tightened up on defense and held on for a 5-2 win in the playoff quarterfinals.
The Fish scored first, but Ed Bager and Don Marks gave the Squirrels a 2-1 lead after the first period. In the second half, Jeff Ford was alone in front of the net and put in his own rebound to give the Squirrels a 2-goal cushion. The Fish fought back, scoring shorthanded to cut the lead to 3-2. Rob Myers then scored on the same power play and the lead was back to 2, still surmountable as the Squirrels have learned. But the Squirrels held the Fish scoreless in the last 5:27 of the game, and killed a late penalty. Marks capped off the game with an empty-netter as the buzzer sounded.
Bob Sewell, who is listed on both teams’ rosters, made 28 saves for the Squirrels, who posted 24 shots of their own.
The Squirrels will now play last year’s runner-ups, the 5-Holes, on Tuesday at 9:30 p.m. The first-place Hurricanes will play the Chupacabras in the other semifinal game.
Wade Marks and Rob Myers will be missing the rest of the playoffs. Marks is moving to Montana for a job, but says he is still leaving the option open to return to play for the ice team.