|SERIES PREVIEW||Lots of history with these two teams and the Dynamo are geared to go deep into the playoffs. Charlotte made a mad dash to get the division and fell 3 points short. They want that to end. CapJack had the season lead 5 to 3 but the series was so close with Charlotte holding a 30-29 edge in goals scored.|
|GAME #1||WOW – what a contest. Each team with 12 minutes of penalties, 4 each were coincidental but those other 8 per team allowed each team 4 Power Plays! Charlotte was hitting and hitting hard and often edging the Rangers 16-9 in the rough contact, the Rangers blocked more shots – and they took more and they had a big edge in face-offs, 58.2 to 41.8%. And the game featured A LOT OF GOALS!
CapJack started the scoring early with a goal from Boutilier – I’m never going to dance again Paul Boutilier!, Great goal and the Rangers take the lead 1-0 three minutes into the game. Then they make it 2-0 when Larry Robinson makes the Dynamo pay for Thelin’s hooking penalty. 2-0 Rangers 12 1/2 in and both goals by defenseman! The crowd is going wild. And they look at keeping that way to intermission but with 1 minute left, Charlotte has other plans. Maloney shoots for the Rangers but Moller blocks it. Poulin clears it, gets it up ice, to Simmer back to Poulin – shots and it beats Resch for the GOAL and it’s now 2-1 Rangers as the period ends.
As period 2 starts the Rangers hope to reverse that last-minute momentum shifter and then Quenneville gives them an opening with a slashing penalty 53 seconds into the 2nd period. It takes the Rangers and Kromm less than 30 seconds of PP to make the score 3-1! And then just over a minute later Crowder gets a goal to make it 4-1! The Rangers seemed to have finally figure out how to get the puck past Skorodenski! Apparently, Vaive wasn’t too thrilled about Crowder scoring and right after the ensuing face-off they mouth off (or something) and both get 2 minutes for unsportsmanlike conduct! Come on guys, play nice! Then the teams begin to settle in and for the next 8 minutes, it’s back-and-forth skating – with one exception. Beck goes off for 2 minutes for elbowing, but the Rangers kill off the penalty. Now midway through the period and Rangers dump it in. Skordenski leaves the net to play it and sends it out to Thelin. To Fergus, into the Ranger’s end. Fraser with the puck after wrestling it away from CapJack, over to Fergus, he shoots it low on Resch’s stick side, right under the stick – GOAL! And the Dynamo cut it to 4-2 with 29 minutes left to play. Hang on – CapJack wins the faceoff at center ice, Sauve takes it over the line, to Donnelly, SLAP SHOT – SCORE! 5-2 Rangers as he went top shelf. Each team will get another PP before the period ends, but they are both killed off. But then with 1 minute to go, Kromm redirects a Trottier shot and it gets past Skorodenski – never had a chance, it was a behind-the-back kind of amazing redirect and it’s 6-2 Rangers as the period comes to a close.
Things are looking awfully cappy for the Rangers and they are spending more effort playing defensively in the 3rd while the Dynamo are doing all they can to get some more goals. 14 minutes go by and it’s still 6-2 CapJack when Charlotte gets the break they needed. After a Crowder penalty expires the Dynamo gains control of the puck and works it up ice. Team effort gets it to the Ranger’s end, but the Rangers gain possession then Simmer with control gets it to Poulin who feeds it back to Simmer – shots – GOAL! 6-3 Rangers now with 5 to go. Charlotte keeps the pressure on and the play is staying pretty much in the Ranger’s end. Then with Anderson and Boschman coming on the ice, the Dynamo press the attack. Hawerchuk, to Boschman – a slap shot – SCORE! And suddenly it’s 6-4 with 3 to go. Fans are back to reality, the delirium is changing to concern. Can the Dynamo pull out a miracle? Still, 6-4 as the final minute approaches. Skordenski heads to the bench and they go on the attack with Boschman firing it but Resch makes the save – oh, it’s loose in front, Hawerchuk with it, Boschman gains it, shoots! Resch again with the save, it bounces away and McDonald fires it – Resch with the diving save! And the puck finally gets out as Trottier gains control – he fires at the empty net, SCORE! Rangers up 7-4 with 26 seconds left. That just about seals it. But wait – the Dynamo haven’t given up and a late (REAL LATE) full-out assault ends up with LaVallee firing a tough angle shot – he SCORES! That brings the final score to 7-5 CapJack as the goal was scored with 8 seconds left.
