Bullfrogs Catch Their Breath in Time to Eliminate the Blades : Roller hockey: Down three goals, they come back for 9-8 victory and advance to Western Conference finals.
Displaying their championship grit, the Bullfrogs rallied from a three-goal third-quarter deficit to defeat the Blades, 9-8, in Game 2 of a Roller Hockey International playoff game before 6,156 Wednesday night at the Forum.
Victor Gervais scored four goals to lead the Bullfrogs, but Rick Judson scored the biggest one, the game-winner with 51.7 seconds remaining off a backhand pass from Yuri Krivokhija. Then the Bullfrogs relied on goalie Rob Laurie to hold off a flurry of shots in the final 50 seconds.
“I feel like I just got off the Batman ride at Magic Mountain,” Bullfrog Coach Grant Sonier said. “The game was an emotional roller-coaster. We were like a heavyweight fighter on the ropes, but somewhere we found our second wind.”
The Bullfrogs won the Pacific Division final series two games to none to advance to the Western Conference championship series. They will play Game 2 of that series Aug. 30 at The Pond of Anaheim against the winner of the Portland-Calgary game in the Northwest Division finals. Game 1 has not been scheduled.
The Blades finished the regular season with the best record in the Western Conference. But after sweeping San Diego in the first round of the playoffs, the Bullfrogs eliminated them from the playoffs for the second consecutive season.
“They have a good team,” Blades Coach Bobby Hull Jr. said of the Bullfrogs, the 1993 RHI champions. “It was a tough way to lose, going into the last few seconds with a tie. But they got an opportunity and they didn’t miss.”
The Blades didn’t miss much in the third quarter, playing fast-break hockey to score six goals. A three-goal outburst during a 23-second span gave the Blades control of the game at that point.
Craig Charron, who had three goals, scored twice in 13 seconds to give the Blades their first lead, 5-4, with 6 minutes 38 seconds remaining in the third quarter. Steve Ross scored one goal and Steve Wilson, who had two goals and two assists, added two on the power play to make it 8-5 with 1:52 left in the quarter.
“I don’t know what happened in that quarter,” Laurie said. “We were a little flat-footed and I got flustered. But the guys didn’t quit.”
The Bullfrogs started their rally behind Gervais. His fourth goal of the game, his 11th of the playoffs, cut the lead to two with 1:50 remaining, then Jim Brown scored 27 seconds later to make it 8-7.
Kevin Kerr, who was called for five minor penalties, gained some redemption by scoring the tying goal on a long slap shot with 9:53 remaining.
“Without Victor and Jim, I’m in no position to score the tying goal,” Kerr said. “I could have been the goat without those guys. The comeback is just indicative of our hockey team. We find a way to win.”
Laurie paved the way, stopping 42 of 50 shots for his fourth consecutive victory. Laurie has not lost to the Blades in seven starts and he outplayed his counterpart, Max Mikhailovsky, the RHI most valuable player.
With the score tied, 8-8, forward Mike Doers had a chance to put the Blades ahead but Laurie smothered his shot from the left slot area late in the fourth quarter.
Darren Langdon continued his strong play, finishing with a goal and two assists for the Bullfrogs.
Steve Bogeyevac had three assists for the Blades.