13W, no. 7; newsletter by b.n.)
When Russ isn't leading the team in scoring, it seems he's out killing deer. Not that these are mutually exclusive: when he's not leading the team in scoring, he's not killed deer it just so happens that he can do both but apparently not at the same time. I pity the fool. (No not Russ, I was trying to do my Mr T. impersonation, but it didn't come out right without all the gold jewelry).
Anyway, I pity the poor deer that got caught in the headlights of Russ' BMW. Just think, your hoppin' around maybe looking for something to munch on or perhaps your just looking for some of that white tail. Anyway, whatever your motivation, you find yourself on the shoulder of Route 195 somewhere West of Freehold NJ. Now you are a very cautious deer: You have had plenty of near catastrophes with automobiles in the past, so you walk cautiously to the edge of the pavement and look to your left there is not a car in sight. So ever so cautiously you BOLT across the road. Then BOOM! A silver BMW approaching the physically-impossible speed of Warp Factor 2 comes out of nowhere and smashes into you with a force of one of Dave Matthews' slapshots (well okay, maybe a little harder then that). Unfortunately for you, since you are a deer, this is where the story ends. For the rest of us though we had a game to play against the Phantoms.
It looked like we were going to be short a few players until Russ came in at the last minute sporting the new body work on his BMW. #67 walked in simultaneously (it was reported that his son's baseball game was running late and in order to make the Pirate game he made the 9- and 10-year-olds forfeit their last inning now there's dedication. As it turned out, we had almost a complete roster with Dave, Scooby and Keith on defense (I like to call it D but that is a story for another day), while on O we had the aforementioned #67 and Russ, plus Evan, Allen, Wildman and Chris.
I won't go into our history with the Phantoms. Suffice to say we all knew what we were facing; we all knew who we had to watch and we all knew what would happen if we didn't. Steve Carr was filling in in the pipes and came up strong in the 1st. The Phantoms would get some chances early and clank one off the post, but it would be Wildman who got the puck from the face-off to fed Russ who put the Pirates ahead 1-0. The period would end with the same score.
The 2nd period showed some chippiness as a number of players found themselves in the box. The Phantoms got on the board next when #67 directed the puck behind him on a face-off to Steve's right; the puck bounced off the boards behind the net and it was a Phantom that got to the puck first and fed Arroyo who had broken to the net and one-timed it in to even the tally 1-1. At some point, the Phantoms would add another goal to give themselves a 2-1 lead at the end of two periods.
Things started to look up for the Pirates in the 3rd period when Russ took the puck behind the Phantom goal and tried to wrap it in; after a couple hard jabs, the puck worked its way into the net for the score, tying things up 2-2. However, it was the Phantoms once again who caught Bambi in their headlights. They blocked a shot from the point and broke in down the far boards and were able to center the puck Steve made a great sprawling save to stop it, but unfortunately the puck rebounded out front to a trailing Phantom who was able to flip it into the open net. Things got interesting in the closing seconds of the game when Russ called a time-out with :11 seconds to go; Russ drew up a play and sure enough #67 was able to win the face-off back to Keith who blasted a shot from the point; the rebound came to #67 who also whacked it towards the net. With time rapidly expiring, the puck came back to Keith at the left face-off circle and he made a diving one-handed jab at the puck and sent the puck into the five hole but the goalie dropped and smothered it just as the closing horn sounded.
1) RUSS NICOLOSI
For his socially-conscious effort to control the ever-expanding deer
population. And also scoring both goals for the Pirates.
2) JOHN CASSENS
For the only assist of the night.