5W, no. 9; newsletter by h.s.)
Like Ray Bourque, we have a mission a Mission 3W (three wins to the Title). Last night we had a chance to move a step closer by beating the Phantoms who had been a tough opponent all season. It was Russ who, after picking off a pass on the boards in the offensive zone, deked Downey and went shortside for the first goal (unassisted). We took that 1-0 lead into the break.
Shortly into the 2nd, things turned chippy (as they always seem to do against this team) and the penalties were piling up. The Phantoms set up a one-timer in front to tie it 1-1 and then banged in a rebound soon after to get the 2-1 advantage. Towards the end of the period, we went on the 2-man advantage and after working the puck well with many close calls, including a Dave shot off the post Roger finally blasted a shot from the point (assist to Russ) to tie it up again, 2-2. (Other highlights of that period included John Arena getting thrown out for his 3rd minor after running me but I, of course, kept a level head. Now back to the action.)
We cooled down in the 3rd and it was back-and-forth and seemed headed towards a shootout, when Russ passed to Chris (who has been on a tear during the last month!) in front for the one-timer (with some help from a Phantoms' skate) at the 1:30 remaining mark. The Phantoms pulled their goalie and playing with the same intensity they did previously when they tied us in our last meeting pressured intensely. But we ran out the clock and ... we're headed back to the Finals!
1) RUSS NICOLOSI
For being in the zone last night (as a teammate wrote in an
email). Russ was involved in all Pirate scores.
2) ROGER WEISS
As usual he played a great game at the blueline, but his powerplay blast swung the momentum back our way late in the 2nd.
3) GLEN CHAMBERS
For consistent great "D" (that freed Russ up to play forward) and saving me from potential breakaways all night long.