13W, no. 9; newsletter by b.n.)
There are two schools of thought on last Wednesday's game: The first is made up of all the mean teachers in the county who smack you in the back of the head for not paying attention and humiliate you when you are wrong; and the second is composed of all the nice teachers who are always happy and giving everyone passing grades (even when you forget to do your homework). So what happens when these two schools of thought meet on the playground after school? Somebody gets hurt.
In the recent past it has been the Pirates that have been taken to school by the Phantoms. If you include the last second loss to the Phantoms in the Finals, the Pirates have never been able to exorcise the demons that compose the Pirate's roughest opponents. With all that said, and coming off a stellar performance on D versus the Geriatrics the week before,, the Pirates stepped into the game with some of the mighty mo' (that would be momentum for those not paying attention).
The Pirates put out the dreaded number WON line of Wildman-gOione-Nicolosi on offense while the returning Dave Matthews played on defense with Mike Farrell. The second line consisted of the Miller Bros.-#67 up front, with Keith Richardson-Scooby manning the blueline. Like the shy kid who always got beat up for lunch money and suddenly showed up to school with the Uzi, the Pirates exploded out of nowhere against the #2-seeded Phantoms. First it was Chris Goione picking-up a puck at the blueline and working it up to Wildman who got it to Russ, who buried it for the score. The WON line then stayed on the floor and shortly thereafter Chris again worked the puck to Wildman who was able to work the puck around a sprawled Phantom goalie for the 2-0 lead. The second line on O immediately jumped into the action when Evan passed it to his brother in the corner and Scott showing no ill effects from his second set of stitches fired the puck on net and as usual was able to score from an impossible angle. At the end of the 1st in our Semifinals appearance, it was 3-0 Pirates.
Heading into the 2nd, the chatter was high. Everyone knew that a three-goal lead is not insurmountable by the Phantoms, so everyone was talking it up trying to stay focused on the importance of this game and our gameplan. As the 2nd got going it was Russ feeding Chris who lasered a shot giving the underdogs a 4-0 lead. That turned out to be the only goal in the period, although the Phantoms pressured in the latter half of the period with some nice work deep in our zone.
As play resumed in the 3rd, the Phantoms were able to pick up a powerplay when Wildman was called for interference, but that advantage quickly evaporated when #67 drew a hooking penalty that evened the ice to 4-on-4 play. On the tail end of our powerplay, Scott took the puck along the boards and dropped it to #67 who managed to snap his four-game jinx and successfully backhand a shot through a screen of Phantom players for the 5-0 lead. The excitement continued when Wildman turned on the red light for the second time of the night (assist to Mike and Russ). With the score 6-0, the Pirates did not let up; like the kid who sees the bully in the schoolyard with his head turned, it was Evan Miller chasing a puck into the Phantom's corner when a Phantom D chased him in and was jabbing his stick at him and GROWLING! (Yes, I did say growling, I complained to Scotty about it and the Phantom guy said, There's no rule against growling.) Anyway, as the two continued around the back of the net, Evan was able to drive Tony the Tiger into the net which he dislodged with quite a thud (and a few choice words); the Phantoms broke the shutout with just under 5:00 minutes remaining when the left wing fired a shot on Harris who was able to kick out and get his pad on the puck, but it wasn't enough as the puck was able to deflect into the net. Still, the Pirates got the last word when we quickly answered back as Chris tallied his second of the evening (assist to Russ) for the 7-1 final.
School is out!
1) CHRIS GOIONE
For his 4-point night. Just another walk in the park for #18 or is it #19?
2) JOHN CASSENS
For two goals and playing like a wildman.
From an email:
A near shutout in a playoff game against an opponent which was supposed to be superior.