Whew – it was jam-packed with everything but a lot of defense, yet there was that.
STARS (all CAP)
What will game 2 be like?
|GAME #2||April 12th – rafter still packed. Not sure if anyone left, could they have been here for 2 days? Well, a couple of changes – Moog will start in goal for Charlotte and Dunn will be playing defense tonight for CapJack in place of Russell.
FIRST PERIOD – an odd thing occurs, no one scores! Charlotte misses on 2 PPlays and the Rangers fail on the 1 PP chance they had. They outshot the Dynamo 11-7 but Moog and Resch stopped them all. Both teams were upbeat as they headed to the locker room.
Rangers must have had the better pep talk or snacks because they came out for the 2nd as a very purpose-driven team. Kromm scores his 3rd goal of the series a minute and a half in and then a minute later Barr gets his first of the series and inside of 3 minutes of the 2nd period, it’s 2-0 Rangers! Then Robinson goes off for tripping – but the Rangers kill it off. Then a minute and a half after he gets back on the ice, the ref calls him again for tripping!! Come on ref! This time, however, the Dynamo respond and less than 20 seconds into the PP, Vaive scored to bring the Dynamo deficit to 1 at 2-1 Rangers. Then as we cross into the 2nd half of the period (and game), Sauve beats Moog to make it 3-1 CapJack. Robinson gets one of the assists and he now has 2 assists to go with his 2 penalties for this game. Rangers in control except for Vaive. with just over 7 to go, Fergus shoots one that Resch gloves. Then Gillis wins the faceoff, and it ends up with Vaive, who looks for help, sees none, shoots, and SCORES beating Resch on his glove side. Bounce right off the glove into the net for his 2nd goal of the game and series and it’s 3-2 Rangers! But the period isn’t over and neither is the scoring. 5 minutes to go, Haworth works it into the Dynamo end, to Robinson, to Wickenheiser back to Haworth – teeing it up with a slapper and it flew right past Moog, he should have had it, but never saw it. 4-2 CapJack and that’s how period 2 ends.
Rangers are starting to get into a 3rd-period defensive routine which seems to work (to an extent). SOGs for period 3: 15 for Charlotte, 3 for CapJack. The plan is working as the Dynamo are continually frustrated. 8 minutes left, still, 4-2 Rangers when the puck goes into the Rangers end from Vaive and LaVallee gets it, goes behind the net, for the wraparound and he lifts it up over Resch’s stick for the goals, and with plenty of time left it’s a 1 goal game 4-3 CapJack. Oh, those Dynamos can make it hurt. Once again though the Rangers dig in defensively. Charlotte is going for broke, down inside a minute and a half left, still trailing by 1, and Moog exits, Puolin in as the extra attacker. The puck goes into the Ranger’s end, Poulin has it, slap shot – Barr the gutsy block, and the Rangers get it out of the zone with 1 minute left. Line changes, Hawerchuk gets it, bring it over the blue line, clock ticking, over to Poulin, he wrists one toward the goal, oh, Anderson deflects it – GOAL, TIE GAME, 58-second lefts in REGULATION – TIE GAME, 4-4! Now the momentum has totally shifted to Charlotte and the Rangers have been playing defense for pretty much the last 20 minutes. The period ends and with it being the postseason – they clean the ice for 20 more minutes (maybe) and the teams head to the locker room.
OT Period 1 – Charlotte flying high, and the Rangers trying to rekindle their attack. Hawerchuk and Trottier to take the faceoff, and Hawerchuk wins it! Skate up ice, and steers it in deep but Robinson recovers the puck and works it out. Crowder ends up fighting off a Dynamo for it, he passes to Trottier, skates it over the line in the Charlotte zone, keeps going, fires it at Moog – HE SCORES!!!!! Game-Over with a shot that surprises Moog stick side low and the Rangers win. 21 seconds of OT!
