Bombers Playing For Breathing Room

By Debbie Juniewicz
Contributing Writer
Dayton Daily News

DAYTON, Ohio – The Dayton Bombers are playing for breathing room Tuesday.

Tied 2-2 in the best-of-seven American Conference Finals, a one-game edge will be crucial for the Bombers who must return to Florida for Game 6 Thursday night at the Germain Arena in Estero, Fla.

“I would assume that both teams have the same amount of urgency to win,” Bombers coach Don MacAdam said.

The Everblades have been a challenge so far, but not a surprise.

“Even though the teams have different characteristics — we’re more of a defensive team and they’re more of an offensive team — they are very even,” MacAdam said.

Both teams rely on a balanced offensive attack. The Everblades, however, have the advantage of the top scorer in the ECHL playoffs, Vince Bellissimo, who has 19 postseason points on nine goals and 10 assists.

Florida also has relied on Brad Parsons and Adam Taylor who have 13 and 12 points, respectively, in the playoffs.

Bombers rookie Brent Walton leads all Dayton players with 14 points but Yannick Tifu and Paul Kelly are close behind with 13 and 12 points, respectively.

Both teams have had solid play in goal with the Everblades Craig Kowalski denying 93 percent of his shots and Adam Berkhoel turning the puck away 92 percent of the time.

MacAdam knew the Everblades had highly-skilled players. What he didn’t know contributed to the Bombers’ 4-3 loss Saturday.

“We didn’t think they’d absolutely kill us on the face-offs,” MacAdam said.

The Bombers made adjustments Sunday and evened the series with a 3-1 win. The series now essentially becomes a best-of-three — with two games on the road.

MacAdam knows the wins won’t come easy against a tournament-tested team that is making their ninth consecutive appearance in the Kelly Cup Playoffs.

“We had respect for Florida before the series started and we have even more respect for them now,” MacAdam said.