New Castle Ducks vs. Philadelphia Firebirds
SERIES PREVIEW SEMI-FINALS Time as the Ducks come to Philly in what should be a great series
GAME #1 1st- Game starts off fast as Sinisalo hits the post in the first ten seconds and Then Mel Bridgeman follows up with his 1st from Tonelli. But the Ducks take over the period from there. Pederson gets his 5th from Middleton to tie it up and not long after Bozek tips a blast from Walter putting NC up 2-1 and before the period is over with Hartsburg off for interference Clarke gets his 2nd from Currie and Barrett.
3-1 Ducks in the 1st 12-9 in shots Ducks2nd- A back and forth affair as Philly peppers Smith with shots. Finally with Sinisal off for Hooking Ruff gets a short-handed breakaway and beats Smith short side with his 1st of the playoffs.
3-2 in the second Philly outshoots Ducks 19-12 in the 2nd3rd- Explodes with 8 goals!
Joey Mullen ties it with his 1st from Dionne and Hartsburg and minutes later Philly goes up 4-3 as Tonelli gets his 2nd from Sinisalo and Bridgeman but the Ducks tie it up as Walter scores his 4th from Bozek and Clarke. Walters goal was the FIRST shot of the period ( 10 minutes in) game tied 4-4 Craig Hartsburg puts Philly up 5-4 as he blasts one by Smith his 2nd from Dionne and Linseman and with Barrett off for hooking the anemic Philly PP ( 0-5 up til then) Secord gets his 8th from Boxxy and Mullen. Ducks pull Smith and then Tonelli gets an EN his 3rd from Bridgeman and Holmgren. Smith comes back in and The Ducks battle and it pays off as Walter tips in his 5th from Snepts and Clarke and its 7-5. Smith gets pulled again and again Philly gets the EN this time Maruk his 9th from Secord and Carlyle.The game ends PHILLY 8 NC 501. Tonelli 2 G 3 PTS
02. Walter 2 G 3 PTS
03. Bridgeman 1G 3PTS
  Philly battles back from a 3-1 deficit to win a big game one.  Led by its 3rd line.  Game 2 will be just as tough.

Game #2 In Philly after a high scoring game one.

GAME #2 1st- Once again Philly gets on the board early as Tonelli gets his 4th from Dionne.
Both goalies look to be tough in game two as the period ends 1-0 shots 12-7, New Castle2nd0 O’Reilly takes a 5-minute checking from behind penalty and a 10-minute misconduct. But the Ducks shut down the Philly PP as Philly only gets 4 shots on goal during the long PP. Maruk has a BA and is stoned by Smith. But later in the period, Kenny Linseman gets his 1st of the playoffs from Maruk and Carlyle
Period ends 2-0 Phil Philly outshoots the Ducks 13-7 in the 2nd3rd – is ALL goalies…Dennis Herron stops shot after shot especially after Dionne leaves with an injuryPhilly holds on to a 2-0 Game 2 win01. Herron 35 Saves
02. Tonelli 1G
03. Linseman 1 G
  Philly paid a high price for Herron and for most of the season it looked like they overpaid…but at least for game 2 it looked like they made a good deal

Now off to the Castle!

GAME #3 WHAT A GAME! 18,000 screaming and quacking Duck fans packed The Duck Pond- and despite most of them wearing masks, their noise still shook the old arena in New Castle.

FIRST PERIOD- The Firebirds set the tone early when feisty Mel Bridgman drops the glove and pummels huge Ducks defenseman Harold Snepts. Snepts didn’t know what hit him and as both pugilists retreat to the penalty box, the Ducks are noticeably intimidated.
A few minutes later the hard-charging Firebirds take the lead when a slap shot by Al Secord is tipped in by Willy Lindstrom (4) and it is 1-0 Philly. Then with the Ducks pressing, a turnover and Steve Kasper crosschecking for a delayed penalty on NEW – and before the whistle could blow Bridgman, unassisted, beat Billy Smith to make it 2-0 Philadelphia. You could hear a pin drop in The Duck Pond.
Trailing 2-0, and still in the first period, the Ducks begin a nice rush as Schoenfeld gets it to Bozek who gets it to Ryan Walter who puts it behind Herron (who was screened) and the Ducks are on the board!
2-1 Philly now with 3:43 to go in the first period.
But just over a minute later, the Firebirds strike again- Maruk wins the FO in the NEW zone and gets it to Mullen who passes to Ken Linseman who SCORES – and Philly will go to the locker room with a 3-1 lead!