Robinson managed 3 assists, Resch has 33 saves. The Rangers have a 2-0 lead
|The Rangers are happy to leave for Charlotte up 2 games to 0 because they know things will not be easy there. Heck, they weren’t easy here. These two teams are pretty much an even match.|
|GAME #3||The Charlotte Dynamo have fought the good fight this season, with an MWOTHL championship-caliber record and a team that stacks up quite well with the rest of the playoff field. But in this quarterfinal matchup, it finds itself in a grim spot, down 2-0 against a superbly coached CapJack Rangers squad that has leveraged its hard-fought Patrick title home ice advantage to take a 2-0 lead. The series shifts back to the Bojangles Arena in Charlotte, where the Dynamo plays a must-win game 3.|
|GAME #4||Understandably both teams in this pivotal moment of the series are playing it cautiously the first 10 minutes of the game though Charlotte gets more scoring chances in the opening half of this period and forces CapJack starting goalie Steve Weeks forced to make some key saves.
The scoreless tie is broken at the 10:17 mark: after Weeks is forced to hold onto a save, Charlotte wins the ensuing faceoff and Dynamo third-line left winger Curt Fraser, under pressure after a pass from defenseman Randy Moller fires it past Weeks for an early 1-0 lead for the home team. But exactly one minute later, Charlotte’s Laurie Boschman gets cited for a penalty elbowing CapJack’s Scott Bjugstad and goes to the box after the vicious check along the boards (it is an extremely dumb Charlotte penalty considering the moment). The Rangers go to work on the power play: near its conclusion, CapJack’s Peter McNab wins a loose-buck battle and gets it to Keith Crowder who slams a shot so hard that Dynamo goalie Warren Skorodenski cannot control it. Another hard slapshot ensues – this one from Alan Haworth – it is partially stopped by Skordenski’s stick but still finds the net. We’re even at 1-1. Both teams are now sufficiently warmed up for a slugfest.
The game stays chippy. Cap Jack’s Phil Russell gets cited for a cross-checking penalty with 6:30 to play in the period and the Dynamo regains the lead on a goal from Glen Anderson, assisted by Mats Thelin, just 42 seconds after the Haworth goal. The Rangers can’t stay out of the box and Crowder gets cited for a trip a minute after Anderson’s goal. The Dynamo power play continues to click and Fraser scores at the 17:14 mark of the opening period, and a tie game has quickly turned to 3-1 in favor of a Charlotte team that has come out possessed!
And it is not through. Fraser stays on the ice for the ensuing faceoff and is the beneficiary of Tom Fergus’ faceoff win. He fires yet another shot off a pass from Fergus that beats Weeks for the goal! Fraser who did not have a hat trick all season records one in one period alone! The Dynamo win the first period 4-1 and understanding the gravity of the moment have fired 19 shots in 20 minutes against Weeks (versus 12 shots by CapJack).
The Rangers are hardly throwing in the towel and come out of the locker room after the intermission ablaze like a house on fire. First Haworth scores 2:35 into the period and then Crowder gets a goal just three minutes later off an assist by Haworth that narrows the Ranger’s deficit to 4-3! And suddenly the Dynamo are feeling the shellshock and footsteps of so many setbacks to this CapJack squad the past two seasons, including last season’s playoff loss. Charlotte gets a needed even-strength goal from Fergus halfway through the second to put Charlotte ahead 5-3, but despite the two-goal lead, it is clear that all the momentum is still with the visiting Rangers who double the shot output of their host’s 20-10 in just this second period.
We’re off to the third and it is clear from just the first 30 seconds of the period that CapJack is not letting its foot off the accelerator with scoring chances from Dave Barr and Crowder barely stymied by Skorodenski. The Dynamo wake up, responding with multiple shots against Weeks, and just eight minutes in, Charlotte’s fourth-line left winger Dave Tippett (a defensive specialist with hardly any goals during the season) flings a shot from just inside the blue line that surprises Weeks and puts the home team ahead 6-3!
CapJack however demonstrates incredible fury, firing 22 shots at Skorodenski during the period. With 3:32 left to play in regulation Haworth gets a power play goal that narrows the Rangers deficit to two and becomes the second player along with Fraser in this offensively-charged game to record a hat-trick. Weeks is pulled with 1:02 left and the home team can not breathe a sigh of relief until Thelin records an empty netter with :36 left to play.
