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Canadians Pull Double Duty, Bullfrogs Prevail

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Was that really a roller hockey game at the Arrowhead Pond Wednesday night or a couple of overworked, punch-drunk fighters trying to hang in until the final bell?

Exhausted players on both sides of the Bullfrogs’ 15-6 Major League Roller Hockey victory over Virginia said there were moments when it was difficult to tell.

“This was no more than a scrimmage game,” said Doug McCarthy, who scored two goals and had two assists for the Bullfrogs in only his third game of the season.

McCarthy, the Canadian National Team coach at the In-Line Hockey World Championships, knew what he was talking about.

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Checking was almost nonexistent. Stick pokes were the rage and there were a lot of rubber legs on both sides. This one was supposed to be a showdown between two of the league’s best teams, but an announced crowd of 8,661 that appeared to be much less didn’t see a game that lived up to its billing because of scheduling conflicts with the world championship at Disney ICE.

A total of 10 Canadian National team skaters competed in a hard-fought, 5-4, victory over Switzerland Wednesday afternoon, then raced across town to don Bullfrog or Vulture uniforms barely 15 minutes before the 7:30 start.

Bullfrog scoring leader Mark Woolf led the tired Canadian contingent into the Pond wearing a sweat-stained T-shirt and carrying a big black bag full of hockey gear. Asked if he was tired, Woolf responded: “What do you think?”

Players on both teams agreed later that no one wanted much contact after that game with the Swiss.

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“We’ve all become friends and we’ve got to fight for a title in two or three days,” McCarthy said. “It was tough playing two games in a row and some of the guys were tired. We can’t afford to get banged up and that usually happens in a game like this.”

The Bullfrogs (18-0) were without their second- and third-leading scorers, John Hanson and Bill Lund, who played for the United States’ in its 19-1 victory over Russia. But they did have goaltender Rob Laurie, who had 33 saves. He got permission Wednesday afternoon from the U.S. team to join the Bullfrogs rather than start against Russia.

Forward Glenn Stewart, who is not competing in the World Championship, scored four goals and had six assists, tying a Bullfrog team record for most points in a game. After letting the Vultures pull within 8-6 in the third quarter, the Bullfrogs scored seven consecutive goals.

Player/coach Scotty Burfoot scored four goals for the Vultures (9-4).

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“Most of the big hitters were tired,” he said. “They didn’t want any injuries, there are better things in life to do right now. They are playing for their countries. We haven’t had too many practices this season, anyway.”


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