SECOND PERIOD- The Ducks come out flying and its a delayed penalty on Mike Ramsey. Duck defenseman Dave Pichette scores, before the penalty, is called, and now it’s 3-2. Both teams skate up and down at a furious pace as the Ducks pummel Herron with 10 shots in the period to only 4 for the Firebirds but there are no more goals in the period and the teams go to intermission with the Firebirds still leading by a 3-2 score.

THIRD PERIOD- At 3:22 Snepts is called for tripping and the Firebirds have a huge power play. They pepper Smith with four shots in rapid-fire succession but Battling Billy stops them all. Then, as the penalty is coming towards an end, the Firebirds somehow get a 3 on 1 break. It’s Maruk to Linseman back to Maruk and now back to the trailing Van Boxmeer -he shoots HE SCOOOREEESSS! The crowd goes strangely silent again as the Ducks now trail 4-2 with under 15 minutes to go – a huge deficit against this very powerful Philadelphia squad. One minute later Mullen and Dunn go off with coincidental minors as the rough play continues. On the 4 on 4, Bobby Clarke wins a faceoff in the Firebirds end and sends it back to McCrimmon at the point who gives it back to Clark for the quick one-timer – and its A GOAL! GOAL! The Ducks are back within one. Hope springs eternal in New Castle!
The clock is ticking down and things aren’t looking pretty for the Ducks but at 10:56 Randy Carlyle goes off for charging. Now the Ducks have their big chance to tie it – and tie it they do! Once again its Bobby Clarke winning a big faceoff in the offensive zone – he gets it to Stastny at the point who sends it to Lambert who passes to Middleton who gets it back to Lambert and its another GOAL! TIE GAME! 4-4. YVON LAMBERT! The power-play specialist and fourth line LW has scored his 3rd of the playoffs and the Duck fans are going NUTS!
4-4 with 8:32 to go as the fans sense overtime. And then with 6 1/2 minutes to go, it’s a 2 on 1 for the Ducks with Pederson (quiet this series) and Stastny and its Stastny going right in on Herron who makes a huge SAVE to keep the score tied.
The clock is ticking down and now it’s the Firebirds buzzing in the Ducks end. Craig Hartsburg has a clean shot and takes it – and Smith makes a terrific save with 1:26 to go as overtime looms

Then with less than 30 seconds remaining, there is a change of possession in the neutral zone. McCrimmon gets it over to Pederson who passes to Stastny who sends it to Snepts at the point. Snepts then fires it in the slot over to Barry Pederson right in front of the net and he SCOOOOREEEESSS! Pederson beats Herron with TEN SECONDS TO GO!!! He beat him on the glove side and The Duck Pond is shaking. Sixth goal of the playoffs for the super rookie and #1 draft pick Barry Pederson.
The puck is dropped at center ice, Bridgman wins the faceoff but the clock runs out and the Duck have an incredible COME FROM BEHIND WIN!

1- Bobby Clarke 1G 1 A 14 faceoffs won out of 22 – some huge!
2- Linseman 1G 1 A
3- Pederson 1 G and he won 12 of 15 faceoffs

The Ducks won 56.9% of the faceoffs. Shots on goal were pretty close at 30-28 Ducks with each team having 13 SOG in the final period.

  The Ducks, with this inspiring comeback win, now trail the Firebirds 2 games to 1. Game 4 will be at the Duck Pond as the Ducks have suddenly gained momentum in their improbable attempt to upset the best team in the MWOTHL.

After losing the first two games of the series in Philadelphia, the Ducks won Game 3 at The Duck Pond. Now New Castle will try to even the series on their home ice.

