19W, no. 3; newsletter by b.n.)
I happened to read the newsletter from Sunday game vs. Rink Rats (week 3) and I couldn't help but notice that the Pirates were up against the “Newcomb lead Rink Rats.” I read that and I thought to myself, “I wonder if that is the same Newcomb that we have on our team?” It is weird enough that there are two Nicolosi's in the league, but I could not imagine that there would also be two Newcombs. Then I read further: According to newsletter author Chris Goione, the Newcomb on the Rink Rats had ten goals in three games with the Rats. What?! That could not possibly be the same Newcomb that plays for the Pirates — he can't score ten goals in three seasons, never mind scoring ten goals in three games. After I finished reading the newsletter, I made a mental note of asking Newcomb about it. As it turned out, I got to the game last Wednesday with only a couple minutes to spare and (after talking to Wildman about his new Ninja motorcycle) I forgot to ask Newcomb about Sunday night. In hindsight however, I probably never needed to.
As the game against the Tile Cutters got underway, the Newcomb on the Pirates was playing on “D” with Dave and Keith. I can't imagine that if the Pirates' Newcomb was, in fact, the same Newcomb that the Pirates faced on Sunday, that someone with a stick as hot as that would find himself manning the blueline. With that said, the rest of Pirates for the evening were Russ, Chris, Wildman, Evan and Craig with Scott Miller a healthy scratch and Jimmy AWOL Speaking of Craig, he came out on fire as he buried the puck for the first Pirate goal of the night. Meanwhile, on defense, the Newcomb on our team managed to put a clearing pass right on the tape of a Tile Cutter, who promptly skated into the zone and put the puck past our substitute goalie, Mike Braun. Whoops. Later in the period, the Pirates would pick up another score when Evan fed Wildman from deep in the corner; Wildman was on the far side of the goalie and as the puck came to him, he had the entire net to shoot at and he didn't disappoint. Unfortunately, nobody bothered to write down the score at the end of the 1st period, so while I would typically tell you what the score was at the break, you will just have to take my word for it that the period ended, and imagine that as you look to the scoreboard, it now indicates that the game is now in the 3rd.
Evan would tally his second assist of the night in the final period when he fed Russ, who fired the puck past the goalie; that would be the Pirates of the second half as the game went deep into the final period tied 3-3. You would think that if the Pirates' Newcomb had scored just over three goals per game in his last three Sunday night appearances, he would have found a way to put the puck in the net regardless of whether or not he was on “D.” Instead it was Newcomb who took a penalty with just over 1:30 minutes remaining to give the Tile Cutters a powerplay. In the grand scheme of things, that was probably a good penalty to take, considering that if the Tile Cutter got past him, he had a breakaway on Mike Braun, but I hate to make excuses for the guy; the Pirates' penalty kill was strong and was able to pick-up an “even up” penalty and close out the period.
With the advent of overtime at GoodSports USA, the Pirates had one point locked away for the regulation tie and they still had a shot to win the game in overtime on a short powerplay. It seemed that the Hockey Gods were smiling on the Coastal Pirates as the whistle blew just as the penalty on Newcomb expired. With the puck in the Tile Cutter end, the Pirates quickly called time-out and huddled at center ice to plan their attack. Meanwhile Newcomb exited the penalty box and took up residence on the bench. However, at Chris' urging, Newcomb headed out onto the floor and took Dave's place on defense. You would think that after sitting for over 2:00 minutes Newcomb would be well-rested; maybe he was just a little too well-rested as he chased a Tile Cutter down the right wing and tried to strip the puck from him, or perhaps he was just a little over aggressive as he tried to poke the puck by jamming his stick between the legs of the Tile Cutter — the Tile Cutter fell to the floor and Newcomb was back in penalty box. The Pirates now faced with the prospect of closing out the overtime on the penalty kill. The Men In Black were up to the challenge and, instead of lollygagging and letting the clock run out, chose to take it up a notch in the late moments of the overtime. Chris Goione won a final face-off in the Tile Cutters' end and in the process got pulled down, but before the ref could blow his whistle for the penalty he was forced to point to the puck in the back of the net — Craig had crashed the net, taking the loose puck and burying it for the dramatic win with :12 remaining in the overtime.
And Newcomb? If he is the same person, he may lead the league on Sundays in goals, but all he can lead the Pirates in on Wednesdays is penalty minutes.
1) CRAIG SUDOL
For scoring the thrilling, overtime winner.
2) EVAN MILLER
For his 2 helpers on the night.
3) RUSS NICOLOSI
For his goal and usual tenacity.