2016 SHL Finals – Game 3


This is a game that the Washington Galaxy needed to win.  In the first two games of the SHL Finals, the Galaxy’s offense had been completely shut down by the defense of the Michigan Gray Wolves and their red-hot goalie, Dirk “The Bear” Lundquist.  For Game 3, the action shifted back to Constellation Center, and Washington hoped that the energy of the home crowd would ignite their offense.  They got what they needed, barely, squeaking out a 2-1 win that cut Michigan’s lead in the series to one game.

“That’s our kind of game!” said Galaxy RW Jefferson McNeely, who scored both of the home team’s goals.  “Those last two games, it just feels like we’ve been skating into a wall at the blue line.  Today we broke through, and we proved to ourselves that we can do it.  I think the momentum of this series is shifting.”

The first half of this game resembled Game 2, with both Lundquist and Washington netminder Roger Orion in top form and keeping it scoreless. Even then, though, there was an obvious difference.  Whereas Michigan dominated play in the first two periods of the last game, Washington had the better of things in this contest, outshooting Michigan 21-12 over the first two frames.  “We’d been letting them push us around, especially between the blue lines,” said Galaxy D Rusty Anderson.  “In this game, we decided to see if we could use our speed to our advantage, outrace their checks a bit.  And it worked.”

The Galaxy beat Lundquist for the first time all series with less than four minutes left in the second, as McNeely and LW Casey Thurman sprung loose on a breakaway, with McNeely beating the Wolves goalie stick-side.  “He was definitely in our heads a bit,” admitted the Galaxy star.  “Getting one by him was huge for us psychologically.  It’s like, ‘Hey, we can win this thing.'”

In another parallel to Game 2, both teams picked up their offense in the final period, combining for 28 shots.  With the Galaxy clinging to their 1-0 lead, the arena was buzzing with excitement, but the fans’ cheers had a nervous edge.  “We knew Michigan was saving their best for the end, and we had to be ready to match it,” said McNeely.

Sure enough, a little more than halfway through the period, Wolves LW Jorma Seppa fired a shot through traffic that tipped off of C Hunter Bailes‘ stick and bounced between Orion’s legs, tying the score.  “Lucky bastards,” said Anderson.  “They fling a lousy slapper that bounces off like five different guys and dribbles into the net.”  But although Michigan’s strike silenced the crowd, it didn’t dampen the Galaxy’s enthusiasm.

Washington got its break less than a minute later when Wolves D Frank Mudrick got tangled up with Galaxy RW Nori Takoyaki and was whistled for a tripping minor.  Michigan coach Ron Wright protested the call vigorously, but to no avail.  Michigan managed to kill off the penalty, but Washington kept the puck in the offensive end after Mudrick exited the penalty box, and McNeely blasted home the go-ahead tally from the right faceoff circle.

“They’d been crashing down on me during the whole PP, and I wasn’t getting any good looks,” said McNeely.  “But then the puck took a lucky bounce over to me and I was wide open, and I didn’t miss.”

The Galaxy weren’t quite out of the woods, as Anderson took a cross-checking call with a minute and a half left in the game.  But Washington managed to fight off the Wolves’ last gasp and held on for the win.

“That was fun!” said Washington coach Rodney Reagle.  “That was like Hoosiers, only the hockey version.  I ought to look into optioning the movie rights for that game.  I hope I can get Tom Hanks to play me.”

The Galaxy have a chance to tie the series tomorrow in Game 4, while the Wolves will look to grab a commanding 3-1 lead.


12/07/2016, SHL Finals Game 3
MIC vs. WSH, Constellation Center

                  1   2   3   OT   F
Michigan          0   0   1        1
Washington        0   1   1        2

Michigan              G   A PTS PIM   Washington            G   A PTS PIM

Kronstein      D      0   0   0   0   Thurman        LW     0   1   1   0
Bailes         C      1   0   1   0   Wright         D      0   2   2   0
Madison        D      0   1   1   0   Costello       C      0   1   1   0
Lunsford       RW     0   0   0   0   Buchanan       D      0   0   0   0
Seppa          LW     0   1   1   0   McNeely        RW     2   0   2   0
Mudrick        D      0   0   0   2   Camernitz      LW     0   0   0   4
Marlow         C      0   0   0   0   Warriner       D      0   0   0   0
Tollefson      D      0   0   0   2   Marais         C      0   0   0   0
Denison        RW     0   0   0   0   Anderson       D      0   0   0   2
Gauss          LW     0   0   0   0   Takoyaki       RW     0   0   0   0
Labrakov       D      0   0   0   0   Van Alpin      LW     0   0   0   0
Knight         C      0   0   0   0   Corbett        D      0   0   0   2
Banks          D      0   0   0   0   Sullivan       C      0   0   0   0
Poulin         RW     0   0   0   0   Hogaboom       D      0   0   0   0
Preston        F      0   0   0   0   Pentti         RW     0   0   0   0
-----------------------------------   -----------------------------------
TOTALS                1   2   3   4   TOTALS                2   4   6   8

MIC: Beruschko, Berlinger, Mratic
WSH: Francis, Braun, Wallington

Michigan           SH    SV    G    Sv%
Lundquist          37    35    2  0.946

Washington         SH    SV    G    Sv%
Orion              24    23    1  0.958


First Period


05:18  MIC  Tollefson 2:00 (Elbowing)
09:18  WSH  Corbett 2:00 (High-sticking)
18:52  WSH  Camernitz 4:00 (High-sticking)

Second Period

16:04  WSH  McNeely (Wright, Thurman)


Third Period

11:07  MIC  Bailes (Seppa, Madison)
14:16  WSH  McNeely (Wright, Costello)

11:57  MIC  Mudrick 2:00 (Tripping)
18:17  WSH  Anderson 2:00 (Cross-checking)

                  1   2   3   OT   F
Michigan          6   6  12       24
Washington       11  10  16       37


Michigan     0 for 3
Washington   0 for 2



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