The Colorado Springs Thunder’s hopes of a PIHA Founders Cup three-peat were dashed as they fell to the St. Louis Snipers, 3 games to 1, in the best-of-five PIHA Western Conference Finals played in St. Louis this past weekend.
The Western Conference Finals weekend was a match-up between two teams that had just swept their respective division finals, with the Thunder skating past the Parker Prowlers in two games, and the Snipers shooting down the River City Wheelers in two games. The last time the Thunder and the Snipers faced off three years ago in the conference semifinals, the Snipers won the three-game series, two games to one.
Game One of the weekend saw the Snipers grab a runaway 8-2 victory led by the talents of Shawn Gawrys. The Thunder managed a 4-3 overtime victory in Game Two as forward Matt Charbonneau lit the lamp late in the second half to knot the game at three goals apiece at end of regulation. Both teams had chances, but it was the Thunder’s Matt Pedersen who notched the game-winner late in overtime to knot the series at one game apiece. The third and fourth games were all Snipers needed as they rebounded from an early 1-0 deficit in Game Three to win, 4-3, and skated to an easy 6-1 victory in Game Four. Snipers netminder Dustin Brown turned in great performances in Games Three and Four to lead his squad to a berth in the PIHA Founder’s Cup Championship.
“The Snipers were definitely the better team this weekend – we congratulate their effort,” said Thunder Captain C.J. Yoder. “I believe we could have played better, but this past weekend they were the better team on the floor. It’s certainly disappointing that we don’t have the chance to bring another championship to our fans in Colorado Springs, but we will take a few weeks off and then start working to improve for next season. As the 2010-11 PIHA Founders Cup hosts, we will do everything we can to make it a great experience for both teams.”
The PIHA Founder’s Cup Championship will pit the best in the East, the Suffolk Sting, against the best in the West, the St. Louis Snipers, in a 7-game series to decide the 2010-11 PIHA Champion. The series will take place on February 25-27 in Colorado Springs at the CET Sports Arena. Tickets are still available and can be purchased at the rink on game day.