The Screaming Squirrels’ hopes of a second consecutive ice championship ended abruptly Wednesday as they fell in the first round playoff game, 6-3, to Exit First.
Down 1-0 midway through the first period, Wade Marks tied the game a few minutes later at 1-1. Then Marks gave the Squirrels the lead in the second period, which the Squirrels held for more than 10 minutes. Then, with 8 seconds to go in the period, Exit First got a breakaway and tied the game at 2-2.
Then came the third period, and the Squirrels fell apart. Exit First scored three goals in four minutes for a 5-2 lead. Rob Myers scored for the Squirrels to cut the score to 5-3, but Exit First got an empty-netter with a minute remaining.
The Squirrels took no penalties, outshot Exit First 30-28, but were 0-4 on the power play. The Squirrels were without regulars Desi Richelsen, Matt Borlik, Phil Van der Vossen and Don Marks.
The Squirrels will now break for the summer. Several will be playing on the roller squad, and several will be playing ice for other teams. The Squirrels expect to be back for the winter league.
The first round of the playoffs is set for the Squirrels. They will play Exit First, a team they split victories with this season. The Squirrels finished in 5th place, and avoided 6th after Gnu lost to the Nordiques, 7-1, Sunday. The playoff game is at 9:30 p.m. on Tuesday in the Patrick rink.
In desperate need of a win, instead of just a moral victory, the Screaming Squirrels beat up on the Mighty Old Ducks on Wednesday with a 6-0 victory.
Matt Borlik got the scoring started a couple of minutes into the game, then Brent Machado got a power play goal and Greg Wenograd got one to put the Squirrels up 3-0. The Squirrels killed off four minor penalties – including a 5 on 3 – in the period before Machado scored his second with two minutes to go.
After an uneventful second period, Wenograd scored his second of the game at 11:55 of the third period, and Borlik scored his second of the game with 6:23 remaining.
A bit of unruliness broke out with :19 to go in the game, leading to Desi Richelsen’s one-game suspension for excessive penalties.
The Squirrels now head to the playoffs to defend their championship, and will finish in either 5th or 6th place depending on the outcome of the Gnu-Nordiques game on Sunday. If Gnu wins or ties, the Squirrels will play on Wednesday, otherwise they will play Tuesday.
The Squirrels put together their best comeback of the season Sunday, scoring four goals in the third period to earn a 5-5 draw against D.C. Fire.
The Squirrels were down 3-0 in the first two periods before Desi Richelsen’s individual scoring effort in the second period gave life back to the Squirrels. D.C. Fire scored again to go up 4-1 in the third period. Then the Squirrels woke up, as Greg Wenograd, Brent Machado and Tony Richelsen scored to tie the game, 4-4. Then D.C. Fire took the lead again late in the third period, but it didn’t hold as Machado scored his second of the game.
The Squirrels had a chance to win the game late in the third – while killing a two-man advantage. Tony Richelsen’s pressure led to a scoring opportunity, but the puck sailed wide. Fortunately, the Squirrels killed off the rest of the game with two men in the box and the Fire’s goaltender pulled.
Machado, the Richelsens, Wenograd, Matt Borlik, Ben Sumner, Phil Van der Vossen, Jon Magi, Charles Wolstein and Brian Jackson played for the Squirrels, with Drew Thiemann in net. The Squirrels were listed as putting up 19 shots on goal in the third period, while only having six in each of the first two. The Squirrels outshot Fire, 31-28.
The last game of the regular season is Wednesday, at 9:30 p.m. against the Mighty Old Ducks.