Trashers fail to knock out Fury
By Brian Koonz
May 14, 2006
DANBURY Danbury Trashers coach Paul Gillis didn't make any excuses Saturday night. He also didn't make any reservations for Kalamazoo.
Not yet, anyway.
After taking a 1-0 lead on a first-period goal by Jeff Daw, the Trashers came up short in a 2-1 loss to the Muskegon Fury in Game 5 of the Colonial Cup semifinals at the Danbury Ice Arena before 2,626 fans. It marked the third 2-1 outcome in this heated best-of-seven series.
Although Muskegon staved off elimination with its victory, the Trashers still maintain a 3-2 edge for the right to battle Kalamazoo in the finals. The series now shifts to Muskegon, where the teams will play Game 6 on Monday night at 7:30. If necessary, Game 7 will be played Tuesday night at 7:30 in Muskegon.
"We knew the game was going to be like this (Saturday night). We knew it was going to be a battle right down to the end," Gillis said. "We knew it wasn't going to be easy. It was a hard-fought game by both sides. They were just able to capitalize on one more chance than us. That's the way it is."
Although the Trashers set the tone early with 11 of the first 15 shots, the Fury didn't back down. As far as two-time defending champion Muskegon was concerned, this series was always going back to Michigan.
With nothing to lose and everything to play for the Fury matched Danbury's intensity on the ice.
After watching Daw beat Muskegon goalie Clayton Pool at 7:08 on assists from David Hymovitz and Mario Larocque, the Fury didn't blink, even when Section 102 pelted Pool with chants of "Sieve! Sieve! Sieve!"
Muskegon defenseman Dave Van Drunen nearly tied the game at 15:54 of the first period, after his shot careened off the crossbar and flew over the goal.
Three minutes later, right wing Robin Bouchard answered with Muskegon's first goal at 18:51, after he found the upper right corner of the net. Jeff Nelson, who tied Bouchard for the league scoring title during the regular season, assisted on the goal.
Suddenly, the game was tied at 1 and the Fury could exhale.
"I thought we had a good start. We were skating well. We just made an error on their first goal, the 4-on-4 that set us back a little bit," Gillis said. "But I thought we had good legs all the way through. There were chances back and forth. We had our fair share, but we didn't capitalize on them."
Although Danbury outshot Muskegon, 34-25, the Trashers couldn't catch the lighting that shot from their sticks Friday night in a 7-3 victory in Game 4.
Todd Robinson scored the game-winner for Muskegon at 3:34 of the second period, after he blasted the puck into the upper left corner of the net. Bouchard assisted on the goal for his second point of the game.
Although Danbury largely controlled the puck for the rest of the period, the Trashers couldn't find the back of the net against Pool.
Muskegon, meanwhile, played penalty-free hockey in the second period to bolster its chances for a Game 6.
"It's two evenly matched teams and it's been a great series so far," Gillis conceded. "We just have to take it one game at a time, one period at a time, one shift at a time. That's how we've approached it all along and we'll continue to look at it the same way."
The Trashers had two solid chances to tie the game in the final minutes.
Danbury left wing David Beauregard had a clean look at 18:54 of the third period, but the shot flew just wide. Moments later, Van Drunen was called for a slashing penalty at 18:59, but the Trashers couldn't capitalize on the power play opportunity.
Overall, Danbury was 0-for-4 on the power play Saturday night. Muskegon wasn't much better at 0-for-3.
Despite the loss in Game 5, the Trashers are hardly discouraged.
"The longer it goes, I think we might have the advantage because we have the bodies and maybe a little bit better depth," said Daw, who scored his first goal of the playoffs. "Unfortunately, we got a little bit undisciplined and lost our composure a little bit, not just with the penalties but with our systems.
"People are pretty upset, but that'll only last 10 or 15 minutes. And then, it's on to the next game," he added. "Muskegon still has to win two in a row. I really thought (Saturday night) could've gone either way. They made some key stops, but we made some blunders that gave them opportunities."
Fortunately for the Trashers, they have two games to get those opportunities and those Kalamazoo reservations back in order.
NOTES: Trashers defenseman Josh Chase, an amateur who grew up about 65 miles from Muskegon in Big Rapids, Mich., made his professional debut Saturday.
Muskegon Fury 1 1 0 2
Danbury Trashers 1 0 0 1
SCORING : First Period: 1. D, Jeff Daw (David Hymovitz, Mario Larocque) 7:08; 2. M, Robin Bouchard (Jeff Nelson) 18:51.
Second Period: 1. M, Todd Robinson (Robin Bouchard) 3:34.
SHOTS: Danbury 34, Muskegon 25.
SAVES: Sylvain Daigle (D) 23; Clayton Pool (M) 33.