14W, no. 7; newsletter by c.g.)
When the Wednesday night Pirates suited-up for a game against the rival Phantoms this past week, they did so with a little bit of help from the minors. The Pirates were without Harris who was still on I.R. and also without regulars Brian Newcomb (hence my newsletter, just as timely), Allen and Scott Miller. Due to a misunderstanding, the Pirates were still scrambling for a goalie on gameday; #67 provided a list of alternates he had been scouting and after some coaxing the Pirates were able to lure Frank Costagliola out of a semi-retirement for the 7:00 p.m. event. Though he said it had been awhile since he played, Frank looked sharp during warm-ups and that performance would carry over into the evening. On offense the Pirates brought in Tony Grutta (who was staying with Goione for the weekend); Grutta, who plays a ton of ice back in Michigan, looked to be a good prospect to fill the gaps in the Pirate roster. The lines were set with the defensive trio of Dave Matthews, Mike Farrell and Keith Richardson, while the forward lines consisted of Russ-Wildman-Grutta and LeMatty-E. Miller-Goione.
Russ opened the scoring for the evening after he took a pass from Farrell and buried the puck for the early 1-0 lead. The play was wide-open at both ends and the defense was doing a great job of shutting down and frustrating the Phantoms. Substitute goalie Costagliola was playing exceptionally-well (and showed no signs of a layoff) and kept the Phantoms off the board for the remainder of the 1st period.
The Michigan Connection would come to life in the 2nd when Grutta scored the next two goals on beautiful setups from Russ and Farrell. The goal of the period though, came off of Farrell's stick when Russ set him up perfectly by dropping the pass back; Mike took advantage of the goalie's hesitation and fired the puck past him. Again the defensive play was solid and Costagliola made some big saves to keep the Phantoms scoreless going into the second break.
Goione would score the next goal and Russ would finish the off the night by adding points on the fifth and sixth tallies (including his second goal of the game). The highlight of the 3rd period was a shift that saw Russ-Wildman-Grutta-Farrell-Richardson play an entire 2:00 minutes in the Phantom zone by combining great passing with lots of hustle. Costagliola would blank the Phantoms for the final 15:00 minutes and Grutta (who had a few chances for the trick) would finish with two goals on the night. The defensive trio played strongly throughout and limited the Phantoms to only a few good chances in the 3rd.
The W gave the Wednesday night Pirates a solid 4-2-1 record on the season.
1) RUSS NICOLOSI
For a 5-point evening. What else can you say.
For a solid outing posting a shutout (and thereby making the Legends page) against a good team.
3) TONY GRUTTA
For his two goals and good hustle.