11W, no. 7; newsletter by b.n.)
Hmmm ... I'm really having trouble remembering much of what happened ... I wonder why that is?
The 1st Period is pretty clear to me though: We started out with the line of Chris-Jimmy-Farkas on O while Roger and Keith were on D. As with the previous week, the Pirates were having trouble controlling the puck (it seemed like the Crunch were doing a great job of keep away as we kept running around). The next line of Evan-Wildman-#67 could not move the puck either, but the D line of Chambers-Russ were able to keep the Crunch from getting too many chances in the opening minutes. However, after another line change, when the guy who should have jelly spread all over him stepped up to try and play the puck, it was a bad sign; the Crunch were able to breakaway into the zone and put a rebound into the net for the 1-0 lead. Perhaps the Pirates were lucky, but we were able to escape the 1st period only trailing 1-0.
The Pirates were able to jump back into the game in the 2nd when #67 pushed a pass up to Evan who broke in down the left wing and fired one of those zero-angle shots that his brother is so good at and somehow find the back of the net to knot the game at 1-1 (Speaking of his brother , Scotty was able to make a guest appearance and is still hoping to be in uniform if the Pirates make it deep into the playoffs). The Crunch would continue to outhustle the Pirates during the 2nd and added goals two and three on nice tic-tac passing plays (including one goal by Sunday Pirate Mike Farrell who, along with Scott The Bull LeMatty, were suited-up in enemy colors on this night). The period ended with the score 3-1.
I don't remember much of the 3rd period to be honest. What I can remember involved a great play by Harris when one of the Crunch broke in all alone and Harris stood his ground; the forward lost control of the puck, but there was no defense there to clear it before another Crunch guy swooped into the zone Harris made a quick decision to charge the puck and he was able to cut-off the angle and smother the puck.
Now onto the reason why things were turning hazy for me ... In baseball there are so-called message pitches the ones the pitchers throw at the batter's heads. Well, Russ has his own version called the message hit. So late in the 3rd with the game slipping away it was Russ who was clearly looking forward to Sunday's game when he delivered his signature hit; according to Harris (who was up-close when the lick was applied) it was hardest check he's ever seen outside the NHL. For those that didn't feel the impact firsthand, it looked like a yard sale as a helmet, stick and gloves were spread out all-around the impact zone. On any other night, such a hit might find Russ suspended for a game or two, but the refs have a funny way of looking the other way when the hit is delivered on your own TEAMMATE!
Russ was not done however, as he later decided to charge an oncoming player when he skated over the blueline; Russ dropped to his knees to block the puck and in the process took out the Crunch player (Scott the ref didn't whistle anything on the play, but Dave Stickle who was filling in as ref blew the whistle let's just say Russ was not happy with the call and he applied some mischief to the same boards that cost Jimmy Ferraro 10:00 minutes earlier in the game). Even though the Pirates skated shorthanded for the remainder of the game, they still pulled Harris, but could not come up with another goal.
At least I think that's how the game ended. I certainly wasn't feeling myself I didn't even protest when Roger and Scott Birthday Boy Miller claimed the last two Pabst at the meeting.
1) EVAN MILLER
For scoring the lone goal of the evening.
For surviving some 2-on-0s and 3-on-1s and giving up less than 10 goals this game.