TX - The rodeo has long since left the Travis County
Expo Center, but the stench made a comeback Thursday,
as the visiting Memphis RiverKings beat the Austin Ice
Bats 3-0 in Game 1 of the Central Hockey League President's
defending champion Kings got an early bounce, weathered
a first-period storm and were the far better team from
there on out. Mark Richards had 40 saves to earn the
shutout -- his seventh straight postseason win.
Kings lead the best-of-seven series 1-0, with Game 2
Friday night in Austin.
kind of owned us in the first, we kind of owned them
in the second and then the third we were just kind of
protecting a good lead there," said Memphis coach
Doug Shedden, whose team outshot the Bats 25-11 in the
middle frame. "Not every team plays great for 60
minutes. You can capitalize on a team maybe when they're
having a lapse. That's what we did."
felt like more than a lapse to Shedden's counterpart
Brent Hughes. "A lot of guys didn't have any fire
tonight," he said. "It's no one's fault but
ourselves. They certainly didn't play the way we played
to beat Laredo."
game was just 21 seconds old when the Bats enjoyed a
power play, Memphis getting whistled for too many men
on the ice. The Kings not only killed off the penalty,
but took a 1-0 lead after play returned to even strength.
center Brett Seguin launched a high clearing pass from
the middle of the defensive zone that went nowhere,
leaving several players to fumble over the puck before
Memphis's Jonathan Gagnon grabbed it high above the
right circle. Gagnon's deliberate turnaround shot went
off Michal Stastny and past a surprised Matt Barnes
at 2:43 of the first period.
Bats had several early two-on-one chances, including
a nifty backhand pass by rookie center Brent Hughes
(no relation to the coach). But overall, Austin didn't
finish -- or start -- their checks, passed into defensemen's
skates more than teammate's sticks and failed to get
the puck deep or work hard in the corners.
didn't come out and play how we thought we'd play tonight,"
Austin center Kelly Smart said. "They capitalized
on their chances and we didn't. We didn't bear down
scored the game's only power-play goal at 9:34 of the
second. Barnes stopped a long Derek Landmesser drive,
but the rebound seemed to bounce off defenseman Darryl
McArthur as Gagnon digged in to finish off the play.
snuffed out a shorthanded breakaway by Smart not long
made a big save when he needed to, and on the power
play the guy was unconscious," Hughes said.
taking the loss, Barnes was strong. He made a diving
glove save on a two-on-one that had the whole barn openmouthed
in wonder, as well as a leaping Statue of Liberty grab
on a puck that might have dropped in behind him, all
the while fighting off two taller Memphis players camped
Don Parsons put the game out of reach at 18:36 of the
second, helped by the fact that his hit on Patrick Brownlee
left the defenseman lying helpless on the ice.
was a call the Ice Bats didn't get, though having gone
0-for-6 on the PP, including an enticing four-on-three,
it's hard to think that would have mattered.
STP line was on the ice for both even-strength Memphis
goals, and just never got it going -- Seguin's passes
weren't connecting, and Dan Price, who got hot against
Laredo, did not display the physicality he needs to
our top line to our bottom line, we just didn't seem
like we wanted it as much as they did," Hughes
don't think we worked hard enough to get really good
chances," Matt Barnes offered. "Tonight I
kept the game close but if you don't score you're not
gonna win. I'm not blaming anybody by any means, I'm
simply saying tonight wasn't our night for whatever
reason. The game speaks for itself."
both teams figure to forget it fast.
happy tonight and we're gonna celebrate for about another
15 minutes, then get ready for tomorrow," Shedden
In the combined CHL/WPHL history, the winner of Game
1 has gone on to take the series 39 times out of 47
(oddly, the Bats have been involved in three of the
eight where that didn't happen, including the last two
Southern Conference Finals).