(vol. 7S, no. 8; newsletter by h.s.)
Playoff hockey. This is what we do best even when the odds are a bit stacked against us. We went into last night's Quarterfinals as the #6 seed (1-3-3 record) against the #3-seeded Bad Boyz (3-3-1). We hadn't met the Boyz this regular season, and we did know that Goalie Dave Kurasz was the league-leading netminder (with a 2.57 g.a.a.), and scoring hasn't come easy to us this season ... but we did have a secret weapon: Dave "The Smoking
Man" Matthews was back in the lineup.

Here's the recap: From the first faceoff, the Boyz grabbed control and gained our zone. The first full minute was played in our corners as the Boyz took up residence behind our crease and worked the corners. We survived a couple of close calls and then our offense went to work with Ralz and Wildman and Chris bringing their own brand of tenacious offensive work. Glenn Farkas — fresh from his fiesta in Puerto Rico — joined the fray a few minutes late, but was soon buzzing the crease too. When the smoke cleared at the end of the 1st, it was deadlocked at 0-0.

The 2nd period was more of the same. Scooby, who was playing back on defense to make up for the absence of Roger (who was printing up more Tellium golf shirts); Russ was getting some shots off and farming the puck around; and Scott LeMatty was bulldozing as usual anyone who tried to challenge him around the boards. The Boyz were doing a good job at getting deep, but we were keeping their shots to the outside and winning our share of faceoffs. We still couldn't figure out Kurasz and the 2nd ended at 0-0.

During the 3rd we saw some of the closest scares as a couple of defensive-zone turnovers almost turned costly. We went on a powerplay with :42 (we had come up empty on our first attempt and had killed-off a Boyz PP earlier in the period -- kudos to John "Pele" Cassens). We had a couple of close calls, but the game ended tied at 0-0.

Then came the shootout. For us, the 3 shooters were: Jimmy, Scooby and Scott (noticeably absent was Russ, who had been tripped-up earlier in the 3rd and pulled-out his shoulder). Jimmy went first and started stickhandling down the center, but lost his handle and the puck rolled-off to the safety of Kurasz's glove; next the Boyz went and hammered one just wide stickside; Scooby followed, and did a Sony Playstation move where he managed to pull their goalie down and out and then backhand the puck over his prone body for the score (!); the Boyz followed and again went for high stickside, but this time I got a solid shoulder on it and it bounced away; LeMatty went next and raced down the ice with a full head of steam (ala Wile E. Coyote), but just ran out of time to make his move as Dave sticked it away at the last second; then, finally, the last Boyz shooter went and again tried to go high stickside ... It sailed past, but pinged off the post and out. We won! See ya' at the Semifinals!

WON 0-0 (s.o. 1-0)


For “the goal.””

Finally, a shootout win (and back-to-back Sunday shootouts if anyone is keeping track!)

For the long-awaited return of #30. No points, but 3 beers.