The Dynamo, it’s back against the wall, emerges victorious, 7-4. Skorodenski a goalie with one solitary “shooting-star” season to his name (that in 84-85 before he was buried in the minors the rest of his career and faded into oblivion), was drafted for just this type of moment and delivers big-time after faltering in game 1 on the road. He finishes with 50 saves while Weeks stops 30.
Notable: The game-winning goal is credited to Fergus. CapJack’s Bryan Trottier wins 15 faceoffs and the Dynamo, in a rarity for this season loses the overall faceoff battle 48-41. Cap Jack, desperately seeking to put a nail in this series, finished with 54 shots to Charlotte’s 37.
|There’s life for the Dynamo, who get spectacular performances from Warren Skorodenski and Curt Fraser to get back into the series. Charlotte will try to even things in its arena when it starts Andy Moog in game 5.
The Charlotte Dynamo were seeking to even a series against a CapJack squad, down 2-1 in the East quarterfinals. After Warren Skorodenski sparkled in goal for net for the Dynamo in a game 3 win, Charlotte turns to Andy Moog at home in Game 4. The game probably looms as one of the most important in Charlotte franchise history: a loss is likely a death knell for this veteran team’s championship aspirations, with a window for championship contention likely disappearing after two years of regular season success.
|GAME #5||Our answer as to whether Moog came ready to play in this monumental game was answered right away: the contest started promising enough with Dale Hawerchuk immediately winning the opening faceoff, but then Dynamo defenseman Mats Thelin lost control of the puck to CapJack’s Keith Crowder who crossed the blue line, delivered a beautiful tape-to-tap pass to Bryan Trottier who lifted a shot on the glove side that Moog let slip by, a measly 18 seconds into the contest (perhaps an MWOTHL playoff record for immediate goal scored?). For Trottier, it was his third goal of the playoffs.
The next minutes saw Charlotte with chances to even up the contest: A hard shot from Dynamo center Tom Fergus forced Chico Resch to make a spectacular save. Later, Charlie Simmer missed an open net (later on he’d miss another net on a deflection). And Charlotte’s first power play, following a Rangers Scott Bjugstad holding penalty just over five minutes into the game, would fizzle.
Charlotte, sluggish offensively early, struggled throughout the first period with turnovers and would pay for it: with about 12 minutes left in the first period, winger Dave Tippett was stripped of the puck by the Rangers’ Peter McNab leading to a 2-1 rush. McNab delivered a perfect pass to Scott Arniel who hit the back of the net with his first goal of the playoffs. Then 10 minutes later in the closing moments of period one, Charlotte’s top goal scorer Dale Hawerchuk overskated a puck and it was Crowder who was there once again. He delivered a pass to Richard Kromm, whose shot was deflected in front of the crease by the ubiquitous Trottier for his second goal of the game. The stats line for Moog for the first period was not his finest: seven shots and just four saves with three of them finding the net for the 3-0 CapJack lead after the intermission.
A motivated and desperate Dynamo squad took the action in the early minutes of the second period to the Rangers and Charlotte players finally started to move their feet. When Arniel was cited for an interference penalty exactly four minutes into the period, the Dynamo exuded patience on the power play and finally got on the board in the last second of it as Ulf Samuelson fed Louis Sleigher with a one-timer that eluded Resch to narrow the deficit to two. Charlotte kept the pressure on as the period progressed and with just under four minutes left to play in it, right-winger Glenn Anderson deked past CapJack defender Paul Boutlier and then proceeded to beat Resch with a low-stick side shot. The home team was in full rally mode as the second period expired!
As the game wore on the Dynamo blue-liners played some of their best defense of the season. In fact, in the last 37 minutes of the game, the Rangers managed just five shots on goal. But Charlotte struggled to find any rhythm on the offense itself. Dynamo stalwarts Randy Moller and Dave Poulin picked up penalties in the first 10 minutes of the third, and while Charlotte killed off both power plays, the Dynamo found itself on the defensive just as it was trying to tie the game. Halfway through the third Bjugstad got cited with a holding penalty, but inexplicably Charlotte with hall-of-fame gunners such as Anderson, Hawerchuk, and Lanny McDonald (not to mention Simmer) failed to even get a shot off, typifying this entire series. The meter started to move. With five minutes remaining Charlotte started to exert pressure. Sleigher tried his hand at another slapshot for his second goal of the game. The windup and shot? Stopped by Resch. A wrist shot from Fergus for a scoring chance with 3:27 was also saved by Chico. And then with two minutes left. Moller fired a laser shot from the slot – blocked by Kromm.
