Squirrels 7, Bullhawks 2

The scoreboard was deceiving in the Squirrels’ 7-2 victory Tuesday. The Bullhawks put up a fight, setting up plays, getting good shots, and even outshooting the Squirrels 25-24. It was Brian Byrne’s goaltending that made the difference. Byrne made several spectacular saves, even when the game was out of reach for the Bullhawks.

Ed Bager, Jeff Ford, and Don Marks each had two goals, and Phil Van der Vossen had the other for the Squirrels, who played without Wade Marks.

Squirrels 7, Mors ab Alto 0

The roller Squirrels played their most dominant game since last June on Thursday, running over Mors ab Alto, 7-0, with six different goal-getters.

Ben Sumner got the scoring started when he deflected in a Don Marks slapshot off the faceoff. Phil Van der Vossen scored from behind the net. Don Marks scored on a slapshot from the right point. Chris Long scored on a centering pass from Sumner. Kit Watson skated into the zone, went around everyone, and casually flipped the puck in the net. Don Marks scored again. And Wade Marks, shaking off a knee injury in the second half, easily knocked in a Watson pass. Team captain Ed Bager had three assists, and Don Marks led all scorers with four points.

The Squirrels’ only major mistake was taking a too-many-men-on-the-ice penalty in the second half. They led 5-0 after 17 minutes. Goaltender Brian Byrne had a seven-save shutout, the lowest shot total allowed by the Squirrels since they started keeping statistics.

The Squirrels have two roller games next week – Tuesday against the Bullhawks at 9:30, and Thursday against the Fish at 10:30. The first ice game of the season is Monday at 10:15 against Honkey Kong.

Squirrels 3, Chupacabras 3

Ford Scores Two in Squirrels’ Debut

Newcomer Jeff Ford scored two goals, and came within inches of netting the winner with four seconds remaining, in the first roller game of the year Thursday against the Chupacabras. The Squirrels came away with a 3-3 tie while only skating two full lines.

Ford got the scoring started in the first period on a pass from Desmond Richelsen, and scored again in the second period. With 7 minutes remaining in the game, Ben Sumner scored shorthanded after Kit Watson drove it into the zone. Goaltender Brian Byrne made several outstanding saves, many at point-blank, to keep the Squirrels in the game. One odd moment came in the second half when his helmet came off before the Chupacabras scored, but the goal didn’t count because the rules state that the play must end for safety reasons.

The Squirrels took a 3-2 lead into the final minutes, but the Chupacabras scored on a late power play. The Squirrels were missing captain Ed Bager, Don Marks, Wade Marks and Matt Borlik.

The next roller game is Thursday, April 21, 8:30 against Mors ab Alto.

Also Thursday, only an hour after the roller game, the Squirrels ice team showed up for their playoff game against the Cobras in Wheaton. Unfortunately for both teams, the referees didn’t come. The teams scrimmaged for an hour or so. The makeup game will be announced later.

Squirrels’ Roller Schedule Released

The Gardens Ice House released the 2005 schedule this week, and the Squirrels will find themselves playing many familiar opponents this summer. Returning to the C level are The 5 Holes, Hurricanes, Bullhawks, Mors ab Alto, and Chupacabres. The Fish are the only team the Squirrels haven’t yet seen. Noticeably missing this season are Honkey Kong and the Wolk Pack, teams that the Squirrels have never lost to. Also missing are the Alliance, and the 2004 champions The Rocks, who moved up to the B level.

If history is any indication, the Squirrels’ biggest rival this summer is bound to be the Hurricanes. The Squirrels-Hurricanes rivalry started in 2003 when the teams split the first two games of the championship before the deciding game was canceled due to Hurricane Isabel. In 2004, the teams split. In the first game, the Hurricanes shut down the Squirrels, 5-1. In the second game, the momentum was solidly in the Canes’ favor before a high-sticking incident drew blood on defenseman Kit Watson’s face, giving the Squirrels a five-minute power play that couldn’t expire due to scoring. Watson had a goal and two assists during that time, and late in the game Desmond Richelson shot in the game winner to give the Squirrels their most thrilling roller victory of the year.

The first team practice of the season will be Thursday, April 7 at 9:30 p.m. Several team members also play pick-up on Sunday mornings at the New Carrolton rink.

Roller Squirrels Add Two to Roster

With the roller season coming up and two roster spots available, the Screaming Squirrels recruited two new players.

Jeff Ford comes to the Squirrels from the Wolf Pack, a one-time B league team that was demoted to C midway through the 2003 season. He led them in scoring and was one of the top scorers in the league. The Squirrels are 4-0 against the Wolf Pack – often blowing them out – but are happy nonetheless to be adding another sharpshooter to the roster. “He is the same size as me but less fat,” says defenseman Desi Richelson, who recruited Ford. Outside of hockey, Ford is the lead guitar player for the band Yoko Says No, and has a degree in chemical engineering from Penn State.

Tony Richelson, younger brother of Desi, is also joining the team. He is a veteran of the Montgomery Midget league and played three years for the Good Councel Falcons in high school. He quit for a few years, and recently decided to return. “He is speedy and shifty,” Desi says. He will probably be playing defense.

Ford and Richelson will replace longtime Squirrel/Devil Andrew Lutzky and roller/ice speedster Juan Canchasto. Both Lutzky and Canchasto will still be on the roller roster as substitutes, providing depth that the Squirrels lacked during stretches of games last summer. Canchasto is expected to be returning to the ice team for the fall/winter season, if not sooner. Lutzky is expected to be playing Sunday morning pickup at New Carrolton with regulars Ed Bager, Kit Watson, Ben Sumner and Philip Van Der Vossen.