12S, no. 9; newsletter by c.g.)
The Coastal Pirates skated into Sunday's game with nine skaters to face the Jaguars for the third week in a row for a chance to play in the Western Division Finals. Missing from the lineup were Tim Hand and John Cassens (who later joined us in action John will have to check with Harris to see how that fine is handled). The No.1-seeded Jaguars looked like they really wanted this game, as there were a few more of their A players in the lineup. Because our regular-season contests with the Jags was a precarious 1-1-1 (the tie being last week's 0-0 affair), it was shaping-up to be a classic contest.
Both teams came out hustling to start the game with the Pirate lines of DiPierro-Weiss-LeMatty out first followed by Goione-Ferraro-Farkas manning the second unit. The defense was handled by the three-man rotation of Russ-Farrell-Scooby. The Coastal Pirates struck first midway through the 1st period with a goal by Farrell; on the play, Glenn Farkas dug the puck out from behind the net and placed a perfect pass back to Farrell at the point for the laser one-timer that beat the goalie high to the far post. The Jaguars would battle back, however, with a steal at our blueline and a shot from the point that deflected off a Pirate defenseman and into the net with just 1:00-minute remaining in the period. At the first buzzer the score was gridlocked at 1-1.
Both teams battled through a scoreless 2nd reminiscent of the tight defensive game that was played the week before. Throughout the contest tension was high and the whistles were blowing often. Whether or not it was actually the case, it seemed the Pirates were continually on the losing end of the whistle and had to kill off a rash of penalties. On one penalty kill, the Jags had possession of the puck behind our net and flipped the puck to an unguarded Giordano at the top of the crease; he one-timed it to the far-side, but Harris gloved down the shot to keep the game tied.
Obviously the 3rd period was going to be critical and it seemed with the way both defenses were playing, the next team to score would be the winner. As you would imagine both teams turned it up a notch for the 3rd, but the Jags jumped out to a 2-1 lead when the capitalized on a 3-on-2 break. With time closing out on the Pirate season, Dan DiPierro scooped-up a loose puck along the boards deep in our own end and then feathered a perfect pass to a wide-open Jimmy Ferraro; Jimmy wound up and blasted a slapshot from just inside the blueline for the 2-2 tying goal with just about 5:00-minutes remaining in the game.
Up until this point I haven't mentioned it, but the team play was excellent: the defense was hustling, the offense was doing double duty getting chances and hustling back to help out in their own end and Harris was on top of his game (which really shouldn't be a surprise since it was a playoff game). The Jaguars had a few chances late in the game as the Pirates had three face-offs deep in their own end with less than a 1:00-minute to play. The Pirates were up to the task however, and we were going to the shoot-out.
The Pirates had to shoot first in the best-of-three rotation, since the Jags finished with a better record overall and chose to shoot last. First up was LeMatty, who blazed in on net and deked the goalie for the easy score for the 1-0 Pirate lead. Next up the Jaguars sent out Giordano one of their best scorers; he skated in on Harris went to make a move but over-handled the puck and didn't get a shot off, so the score remained at 1-0 Pirates. Jimmy Ferraro shot next for the Pirates and skated in looking for an opening that never came, as Jim was left to shoot it into the Jaguar goalie who made the save. The Jaguars sent out Andras to try and get one by Harris, but he too was a victim of trying to make one too many moves, and found himself wide of the net with little angle and couldn't get much of a shot off, which Harris was able to easily turn away. The game now rested on Farrell's shoulders, who was the final Pirate shooter. If he could beat the Jag goalie, the game would be over. Farrell skated in and waited patiently for the goalie to open up the five-hole, and then stuck it through for the tally and a 2-0 Coastal Pirate Semifinal win.
1) MIKE FARRELL
For strong defensive game, not to mention his two goals the second being the winner in the shoot-out.
2) JIMMY FERRARO
For his game-tying goal in the waning minutes of the Semifinal game.
For playoff-style goaltending.