Monday, December 24, 2012

Fall 2012 AMHL Championship Week Roundup

Tuesday, December 18
Flyers vs. Penguins
Concord, MA

As Tonawanda (NY) residents watch (via satellite and streaming Internet) the AMHL Tuesday Championship game, referee Peter Bagley announces the return to five-on-five play in the third period. “All even!” he yells to the Flyers and Penguins, the teams tied at two goals.
 
Tonawanda native Mike Moore eludes two Penguins
Bereft of their beloved Buffalo Sabres, the good citizens of Tonawanda are on their feet to watch their native son, AMHL Flyers defenseman Mike Moore. Will Mikey, they wonder, be able to repeat his spectacular performance in the 2012 Summer Championship?
Moore played his youth hockey way back when Brighton Arena (where he says “the Moore brothers never learned how to backcheck”) didn’t have a roof. He later attended Kenmore East High School (2011-2012 Division II state hockey champs) and worked at Ted’s (Mike recommends the footlong  dog, toasted bun, with everything on it.)

Fast forward to Overtime, the Flyers and Penguins still tied, 2 –2. 

Moore strides forward—skating right to left across your AMHL Internet— cradling the puck and circumnavigating would-be defenders. A left-handed shooter, he arrives in enemy territory and skates below the right face-off circle. Backhand…goal!

Sweet victory for the Flyers, who win the donut-studded Koffey Cup, and fans in Upstate New York, who “head to Ted’s” (and then Paula’s Donuts).

Wednesday, December 19 
Sharks vs. Sabres
Concord, MA

Mike Moore doesn’t play on Wednesdays, but Tonawanderers have traversed the Internet again in search of Sabres hockey. They find the AMHL Wednesday Sabres, who eked out a penalty-filled 2 –1 victory last week against the Rangers, struggling to land shots on Sharks netminder Chris Bade.
 
The Sharks, who endured a seven-game mid-season losing streak, are riding hot goaltending and a three-game winning streak.
Chris Bade: All the Big Stops
 
Bade watches his offense-generating players, like defenseman Larry Brown, block shots. Up 3–0 in the second period and the Sabres shooting right to left across your Internet connection, Sharks forward  Rob Witty—a goal-per-game guy—takes one for the team.

In the third period and the Sharks nursing a shut-out, Tony “Sharkie” Psikarakis slides and sweeps the puck from a Sabre’s stick.
The Sabres score twice, though, and Tonawanda is all atwitter.

But Bade and company return to form and put the kibosh on a second celebration in Greater Buffalo. 


Sharkie credits his goalie, saying that Bade “made all the big stops.”

Thursday, December 20
Avalanche vs. Panthers
Concord, MA

Moore is playing on Thursday, for the AMHL  Bruins.  When the folks in Erie County learn Moore is on Rink Two, however, they are not consoled. South Jersey, though, is thrilled to witness one of its own playing for the Koffey Cup.
We join Brent Delehey  and his Panthers against the Avs. Delehey, a Bobby Clark fan if ever there was one, is amped up (after the game, he'll  say his increased intensity may have been caused by the two Aleves he took earlier this morning.) The most likely reason for his elevated compete level is not naproxen but rather that his eldest two sons, Jack and Kevin, are home from college.
The boys watch, from the stands behind the goal in the west end, as their dad wreaks havoc on the Avs.  Delehey is credited with two goals in the first period, and the Panthers lead, 5–3, in the second stanza.

Delehey shoves an Av in front of the players’ bench.  Merry Christmas from Bobby Clark.
“Geez,” one of the boys says as their feisty father skates to the sin bin, “Dad really took that guy out.”

The Panthers kill the penalty, and Delehey (whose nickname in college was “Brr”) is a free man.

Panthers Center Brent Delehey: Channeling His Inner Bobby Clark
To the third period, the Panthers ahead  5–4 and skating far end to near end, Brr plants himself in front of the Avalanche’s crease.  Teammate Paul Nelson shoots. Jack and Kevin watch as the puck deflects off their dad’s skate—and then trickles… over the goal line.
The college kids rise to their feet, applauding and hooting.

Delehey glances upward and flashes a wild child-like grin, not yet knowing that he will spend another two minutes in the penalty box, that the Avs would score on the power play…or that Panthers goalie Anthony Bonfiglio will save the day for the Deleheys, the AMHL Panthers, and all those Philly Flyers fans in the Garden  State.
Friday, December 21
Hawks vs. Whalers
Concord, MA

“It wasn’t our season,” says Moore, after yet another consolation game, this time playing for the Kings. The Royals lost last week to the Whalers, who advanced to play the Hawks.

We rewind the championship game to the second period and the Hawks winning, 5–2.  
Mike Travalent, who netted a hat trick last week against the Stars, shoots low and just inside the post to bolster the lead.

“Wear ‘em down, guys,” a Hawks bench jockey bellows, “Wear ‘em down.”

Neither team scores another goal in the second period, but the Hawks—comprised of several Stow (MA) residents,  score three more in the third to win going away, 9–3.
With that, the AMHL media wishes everyone—from Upstate New York to South Jersey to Middlesex County, MA— safe travels, a joyous Christmas, and happy New Year.


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