By Debbie Juniewicz
Dayton Daily News
After 100 minutes of hockey, the Dayton Bombers were tired but determined Tuesday night as they prepared for a third overtime period at Germain Arena in Estero, Fla.
“Everybody was quite drained but the key point was that we were going back on the ice on a power play,” Bombers coach Don MacAdam said. “(Associate head coach Derek) Clancey was very clear when he talked to the guys. He told them, ‘Do this right now and we’ll win the game.’ “
Clancey was right. Brad Farynuk scored the decisive goal 1:23 into the period, with just seven seconds remaining on the power play, as the Bombers beat the Florida Everblades, 4-3, in Game 1 of the ECHL American Conference Finals.
It was the ninth-longest game in ECHL history.
As they have all season, the Bombers relied heavily on the play of goalie Adam Berkhoel, who made 59 saves, 25 in overtime.
Berkhoel and the Everblades are not strangers. It was Berkhoel, then with the Gwinnett Gladiators, who stopped Florida’s playoff run last season.
“I know they have a lot of talent,” said Berkhoel, who bounced back strong after giving up a 3-0 lead. “But I didn’t realize they’d be this talented. They have a lot of offensive weapons. We need to play smart defensively.”
Game 2 is Thursday at 7:30 p.m. MacAdam knows a second road win will not come easily.
“Florida is a momentum team. When they get rolling they can steamroll right over you,” he said. “And they are about to lose home ice, so they’ll come to play.”
Wednesday was a day for the Bombers to relax, but it was an early day for MacAdam.
“The first call came in at 7:30 a.m., and my phone hasn’t stopped ringing all day,” he said.
The series shifts to the Nutter Center in Ohio on Saturday for Game 3 at 7:30 p.m.