2/25/07 vs. Puckhawgs (1st Seed)
As noted in the playoff preview yesterday, our history against this team was not a good one. In addition, we were missing some key components for the matchup, but got an unexpected surprise as Doc was not out of town and came ready to play. We entered this game with a great deal of confidence and ready for a battle.
The game started out with the Puckhawgs dominating us in our own zone, firing shots from numerous areas and testing our defense and goaltending early on. However we were up to the task and once we settled down, the game began to go back and forth for the next few minutes. About 6 minutes into the period, we popped home a rebound to take an early 1-0 lead. This was the scenario we had hoped for before the game, build a lead and play solid defense. As the period continued on, the play was back and forth, with each team having opportunities to put the puck away. Our defense was playing very well, blocking passes, blocking shots and really frustrating their shooters. The Puckhawgs best chance came on a 3-on-1, but the puck carrier decided not to pass and fired a shot right into Josh’s glove to end the threat. After the ensuing faceoff, Josh flashed his right pad at shot from the slot, but the rebound caromed off a leg and shot right back at him, however he was quick to cover it up. Moments after these two plays, Lenny rushed down the right side and fired a wrist shot that slipped through the goalie and trickled to the back of the net to give us a 2-0 lead. having a two-goal lead was huge for us, but there were still 2 full periods to play.
The second period saw much of the same action as the first. There were numerous chances on both ends of the ice, with the Puckhawgs seeing the better of the opportunities, but Josh was on top of his game, stopping shot after shot. They had a couple of partial breakaways scattered throughout the period, but again, Josh continued to stifle their offense. The Puckhawgs thought they had finally scored a goal a little more than halfway through the period, as the puck sat on the goal line. As their player attempted to push it across, he banked it off the post and back in the other direction, still on the line. Josh reached back and swiped it off the line before it fully crossed and covered it up. Fortunately, the referee was in excellent position to see this play and immediately called it correctly. However, the Puckhawgs finally broke through with a few minutes remaining on a 2-on-1 that just slipped under Josh as he tried to slide over to cover the shot. Ending the period leading 2-1, we felt confident we could continue to play sound defense and pull out the upset victory. Little did we know what was about to take place.
Off the faceoff to start the third period, the puck wound up sliding back to the right of our goal and as Bob chased after it, he tried to swipe it away from an oncoming player, but swiped it right off our own goal post. The referee, who was standing close to the blue line, claimed he saw the puck bounce off the pad inside the goal, then pop out and called it a goal. Just seven seconds into the 3rd period, we were knotted up at two and the entire complextion of the game had changed. We tried to battle back, continuing to play the game we had been playing, but the Puckhawgs attack was very strong and began to overpower us in our own zone. With 8 minutes remaining, one of their players stepped out of the corner with the puck, cut to the front of the net and roofed a shot that (apparently) hit the netting in the top of the goal and bounced quickly down on the line. Josh claimed it hit the crossbar, because he heard it ping. If the puck did hit the bar, it would’ve never crossed the line, therefore it would not be a goal. Plus, it could not come down at the angle it did and have gone inside the net. His argument was futile, the Puckhawgs had taken the lead, 3-2 and the tide had completely turned. Just 3 minutes later, they poked home another rebound in front and made it 4-2. Moments after that, with less than 3 minutes to play, a pass out front was tipped home and the Puckhawgs were in complete control, leading 5-2. We continued to press on and eventually, Tom N. fired a high slapshot from the point that found the twine, bringing us to 5-3, with just more than a minute to play. Using our timeout, we discussed our plans for pulling the goalie and hopefully, grabbing another quick goal. With about one minute to go, we received a fortunate penalty called against them and with Josh out of the net, we piled on the pressure, having numerous shots and rebound oppotunities, however, one bounced away from everyone, right to one of their players, who skated in and depostied the puck in the empty net to ice the game at 6-3.
All in all, a valiant effort, thwarted by two poor calls that completely changed the complexion of the game.
Final score: 3-6
Next week is the consolation game for 3rd place. Our opponents and time TBA.