Chuck Ugalde Memorial Cup Champions 2011-2015

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2015/SUMMER/NORTH: Daloisio's 0.67 Playoff GAA Brings Phantoms Second Title in Three Seasons

August 27, 2015

The season after winning the fall/winter championship was a disappointing one for the Phantoms, finishing in fifth place with a first round exit.  Looking to take back the title, the Phantoms made some moves in the offseason.  They would lose some key scorers in Bobby Griffin and Jimmy Rotan as well as Damon Cassaro and Al Cavallo, but they picked up rookies Bob Hicks and Jimmy Gensch while big body presence Mike Finnen returned to the roster.  Between the pipes, the departure of Tony Bucci opened the door for free agent star goaltender Kyle Daloisio to step in.

The Phantoms got off to a slow start, losing the opener to Freddy’s HC 7-5, and then letting a late 1-0 lead slip away against the Banana Pancakes to fall by the final of 2-1.  They quickly put it together though as they won their next two games by a combined score of 22-2 over the Pterodactyls and Ice Men.  The rest of the season featured much closer games, but the Phantoms continued winning as they beat the Pancakes 5-4, the Muskrats 5-3, and Freddy’s HC 4-3, extending their winning streak to five games in which they defeated all five North Division opponents.  They had a chance to clinch second place and a quarterfinal bye with a win in their final game against the Ice Men, but they fell by the score of 7-5.  The Phantoms’ 5-3 record was good enough to finish in third place as they tied Freddy’s HC for the fewest goals allowed, thanks to Daloisio’s league-leading GAA of 3.01.  On the opposite end of the ice, James “The Orca” Whalen finished tied for third in goals with 13, but overall it was a bit of a subdued season for what is usually a very dangerous Phantoms offense as Kyle “The Kraken” Krannich scored only nine goals.

With their third place finish, the Phantoms’ quarterfinal opponent would be the last place Pterodactyls, who had possibly their worst season in franchise history with only one win.  The Phantoms wasted no time in getting on the scoreboard as Kyle “The Kraken” Krannich scored a minute into the game.  Lou LoSapio made it 2-0 five minutes later, and Bob Hicks and Doug Meade scored to make it 4-0.  The Phantoms killed off a Phil Meade bodychecking penalty near the conclusion of the first period, and then a Caleb Luther penalty tripping penalty early in the second.  They then scored three goals in a span of 43 seconds, two from Phil Meade and one from the Kraken, to take control of this game as they went up by a touchdown.  Hicks scored again to make it 8-0 after two periods.  The onslaught continued in the third as Luther added a goal.  He took a tripping penalty later on though, but once again the Phantoms’ penalty killers came through, and this time they even added a shorthanded goal as LoSapio registered his second tally of the evening.  James “The Orca” Whalen made his way into the goal column, and Daloisio finished the shutout to send the Pterodactyls into the offseason and the Phantoms into the semifinals.

In the semis, the Phantoms would run into the young and speedy summer-only team Banana Pancakes, who finished just ahead of the Phantoms for second place and were looking to get back into the championship after losing there last summer.  This 2 vs. 3 matchup was expected to be close, as both of their regular season meetings were decided by only one goal.  It was a while before either team was able to get on the scoreboard in this one.  Late in the first period, the speed of the Banana Pancakes drew a hooking penalty from Phil Meade.  Once again, the Phantoms’ penalty killers delivered, and Luther scored just four seconds after the penalty ended to give the Phantoms a 1-0 lead.  In the final minute of the first, the Phantoms would go on their first powerplay of the postseason, and Paul “Revere” Doran made it count as he put the Phantoms up 2-0 going into the second.

Thirteen seconds into the second, Kevin Inglis made it a three-goal game, and the Kraken and the Orca made it 5-0 less than five minutes later.  The Phantoms went on another powerplay halfway through the second, but this time they were stopped.  However, Daloisio put forth another shutout period as he was yet to give up a goal in the five periods of playoff hockey he had played so far.  His shutout streak would come to an end in the third though, as the Phantoms finally surrendered a goal three and a half minutes into the period.  They still had a commanding lead, and they would add to it as Inglis scored his second of the night with six minutes remaining.  Shortly afterwards, with Daloisio continuing to stymy any hopes of a Pancakes comeback, the Orca notched his second of the evening to put the icing on the cake for a huge 7-1 win.  Having outscored their feeble foes 18-1 in the quarterfinal and semifinal, the Phantoms would advance to the championship to take on a more formidable opponent, first place Freddy’s HC.

