(vol. 13W, no. 10; newsletter by b.n.)
After last Wednesday's Championship game, Harris made a comment that he attributed to Darren Pang. “Hmmm,” I said to myself out loud — I think I heard that somewhere else. I searched the entire Coastal Pirate archive and came up with the following quote from the last time the Wednesday Night Pirates appeared in a playoff game: vol. 10W, no. 10
“If someone asked me way back on May 22, 2002 if I would be happy to be playing in a Championship game tied at 4-4 with less then 3:00 minutes remaining, I would not have hesitated for a millisecond to respond in the affirmative.” I don't know why Harris would attribute a comment like that Darren Pang, but you know how those goalies like to stick together.

So here we are again in Championship against the Jags (who entered the game with a perfect 9-0 record). Unlike the Wednesday Pirates' last appearance in the Finals (when we literally squeaked into the playoffs), this season's edition played strong most of the season and then dominated the Phantoms (the team that beat us in our last Finals) in the Semifinals, 7-1.

So if you were to ask me way back on March 5, 2003, if I would be happy to playing a Championship game tied at 1-1 with less then 3:00 minutes remaining, I probably would not have hesitated to say “yes.” But trust me, If somebody asks me on May 21, 2003, the answer is going to be “no f@#$ing way!”

But I digress. The Pirates stepped out onto the floor for their Championship game against the Jaguars (a team that had played the previous Sunday in a Championship game and squandered a 4-1 3rd period lead en route to losing the Sunday Night Finals) with both teams fielding 11 skaters per side. On “O” for the Men In Black, it was the Miller Brothers, Wildman, #67, Russ, Allen and Chris, while on “D” the lines consisted of Keith, Scooby, Dave and Mike Farrell. (It must be noted that Mike had the same amount of points in the regular season as #67, but only played three games; I wouldn't typically mention that for obvious reasons, but since he mentioned it to me I thought it important enough to note it, although it would be nice if these high scorers would put some points on the board in this — the most significant game of the season — but perhaps that is asking too much.)

Perhaps it was nerves, but the Pirates seemed to have a little trouble handling the puck and on more occasions then I care to remember and overskated pucks all over the place. Harris was tested early when the Jags were able to take advantage of just such an occurrence and stepped around our “D” and break to the net; Harris came up big and turned aside the shot though. The first period was clearly-owned by the Jags as they kept the play in the Pirates end and peppered Harris with shots. The Jags were able to jump on the board in the 1st at the 4:00 minute remaining mark, when the Pirates made a costly defensive line change that resulted in a Jag 2-on-1; Evan was the only one back and he tried to keep the Jag to the outside by sliding to the floor, but the Jag was able to get around him and break to the center of the floor where he was able to get Harris moving, and fire the puck back across the grain for the 1-0 lead.

The 2nd period saw the Pirates settle down and get some more chances; Russ would have a breakaway where he was seriously hooked, but he still managed to fire a shot off the near post and get a Pirate powerplay at the same time. Unfortunately the Jags penalty-killers controlled the puck for the next 2:00 minutes and even managed to produce a flurry of shots on goal. Still, the defense continued its strong play and were determined to keep the Jags off the board; great plays by Scooby were made throughout the game as he dropped to the floor to block shot after shot. Later, the Pirates would finally get things going on a powerplay when Evan skated up the boards and dropped the puck at the blueline to Scotty, who was able to carry the puck into the Jag end and fire a shot through a screen that beat the Jag goalie on the glove side. The 2nd period would end with the score all tied-up at 1-1.

What can you say when the entire season comes down to one period? The Pirates did not let up and continued their strong play. The Pirates played hard and clanked another shot off the crossbar, but nothing was going it. The minutes slowly evaporated. Soon there was just 3:00 minutes left in the 3rd and the score was still 1-1. Then it was just 2:00 minutes. Then just 1:00. Then with under :10 seconds to go, there was a face-off to Harris's right; #67, couldn't win the face-off back, and the puck went out to the point just in front of the Pirate bench. Seconds seemed like hours as the point man flipped a shot that was redirected by a Jag at the face-off circle and found the inside of the post for the go-ahead goal with :08 seconds remaining. With one face-off remaining in the season and the extra skater on the ice, the Pirates were unable to get another shot off as the horn sounded.

Oh, and another thing; next time someone asks at the beginning of the season if you would take a finals game tied with under 3:00 minutes to play, tell them you would much rather be up a couple goals.

LOST 2-1


For a 1.50 Playoff G.A.A. that proved to be .50 too many goals, however.

Scooby's final game for the Wednesday Pirates was once again filled with blocked shots that showed no regard for his own physical well-being (and if his 3rd period shot were an inch lower, we may have had a different ending).

The lone goal scorer for the Pirates. Imagine what might had been if he wasn't still stitched-up.