GAMBLERS DRAW THREE, DEFEAT ICE THREE GAMES TO ZERO IN EASTERN CONFERENCE FINALS
The Indiana Ice was the only team in the United States Hockey League to pin three losses on the Green Bay Gamblers in the regular season. The Ice could not duplicate any magic against the top seeded Gamblers as they were eliminated 2-1 Sunday evening at Pepsi Coliseum.
Green Bay amassed the best regular season record in USHL history piling 98 points, 18 more than Indiana, who had the second highest point total in the regular season.
The Gamblers earned a pair of victories into the best-of-five series on home ice and closed it out with a mistake-free performance in game three.
Despite outshooting Green Bay 30-24, the number of Ice quality scoring chances was minimal throughout the contest. The hosts failed to gain a power play opportunity while the visitors were awarded three---the final one resulted in the game- winner.
Green Bay’s Nicholas Schilkey took advantage of the extra skater 40 seconds into the fateful power play and provided them the game winning goal.
Second period was dictated by two momentum swings.
The first surge resulted in a Gamblers goal that came 4:13 into the second period as Markus Lauridsen scored on only their fifth shot of the game.
The second momentum swing came when Indy evened the score at 12:48 when Joe Fiala ripped a slap shot past visiting netminder Ryan McKay. Robbie Baillargeon assisted with the goal, which extended his playoff point streak to six games.
Scoring chances in the first period were few and far between. The Ice outshot the Gamblers 6-3 and held the visitors to a single shot in the first 14:44 of the opening stanza. Despite their defensive dominance, the Icemen faced two hold-your-breath moments.
The first came when the Ice turned the puck over in the slot 5:29 after the opening face-off and resulted in Gillies’ first save of the game.
The second critical moment came when Indy was whistled for the first period’s only penalty. Indiana was forced to kill the man-advantage against playoffs’ most effective power play unit and held Green Bay without a shot to keep the game scoreless heading to the first intermission.
While the ultimate goal of winning the Clark Cup was not accomplished, Indy had many successful results. Eleven skaters earned college scholarships—five awarded during the season. Two players—Sean Kuraly and R.J. Boyd were drafted by NHL teams.
“I learned you have to work hard every day wherever you go. It is the dedication you need to get to the next level” commented Boyd. “If you don’t work hard, you go nowhere.”
Danill Tarasov finished his career as Indiana’s all-time leading goal scorer and should be awarded a professional contract in the offseason. Gillies led the USHL in victories during the season.