Monday, September 01, 2008

AMHL Wednesday Championship: Wicked Good

Editor’s note: Thanks to rinkside reporter, Iron Butterfly fan, and Shark forward Terry “the Ear” Loebs for filing this report—complete with a wicked Baaston accent.

I owe him a coffee-flavored beeah or a beeah-flavored coffee (and a donut).

August 27, 2008
Rink One

Shaaks vs. Habs

Sharks swimming right to left across your mind’s ears…

Thanks to the acrobatic goaltending of Kate Fallon, who turned aside shots from (in degree of difficulty order) Anastas, Donahue, Corke, Mandarano and Fox, the Shaaks managed to open a 2–0 lead. The first maaker for the Shaaks came after Shark Mike Tavis dove headlong towards the boards to keep the puck in the zone. After righting himself, he kicked the puck to Bob “Postal Tape Boy” Kilkenny, who then dished smaatly to Terry “I Can Ear You” Loebs. Loebs wound-up the windmill center slot, closed his eyes tight, and made contact with the biscuit, which found its way through a maze of players and the fully-inflated (Garth Snow signature model) pads of goaltender Mitch Weiss. However, it would take much more than a lucky goal like to this to deflate the Habs’ spirit (or Weiss’s pads).

Seven minutes and several scintillating flashes of leather (by Fallon and Weiss) later, Canada-born Marc (“Maak the Knife”) Vallee ginsu’d his way through the neutral zone with two Habs defenders clinging to his back. To no avail—Maak managed a one-armed roof job over a sprawling Weiss. 2–0 Shaaks.

Now in the second period, the Habs were pissed now: Not only had the Shaaks managed to take a 2–0 lead halfway through the match, but the fact that they did so without any assistance from Mike “Show No” Moore—a no-show for this championship contest—was especially grating on the collective psyche of le bleu, blanc et rouge.

As Weiss nailed the door shut with save after sprawl, the Habs soon got busy. Paul Anastas weaved his way from end-to-end, leaving five Shaak jocks in his wake and then deposited the disc in the top right corner. The Habs followed that tally with a maaker from Tim Donahue from in-close, and then a gorgeous re-direction of a Donahue pass by Bill Mandarano cutting across the slot in front of Shaaks goaltender Fallon. 3–2 Habs.

The Shaaks, known for their thick skin, wicked shaap teeth and no Moore, were still down but not out as third period play began. Numerous chances were registered by the tenacious teal—including from Postal Tape Boy, "Grinder" Greg Longtine, Kevin "Well Done" Weldon, and Jamal “In a Gadda” Davita—but Weiss was there to deny every opportunity. Larry "Downtown" Brown had a blast from the point that clanged the crossbar. With the Shaaks threatening and within whiskers of knotting the score—and Kate Fallon standing on her head stopping multiple odd–man rushes—the Habs decided it was time to interrupt the fishes’ mounting mojo by calling for a timeout with 5:30 to go before the next drop of the puck, deep in the Habs’ zone.

On the ensuing draw, the Shaaks' Postal Tape Boy won the draw back to Larry Brown (presumably, this was not part of the plan the Habs concocted). Downtown fired a wicked haaad shot that Weiss denied with his left leg pad, but Loebs was there to pick up the trash and tie the score 3–3 with just under five minutes to play. The timeout strategy worked swiftly and effectively—albeit, for the fish.

The Shaaks countered several Hab attacks over the course of the game’s final minutes, and riding the euphoria of another Fallon stop, they lumbered down to the Habs’ end (although Longtine raced there). Tavis to Vallee to Weldon to Longtine, back to Tavis, and then after a few hacks, whiffs and saves in the crease, Chuck “a Puck” Livoli found an opening and fired an absolute laser beam through the back of the net (that's how Livoli would describe it, anyway).to put the Shaaks up for good, 4–3.

Following the game, Livoli remaaaked, “We had one more goal than they did at the end of three periods, so we won. By winning the final game of the play-offs, we are the champs. As champs, we get beer to go, eh?”

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