Portland Beats Bullfrogs
The Bullfrogs suffered a letdown and a setback Monday when the Portland Rage scored six second-half goals in a 10-7 victory in Game 1 of the Western Conference finals of the Roller Hockey International playoffs before 3,836 at the Memorial Coliseum in Portland.
“We suffered a letdown in discipline and we took ourselves out of the game with penalties,” Bullfrog Coach Grant Sonier said. “Everything’s been going our way up to now, but we struggled tonight and we didn’t have it at the finish.”
The series finishes tonight at 7:30 with Game 2 at The Pond of Anaheim. If Portland wins Game 2, it wins the Western Conference. If the Bullfrogs win Game 2, a 12-minute mini-game will follow to determine the series winner.
Following their Pacific Division series victory over their rivals, the Blades, last week, the Bullfrogs weren’t sharp. Portland took advantage, and Gerry St. Cyr scored three goals to lead the Rage, who scored five power-play goals.
The Bullfrogs led, 5-4, at halftime and only trailed, 7-6, late in the third quarter when Jim Brown was called for a crucial double-minor penalty.
Portland cashed in, getting power-play goals from Chris Valicevic and Brian Downey to take a 9-6 lead early in the fourth quarter.
Portland goalie Lance Carlsen played well, allowing only two goals by Bullfrog forward Kevin Kerr in the second half. Kerr led the Bullfrogs with four goals, but Anaheim’s offense struggled.
Anaheim had scored on 65% of their power plays in the playoffs, but scored only twice on seven power plays Monday. Victor Gervais came into the game with a league-leading 11 post-season goals but scored only once.
Bullfrogs goalie Rob Laurie lost for the first time in the playoffs. He was 7-0 in seven career starts in the RHI playoffs heading into Monday’s game.
If the Bullfrogs rally to win the Western Conference final, they will play host to Game 1 of the RHI Championship series Wednesday at The Pond of Anaheim. Game 2 would be Friday at Buffalo, the Eastern Conference champion.