16S, no. 10; newsletter by c.g.)
As if there were any doubts, the Pirates foray into the A division mercifully drew to a close against the top-ranked Red Stars in the Semifinals. After stunning the Bruins a week before to record their first victory of the season, the Pirates were unable to duplicate that feat and continue into the Championship.
The Red Stars jumped out to an early 1-0 lead, but Kevin McLaughlin (the first Pirate blueliner to win the Art Ross & Richard trophies) tied things up at when his shot skipped past Star's netminder John Arena in the 1st period. The Red Stars were visibly surprised as the upstart Pirates battled for loose pucks and stayed close through two periods. The score late in the 2nd was still knotted at 1-1 until the Pirates surrendered a pair at the tail-end of the 2nd period. At the second intermission it was still a respectable 3-1, and the team was putting forth a solid effort. In the end, however, the Pirates just didn't have the wheels to keep up and the Red Stars widened their lead by adding a fourth goal, a Pirate own goal, and an emptynetter.
The game had its shares of questionable calls: the Pirates were saddled with not one, but two 5-on-3 penalties (both of which we successfully killed-off), while the Red Stars were never flagged. In the end though, the Pirates were just outplayed and our A division days will be behind us for a bit. To put the season in a more positive light though, we did play .500 hockey down the stretch ...