And as the seconds wore down, the Rangers played incredible possession hockey and kept the puck away from the Dynamo until dumping down the ice with 14 seconds. Moog came off for McDonald as the extra attacker.
But the Dynamo were unable to get a final shot off. A slow-out-of-the-gates Charlotte squad was outplayed in a 3-2 loss not as close as the result indicated. And the Rangers find themselves one win away from dispatching Charlotte in the opening round for the second time in as many years.
Charlotte outshot CapJack 29-13 and dominated the time-of-attack 5:17 to 2:37, both to no avail. It was listless on the power play, going one for five. Meanwhile, turnovers led to two of the three goals it allowed. Moog was hardly anything to write home about, allowing the three goals against four saves in the first to dig a hole that Charlotte could not emerge from; he only needed to make six saves the rest of the way.
Charlotte fired 23 shots the first two periods against Resch then managed just six in the final period. To his credit, Resch, a Dynamo killer through the years in key games, was dominant again with 27 saves.
|The Dynamo may have played its last home game of the season in front of faithful fans. A letdown from Andy Moog combined by a surprisingly dismal offensive showing (including one for 5 on the powerplay) doomed Charlotte in this recent loss. It must win three-straight games (two on the road at CapJack) to take this series, quite a tall order against a Rangers squad it has failed to solve for two years except for an occasional win here and there. The future looks unsettled for this Charlotte squad on the brink of elimination: it was built for a deep playoff run in the here and now and now contractual limitations may force it to rebuild. Does it have one last charge in it?
Charlotte and CapJack as they continue to battle it on and CapJack looks to close out the Dynamo for the 2nd straight year. However, the Dynamo were hoping for something different and who will carry the battle forward in this game?
|GAME #6||Elimination Game 1 – and the Dynamo come out with the hopes of extending things and heading back home. And both teams sense this one is important and they play that way as the game gets underway. First break of the game comes for Charlotte when Robinson goes off for tripping 8 1/2 minutes in. However, the Ranger PK is up to the task stifling anything Charlotte tries to mount. Then it’s the Dynamo’s turn to be charitable as Poulin gets nailed for boarding Kromm. Rangers PP comes through when Crowder takes a pass, winds up and fires and it goes right past Skorodenski, 1-0 Rangers with 7 to go in the 1st. But the Dynamo tie it up 3 minutes later when they control the puck in the Rangers end -Rangers trying to clear but no dice and we have a faceoff. Hawerchuck wins it, to Boschman who passes outside to Anderson at the left point – slapper – GOAL. 1-1 with 4 minutes left in the 1st and that’s how the 1st period ends.
The 2nd period was like no other in this series – NO GOALS – 9 SOGs for each team – and tons of penalty minutes. Charlotte comes away with 3 power plays, but fails on each, well the 3rd one carries over to the 3rd period as Russell gets nabbed for tripping as the period is ending. Rangers get 1 PP – and it’s stopped, and there is 1 coincidental minor for a total of 12 penalty minutes! But no goals.
