The Squirrels had this one circled on their calendar. Desi Richelsen marked the occasion by taping a Squirrels’ “Watch Your Nuts” poster on the locker room door. The last times these teams met, it ended with top-ranked Dog Star falling 2-1 to the third-ranked Squirrels in the championship game, back in April. This time, there was a bit more offense, and the Squirrels prevailed yet again with a 5-4 victory.
The game didn’t start out well, however, as the Squirrels spotted Dog Star two first-period goals. But the Squirrels exploded for five goals in the second period, including four in a row. Adam Hughes brought the Squirrels back into the game with a point-blank shot in front of the net on a pass from Ben Sumner. When Desi Richelsen found himself on the breakaway, he pushed the puck far in front of him in an effort to draw the goaltender out, but that didn’t work so he instead shot it through the 5-hole.
“I don’t know how that squeezed in,” Richelsen said.
Rob Myers found Ed Bager in front of the net, and Bager whacked in the puck to give the Squirrels a 3-2 lead. Then Tony Richelsen sent a high floater over the goaltender’s shoulder. Dog Star then got a goal, but Chris Long scored on a power play to go up 5-3.
In the third period, Dog Star cut the lead to 5-4 but the Squirrels held on for the rest of the period. With just a few seconds to go, goaltender Drew Thiemann made a save on a Dog Star fast break to preserve the victory.
Adam Hughes, Ed Bager, Desi Richelsen, Chris Long, and Tony Richelsen scored for the Squirrels.
The game featured seven minor penalties on the Squirrels, while Dog Star took nine minors, two misconducts and one game misconduct. Twice Dog Star took penalties while already playing with three skaters, leading to a bit of confusion with the penalty timekeeping.
The Squirrels played without Matt Borlik, Don Marks, Wade Marks, Paul Kobernick, and Sergio Balatan.
The next game is Friday, Jan. 19, at 9:45 p.m. against first-place Gnu in Logsdon.
Quote of the game: “They needed stadium seating in their penalty box” — Desi Richelsen
Squirrels Notes: Longtime ice teammate Adam Hughes announced that he will be leaving the area t the end of the month.