Playoff Recap: Tahoe Icemen vs Bellingham Blazers in Tahoe

The Icemen swept the Blazers in a two-game set this weekend to move on to the third round of the playoffs.  The Icemen outscored the Blazers 14 – 7.

Icemen captain Phil Heisse (22) had this to say, “you never want to go into a playoff series looking to sweep, we kept those thoughts behind us and just played our game, and ultimately we got the sweep.  I’ll never forget my last home game wearing the ‘C’ for the Tahoe Icemen.  Playoff game, a chance to move on, a sold-out crowd so loud you couldn’t even hear each other talking on the ice; the atmosphere was something special.”  Icemen forward Paul Frys (14) had an incredible 5 goals and 5 assists overall.  Tahoe will head to Idaho next weekend to face the first-seeded Idaho IceCats, who defeated the West Sound Warriors in two games, outscoring them 24 – 2 overall.

Friday 3/23/18    5 – 1 Tahoe Icemen

The Blazers started off the scoring Friday night with a goal in the first 3 minutes of play.  Tahoe answered back with one before the end of the period, three more unanswered goals in the second, and another in the third.   None of the Blazers 15 shots made it past goaltender Max Haselbacher (30) in the second. With obvious frustration, the Blazers seemed to lose momentum and gave up completely in the third.  The Blazers couldn’t seem to get their heads back into it and passed back and forth behind their net for most of the second half despite spending the majority of the game on the powerplay.  Icemen Nick Davidow (7) was given a 10-minute misconduct penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct after dropping to the ice and doing push-ups in front of the Blazers’ net in an attempt to pull them back into the game.  The penalties were lopsided with Tahoe earning 53 minutes to the Blazers 26 minutes.  The game winner went to Paul Frys (14) at 13:39 in the second and he would go on to score a hat-trick.  Bellingham pulled goaltender Avery Heath (30) towards the end of the second period after he allowed four goals on 37 shots in favor of Kolter Pawlick (31) who allowed only a single goal on the next 14 shots.  Icemen goaltender Max Haselbacher (30) would make 24 saves on 25 shots to guarantee the Icemen’s win.

Saturday 3/24/18    9 – 6 Tahoe Icemen

Saturday night’s game started with a ceremonial puck drop from the Sierra-at-Tahoe Avalanche dogs, Hunter and Kopa with Icemen captain Philip Heisse (22) and Bellingham Blazers’ captain Dane Halstead (24).  After the light-hearted moment, play got serious.  The Blazers used their loss the night before to come out strong Saturday night.  Though the score didn’t reflect it in the first period, Bellingham showed up.  The score was tied by the middle of the second, and Bellingham went goal for goal with Tahoe until the third, where Tahoe blew by them.  The Blazers would score a final goal at the end of the third, but it wouldn’t be enough to force a game three.  The game winner went to Icemen Justin Poirier (13) at 15:25 in the third.  Once the Icemen had a two goal lead, the Icemen fans in attendance started an impromptu singing of Na,na, hey, hey (Goodbye).  Bellingham goaltender Kolter Pawlick (31) allowed 9 goals on 49 shots.  Icemen goaltender Max Haselbacher (30) made 32 saves on 38 shots.  Things got chippy towards the end.  Penalty minutes were heavy, but close to even, the Icemen with 85 minutes including five 5-minute majors for fighting and boarding; the Blazers had 81 minutes total, including five 5-minute majors for fighting.

By Harper Dial

Tahoe Icemen Hockey Playoff 2018 Goal

Photos by Crystal Ricotta and Angel Dwyer