9S, no. 12; newsletter by c.g.)
The opening round of the Coastal Pirates' title defense found them pitted against the well-known rival Blizzard. The Pirates had met the Blizzard in two prior games this season notching a win and a draw. Both teams started the game with eight skaters, as the Pirates were without regular season leading scorer Jim Ferraro, and gritty role players, Tim Ralz Hand, and Dave Matthews. As is usual on playoff nights, our game got off to a late start as the Flukes dismantled the Jaguars B in the other half of our division's semifinal game, 7-0. The Pirates opened with a line of Goione-Farkas-DiPierro up front, with Russ-Weiss manning the blueline. The Pirates wasted little time getting on the board as Goione picked up a shot fired wide by Russ, and fed an open (and calling) Glenn Farkas; Farkas fired a shot form the right face-off circle (which the goalie got), but the rebound found its way right onto the waiting stick of Dan DiPierro, who put it home for the easy conversion. Both teams spent the rest of the period hustling for and getting some good quality chances. In the Pirate end, playoff netminder extraordinaire Harris was on top of his game and turned away or smothered every Blizzard advance. End of one period: Pirates 1, Blizzard 0.
As the 2nd period began, the Pirates had a new addition to the line-up, as Dave Matthews rolled onto the court to round out the defensive corps. Regular-season Hart trophy winner Scott LeMatty would give the Pirates a two-goal lead shortly into the 2nd on a pass from Wildman, who was showing no signs of rust after having deserted his Wednesdays teammates (just kidding, John). Midway through the 2nd, Harris would make the save of the game on a Blizzard player that would put an exclamation point on his performance for this evening: a blizzard forward was alone in the slot about four feet from Harris and had a puck come to his stickblade for a one-timer and a sure goal; the player wound up and fired a blistering shot, but somehow Harris' reflexes were quicker, as he gloved it out of the air. Everyone on the rink thought it was a goal, but when Harris opened his glove out rolled the puck along with any momentum the Blizzard would have gained. Glenn Farkas would add the insurance goal as the period wound down with a tough angle shot that needed the help of a Blizzard defenseman's skate to cross the goal-line. Both Wildman and DiPierro were involved on that goal, as they cleared the way for Farkas' shot. With one period to go: Pirates 3, Blizzard 0.
The 3rd period's objectives were clear: keep them off the board, and play smart. If we could do that, we would advance to the Finals for the third time in as many seasons. And that's just what the Pirates did as the defensive units of Scooby-Weiss and Matthews Russ turned back or disrupted every Blizzard advance. The Blizzard would, however, spoil Harris' shut-out bid as they scored off a rebound with :09 seconds remaining. The reason I know it was :09 seconds was because after the ensuing face-off was put deep in their end (and I gave chase to their goal-line), I looked up at the clock and there it was still reading :09 seconds they forgot to start the clock on the face-off and while everyone on the Pirates relaxed (figuring the game was over), the Blizzard worked the puck up ice and fired a shot at the buzzer that was disallowed because of the clock malfunction.
For the almost shutout (from emails: For last night's stellar performance. And of course, the silver anchor or ball-and-chain in celebration of his coming nuptials and Great saves !!!! The Billy Smith / Mike Richter Glove !!! and You better f------ play like that next week.)
2) DAN DiPIERRO
He shoots, he scores! (from emails: Clutch goal to get us going and Great two-way play.)
3) GLENN FARKAS
For his involvement on two of our three goals last night (from emails: Great hustle and goal and Glenn is tireless in his pursuit of the puck.)