21W, no. 7; newsletter by b.n.)
On a night when the Pirates were desperate for a win to make the playoffs, the bench suddenly looked a little light. It was bad enough when Keith hurt his leg and went on the IR, but now we got Jimmy Ferraro getting shot in the head (well, maybe “shot” is not the right word, but what else to you call it when you get hit with something flying out of a gun?); throw in a business trip for Russ and Dave and the Roger AWOL and what are you left with? Looks like ironman“D”! Now I can usually deal with now subs on 'D' when Keith & Mike are back - or Kevin for that matter ... but I'm not so confident about #67. Fortunately, Scott LeMatty answered the call and once-again subbed for the Wednesday Pirates and went back to defense to solidify the defensive pair (Kevin, who also plays Wednesdays with Scott on the Tile Cutters, felt it was too much a “conflict of interest” to bolster our line-up since a win for us could mean the Cutters would be playing golf instead of making the post-season). Up front, the Miller Bros. Wildman, Chris and Craig were set to rotate on offense and, of course, there was Harris.
For the seventh game of the season, the Pirates found themselves up against the Lightning — a team that they played to open the season and, as you may remember, a game in which they came up short by the score of 4-3 (a number of the Lightning players also are on the roster of the Dire Wolves who the Pirates had just lost 7-4 that previous Sunday). The 1st period saw plenty of excitement as the two opponents circled and jabbed each other with no particular player landing a knockout punch. The Pirates weathered a number of scares including one where Harris decided to attempt to play a puck that was outside his crease. Why he did this, I don't know, because #67 had one of his better defensive performances of the season and was skating hard back to the zone while keeping his body between the Lightning player and the net; #67 was definitely going to get the puck, but there was Harris venturing out into the netherworld of the right face-off circle and actually poking the puck before #67 plowed into him and sent him airborne. Anyway, it would have been real ugly if the puck had gotten past Harris considering that both #67 and Harris were laying in a heap on one another; the excitement was not over as Harris had to jump to his feet and fend off a couple shots before the Pirates could gain control of the puck. The Pirates would finally break through on a power play at the 12:26 mark when #67 was able to stop a Lightning clearing pass up the far boards and dump it into the corner where Scott Miller took control; Scott worked the puck behind the net before he passed it out to Craig who fired it into the goal for the 1-0 lead and the only goal of the period. When was the last time the Pirates lead after one period of play? I am not entirely sure, but my guess would be something like a month and a half ago.
Perhaps the Pirates forgot what it was like to play with a lead. Whatever the case, the 2:00 minutes between periods certainly did the Pirates no favors. Almost immediately after dropping the puck, the Lightning were able to find the back of the net and tie the score at 1-1. The Pirates continued to play hard with both #67 and Scott LeMatty stepping-up to make great plays on “D” to keep the Lightning from getting quality shots on net. But even with that strong defensive play, the Lightning were able to put the puck past Harris with 8:00 minutes remaining in the period, and putting the Pirates in the hole by one. Undaunted, the Pirates were able to climb back into the game one shift later when Scott Miller buried a feed from Craig via Chris in front of the net to tie the game 2-2. Regulation would end with the score still knotted at 2-2 and an overtime period was next on the agenda.
Although now assured one point in the standings, the Pirates needed more to ensure a post-season appearance. Although they played the o.t. with offense in mind, the final :30 seconds was dramatically spent killing-off a Scott LeMatty penalty — highlighted by a head-butt save on a slapshot by Harris with :01 to play. Harris had this to say after the game: “Yeah, #67 and Lematty sure played a hell of a game on defense tonight. I think they saw the remembered the way I played on Sunday and said to each other, 'we can't let these guys get a shot on net.'”
date of game: 4.20.05
1) BRIAN NEWCOMB
For an awesome defensive display, including an array of blocked shots.
2) SCOTT LEMATTY
For playing defense and shutting down many Lightning attackers.
3) SCOTT MILLER
For his tying goal late in the 3rd period and his assist on our other tally.