Thursday, May 13, 2010

Green Bay comesback to win the USHL Clark Cup Championship

In front of a record breaking crowd to see a USHL Clark Cup Championship Game, Green Bay won the first and only game of this best-of-5 at home. It started on an even keel on both teams as the SOG were even at 10 in the first period. But it was Fargo's Garrett Allen who scored his 6th goal of the playoffs to make it 1-0 on a great solo run midway through the 1st period.

Then the start of the 2nd period saw a very fast start for the Gamblers' forwards Robert Francis and Ryan Furne to make it 2-1.

Despite going down 3-2 early in the 3rd period, then it was Playoff MVP Anders Lee started the 3 goal 3rd period that saw the Gamblers win the team's first championship in 10 years when Robert Francis scored his 2nd of the night in the final minute to make the Championship Official with just 12 seconds left.

Anders Lee was named the Playoff MVP after scoring 22 points (10G 12A) in the postseason along with a +10 for the forward who's heading to the University of Norte Dame to play college hockey in the CCHA.

From the United States Hockey League Website:

For the first time in this series, the home team won a game as the Green Bay Gamblers earned victory in the fifth and deciding game of this year's USHL Clark Cup Finals. The Gamblers who once trailed 2-0, won three straight over the Fargo Force to claim the 3rd Clark Cup in Team History.

The Force started the scoring when Garrett Allen fired a shot from a tough angle over the shoulder of Gamblers goaltender Steve Summerhays. It was the fourth goal of the series for Allen and for the fourth time in this series that Fargo had scored the first goal of the game.

The Gamblers came alive in the 2nd period with a barrage of shots on Force goaltender Ryan Massa. Robert Francis scored for the second straight game just 37 seconds into the 2nd period. Less then two minutes later, Ryan Furne put the Gamblers ahead when he found a loose puck in the Fargo Crease and put home his seventh of the postseason. Despite being out -shot 15-6 in the period, the Force battled back as Joe Rehkamp scored his second goal in as many games to tie the game at two goals apiece.

It was only fitting that the back-and-fourth series would come down to the final period of the final game. Matt Leitner gave the Force the lead when he scored his 10th goal of the playoffs. A few minutes later, the Gamers took advantage of a power play when Anders Lee was credited with his 10th goal of the playoffs after redirecting a point shot by defensemen Nick Jensen and once again the score was tied.

Four minutes later, Gamblers forward Sean Little picked the right time to score has first goal of the playoffs as his blast snuck by Force Goaltender Ryan Massa and put the Gamblers on top 4-3. The Force pulled the goaltender in favor of a sixth attacker in the final moments, but Robert Francis sealed the victory for Green Bay when he buried an empty netter with just 12 seconds left to play.

A huge celebration began at the final buzzer as a record crowd of 8,487 witnessed Game 5 at the Resech Center. It was the largest crowd in the history of the Gamblers org. and also the largest crowd to ever see a USHL Playoff Game.

Gamblers forward Anders Lee was named USHL Clark Cup MVP. He led the league in playoff scoring with 22 points (10G 12A) including 3 points (1G 2A) in Game 5 of the series. USHL Commissioner Skip Price then presented the Clark Cup to Gamblers Captain Patrick Mccadden and then the team circled the ice to salute the sold out crowd.

Notes: The last time the Gamblers won the Clark was ten years ago during the 1999-2000 season. The Gamblers both captured both the Anderson Cup for the best Regular Season Record and the Clark Cup as League Champions. The last USHL Team to accomplish that feat was the Omaha Lancers during the 2007-08 season. USHL Refs Boone Bruggeman and Curtis Marouelli along with linesmen Judson Ritter and Brian Olivier worked the historic game.

Southwest Player Watch

Chase Grant: Injured and out for Game 5. For the entire playoffs, he had a strong showing by scoring 14 points (9G 5A). Having a +7 rating, committed 16 penalty minutes and also had 3 Game Winning Goals.

