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Bullfrogs Beat New Jersey for Second Murphy Cup

Roller hockey: Anaheim defeats Rockin' Rollers, 9-5, in regulation. Goverde named MVP.


EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Away from the Pond, the Bullfrogs stuck to the disciplined game plan that brought them success in the past, beating the New Jersey Rockin' Rollers on their home floor Sunday, 9-5, in the championship game of Roller Hockey International's Murphy Cup.

"That's been our game throughout the playoffs [discipline]," said first-year Bullfrog Coach Brad McCaughey. "We didn't take the stupid penalties."

It was the penalty-chilling time that killed New Jersey. The Bullfrogs scored twice while the Rollers sat in the box for a game-total 27 1/2 minutes. The second Bullfrog power-play goal, breaking the 3-3 tie the Rollers had worked so hard to gain before the half, came 55 seconds into the third quarter off forward Glen Metropolit's slap shot after the Bullfrogs had put on a methodical passing display that wore down the Roller defense.

"The game of roller hockey is all about patience," said Metropolit, a former Roller. "We were just waiting for them to make mistakes."

The Bullfrogs became the only team in RHI history to win the Murphy Cup--not quite the status of the Stanley Cup--twice. Anaheim won the Murphy Cup in 1993.

With this being the first time the Rollers have made the finals in their four-year existence, perhaps some of the blame can go the inexperience, or even desperation. With the Bullfrogs up, 7-4, 10 minutes 50 seconds into the third quarter, Roller enforcer Mark Major wrestled Bullfrog Brent Thurston over the boards into the Anaheim bench. In all, Major picked up 5:30 in penalties, got himself ejected, and gave Anaheim a penalty shot. Although Anaheim's Victor Gervais couldn't capitalize on the shot, the damage was done.

"We took stupid penalties . . . we shot ourselves in the foot too many times," said Roller forward John Vecchiarelli, who scored two goals. "The bottom line is the penalties will kill you."

But the Rollers did make several impressive plays, such as the long feed John Splotore gave Chris Palmer a step in front of the red line that Palmer took in and shot past Anaheim goaltender David Goverde, who stopped 28 of 33 shots. This made the score 8-5 with about five minutes to go. But it was the Rollers' moments of indecision that ultimately hurt them.

"He made saves in this playoff he had no right to make," said McCaughey of Goverde, who replaced veteran goaltender Rob Laurie at the beginning of the playoffs.

But Goverde, named most valuable player, was modest of his honor, calling the recognition "unexpected," preferring to defer to his teammates, which he said, "all played like MVPs."

The praise was earned. Of 14 Bullfrogs on the roster, including the two goaltenders, 10 contributed to the nine goals scored.

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