12S, no. 6; newsletter by c.g.)
So here it was the final game of 2002. One last chance to end the year on a positive note, and against a team we have come to be familiar with the Zombies. Making a return appearance to the lineup was a heavily-padded Russ Nicolosi; back to face the team that put him on injured reserve. (Russ was back to take just a few shifts, but that, of course, turned into the whole game). With Robo-Russ back, only Scooby was among the missing and the Pirates skated with 10 skaters (moving Wildman back to D in Scooby's place).
The 1st period began with the line of Ferraro-Goione-Farkas up front, while Roger and Russ manned the blueline. The second wave of Pirate players consisted of Ralz-LeMatty-DiPierro, with a blueline tandem of Farrell-Wildman. The 1st period saw the usual feeling out by both teams with neither team wanting to give up that first goal. Play was back-and-forth through most of the period until the Zombies scored two goals back-to-back to end the period with the 2-0 lead.
The mood on the Pirates bench was upbeat as the 2nd began, as Mike Farrell drew the Pirates within one goal on his first shift out; Mike picked-up the puck just inside our blueline and skated through several Zombie defenders and fired a wrister to beat the goalie topshelf. Scott LeMatty quickly picked up the tying goal for the Pirates as he carried a puck around behind the Zombie net and stuck in the one-handed wraparound goal through the 5-hole. With the game tied-up, the Pirates were really buzzing as they continued to carry the play deep into the Zombies' zone. As the 2nd was winding down, Ralz lined-up for a face-off deep in Zombie territory; Ralz fired a shot as the puck when the puck was dropped (which the goalie was able to get with his pads), and the rebound came right to LeMatty who easily buried the puck to complete the three-goal 2nd period and give the Pirates the 3-2 lead.
The 3rd period saw some great two way action, by both teams, as both goalies were able to keep their opponents off the board. As has been the case for much of the Sunday season the Pirates foes were able to get a goal late in the period to deadlock the teams at 3-3. With only :26 seconds remaining the Zombies (with the extra skater) won a critical face-off in our zone and fired a shot from the point; it clanged off the crossbar and went straight up in the air and was then swatted in by a diving Zombie. It was a deflating way to wrap up the year, but one that had unfortunately become rather characteristic of 2002.
1) SCOTT LEMATTY
For two big goals and a great individual effort.
2) MIKE FARRELL
For the goal that got us going and strong play at the blueline.
3) RUSS NICOLOSI
For a courageous return.