On to the 3rd – next goal is very significant as that team will have control of the game. Charlotte fails to score on the opening period PP (carry over), and then Samuelsson (CHD) and Robinson (CAP) go off together at 2:44. As the penalty ends, the Rangers get caught up with too many skaters on the ice and Charlotte gets a PP! Exit Kromm – Hawerchuck wins the faceoff in the Rangers end, puck gets to McDonald, he winds up, and it’s wide. But he gets it back and psses to Fogolin over to Hawerchuck who takes it behind the net and then skirts around for the wraparound and Resch couldn’t get over fast enough and its 2-1 Charlotte as they get the PP goal! Home town crowd wants revenge! Instead we get another coincidental penalty just short of the 9 minute mark. Skorodenski by the way, is looking real sharp 18 saves through 2 and it’s mounting in the 3rd as he’s keeping his team afloat! As we pass the halfway mark and the Rangers are back at full strength, they sense a moment. Charlotte clears the puck from there end but Robinson scarfs up the puck in the neutral zone and hits Donnelly with it as he enters the zone. He passes to Suave who fires a slap shot and Skorodenski never saw it!! TIE GAME 2-2!!! 8:56 to go in regulation. Game is winding down with each team getting chances but it’s not until 3 minutes left that the next puck goes into a net! Charlotte working it in the Rangers end, back to Thelin at the point, but the puck gets loose and Arniel takes control! Oh, then Moller checks him hard into the side boards and Charlotte (and Poulin) takes control. He dumps it behind the Rangers net, Vaive raced in for it, over to Moller (who started the play with the big check). He shoots, he SCORES!! 3-2 Dynamo, 3 minutes to go. And then there is a fury as the Dynamo try to use offense as a good defense but their scoring chance with 1:40 to go is thwarted by Resch – who hangs on to the puck. That told Charlotte they need to control the Rangers offense with some stalwart D. Rangers however aren’t done yet. After a big Kromm hit on Hawerchuck Arniel has a scoring chance and shoots – SAVE Skorodenski (who’s sole mission this year was to beat the Rangers in the playoffs). 1:12 to go – TIMEOUT RANGERS. Even after they lose the faceoff, the Rangers wrestle the puck away when Hawerchuck is hit again! 52 seconds left, Haworth fires – save Skorodenski. 46 seconds left Crowder with a scoring chance – Skorodenski again stops it and freezes it. Rangers win the faceoff again and this time it’s McNab with the scoring chance – SAVE again. Rebound and Rangers get it back and Boutilier fires one but Fergus blocks it, 30 seconds left. Charlotte finally gets it out of their end. Rangers regain possession, new bodies, Arniel coming in with it (20 seconds left) – Quenneville makes a real hard check on Arniel, Charlotte gains control – and they kill off the last 14 seconds to win game five sending the series back to their home. FINAL 3-2 Charlotte.
STARS: (All CHD)
|Well sports fans with the Charlotte win, the series now stands at 3-2 Rangers and heads back to Charlotte where GM Cole will try to work some more magic. Rangers look to regroup and get some more magic going!!
Charlotte staved off elimination with a 3-2 win on the road against the Rangers in game five and the series shifts back to the Queens City. Down 3 games to 2, the Dynamo are hopeful to force a game 7 scenario back at CapJack, where anything could happen, especially considering this outstanding rivalry over the past two years, where a bounce of the puck usually decides victory or defeat with these incredibly evenly matched teams. The Dynamo is rolling with Andy Moog in nets for this do-or-die game 6 and if it were to get to a game 7 matchup, Charlotte would be starting its incredible luck charm Warren Skorodenski who has been money for this team all season as one of the top statistical goalies in the league. Charlotte is seeking a breakout game offensively: this team has flailed on the power play through this series and Dale Hawerchuk, Charlie Simmer and Lanny McDonald have all come up small (two goals combined). The Dynamo entered the season as a championship contender and now it is put up or shut up time on its home ice in an effort to extend its season:
|GAME #7||Let’s spell this out right off the bat: Even this former beer league hockey player would have been a better netminder in the first period over Andy Moog (and I never even played in the crease, though my Columbia SC team started to put pads on me in desperation once before our regular goalie beat traffic and arrived to the rink in the nick of time!).
A minute thirty into this game, Charlotte Doug Halward fired the first shot, and CapJack goalie Steve Weeks, in net for the Rangers in this game 6 showdown, made the save. CapJack’s Alan Haworth won the ensuing faceoff and the Rangers were off to the races: passes to Doug Wickenheiser and Jörgen Pettersson came back to Haworth who unloaded the first shot against Andy Moog that beat him stick side low for a 1-0 CapJack lead with not even 2:00 played (1:58 in).
Fast forwarding just a few seconds later, Simmer missed the net on a scoring chance and the Rangers were again in control and passing down the ice. Peter McNab crossed the line and Dave Barr, Scott Arniel, and Barry Beck also touched the puck before it is passed off to defenseman Phil Russel, who shot and beats Moog with another soft goal for a 2-0 lead for the Rangers just 2:45 into the game. Two shots were fired against Moog and two goals slipped in. If there is a Charlotte coaches’ regret in this series it is that they did not plan for a quick hook of Moog: this series has been a disaster for him.
