Sunday, April 25, 2004

Ducks take pivotal Game 3 with shutout

Bryzgalov, Martensson top Admirals 1-0

By Mark Schmetzer
Enquirer contributor

Playoff hockey returned to Cincinnati Gardens for the first time in three years Saturday, and Mighty Ducks center Tony Martensson made the occasion extra sweet.

He scored an unassisted power-play goal in the first period, and goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov and the Cincinnati penalty-killing units made it stand up in a 1-0 victory over the Milwaukee Admirals in Game 3 of the Western Division semifinals of the American Hockey League Calder Cup playoffs.

The Ducks took a 2-1 lead over the team that finished the regular season with the AHL's best record.

"After splitting up in Milwaukee, we knew we had a good chance here," Martensson said.

The home playoff game was only the third for the Mighty Ducks in the seven-season history of the franchise and the first since April 11, 2001, when they lost to Norfolk 5-4 in overtime in the Game One of the Western Conference quarterfinals.

The next two games of the best-of-7 series are at the Gardens on Monday and Wednesday at 7:35 p.m. The Ducks killed six Milwaukee power plays and kept the Admirals from even getting off a shot after Milwaukee pulled its goaltender for a sixth attacker with 1:15 remaining. The effort was a complete reversal from the 6-0 loss handed to the Ducks by Milwaukee on Friday.

"After we got spanked in Milwaukee, I think that was a wakeup call," Cincinnati coach Brad Shaw said. "After we won on Wednesday, I think we came out flat on Friday. Tonight was completely different."

The Ducks capitalized on a break to score the only goal. They had 10 seconds left on a power play when the puck caromed crazily off the glass behind the Admirals goal and ended up on Martensson's stick in front of the net. Martensson, Cincinnati's leading scorer in the playoffs with eight points, converted the unassisted goal for his second of the playoffs.

"It came right to me in the slot," said Martensson, who also led Cincinnati in scoring for the second consecutive season during the regular season. "We scouted the goalie, and we knew he went down, so I just tried to shoot it high."

Said Shaw: "He's been unbelievable. I don't think he had the season he wanted to, offensively, but he's playing now like he finished last season. He's in a zone."


First Period: 1, Cin, Martensson (unassisted), ppg, 8:21.

Shots on goal: Mil 9-7-6-22, Cin 11-7-4-22. Power plays: Mil 0-6, Cin 1-4. Goaltenders: Mil, Flaherty (58:45, 22 shots-21 Saves). Cin, Bryzgalov (60:00, 22-22). Att: 1,826.

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