18S, no. 10; newsletter by c.g.)
The Coastal Pirates are on their way to the Finals.
After suffering through one of their worst seasons on record, the team is starting to find it's form demonstrated by their knocking out the top-seeded Zombies for a berth in the Finals. Unlike the prior week, when the Pirates stole their way into the playoffs, this roster was as legal as the Constitution and we had 10 players eager to ratify that baby.
Both teams battled hard through the 1st with each team picking up a goal. The lone Pirate goal of the period was scored by Dan DiPierro, as he and his line mates (LeMatty and Farkas) pressured hard around the net and got us on the board first, 1-0. The defensive pairings of Russ-Keith, and Scooby-Kevin had their hands full as the Zombie pressure was strong, but with fine positional play they were able to turn aside most rushes. Wildman-#19-Ralz were pressing, but couldn't put the puck in the net. It seems many of the losses we faced this season were a result of players being out of position, and trying to do too much. On this occasion however, the Pirates collectively played strong positional, and the results showed.
Dan picked up his second tally of the evening early in the 2nd when he raced to the net, and banged home a rebound from a LeMatty shot. Not to be outdone, Scott Lematty would add his own goal later in the period on a brilliant end-to-end rush in the waning moments of the period, not around, but through three Zombie players. Scott's “Bull” goal would give the Pirates a 3-1 lead at the second buzzer. The defense was in a groove, and the Zombies seemed frustrated, as they could get nothing going in the period.
It is said that a two goal lead is the worst lead you can have in hockey, and as with many of these “commonly held truths,” this proved to be the case. Within 5:00 minutes the two-goal lead the Pirates had worked so hard to achieve was gone: The first Zombie goal of the period re-directed off Keith's shin pad as he slid to block the shot; The second came on the next play when a Zombie player was double covered but still managed to get a shot off past the screened Harris. Just like that it was a 3-3 tie game again, with the Zombies having gained a ton of momentum. Both teams tried to get the go-ahead goal, to avoid the shootout — including two unsuccessful Pirate powerplays with less than 6:00 minutes remaining — but as time expired it was clear this one would be decided that way.
Now I have not mentioned Harris to this point in this week's edition, except on a rehash of a Zombie goal. Throughout the game he was solid, making the saves he had to, and allowing only three goals against a quality opponent. On to the shootout ...
Well I'll save you the dramatic play-by-play, and just tell you that Kevin scored a really nice goal, up and over the sprawled Doug Collimore (aka the Zombie goalie), which would prove to be the winner. Harris shut out all three skaters, making some great saves on some high quality shots. Hey what do you expect? It's Harris, and it's the playoffs, enough said.
So it is on to the Finals. Who would have thought it a few short weeks ago? Well if you follow the Pirates at all, you would have been a fool to bet against them, as these things seem to happen all the time. Til next week ...
Came up huge, shutting out all 3 Zombie shooters.
2) DAN DIPIERRO
For his 2 huge goals, only overshadowed by Harris' heroics.
3) KEVIN MCLAUGHLIN
Can't forget the game winner.