Justin Mapletoft fed Raffi Torres by the Hamilton bench with little more than two minutes remaining in the third. The puck hit off Jason Chimera’s stick back to Torres who skated in on goaltender Marc Lamothe. Torres’ first shot hit the Hamilton defender Bobby Allen but the rebound returned to Torres.
“I didn’t realize I was so close to the goalie,” said Torres. “I got lucky and just whacked it.”
Torres whacked the puck into the net and crashed into the boards face first.
“When I was going down and I saw the back of the net and I was like, thank god.”
“It was a big release,” said Torres of his 8th and most important post-season goal of the season. Torres has stepped up his play in the playoffs, recording a point in 11 straight playoff games. Torres said he was disappointed of his regular season play.
“I don’t think I was consistent,” said Torres.
16 points in 15 games is indication on consistent playoff play. Consistent play has come from Torres’ line mates too. Mapletoft assisted on Torres’ goal and Jason Podollan’s empty-net goal. Juraj Kolnik scored a second empty-net goal 14 seconds after Podollan at 19:25 to finish the scoring.
For 58 minutes Marc Lamothe was unbeatable. Kolnik had many chances but two right and left pad saves thwarted Kolnik’s shots. The Sound Tigers couldn’t convert on two power play chances.
“They were a little nervous,” said coach Steve Stirling of the power play unit. “I told them when the puck’s back in the middle to shoot a little more.”
The second period featured more tight checking and sharp saves by the goaltenders. Lamothe stopped Podollan while Rick DiPietro stacked the pads against Fernando Pisani. Branislav Mezei later stood up Pisani at the blue line, sending the winger to the ice. Mezei ended the play by dumping Jason Chimera into the goalpost. At 16:46 Torres was felled by a slap shot to the left leg and lay hunched on the ice. The fans clapped and chanted RAFFI. Torres would rise and skate the injury off in time to score in the waning third period.
NOTES AND OBSERVATIONS
Up next for the Eastern Champion Sound Tigers are the Chicago Wolves. The first two games are in Bridgeport on Friday and Saturday. Go to www.soundtigers.com for ticket information. Game time is 7:35 on Friday, May 24th.