The next several minutes of the first featured both teams getting good scoring chances, with Moog settling down it seemed to make six saves in the next 10 minutes. But 11:52 into the period, Bryan Trottier won a faceoff for the Rangers, CapJack continued to move the puck well with Larry Robinson and Keith Crowder passing off to Richard Kromm who beat Moog at the 11:52 mark for a 3-0 Rangers lead.
In the blink of an eye just three minutes later, Crowder, having a monster series, was the beneficiary of passes from Robinson and Kromm and, under pressure, he beat Moog who had now allowed four goals in 15:21 and silenced a Bojangles Arena crowd into stunned disbelief.
The home team definitely got a lifeline when following a late first-period Wickenheiser penalty for roughing, Dave Poulin converted on the power play with 43 seconds remaining in the first period. Charlotte entered the locker room trailing 4-1 in this elimination game with Moog saving eight in the first period and allowing in four (Weeks by contrast saved his first 12 before the Poulin goal).
The defenses settled down the first few minutes of the second period before the Dynamo went on the power play courtesy of a Barr checking from behind penalty. And in its second power play opportunity of the night, Charlotte remained perfect when Hawerchuk assisted McDonald on goal 7:56 into the second. Suddenly the deficit was halved to 4-2 and the Dynamo was showing a fight as it started to fire away at Weeks.
Just over three minutes later though Jean-Francois Sauve, playing on the fourth line, capitalized on a faceoff with another soft goal against Moog and CapJack had a three-goal cushion once again.
Rick Vaive ensured Charlotte stayed in the game with an even-strength goal with 4:18 remaining in the period on assists from Randy Moller and Glenn Anderson. When the second period had concluded Charlotte had outshot CapJack 25-7 in the middle period to reduce its deficit to 5-3 at the second intermission. While its season remained on life-support, there was hope.
But that hope evaporated 3:16 into the final period as McNab, fired a wrister that beat Moog for a 6-3 lead. And FINALLY AND MERCIFULLY Moog was pulled for Skorodenski in what seemed like mop-up duty to close the season. Moog’s line was 14 saves and six goals allowed in just over two periods.
With the wind out of the Dynamo’s sails at home, even Skorodenski couldn’t bring any magic to this Charlotte squad. When Arniel scored the next goal of the game with 6:52 remaining, the writing was on the wall on the Dynamo’s season.
Both Moog and Skorodenski (three goals allowed on six CapJack shots in the third) were clearly outplayed by Weeks who sealed the victory in spectacular fashion with 25 saves in the third, and he finished with 51 stops.
With the game decided, Charlotte’s Louis Sleigher and McNab exchanged goals in the final four minutes as Dynamo fans exited the arena to avoid the parking bottlenecks at an ancient Bojangles Arena nestled in a neighborhood just South of uptown Charlotte. The visiting Rangers advanced to the East finals by doubling the host Dynamo, 8-4, sending Charlotte into a long offseason.
In the final analysis, it is clear the Dynamo laid an egg throughout this series – it dropped the last two on its home ice as Moog surrendered two straight 3-0 first-period deficits that this team could simply not recover from. This season, the franchise, aimed to build a supporting cast around Dale Hawerchuk in his career year but in this series, the Hall of Famer provided one single solitary goal – and that simply didn’t cut it. Meanwhile, the Rangers got 17 goals each from an overachieving quartet of Alan Haworth (the default MVP with five goals; by contrast he had just 23 real goals in the entire 84-85 season per Hockey Reference), along with Richard Kromm, Keith Crowder and Bryan Trottier (the latter three with four goals apiece). And an aging Chico Resch on the clear downside of his career (when he was playing for the “Mickey Mouse” Devils) kept the Dynamo in check, winning three games against one loss. Weeks excelled in the clincher to finish the deal.
|SERIES SUMMARY||Congratulations to the CapJack Rangers and owner Bill Schindel, who advance for the third straight year to the second round: this was likely his finest coaching job. Pittsburgh and Cap Jack are worthy Eastern Conference finalists, and this upcoming series certainly provides lots of intrigues.
The Dynamo are regrouping for the second straight year following a repeat elimination to the Ranger in the quarterfinals, with lots of personnel decisions to be made and a possible rebuild in play with the window on this team quickly closing.