Icemen take 2 of 3 from Western-leading Long Beach
Special to the Tribune
The Western Division-leading Long Beach Bombers came to South Lake Tahoe Ice Arena Thursday, Jan. 25, with just five losses in 34 games.
But the Tahoe Icemen put a dent into that record and sent the Bombers back to Southern California on Saturday, Jan. 27, with a pair of losses from their three game series.
The Icemen smoked the Bombers 7-1 on Thursday, were smoked 8-1 Friday and took the rubber match with a 7-6 overtime victory Saturday afternoon.
Tahoe forward Jensen Baehr, who scored one of the seven goals Thursday night said, “This weekend we showed what we can do when we play as a team, compete, and everyone does their jobs. There’s not a team we can’t beat when we play the right way.”
Icemen forward Paul Frys extended his scoring streak to 18 games with four goals and four assists, including a hat trick in the series opener. He is in the top 10 for scoring in the Western States Hockey League.
Frys scored the game winner Thursday as the Icemen pulled out to a 3-0 lead after the first period.
The Icemen scored seven goals on 41 shots. Mitch Hunt added three assists and Danylo Moroz and Marek Ondrasky each had two assists. Baehr, Lucas Demsar and Phillip Heisse III scored goals.
Icemen Justin Poirier was ejected for spearing and given a one game suspension. Bombers Lee-Jay Meguinis was ejected and given a one game suspension for fighting and head contact, but upon video review after the game, his suspension was somehow overturned.
Icemen goaltender Maximilian Haselbacher was near perfect, saving 48 of 49 shots.
After an embarrassing first game for the Bombers, they came out rested and avenged their loss.
Icemen goalie Artur Pavliukov was a bit stiff in his first game back as for Tahoe and was pulled in favor of Wade Conlan halfway through the second period. The two keepers faced a whopping 67 shots.
It was a contentious match-up. Icemen John Soliday and Bomber William Daigneault were both ejected for fighting in the third.
There was a scary moment when Meguinis, who should have been serving his overturned one game suspension, took out Tahoe’s Hunt and then cross-checked him while he lay motionless on the ice.
Meguinis was given a match penalty and will most likely serve a five (or more) game suspension for the hit. Hunt made it back to the bench and played the remainder of the game.
Heisse scored Tahoe’s lone goal with assists going to Frys and Hunt.
The series final was neck-and neck throughout with no team leading by more than one goal at any time.
The game winner went to Ilja Cetvertak, who scored a creative goal with 3:36 left in overtime. Cetvertak shot from behind the goal line and the puck deflected off the goaltender’s back and into the net for the deciding goal.
The starting goalies for both teams were switched out. Icemen keeper Tommy Spero was replaced by Pavliukov and combined they made 46 saves on 53 shots.
Cetvertak scored twice and single goals were scored by Easton Easterson, Frys, Heisse, Hunt and Gabel Longshore. Heisse had three assists while Frys, Moroz and Longshore each had two assists.
After their victory, Icemen head coach Mickey Lang and some players came out to cheer and show support for the Tahoe Grizzlies peewee team.
The Bombers leave Tahoe with three points while the Icemen keep four and tied the West Sound Warriors for second place in the Northwest Division.
The Icemen will host another division leader Thursday, Feb. 1, through Saturday, Feb. 3, the Idaho IceCats who have lost just four games this season and one was to Tahoe.
The Icemen host just two more series this season, including the three-game set against the IceCats.