2017 SHL Finals – Game 4

ANCHORAGE IGLOOS 2, HERSHEY BLISS 1

Coming into today’s pivotal Game 4, Anchorage Igloos coach Sam Castor insisted that it was not a must-win game for his team.  “Look, we’ve got to break serve,” Castor told reporters before the game.  “We know that.  They won one in our barn, so we have to win one in their barn.  What order we do it in doesn’t matter, as long as we do win one.”

Despite Castor’s statement, the coach must have been relieved that his team was able to prevail over the Hershey Bliss in a close contest, 2-1, and tie the series at two games apiece.  “Really good to see the boys take care of business today,” said the Igloos coach.  “I think this one really swung the series in our favor.”

After a couple of slower-paced, defensive games, the Igloos turned on the jets and dominated possession of the puck, outshooting Hershey 41-23.  “We hadn’t had a game yet this series where we’ve really been in control,” said C Jake Frost.  “This time, we were able to dictate the play.”

Although they were able to dominate the puck, the Igloos weren’t able to run away with the game thanks to the heroics of Bliss goalie Brandon Colt.  The Hershey netminder made a number of dazzling saves to keep the game close.  In the first two periods, the Igloos were only able to pierce Colt once, when D Dave Frederick put a rebound just inside the right post with five and a half minutes left in the first period.  The score would have been much higher if not for multiple acrobatic saves by Colt, as he bounced around the crease and made save after save.

“Colter was like Inspector Gadget out there,” said Bliss C Henry Constantine.  “Anytime there was a shot that looked like it was going in, he’d shoot out his arm or his leg and make a crazy stop.  He was keeping us in it.”

Bliss RW Christopher Hart tied the game eight minutes into the third period by whistling a shot just underneath Igloos goalie Ty Worthington‘s left pad.  The crowd at Chocolate Center came alive, and on the visiting bench, the Igloos became agitated.

“We felt like we’d been getting the better end of the play, but it wasn’t showing up on the scoreboard,” said Anchorage C Nile Bernard.  “We felt like the next goal was going to win it, and we had to make sure it was us.”

Bernard was right; the next goal did decide the game, and the Igloos got it.  The winning tally came from a somewhat unlikely source.  LW Ben Summers arrived in Anchorage this season as a free agent, and he quickly became a favorite among fans and teammates alike as a quality third-line contributor.  But the top line has driven the action for both teams in this series, so few were expecting Summers to be the difference-maker.  But with less than five minutes remaining in the game, he deflected a shot from RW Tyler Cloude past Colt for the go-ahead tally.  There were some anxious moments for Anchorage while the referees reviewed the goal, since Hershey argued that Summers had played the puck with a high stick.  But after review, the goal was upheld, and the Igloos celebrated.

“Benny really came through for us,” said Frost.  “Just like he’s come through us all year.”

It was another physical game, with Bliss D Ruslan Gromov drawing the ire of some on the Anchorage bench after getting into his third fight in the last two games, this time going after LW Les Collins.  Castor indicated that he thought the league should consider suspending Gromov, because “he’s not playing hockey out there.  He’s trying to turn this series into a street fight.”  He paused, then added with a smile, “Of course, we’ve got the upper hand, so we’re not going to press the point.”

Do the Igloos really have the upper hand in a tied series?  Hershey coach Chip Barber reacted to Castor’s confident talk with a smirk.  “Sam’s a sly one, I’ll give him that,” said Barber.  “He’s walking around like M&Ms wouldn’t melt in his mouth.  But he’s more nervous than he lets on.  This is a wide-open series, and anyone can win it.  He can’t talk that away.”

 

Finals Gm 4, Anchorage @ Hershey, Chocolate Center

                  1   2   3   OT   F
Anchorage         1   0   1        2
Hershey           0   0   1        1

 
Anchorage             G   A PTS PIM +/-   Hershey               G   A PTS PIM +/-

Koons          LW     0   0   0   0   0   Sweet          LW     0   0   0   0   0
Mortensen      D      0   0   0   2   0   Milton         D      0   1   1   0   0
Frost          C      0   1   1   0   0   Valentine      C      0   1   1   0   0
Martinsson     D      0   0   0   0   0   Baldwin        D      0   0   0   0   0
Ericsson       RW     0   0   0   0   0   Hart           RW     1   0   1   4   0
Collins        LW     0   0   0   5   0   Nahorniak      LW     0   0   0   0   0
Keefe          D      0   1   1   0   0   Dyomin         D      0   0   0   0   0
Bernard        C      0   0   0   0   0   Kirkpatrick    C      0   0   0   0   0
Frederick      D      1   0   1   2   0   Chappelle      D      0   0   0   0   0
Montrechere    RW     0   0   0   0   0   Daniels        RW     0   0   0   0   0
Summers        LW     1   0   1   0   1   Gromov         D      0   0   0   5  -1
Pomfret        D      0   0   0   0   1   Constantine    C      0   0   0   0  -1
Humplik        C      0   1   1   0   1   Kulkarov       D      0   0   0   4  -1
Citrone        D      0   0   0   2   1   Danielsen      RW     0   0   0   4  -1
Cloude         RW     0   1   1   0   1   McLearen       LW     0   0   0   0  -1
---------------------------------------   ---------------------------------------
TOTALS                2   4   6  11   1   TOTALS                1   2   3  17  -1

Scratches:
ANC:  Druzek, Facinelli, Miranda
HSY:  Fleming, Kennedy, Bergstrom

 
Anchorage          SH    SV    G    Sv%
----------------------------------------
Worthington        23    22    1  0.957

Hershey            SH    SV    G    Sv%
----------------------------------------
Colt               41    39    2  0.951

 

First Period
------------

GOALS:
14:28  ANC  Frederick (Frost, Keefe)

PENALTIES:
None


Second Period
-------------

GOALS:
None


PENALTIES:
04:25  HSY  Kulkarov 2:00 (Holding the Stick)
04:35  HSY  Danielsen 2:00 (Diving)
07:08  ANC  Frederick 2:00 (Hooking)
09:31  HSY  Kulkarov 2:00 (Tripping)
14:56  HSY  Gromov 5:00 (Fighting)
14:56  ANC  Collins 5:00 (Fighting)

Third Period
------------

GOALS:
07:53  HSY  Hart (Milton, Valentine)
15:04  ANC  Summers (Cloude, Humplik)

PENALTIES:
02:29  ANC  Citrone 2:00 (Clipping)
10:34  HSY  Hart 4:00 (High-sticking)
11:27  ANC  Mortensen 2:00 (Holding the Stick)
16:03  HSY  Danielsen 2:00 (Elbowing)


 
SHOTS
------
                  1   2   3   OT   F
Anchorage        10  11  20       41
Hershey           6   8   9       23

 
POWER PLAYS
-----------

Anchorage    0 for 5
Hershey      0 for 3

 
INJURIES
--------

None
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