GAME #4 FIRST PERIOD- Brad McCrimmon goes off for elbowing at 4:27 and Philadelphia peppers Billy Smith on the power play with FIVE shots on goal but Smith saves all of them and the score remains 0-0. Then on the rush, Pederson gives it to Stastny who passes to Middleton who beats Herron on the glove side high – and the Ducks lead 1-0 as their fans go crazy.
Right after the goal, Lambert gets a penalty and the Firebirds mount a ferocious attack getting three shots on goal and having numerous other blocked by Ducks players – still 1-0 but then just as the penalty ends, the league’s leading goal scorer Dennis Maruk gets his TENTH of the playoffs, from Carlyle and Linseman and it is 1-1 at 10:05. The teams battle tough the rest of the way and it looks like it will be 1-1 after the first but then at 18:38, Lindy Ruff puts the puck past Smith and its Philly that takes a 2-1 lead at intermission.
SECOND PERIOD – The Ducks get a 5 on 3 early but fail to score. Then at 8:13 Kasper wins the face-off over to Terry OReilly and its a rocket for a GOAL. 2-2 TIE GAME!
The Ducks soon get a Rush by Walter but Herron makes the save. Then O Reilly to Bourne over to Kasper back to Bourne and he SCOOOOREES beating Herron low on the stick side. 3-2 DUCKS AS THEY REGAIN THE LEAD!
Richie Dunn hits the crossbar with 2:30 to go and the teams go to the locker room with New Castle leading 3-2.
The Ducks get an early power play and pummel Herron but the Firebirds goalie makes 5 saves and keeps it as a 1 goal game. Then at 6:23, a Mike Ramsey slap shot is deflected IN by Marcel Dionne and the Firebirds HAVE TIED IT ONCE AGAIN. 3-3 with 13:37 to goThree minutes later Maruk gets a clean shot on net. AND HITS THE CROSSBAR! Wow. Still, 3-3 as the teams battled in a tight fast-paced game. Then its the Ducks turn as Middleton and Stastny break out 2 on 1 with only Langway back – and its Middleton going right in on Herron> SAVE!!! And the score stays tied. It’s like OT hockey now.Under 6 minutes to go. Bobby Clarke wins another big faceoff in the Philly zone and gets it back to Bozek who passes to Walter in front. Walter fires it GOAL GOAL GOAL- the DUCKS TAKE THE LEAD 4-2 with 5:54 left in regulation.Philly is pressing now but the Ducks defense is bottling them up. And after Pederson wins a faceoff in the Phil zone he gets the puck back from Middleton in front and it’s IN THE NET – Pederson’s SEVENTH goal of the playoffs. A huge insurance goal. 5-3 DUCKS with only 1:56 to go.But these Firebirds have LOTS of FIRE-POWER – and its Maruk on as an extra skater, with the net empty, and he does it. SCOOOOREEES! Maruk – his second of the game and his ELEVENTH of the playoffs! Wow. 5-4 Ducks with 1:23 left. Nervous time at the Duck Pond

Herron stays on the bench for the faceoff at center ice. But the Ducks win the draw and defenseman Harold Snepts takes a long poke at the EMPTY NET and IN! EN GOAL and now its all over but the counting. 6-4 Ducks and that’s how it ends. Whew.

1- Middleton 1 G 1A
2- O’Reilly 1G 1A
3- Bourne 1G 1 A

THe Ducks outshot Phil 39-27 including 16-4 in the third period. Herron was sensational in goal for Philly with 33 saves. Middleton had 8 shots on goal. Clarke won 12 of 17 faceoffs

  The Ducks win both at home and even the series. The teams now go back to Philadelphia for a critical Game 5 as it is now a best of 3 series.

Game 5 is an afternoon matinee as the Ducks after taking 2 in New Castle come back to Philly.