Freddy’s HC had a great regular season, finishing with only one loss and averaging over nine goals a game.  They reached the championship with a quarterfinal bye as a result of their first place finish, and then an 8-2 blowout win over the Ice Men in the semis.  Their top two scorers, Vinny Bird and Jake Worby, led the league in goals, assists, and points, so the Phantoms’ defense and goaltending would be put to the test in this one.  After nine minutes of these two heavyweights sizing each other up, the Phantoms struck first with Luther’s third goal in as many games.  Three minutes later, the Orca scored to make it 2-0 as Daloisio once again kept the puck out of his net for a full period.

Hicks scored two minutes into the third to make it 3-0 Phantoms as they started to pull away.  The Kraken notched his fourth goal late in the period to make this a four-goal game.  They would go on a powerplay with two minutes to go, but it was cut short when Finnen took a slashing penalty thirty seconds later. 

Just one period away from clinching their second championship in three seasons, the Phantoms opened the third by killing off what remained of Finnen’s penalty to stay up 4-0 as the penalty kill unit maintained their 100% success rate.  The powerful offense of Freddy’s HC pushed as hard as they could to get back in this game, but Kyle Daloisio continued to stop everything.  Halfway through the third, the Orca scored to make it 5-0.  Feeling the championship slipping away, Freddy’s HC called a timeout, but Whalen added another goal, his sixth of the playoffs, just 28 seconds later.  Time fell off the clock with Freddy’s still unable to score, until LoSapio took a roughing penalty with two minutes remaining.  This time, the penalty killers finally faltered as Worby scored to break Daloisio’s shutout, but the damage had already been done as the Phantoms would win this championship game by the final score of 6-1, steamrolling their way through the playoffs to capture their second championship in three seasons.

With tremendous playoff performances were obviously Kyle Daloisio, breaking his own record for postseason GAA, at an incredible 0.67, James “The Orca” Whalen with six goals in three games, and Kyle “The Kraken” Krannich with four.  With Daloisio returning for the fall/winter along with the core of Krannich, Whalen, and Doran, the Phantoms look to continue laying siege on the rest of the North Division, as they have the pieces in place to become the PTAHL’s next dynasty.


 front:  Kyle Daloisio
 middle:  Kyle Krannich, Bill Malthaner, Doug Meade, James Whalen
 back:  Caleb Luther, Paul Doran, Mike Finnen, Mike Smitko, Phil Meade, Kevin Inglis, Bob Hicks, Lou LoSapio
 not pictured:  Jimmy Gensch

2015/SUMMER/CENTRAL: Expansion Vikings Invade PTAHL as Bird's Seven Goals Lead Team to Championship

August 30, 2015

The expansion Vikings were assembled prior to the Summer 2015 season by PTAHL veteran Vinny Bird.  The roster would feature Freddy’s HC teammates forward Dan Lewycky, defensemen Sean “O’Doyle Rules” Doyle, Mark Kulbida, and Chuck Ugalde, and goaltender Paul Kulbida.  Joining them would be former Freddy’s HC members Rob Pinzon, who also played for the Green Brook Berets, and Roman Tabatchouk, along with a collection of rookies referred to by Ugalde as “the Goombahs from Staten Island.” 

The Vikings made a big statement in their first PTAHL game, crushing the defending champion Green Brook Berets by the score of 6-1 as Bird registered a natural hat trick in the first period of his team’s first game.  They won their next three games as well to stay undefeated halfway through the season.  However, their next game would come against the Stingrays, who moved to the Central Division after struggling in the North, and had been neck-and-neck with the Vikings all season long.  A win here would give the Vikings a victory over each of their opponents, but they fell to the Stingrays in a 5-4 nailbiter.  The Vikings would finish the season strongly though, with an 8-2 win over the Biohazards, a shutout victory against the Berets, and a 5-3 win over SHI to finish the season tied for first place with the Stingrays.  The loss in the lone head-to-head meeting with the Stingrays resulted in the Vikings finishing in second place, but that was still good enough for a quarterfinal bye as their 49 goals scored was second in the league, and their 20 goals against was by far the fewest.  Captain Vinny Bird finished first in goals while Joe Colucci and Dan Lewycky were in the top ten in points, and Paul Kulbida led in GAA at 2.50 and shutouts with two.

