Bullfrogs Defeat Rhinos, Take Lead in Playoffs : Roller hockey: San Jose gets quick start, but Anaheim rallies for 8-5 victory.
Victor Gervais scored three goals and goalie Rob Laurie gave up only one second-half goal to lead the Bullfrogs to an 8-5 victory over the San Jose Rhinos in Game 1 of a Roller Hockey International playoff series in front of 4,565 fans Thursday at San Jose Arena.
The Bullfrogs, who lost five of their last six regular-season games, struggled in the first half. But Laurie, who had 37 saves, kept them close.
“No one on this team has lost confidence in Robbie,” Bullfrog Coach Grant Sonier said. “He deserves a great deal of credit for keeping us in it tonight.”
Gervais’ two power-play goals in the third quarter were the first of six consecutive Bullfrog goals.
“We said before the game that we can’t get too high if we win and we can’t get too low if we lose,” Sonier said. “Tomorrow night comes really quick.”
The teams play Game 2 of the series at 7:30 tonight at The Pond of Anaheim. The Bullfrogs win the series if they win Game 2, but if San Jose wins, a 12-minute mini-game will follow to determine the series winner.
Thursday, San Jose was in control early, taking a 3-0 lead early in the second quarter. Rhino goalie Jon Gustafson made 19 saves in the first half.
Although goals by Darren Langdon and Steve Beadle drew Anaheim within one, at 3-2, San Jose’s Cooper Naylor scored to make it 4-2 at halftime.
But only 12 seconds into the third quarter, Gervais scored on a power play to cut the lead to one.
“As soon as we scored that goal, the intensity really picked up on the bench,” Gervais said.
Gervais added another power-play goal with 2 minutes 51 seconds remaining to draw Anaheim even, 4-4, then Darren Perkins, who had a goal and four assists, blasted a slap shot past Gustafson to give the Bullfrogs a 5-4 lead with 9:51 remaining in the fourth quarter.
Langdon, who scored only three goals in the regular season, scored his second of the game on a power play with 7:12 remaining and goals by Gervais and Brown in the final five minutes sealed the victory.
Gervais’ third goal was a short-handed goal. After reaching the right faceoff circle, he beat the remaining defender with a 360-degree spin before knocking in a backhand shot.
“They had a few breaks,” San Jose Coach Roy Sommer said. “But the power plays were the key. They converted on theirs and we didn’t.”
The winner of this series advances to the Pacific Division finals to play the Blades-San Diego series winner.