11S, no. 9; newsletter by c.g.)
It's that time of the season already. After eight regular-season games it's time to get down to business as the B-Division Playoffs begin. Finishing in 5th place, the Coastal Pirates drew the #8-seeded Zombies for the opportunity to return to the Finals in the Sunday Night League. The Zombies, you may recall, are the Sunday night home of that other literary genius, #67 (or TPOC as he is sometimes known). You may also recall that we split our two regular-season games with the Zombies in a fairly-close fashion, setting up this all-important rubber match.
Surprisingly for a 9:00 p.m. playoff game the Pirates took to the rink with only nine skaters, with two full lines rotating up front and three players shuffling through the D (missing in action were and under-the-weather Dan DiPierro and Scooby). LeMatty-Ralz-Ferraro manned the first unit with Russ-Farrell (and Roger) playing at the point and, of course, playoff goalie extraordinare Harris, was between the pipes ready to work some of his playoff magic.
The play was fast and furious as the 1st began with both teams doing their best to jump out to an early lead. LeMatty and Ferraro were clicking early and often, as they unleashed several good scoring chances on the Zombies' goalie, Doug Collimore. The second unit of Farkas-Wildman-Goione was a little more of a grind line (as opposed to the first unit's skill set), and that's how they played chasing down the loose pucks and banging around looking for opportunities. The Pirates would get on the board early with Jimmy Ferraro on his second shift, when he banged in a rebound off a point shot from Russ that deflected off The Bull in front of the crease. The Pirates would strike again quickly when Goione broke to the net and deflected a perfectly-centered pass from Wildman for the 2-0 lead with just about 1:00 minute remaining in the 1st. Actually, that is how the scoring ended for the evening the 2-0 would hold up until the final buzzer. But there was so much good Pirate hockey played in-between, it would be a disservice not to highlight them; that being said, I am going to breakaway (no pun intended) from the normal format to highlight some great individual efforts:
HARRIS: It really all starts and stops here. Every playoff season he pulls a game like this out of his bag. Just a calm, cool, steady maybe even casual playoff shutout. Sure he has seen more action on other occasions, but when the chips are down there are few, if any net minders, you would want backstopping your team.
RUSS: Team leader in a lot of ways: from on-ice performance to talking it up on the bench and keeping the team focused. Played a strong defensive game, as usual, and assisted on the first goal. Had a great opportunity off a pass from LeMatty that Collimore somehow gloved.
ROGER: In my opinion one of the best games I have seen Roger play. Very smart, quick, puck movement an all-around great game. Jumped into the play when the time was right and stayed at home when he had to. I can't emphasize enough how well he played.
FARRELL: This guy seems to get better with every game. Maybe it's just because he has so much depth to his game that it takes a few to see it all, but in the 3rd period when we were trying to hold onto the lead, Mike single-handedly started stickhandling all over the rink in his own end, at the bluelines through the neutral zone it didn't matter, he simply carried the play.
RALZ: Alot of hustle at both ends of the rink; made an amazing play getting back to help thwart a breakaway that may have changed the game (that one play may have been the best effort by either team of the entire night).
FERRARO: Well it's a Sunday night, it's hockey, and Jimmy's scoring goals nothing unusual about that. Always going to the net, in the right place at the right time. Could have had a second one if the pass had gotten there (wink).
LEMATTY: Scott set up some of the nicest plays of the evening with his pinpoint passing. Broke Jimmy on a few, sent Russ on a couple of others, but all of them owing to great setups. His hockey sense and passing skills are unmatched most nights.
FARKAS: Great work on the penalty kill, as he used his speed to chase down the puck on several occasions. Had a handful of near misses, and provided a great target for passing to. An excellent game.
WILDMAN: The usual game from him banging, hustling, making great passes when you think they have no chance you know, the usual. Set up several good scoring chances that just couldn't find their way in. The second goal was the result of his hard work.
GOIONE: (Because Chris is too modest, I had to rewrite his a bit). His playoff goal (the one that gave us just a bit of breathing room), brought his scoring into double digits for the Sunday Night League he's only one of two Pirates to accomplish that feat so this season.
Overall, this was a well-played, playoff-caliber game which lands us back in this season's Finals. Next week we will take on the winner of the Team Micro/Flyers contest, so we will need all this and more. Until next week ...
1) CHRIS GOIONE
For his great goal and strong forechecking.
For his Billy Smith-style playoff shutout.
3) JOHN CASSENS
For a hell of a game set up numerous good scoring chances. Just plain played great.