14S, no. 11; newsletter by k.r.)
Last nights game against the Blizzard was for a playoff berth. The loser goes home. Or so we thought. Several of us were unaware that a tie gets us in as well. So like a Michael Jackson Moonwalk, the Pirates backed in to the playoffs by settling for a tie. Though there were flashes of good play, all-in-all it was a flat effort as evidenced by the lack of an assist on any of our three goals.
As the game began the Pirates were without just one skater, Chris G. (some crazy excuse about a vacation). The defense pairs were Kevin-Keith and Mike-Scooby with the front lines consisting of Russ-LeMatty-Dan D. and Ralz-Wildman-Farkas.
The Blizzard had just five skaters for most of the game, but would be joined by two more later on. This did not seem to matter because it was the Blizzard who tallied first on a breakaway goal within the opening 2:00 minutes of the game. As play went on it was the Pirates that would receive the games first powerplay as the Blizzard goalie pulled down a passing Pirate; but alas, the powerplay was for naught. It was not until Kevin flew in from the left side to intercept a clearing pass (at even strength) that we started to get something going; one or two great moves to get himself into the high slot and the puck was in the lower left corner, tying things up at 1-1. But on the next shift, the Blizzard answered back with another breakaway goal to regain the lead, 2-1. The Blizzard would hold onto that lead when the 1st period ended.
The 2nd period saw no scoring and just some up-and-down play.
It was the 3rd period, however, where we started to make a move. An early powerplay enabled us to tie it up again on Kevins second of the game. It seemed that every time Kevin scored, the refs took notice, because shortly after each tally he would be assessed a penalty. But no harm done. Our third unassisted goal which put us into the lead for the first time was scored by Scooby; picking up the puck at his blueline he would dance around a couple of opponents in the neutral zone before turning the last defender into a pylon on his way to a spinning shot the fallen keeper stopped, but was paralyzed when Scooby tucked-in the rebound backhanded. With the Pirates leading 3-2 we were on our way to the playoffs ... or so we thought. With 1:00 minute remaining, some sloppy play in our zone lead to a slapper on Harris that found its way to the net, tying things up 3-3. After that score is when many of us found out that a tie would still get us into the playoffs so defense was the M.O. And for the last minute we were on our heels.
But we are in. Although the game was relatively flat there were some key points. Harris played an aggressive game and if it was not for him coming out and clearing a few pucks, the outcome could have been different. Wildman, Ralz and LeMatty seemed to have an extra step. Good forechecking and backchecking.
Next up for the Pirates is the first round of the playoffs and the Zombies (Newcomb's team). You know Newcomb #67 on the Wednesday team. You didnt think we would get through this newsletter without mentioning #67 did you?
1) KEVIN MCLAUGHLIN
For two goals that crowned his 8-point season.
2) ED SOUTHWORTH
For a move worthy of Bobby Orr or PlayStation2 take your pick. Also, for scoring in his last regular-season game in Pirate black (yes, the rumor is he's retiring after the playoffs).