12S, no. 8; newsletter by c.g.)
A Game of Nothingness ...
Before Sunday's showdown between the Jaguars B and the Coastal Pirates, the Dire Wolves team was defeated by the Blizzard in a Western Division battle; because of the Wolves loss, the Coastal Pirates were assured of the #4-playoff spot with no chance of moving higher in the standings. So Sunday's results would mean absolutely nothing in terms of seeding orders I thought to myself as the teams skated warm-ups. Little did I know that the subject of that thought would also transcend into a description of the games outcome ...
The Coastal Pirates began play with 10 skaters (short only Jimmy Ferraro who was off in the Florida sun for a little R&R). The forward lines consisted of the familiar pairings of Ralz-LeMatty-DiPierro and Wildman-Farkas-Goione, while the defense for this evening consisted of Russ-Farrell playing alongside Weiss-Scooby.
The Jaguars B was the usual hodgepodge of it's A/B team and they came out hustling.
The Pirates went on the powerplay early, but were unable to capitalize with the extra skater. The 1st period was a fast-paced affair with both teams getting some good opportunities, only to be turned away by the opposing team's goalie. Standouts in the period included Harris (with some great stops to end the period) and Weiss (who played strong defense and transitioned quickly to the offensive side, creating several good chances).
Scott LeMatty opened up the 2nd period with a sweet spin-a-rama move through the Jag defense that was turned away at the last moment by their goalie. The chippiness that sometimes permeates tie games started to creep back in when Goione and a Jag player were both called for coincidental minors at the 13:00-minute mark for a small tussle that probably didn't warrant either being called (but such is the Refs decision, and since it was coincidental neither team even argued). Moments later at the 11:00-minute mark, Russ was called for a phantom slash as he carried the puck into the offensive zone, and then received a high stick to the head. Once again the Pirates were able to keep the Jags off the board with some fine play by both Scott LeMatty, and Scooby. During the penalty kill, LeMatty broke into the offensive zone for a 2-on-1 with Goione; the centering pass got through, but it was just a little behind and Goione was unable to get a shot off as the puck was tangled in his skates. Another fine period for Harris and the defense, as again the score remained knotted at 0-0 going into the second intermission.
The first goal loomed large as both teams fought for the go-ahead score. Farkas, who had played well all evening, had several quality chances throughout and almost potted several in the 3rd. Nicolosi has been getting his timing back lately, and weaved through the defense on several occasions only to be denied after the shot. DiPierro also skated like a man possessed, and played strongly throughout the game. As the final period wound down to the final 2:00 minutes, Russ took his second penalty of the evening giving a minor slash to a streaking Jaguar player who was breaking in all alone on Harris; it was a good penalty as far as they go, since it disrupted the shooter (and that, coupled with excellent angle play by Harris, turned away a pretty good opportunity). Unfortunately, this left the Pirates a man down for the final 2:00 minutes in a scoreless game. Now if you were to stop reading right here and tried to predict the game's outcome based upon recent history, it wouldn't be a bad bet if you thought the Pirates might let one sneak in. Truth is we have had a terrible habit of giving up leads with under 2:00 minutes remaining this season. But alas this night was to be different as the Pirates, led by Harris, turned away several quality opportunities as time expired. The final score (which is almost unheard of in men's league play) ended knotted at zero. The tie, however, assures us of our playoff position facing once again the Jaguars B for the chance to move on to the Western Division Title Game. Having met some mutation of the Jaguars team for the past two weeks, familiarity should not be a problem.
For his 14th career shutout (but who's counting).
For his big defensive game, going down to block several Jaguars' slapshots. Gutsy, strong, game.
3) ROGER WEISS
Another defensive standout, who chose his spots wisely, and started the offensive push with some fast passing.