11W, no. 6; newsletter by b.n.)
The Phantoms have recently become the Coastal Pirates greatest nemesis. If you go back to the last game of the regular season against the Phantoms, it was a rough affair that ended Dave Matthews' season (and Dave has still not returned to the lineup). No one can forget last season's Championship Game, the Pirates couldn't hold a late lead and ended-up losing the Championship in the last minutes of the 3rd period. With those thoughts in mind, the game with the Phantoms had the look of a tough game. Before the game began, Harris handed out a skull to each and every player who participated in the exceptional game the week before against the O'Neills.
When the puck dropped, the letdown that never came against the O'Neills suddenly arrived. The first shift of the game was a bad omen for the rest of the evening when the Phantoms were able to control the puck and pass the puck around at will. It looked as if the Phantoms had a powerplay as they continued to cycle the puck while the Pirates skated around in circles unable to even lay a stick on the puck to clear the zone. So when the Phantoms scored in the opening minutes, it was the Pirates that were suddenly behind 1-0. The next shift did not fare much better when Roger Toast Weiss got caught out of the zone; the Phantoms were able to break in down the right wing and blast a shot past Harris on the shortside for the 2-0 lead. Things didn't get much better from that point. Other then Roger's two kids and their Jaguar babysitter, the only other people in the stands were three guys who seemed to be friends of the Short Speedy Guy on the Phantoms (every time the Short Speedy Guy touched the puck the three guys stood up and cheered). So when the Short Speedy Guy picked-up the puck and weaved in-and-out of the entire Pirates roster before finally sneaking the puck past Harris, it was pandemonium in the stands. And the excitement continued shortly thereafter when the Phantoms dumped the puck into Harris' right and the Phantom along the board redirected the dump in on net for yet another score. Harris must have been trying to pick his Dad out of the audience (he was unsuccessful because he wasn't there that night), because he never reacted to the shot. It was all kind of like watching a car wreck in slow motion. The Pirates were able to escape the period trailing only 4-0.
Between periods, Harris was quick to blurt out I'm not giving back my Silver Skull thanks for the confidence Harris, but something clearly had to be done so a quick change on the offense lines and the Pirates were looking to get back into the game in the 2nd. The line change seemed to work when Chris picked-up a loose puck deep in the Phantom corner and hit Roger Toast Weiss who blasted a shot past the Phantom goalie. Later in the 2nd, it was Keith and Chambers working the puck up to Jimmy Ferraro who broke in alone from the blueline and put the Pirates back into the game when he beat Casey (their substitute goalie). Although the Pirates won the period, it was the Phantoms who would get the next goal and the 2nd ended with the score 5-2.
The 3rd period was marked by chances and one small controversy. The Pirates had a lot of opportunities, but weren't able to convert. With 3:00 minutes remaining, we were still trailing by three so during a time-out there was discussion about pulling the goalie. After the next clear down ice, Harris came to the bench to give us the extra skater, but the Pirates could not score (although we came close during one scramble). With time running out, the most excitement of the period came when Roger Toast Weiss picked-up the puck behind the Pirate net. Toast tried to maintain possession as the Short Speedy Guy bore down on him; unfortunately, the three guys in the stands gut up to cheer one more time when the guy stripped Roger of the puck and wrapped it into the empty net for the 6-2 final (fortunately, the Jaguar who was watching Roger's kids forced them to look away during this incident.) Ouch. What a rough night.