GAME #5 1st- Opening minutes see Kasper and Walter both with breakaways and are stoned by surprise starter Rick Wamsley. Joey Mullen is injured halfway through the period and will NOT return big loss for Philly. But with minutes left in the period Paul, “the God” Holmgren scores his 2nd of the playoffs from Maruk and Carlyle.
Period ends 1-0 Philly Shots 15-5 Philly2nd- Philly wastes no time as Maruk gets his 12th from Carlyle and Linseman and then minutes later Secord gets his 9th from Dionne and Sinisalo. 3-0 Philly Shots 21-7 at that point. But the Ducks come roaring back Walter gets his 8th and then on the PP Clarke gets his 4th from Bozek and Lambert. Ducks pull within one. Willy Lindstrom gets his 5th from Dionne and Carlyle and then Philly goes back up by three as Secord 15 seconds later gets his 10th from Langway and Sinisalo 5-2 Philly. Before the period ends Middleton gets his 5th from Pichette and Barrett and the period ends 5-3 Philly shots 17-17 in the 2nd3rd- Light period as Wamsley saves Philly multiple times But with a 1:17 left Middleton tips in a Pederson shot and it’s a 5-4 game. Ducks pull Smith and pepper Wamsley…but Lindy Ruff levels Pederson before he can keep the puck in at the point and the Buzzer sounds….5-4 PHILLYPHILLY 5 DUCKS 4
  We go back to the pond for game six and most likely another 5-4 game.

The Ducks face elimination in Game 6. But it’s back at The Duck Pond. And so far the home team has won each game of the series.

GAME #6 FIRST PERIOD- What a crazy period! The Ducks outshoot the Firebirds TWENTY to SEVEN in SOG and yet the period ends with PHI leading 2-0! Joey Mullen, at 1:10, and Craig Hartsburg on a breakaway at 4:18 gave the Firebirds an early 2 goal lead. And then the Ducks pressed and pressed but Dennis Herron was sensational in goal and kept the Ducks scoreless. Herron’s sensational play included two power plays by New Castle, one where they had FOUR SOGs and a second where they had SEVEN! Herron stopped everything!

SECOND PERIOD – At the 41-second mark, on a 4 on 4, with Maruk and Dionne as the forwards, Marcel Dionne scored for Philly, assisted by Maruk and Hartsburg – and it was suddenly 3-0 Firebirds. Things were awfully quiet at the Duck Pond. But the Ducks are a resilient bunch and they did not give up. Shortly past the midway mark, Maruk was called for a delayed penalty and before the whistle blew, Yvon Lambert took a pass from Stastny and put it past the glove of Herron to put the Ducks on the scoreboard. 3-1. And as the clock ticked down on the period, it looked like Philly would take that 3-1 lead to intermission. But Bobby Clarke had other ideas. Winning yet another faceoff in the Firebirds zone, he got it back to Snepts who sent it to Currie back to Clarke who sent it to the point to Dave Pichette. He winds up and fires and HE SCOOOOOREEEEEES! With 1.6 seconds to go in the period! Pichette, his second of the series, as he beat Herron low on the glove side. A huge goal and the teams go to the locker room with Philly leading 3-2
THIRD PERIOD – The fans are really into it now. 20 minutes left for the Ducks to tie it. And they come out flying with their # 1 line. Herron makes a save but the puck is loose, Middleton picks it up, and its a wrap around and its IN THE NET! Rick Middleton gets his 7th of the playoffs unassisted and the Ducks have tied it at 3-3! 18:21 to go. But the excitement was short-lived. A little over a minute later Snepts loses the puck in center ice to Dionne who gets it to Hartsburg over to Tonelli back to Dionne and he SCOOOREESSSS! Dionne’s second of the game and 5th of the playoffs and Philly has the lead right back, at 4-3 at 2:58 of the third period.
Plenty of time left for the Ducks to regain their momentum but Herron continues to play well and the Ducks are stymied rush after rush. Then a break- at 15:05 Al Secord goes off for holding. A power play for New Castle in what could be their last chance to tie the game. The #1 power play line takes the ice and Middleton is causing trouble again as he shoots and Herron makes a save but the puck gets back to Stastny at the point who gives it to Middleton who then finds big Barry Pederson right in front of the net. Pederson shoots and its a GOAL! GOAL! Pederson with his 8th of the playoffs and the DUCKS HAVE TIED IT WITH 4:23 left in regulation WOW.
The teams both play furious hockey but there are no further scores and for the first time in the series WE ARE GOING TO OVERTIME

OT- Two minutes in and its a faceoff in center ice. And Clarke is taking it again. He wins another one and gets it to Steve Bozek who skates up the left-wing and takes it all the way in on Herron and PUTS THE PUCK PAST HIM ON THE WRAP AROUND. BOZEK GETS THE OT GOAL AND THE DUCKS WIN1 5-4. What a game!