Johnnie Searfoss: He was held off the score-sheet for this game with the exception of 2 SOG on the game. He also finished the night even and out of the penalty box. For the entire playoffs, he played in 13 games where he scored 5 points (2G 3A). Had a -1 and had 6 penalty minutes.

Post Game Reaction

Green Bay Gamblers forward Anders Lee on the Game 5 victory.

"It was a total team effort. We were down the entire series and were down again tonight, but we battled through. It just shows how much character and persversance our team has."

Lee on capping the season with a Championship.

"This was our goal since the start of the season back in September. It was a long journey and a lot of things had to go right for us, and they did, but we made our luck ourselves."

Lee on being named Playoff MVP.

"It was a reflections of my teammates. I had a great line with Reed Seckel and Ryan Furne, and I was just fortunate enough to be in the right place at the right time. I'm very honored to win the award.

Gamblers goaltender Steve Summerhays on winning the Clark Cup.

"This is unbelievable right here and and the feeling that I have. This is your dream when you grow up playing hockey - to win a national championship like this. This team was the greatest group of guys I have ever met in my life and I will never forget this. All season we believed in the guy sitting right next to us and we are a champion right now."

Green Bay Gamblers Head Coach Jon Cooper on winning a championship.

"I got a text from my wife after winning that triple OT Game in Game 3 and it said, "You never like to do anything ordinary." You know what, that has been the type of story of this team. Down in Game 3 with a minute to go and verge of getting swept, then we pulled a reverse sweep. I can't say enough about these kids believing in themselves and to pull this one out."

Cooper on the Fargo Force

"We are going to give a lot of credit out of this, but I have to tip my cap because you look at Fargo and what they have done in just two short years. They were a valiant opponent and they made us the team we are right now because of the competition that was on the ice the whole series. What a great, great final."

Cooper on the record crowd.

"Look at this - over 8,400 people at a junior hockey game in the USHL. That's a tribute to every org. in the league, and leadership of Commissioner Skip Price and Gino Gasparini before him of what they have turned this league into. With great org. and great coaches in the league, this is the product you get. I tell you what, it would be hard for me to understand why kids in the United States wouldn't want to play in the USHL.

Fargo Force Coach Steve Johnson on Game 5.

"This series had all kinds of twists and turns. I have been out of the league for a couple of years prior to the season, but I don't remember in all my years, a Final quite like this. It was exciting for all the players and Green Bay had a well deserved championship and our guys have nothing to hang their heads about.

Johnson on his team's playoff run.

"We are disappointed, but in all five games of the series, a bounce or two was the difference in every game. I thought we did everything we needed to do to give us a chance to win and our players responded very well. But, to Green Bay's credit, they made just one or two more plays then us to win it."

Green Bay Gamblers win the Series and the 2010 USHL Clark Cup Championship 3-2.

Game Boxscore

Fargo Force 3 Green Bay Gamblers 5 (1-0, 1-2, 1-3)

1-0 FAR: Garrett Allen (Unassisted) 10:19 1st

1-1 GBG: Robert Francis (Karlsson, Mccadden) 0:37 2nd

1-2 GBG: Ryan Furne (Lee, Makowski) 2:32 2nd

2-2 FAR: Joe Rehkamp (Burkemper) 15:49 2nd

3-2 FAR: Matt Leitner (PP) (Hrbas) 4:42 3rd

3-3 GBG: Anders Lee (PP) (Jensen, Makowski) 9:34 3rd

3-4 GBG: Sean Little (Gerths) 13:31 3rd

3-5 GBG: Robert Francis (EN) (Lee, Makowski) 19:48 3rd

Game Stats

PP: FAR 1/2 GBG 1/6

SOG: FAR 22 GBG 32

PIM: FAR 17 Minutes on 7 Penalties GBG 9 Minutes on 3 Penalties

Goalies: FAR Ryan Massa 27 SVS on 31 Shots GBG Steve Summerhays 19 SVS on 22 Shots

ATT: 8487

3rd Star: Chris Crance (GBG)

2nd Star: Anders Lee (GBG)

1st Star: Sean Little (GBG)

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