In a rematch of last season’s finalists, the Squirrels and Chupacabras were at each other’s throats Wednesday, battling to a 1-1 tie in the first period before the Squirrels scored five in the second period for a 6-2 victory.
The Chupacabras got the scoring started at 3:32 of the first period, while giving Squirrels goaltender Bob Sewell several more tough shots to deal with along the way. Then Kit Watson finally put the Squirrels on the board a minute and a half later with a burst of speed through the zone.
A minute into the second period, defenseman Chi Pham took a beautiful slap shot from the right point, which deflected off of Ed Bager and into the net to give the Squirrels the advantage. Another minute later, Tony Richelsen — playing his first game of the season after sitting out ten games with a hand injury — scored unassisted, and was careful not to high-five anyone afterward.
The Chupacabras cut the score to 3-2 a couple of minutes later, but then Pham took another slap shot from nearly the same spot at the point. This time, the puck went in without being deflected.
Jeff Ford scored his team-leading 16th goal middway through the second period, and Ben Sumner added his 10th of the season with three minutes to play.
In his fourth season as a Squirrel, Watson finally got called for a penalty, a holding infraction with two minutes to play in the game against one of the best players on the Chupacabras roster. Little was lost, however, as the other player also got a penalty — for roughing.
The shots on goal were dead even, as both teams took 12 in the first period and 9 in the second. The Squirrels played without Juan Canchasto. Phil Van der Vossen left the game early with an injury.
The next game is Wednesday, June 28, at 8:30 p.m. against The 5 Holes.