31W, no. 9; newsletter by b.n.)
As Thanksgiving gets closer, it is time to give thanks.
Thanks to the executives at GoodSports USA who approved the new “Manaflex” (or whatever it's called) floor. It might not be the fastest floor around — or the coolest — but at least it's not warping and twisting and popping-up ... well, at least for now, what the future may hold, we can only wait and see. Thanks to Harris for bringing the Pabst Blue Ribbon. But most of all, thanks to that left post.
The Pirates opened the Fall Playoff schedule against their newest arch nemesis: The Geriatrics. The Gerrys used to be a team that the Pirates could pad their stats against (most of #67's hat tricks are against them), but recently they have brought on some new personnel that have given their team a new “snarl.” In our last game against them, things got ugly as the bodies were flying. One of the Gerrys was eventually given a one-game suspension after a fracas with the ref. (He was “given” the suspension, but we doubt that he actually “served” the suspension. The rumor that spread throughout the rink was that if the he apologized he would be pardoned. But enough about that ...)
As the game got underway, the Pirates started with the lines of Russ-LeMatty-Wildman and Evan-Brooks-Nick on “O” with #67, Mike and Joe Baio on “D.” The Geriatrics came out flying and, as mentioned above, they rocketed an early shot off the post that would have given them a quick 1-0 lead had it gone in. They eventually bury one later to take that lead, but it could have been worse. The Pirates didn't know what hit them somewhere around the midway point in the 1st period when Seth found himself on a breakaway; it looked like he had Harris for the easy score, but instead of sitting back Harris charged him and forced him to mishandle the puck. With that you couldn't help looking up at the scoreboard and blink in amazement that the score was still only 1-0. The Pirates did have some chances of their own. #67 banked a clearing pass out of the zone that ended-up getting past the Geriatric defense and turned into a breakaway chance for Russ; Arena charged Russ, but missed the puck, and as Russ skated past the goalie stick suddenly flew past him on its way to the corner. Russ would miss the shot, but the bench erupted saying that a penalty shot should be awarded. The “old ref” finally blew the whistle and asked Scott Baldwin, “Did you see how that stick got there?” as he pointed at the goalie stick in the corner. Scott, shocked by the fact that someone actually thought he was watching the game, shook his head up-and-down and then side-to-side, and then waved his arms before finally deciding to skate over to the “old ref” for a conference. Since no one actually saw the incident (which is in itself amazing) they decided to award the Pirates a powerplay for a “delay of game” because one of the Geriatrics dislodged the net. (No one saw that either, but based on the outcome neither team was complaining — which for a referee call at GoodSports is also amazing). The Pirates were unable to score on that powerplay, but did put things together late in the 1st period on goals by Brooks (assist Joe Baio) and Russ (assist LeMatty). The Pirates, after being outplayed early, suddenly found themselves with the 2-1 lead at the break.
LeMatty would start the scoring in the final frame (assist Russ). An mishap at our blueline gave Seth another chance, and this time he rifled a shot to make it 3-2. On the next play, however, Nick redeemed himself when he charged up ice and got the puck to Brooks, giving the Pirates back their two-goal lead. (After the play, Nick signaled to Harris “That one's for you” as an apology for the previous incident.) Just as it seemed the Gerrys might try and stage an 11th-hour comeback, Joe Baio launched a shot from beyond the faceoff circle that found its way through the mass of humanity in front of the net and gave the Men In Black a 5-2 lead ... and a place in the Finals.
date of game: 11.14.07
1) SCOTT LEMATTY
For the game-winning, Semifinals-winning goal.
2) RUSS NICOLOSI
For his 2-point outing.
3) BOB BROOKS
For his 2-goal game.
(Not to be confused with Herb Brooks, below.)
WORDS OF WISDOM
We all know the inspirational speech Herb Brooks gave Team USA to rally them vs. the Soviets. But Herb has nothing on #67's son, Dave, who frequents Pirate games. Here's an example: After we took the 5-2 lead and the Gerrys called a timeout, Dave got on the rink and skated towards me. As I was taking a breather, he crouched over and said these motiviational words: “If you just don't let every shot in now, I think you guys will win.” — Harris