The Pacific Ridge Firebirds traveled out to Detroit, Michigan to conclude the 2019-20 NAPHL season. Going into the weekend the boys were 7-0-1, with the single loss coming in OT to the Portland Jr. Winterhawks. The players felt good about their chances of making it to the finals and competing for their first NAPHL Championship. Things started out well with a sound victory against the Tampa EDP team, shutting them out 7 – 0. Second was Clearwater Academy, and as with the first game, the boys once again shut the door and beat Clearwater 5 – 0. The afternoon game was against Pilot Mound, a team the Firebirds had not seen in the regular season. This was a close game and Pilot Mound worked hard to provide the boys all they could handle, but in the end PRHC closed the door and won the game 3 to 1.
So, the Firebirds went into the semi-finals as the top seed, and based on the NAPHL playoff rules, would again face Pilot Mound, which ended up being the Wild Card seed. The game started out the same as the first, with both teams fighting for every inch of the ice. While there were some chances for both squads, both defenses were extremely stingy and simply did not let pucks get into good scoring areas on the ice. Late in the second half of the 2nd period, Pilot Mound entered the offensive zone, was able to throw a puck at the net, which Pat O’Donnell handled but then could not pull in the rebound, and Seth Falkevitch put the puck in over the glove of O’Donnell. Only the second goal against of the weekend and the boys knew they needed to even it up.
The two teams once again dug in, and the play went back and forth. The Firebirds pressed hard going into the later part of the 3rd period and really pushed the Buffaloes. Aidan MacDonell and Tyler Sheridan both had solid looks with only minutes to play, but in the end, PRHC could not tie it up. And just like that, the Firebirds lost 1 – 0. It felt like a stunning loss, but Pilot Mound played well and worked just as hard as PRHC. The boys have plenty to be proud of, finishing their first year in the NAPHL with a record of 10 -1 – 1. Now they come home and start to play in the ADHSHL Playoffs with a game Tuesday night against Tahoe Academy’s Varsity team. Our guess is the boys will be in a foul mood and will want to prove something.