By Debbie Juniewicz
Dayton Daily News
FAIRBORN, Ohio — The “old man” had the last laugh Tuesday.
“The guys are always poking fun because I’m the oldest on the team,” Dayton Bombers captain Greg Labenski, 29, said. “My body definitely feels old at the end of the season, but I definitely want to keep the season going as long as possible.”
The Bombers defenseman scored both the tying and game-winning goals to boost Dayton to a 4-2 win over Florida in front of a crowd of 1,729 at the Nutter Center. The Bombers lead the American Conference Finals best-of-seven series with the Everblades 3-2.
They were Labenski’s first goals of the postseason.
“The biggest game of the season and he scores two monster goals,” Bombers coach Don MacAdam said. “That’s leadership.”
The Bombers offense could only muster four shots-on-goal and trailed 2-0 after the first period.
“We wanted to have a good start but that obviously didn’t work out,” MacAdam said.
The second period, however, was all Bombers. Dayton drilled Florida goaltender Craig Kowalski with 15 shots. Dayton defenseman Brad Farynuk connected from the circle at the 17:07 mark to cut the lead to 2-1 after 40 minutes.
The Everblades offense was stymied in the second period with only three shots-on-goal.
Labenski scored his first goal of the night midway through the third period, tying the contest 2-2. The go-ahead goal came at the 15:25 mark as Labenski and the Bombers capitalized on a five-on-three advantage.
Bombers center Philippe Dupuis pitched in the empty-netter to ensure the win in the final minute.The series moves south as the Everblades play host for Game 6 at Germain Arena, in Estero, Fla., Thursday at 7:30 p.m. Game 7, if necessary, will be played Friday in Florida.
Aches and pains aside, Labenski has one goal in mind — winning it all. The veteran defenseman won a championship with Kalamazoo in the United Hockey League last year.
“Once you win it all, you want to do it again,” he said.