5W, no. 10; newsletter by h.s.)
It was one month since our upset victory over the Phantoms (1st seed) and we entered the Finals last night as the 4th seed underdogs vs. #2 Crunch. On their first rush down ice, former-Pirate Steve Polukard deflected a puck backhanded out of midair for the quick 1-0 Crunch lead. After the initial shock, we tried to regroup, but we were dealt another setback when Glen Chambers collided with another Pirate in front of our net and went down to the ice in pain. Glen showed a ton of guts and returned for his next shift, but then decided he'd have to watch the rest from the sidelines. Later in the period Roger fired a shot from just over the blueline through a crowded crease to even things up 1-1 (BB was credited with an assist on the play, although there was some dispute about the puck being redirected the "official scorer" awards it to Rog though!). We would take that 1-1 score into the first break.
Steve Polukard found some more daylight in the 2nd period as he broke free at center ice, beat two defensemen, and then rifled one past me high, stickside just inside the far post for the 2-1 lead. Russ got things back to even when he forced a turnover deep in the Crunch zone and rocketed a shot past their goalie for his first tally of the night and the 2-2 score. Then we nearly got the lead when BB went in on the left wing and dropped Brian Newcomb the puck for a shot that clanged off both posts (that's what the ref Scott said but Bri felt it went in); although a mad scramble followed, the goalie was able to tame Bri's rebound.
By the 3rd period, we were really on our game (awesome stand-up "D" by Rog, Dave and Big Jim). With only 5:00 minutes remaining, Chris fed Russ perfectly for the go-ahead goal. We only held that 3-2 lead for about 90 seconds though, as the Crunch worked our boards and found Steve Polukard (again) open for the slam dunk one-timer in front (and his hat-trick). It looked like were heading into shootout territory, until old 99 bobbed-and-weaved up the boards and found the net again for his own hat-trick. The last 2:30 seemed like an eternity, but awesome play by Chris, who singlehandedly held a group of Crunch guys away from the puck, and Allen and Brian, who won critical face-offs in those closing minutes (for the record, we can only recall Bri losing one faceoff the whole night!), made our dream come true, and ... WE WON IT! CONGRATS GUYS WHAT A GAME, WHAT A TEAM! Kudos to: Wildman for owning the offensive boards, and Scott for playing a great 2-way game.
1) RUSS NICOLOSI
As one teammate said could we win a game without you????
2) ROGER WEISS
For outstanding D and for his goal & strong defensive play.
As one defenseman wrote, for staying focused and saving my ass.(Thanks for all the kind comments, you guys really caught me off guard!)