6/25/07 vs Black Jacks (5-6-1)
For the third week in a row, we needed a big win to keep our playoff hopes alive. Fortunately, we were holding our own destiny and with a win, we could inch closer to clinching that playoff berth. Standing in our way were the Black Jacks, whom we defeated earlier in the season 7-2, although the game was much closer than the score.
The start of this game saw the Black Jacks take some offensive control, firing shots on goal as often as possible, however, on a harmless play from the blue line, Marc dumped the puck towards the net, but it was deflected and slid inside the goal to give us an early 1-0 lead.,It was Marc’s 5th goal of the season, along with Lyle and Bob’s first points of the year for their assists. The game stayed pretty even for both teams, although Josh made one fantastic save on a pass into the slot that was redirected towards the top corner. He was sliding over as the puck was deflected and popped his right elbow out to just knock it over the bar. It continued to be a back and forth game until just inside 5 minutes to go, when off a faceoff, a light shot from the point was just barely grazed, which changed its path and skipped between Josh’s pads to knot the game at 1. We did not crumble though and with less than a minute to go, off a tremendous effort by Ed to beat out an icing call, he made a pass to Doug, who returned the feed as Lenny was streaking into the slot. Ed made a perfect pass and Lenny rifled a shot into the far corner for his 5th of the year as well, to give us our lead back heading into the second period.
Early into the period, the Black Jacks seemed to take some control of the game, however, Tom S. blocked a pass through the high slot and raced down alone on the goalie. He made a sweet move to avoid a pokecheck and slid the puck into the empty net to give us a 2 goal lead. That was short lived however, as Bob made his way to the penalty box (as usual!) for roughing. With 25 seconds left in his penalty, one their players was left all alone in front and had all day to find the back of the net and cut the lead back to one. The next 10 minutes provided some nonstop, end to end action, with each team finding scoring chances hard to come by. Josh made a big stop with about 5 minutes to go as a rebound bounced out to the slot and an awaiting Black Jacks player. He tried using a fake to move Josh to his right, but he didn’t bite and snagged the shot with his glove. With just over 2 minutes to go, Tom S. was called for holding on a partial breakaway and with him in the box, the Black Jacks again applied some pressure. However, again, some solid defense and a great play by Lenny in the slot turned into a breakaway for Ed, who also avoided a pokecheck and fired the puck into the empty net for a shorthanded goal, to regain our 2 goal advantage at the end of the period.
We began the third period with the intention to play strong defense and attempt to keep the Black Jacks from gaining quality scoring chances, but at the 2:36 mark, Keith was called for a trip and we went back to the penalty kill. About a minute later, Doug found Ed in the neutral zone for another breakaway, but this time he needed to make a slick move to get away from the oncoming defenseman and the goalie before lifting the puck into the net to build our lead to 5-2 on another shorthanded tally. Just moments after Keith’s penalty expired though, Bob was sent back to the box for roughing, which started an onslaught of Black Jacks offense. Just 45 seconds into the penalty, Doc was called for a high stick to give them a 5-on-3 advantage. The Black Jacks used their timeout at this point, knowing if they could score here, they were right back in the game. They cycled the puck around and fired off some great shots, but Josh was equal to the task and we were able to kill both penalties off and return to full strength. This did not deter them however, as with just over 5 minutes remaining, a pass came to the slot and even though the defenseman seemed to tie up their player, he was able to get a great shot off which found the upper corner, to cut the lead back down to two. Even though they were coming at us again, firing shots from everywhere, our defense was playing strong and getting the pucks out of the zone frequently. With about 1:30 remaining, the Black Jacks pulled their goalie for the extra attacker, but never really got any good puck movement inside our zone and we were able to withstand the pressure to hold onto the win and gain the precious 2 points we needed.
Final Score: 5-3 (6-5-2)
Up next week, our final regular season game against Gang Green, whom we also beat earlier in the season. This game may determine our playoff status. A win and we’re definitely in, anything else, and we may need some help.