In the semifinals, the Vikings would be matched up against the third place Berets, who were looking to earn their second consecutive PTAHL championship.  Their recent meeting was a close one with a final score of 2-0 after a late Vikings goal, but the Vikings were more prepared this time around.  After the Vikings failed to capitalize on a two-man-advantage, Joe Colucci put them ahead late in the first period.  They would then go shorthanded thanks to a Joe Galante penalty, but Bird, whose three shorthanded goals led the league in the regular season, scored another one before the period ended to make it 2-0.  The Vikings killed the remainder of Galante’s penalty to start the second, but they would eventually give up a goal that cut the lead back down to one.  Colucci scored again late in the period though, sending the Vikings into the third with a 3-1 advantage.  Lewycky added a goal early in the third as Kulbida continued to deny the Green Brook shooters.  Bird added a couple late insurance goals to finish off a hat trick and seal the victory by the final of 6-1, sending the Vikings to the championship in their first season of existence.

In the championship, as fate would have it, the Vikings would take on the Stingrays—whom they tied for first for place, and the only team the Vikings had not yet beaten.  To win this game, the Vikings would need to find a way to slow down the Stingrays’ league-leading offense, most notably Eddie Boscaino, who scored the most points in the league.  Just one minute into this glory-deciding game, Mike Puliafico put the Vikings on top.  They would yield a tying goal six minutes later, but Bird was quick to respond as he put his team back in the lead just eighteen seconds afterwards.  Boscaino scored a powerplay goal thanks to another Galante penalty two minutes later to tie the game, but Mark Kulbida put the Vikings in the lead thirty seconds later.  They would then kill off a Puliafico tripping penalty to stay ahead 3-2 going into the second.

Bird scored forty seconds into the second period to take a two-goal lead, but he gave the Stingrays a chance to get back within one when he took a high-sticking penalty.  The Vikings killed the penalty, and then went on a powerplay of their own shortly afterwards, which ended with another goal from Bird, good enough for another hat trick.  Ricky Fiore added a late goal as Paul Kulbida kept the Stingrays off the board in this period, putting the Vikings just one period away from earning the honorable title of PTAHL champions in just their first season as they enter the third period with a 6-2 lead.

The Stingrays came out hungry in the third, scoring an early goal to get back within three.  Bird’s leadership skills came into question a minute later when he took a cross-checking penalty that could have made this game even closer, but his teammates were able to bail him out.  The Stingrays did score the next goal though with just over six minutes remaining to make this a 6-3 game.  Kulbida battled to hold them off though as his offense provided the team with a multi-goal cushion.  The Stingrays pulled their goaltender for an extra skater, but this only resulted in Bird scoring on the empty net for his seventh goal of the two-game postseason as the Vikings sealed the deal on an impressive inaugural season.  With this victory, the Vikings become the first team to be crowned champions in their first season since the Replacements accomplished that feat in the 2011-12 Fall/Winter season.

In addition to Bird’s performance of seven-goals, including both game-winners, Dan Lewycky put forth a solid playoff showing with four points, and Joe Colucci registered three points as Paul Kulbida matched his stingy regular season GAA at 2.50.  The Vikings expect to be a staple near the top of the Central Division standings, and they fully intend on competing for another championship.  However, with their accomplished first season, they are sure to have a target on their back, and the rest of the division will likely increase in skill level to match the mark the Vikings have set.  Only time will tell if Bird and "The Goombahs" are able to handle the pressure.