1- PHI Dionne 2 G
2- PHI Hartsburg 1G 2 A
3- NEW Middleton 1G 1 A

Herron made 33 saves but could not make the biggest one when Bozek zeroed in on him in OT. Ducks outshot Firebirds 38-22 and it was Herron who kept PHI in it. Bobby Clarke won 19 faceoffs in 23 attempts! And while he was not one of the three stars, the biggest star of the night was Steve Bozek with the first OT goal in Ducks history and one that will be long remembered

  The home team has now won each game of the series and it will be a GAME 7 showdown coming up in Philadelphia. There are rumors afoot that Don Brenner will try to find Kate Smith and have her appear in-person to sing God Bless America before the game!

The veteran Bobby Clarke, after a rather pedestrian season, has excelled in the playoffs. Clarke leads all players in postseason scoring with 19 points on 4 goals and a league-leading 15 assists. He has also won 65.4% of his faceoffs, second in the postseason leader boards. Bozek was a midseason acquisition in the only trade made by the Ducks this season. He didn’t do much in the regular season but the playoffs have been a different story as the winger has 5 goals and 5 assists.

Game 7 Of the tight SEMIS With the Ducks Coming to Philly.

Kate Smith sings God Bless America.

Whats to come 46 hits 18 goals and both starting goalies pulled …that’s all.

GAME #7 1st- OReilly takes early hooking PENALTY called and Philly with one of the worst PP capitalizes on it as Joey Mullen gets is 3rd unassisted. Minutes later Bobby Clarke ties it up with his 5th from Bozek ad Lambert. O’Reilly again goes off for hooking and AGAIN Joey Mullen gets the PP gaol his 4th from Linseman and Dionne. Willy Lindstrom puts Philly up 3-1 with his 6th from Hartsburg and Linseman. Later in the period, Mullen gets the HAT TRICK his 5th from Maruk and Langway and before the period ends Bob Mongrain gets his 2nd a tip-in from Ramsey and Holmgren
Period ends Philly 5-1 shots 13-12 Ducks2nd- Secord scores to open up the 2nd on a BA his 11th from Maruk and Mullen and with Barrett off for a Hook Maruk gets the PP goal his 13th from Boxxy and Linseman. Bridgeman then gets his 3rd from Tonelli as Billy Smith leaves the game and Bunny: Larocque comes in and is greeted with a PP goal by Boxxy his 3rd from Mullen and Maruk…Philly 9 Ducks 1….all over right? Terry O Reilly gets his 4th on a rebound from Pichette and Barrett and befoRe the period ends Walter gets his 9th from Clarke and Pichette
Period ends 9-3 Philly shots in the 2nd 2-6 Philly

3rd – Bob Bourne gets a BA goal early his 2nd from Kasper and Oreilly and minutes later Stastny gets his 5th on a BA unassisted. Currie then brings it to 9-6 with his 2nd from Nedomansky and Lambert 9-6 Philly and Brenner pulls Wamsley and put Herron in. But Philly takes over from there as Herron doesn’t face shot goals by Bridgeman, Sinisalo, and Maruk…put the game and the series away


01. Mullen 3G 6PTS
02. Maruk 2G 5PTS
03. Bridgeman 2G 3 PTS

Philly 4-6 on the PP

SERIES SUMMARY Great series against a great team and coach. Smith 9.4 and Herron 9.5 both struggled.
Congrats to the ducks who kick our asses all season long.   Bring on the Q-Tip.