By Debbie Juniewicz
Dayton Daily News
Sticks and skates are obvious items on the Florida-bound Dayton Bombers packing list, but they’re not the only travel must-haves.
“I have to bring my same white suit I started wearing when we were down 3-1 to Cincinnati,” said Bombers center Yannick Tifu. “That’s when I switched my routine.”
Like most hockey players, the Bombers are a superstitious bunch. There’s the same pre-game music, post-game victory music and as many routines as there are players.
Goaltender Adam Berkhoel and defenseman Lane Manson (pictured) are the first to arrive at the arena for every game — 4:20 p.m. with Tim Horton’s in hand. Left wing Justin Maiser skates off the ice with six minutes left in every warm-up. Center Trevor Frischmon went through an Olive Garden phase on every game day earlier this season.
“We don’t think of it as superstitious, we call it ‘routine-oriented,’ ” Bombers coach Don MacAdam said.
That “routine” extends to the staff.
“When we were on a winning streak, my assistant and I ate the same lunch at Skyline at the same table every day,” equipment manager Tim Donnelly said. “When we’re winning, we set up the locker room the same way for every game. When we lose, we change it all.”
The Bombers are even sporting the traditional hockey playoff beard that NHL players sport during the Stanley Cup race.
So, while the surroundings will be unfamiliar this week as the Bombers open the American Conference Finals in Germain Arena in Estero, Fla. (south of Fort Myers), the routines will remain, as will the season long game plan. Dayton has only faced Florida once, defeating the Everblades 4-2 at the Nutter Center on Nov. 4.
“They are more offensive-minded in the South Division, more of a run-and-gun style,” MacAdam said. “We don’t know much else about them, but that shouldn’t be much of a factor. We know what we need to do.”