35S, no. 10; newsletter by r.n.)
The Pirates registered their 22nd League Championship in defeating the Chiefs 7-1. The game was a lot closer than the score indicates as the Pirates poured it on late to make the final tally pretty lopsided.
The team was missing Mike Farrell (still missing apparently) and Tim Hand (stuck on the NY Thruway). Joe Baio, the super-sub that has logged more time than most regulars recently, stepped in and allowed us to get the old swinging gate 99 off defense and create lines of Jay, Dan and Tony and Scott, Russ and Glenn, with the trio of Kevin, Darren and Joe on “D.” Joe's quick response was really important to the stability of the team. These were great lines that played well together and have on a consistent basis this year.
The game had an excellent pace early and the Chiefs scored the first goal when Montana scored a rebound from in close. When big Joe is playing center on one line and Montana on the other, they have some pretty big dudes camped out in front of our net. The only way to neutralize that is to try to move them, which is pretty futile, or not let the Chiefs sustain pressure in our zone. The latter was the story of the night.
It was a game that saw the role players stick to their roles and the scorers do their thing. Time after time Kevin, Tony, Jay and Gucci rushed the puck and time after time someone swooped-in behind them and covered their spots. All of this movement seemed to open the ice for some terrific outlet passes that created scoring chances. As usual when Tony is on the rink, goals were scored off the rush. Some nights it is because he undresses a few players and then leaves the goalie bewildered — Sunday it was “catch me if you can” then laying perfect pass after perfect pass. To be honest, all of this great play came as a result of Kevin getting very fired up and carrying us back into the game when we were trailing 1-0 after the opening shift. His combination of passes and blasts basically turned the momentum around early in the 1st period and then there was no stopping us. Jay's quick hands netted himself a hattrick as he got himself in the right spots to receive great passes.
Back on the defensive end, Harris made the big saves when needed and the defense did a nice job. Dan should be mentioned for two great defensive plays: With the score 3-1, I asked Dan to stay high in the offensive zone and concentrate on defense. On the first shift after this discussion I saw Dan dart to center ice and poke check Joe as he surely thought he had a breakaway; Later in the period, he out-muscled Montana for a loose puck in front of an empty net. Scott, Glenn and I locked it down most of the night, giving-up few chances and holding our own so that the scorers could score.
Congratulations to everyone on an awesome team effort.
FOR THE RECORD
Attendance (players): LeMatty, Gucci, McLaughlin, DiPierro, Nicolosi, Serkin, Toscano, Baio (sub). Net: Harris.
Scratches: Hand, Farrell (AWOL).
Scoring: 1st period: 2-1 Pirates: Goals by Serkin (McLaughlin); McLaughlin (none). 3rd period: 7-1 Pirates: Goals by McLaughlin (Toscano); Toscano (Baio); Serkin (Toscano); Serkin (Toscano); McLaughlin (Toscano).
date of game: 11.30.08
NUMBER 22 WITH A BULLET
After losing the first game of the season, the Pirates went on an 8-0-1 streak to win the Silver division and their 22nd franchise Championship. During the post-season, the No.1-seeded Pirates outscored their Playoff opponents 14-2 and won the Finals by six goals— the largest margin of victory in their 12-year history.
[ view celebration pics / click here ]
1) KEVIN MCLAUGHLIN
For the hattrick and the GWCWG (Game-Winning, Championship-Winning Goal).
2) JASON SERKIN
For the hattrick.
3) ANTHONY TOSCANO
For his 5-point, 4-assist night.
AND THE WINNERS ARE ...
In the wake of the victory the polls opened on the voting for the season's trophies. Check out the winners, including the Conn Smythe for Playoff MVP.
[ trophies / click here ]