 Paul Kulbida, Mark Kulbida, Rob Pinzon, Vinny Bird, Dan Lewycky, Chuck Ugalde, Mike Puliafico, Bryan DelGrasso, Ricky Fiore, Sean Doyle, Joe Galante, Joe Colucci
 not pictured:  Roman Tabatchouk, Joe Carrara

2015/SUMMER/SOUTH: Archers Repeat as Champs as Melillo Nets Nine

August 30, 2015

The defending champion Archers came into this season expecting to retain their title as they took the ice with an identical roster, except with the return of defenseman Jimmy “Butch” Cassidy, who missed the spring season with an ankle injury sustained in the fall/winter championship defeat to the Biohazards.  The Archers opened the season strong in a semifinal rematch where they blanked SHIce-T 5-0.  They dropped their next game though to the Rink Rats, but bounced back with a big 13-6 win over the Mini Melts :-).  They would lose another close one to the Rats in their next game to sit at .500 at the season’s midpoint.  The Archers picked up more points in the standings but remained uninspiring as they almost let a 6-0 lead slip away against the Melts and then were the beneficiaries of a Rink Rats forfeit.  They ended the season with two big wins over SHIce-T though to finish with a record of 6-2, tying the Rats for first place, thanks largely to the goaltending of Mike Davison, whose league-leading GAA of 3.02 was enough to negate the disappointing sophomore season Shane “Jax” Hine was having with only five goals.

Despite losing the season series to the Rink Rats, the Archers would take first place by virtue of the Rink Rats having a forfeit, and would meet the Mini Melts :-) in the semifinals.  Although they finished in last place, the Mini Melts :-) had league-leading goal-scorer Fritz Brown on the roster, and the Archers would need to make sure they stop him if they were to clinch their fifth straight championship appearance.  Brown scored early in the game as the underdog Melts took the ice with confidence after nearly completing a historic comeback in their previous meeting.  Josh Sumoski scored later in the period to tie the game, but the Archers yielded a second goal to Brown just seven seconds later, and then another one before the period ended as Brown had already notched a hat trick and the Archers went into the second period trailing 3-1.

After killing off Mike Zaffarese’s weekly tripping penalty early in the second period, the Archers focused on erasing this two-goal deficit, and Chris Melillo scored about halfway through the period to cut the lead down to one.  Later on, Kevin Inglis scored to send this game into the third tied at three.  In the third period, the Archers took complete control.  Marc Vermette scored in the opening minute to put them in the lead, and Melillo scored again three minutes later to make it 5-3.  Two minutes afterwards, he would score another one to finish off a hat trick, and then made it a natural hat trick just 32 seconds later with third consecutive goal and fourth of the game.  With five and a half minutes remaining, Melillo would add yet another goal to make it 8-3 Archers as they were now cruising to another championship appearance with Davison denying all shots from the Mini Melts :-).  Mike Malarowski added a late goal, and Melillo notched one more to give himself six in the game, sending the Archers to the championship with a big 10-3 comeback victory.

In the championship, the Archers would run into their rival, the Rink Rats.  The roots of the Archers can be traced to the Rink Rats when they were playing in an inferior league.  The team was set to split into two rosters, but the split did not go as planned and a handful of players were left with no team to play on, so they set sail for greener pastures in the PTAHL and helped revitalize a diminishing Trashers roster, rebranding the team as the Replacements, and eventually becoming the Archers.  This would be the second PTAHL season for the Rink Rats, and they fared very well, tying the Archers for first place with a record of 6-2.  They also tied in fewest goals allowed at 21 while the Rats scored the most goals at 54.  During the regular season, the Rink Rats won two of their three meetings with the only Archers win happening via forfeit, so the Archers were yet to beat the Rats on the ice this season.

Just over five minutes into the game, Melillo scored to give the Archers a lead, and Josh Sumoski followed up 37 seconds later to quickly make it 2-0.  Melillo and Sumoski would each score less than a minute apart later in the period as well, putting the Archers ahead 4-0.  With two and a half minutes remaining in the first, Melillo completed a hat trick with his ninth goal of the playoffs to make it 5-0.  The Archers finally surrendered a goal with just over a minute to go, but they remained up by four heading into the second period.

The Archers were awarded a penalty shot early in the second, but Ryan Amann was unable to convert.  However, they held the Rats to just their one goal, and Shane “Jax” Hine scored with six minutes remaining to regain the five-goal lead.  Undisciplined play allowed the Rats to get back in the game though, as Mike Zaffarese was called for bodychecking and Vermette took a tripping penalty on the same shift, giving the Rink Rats a two-man advantage late in the second.  The Rink Rats finished the season with two of the top three in points, Nick Graham and captain Joe Maresca, Jr., and both of them would capitalize on this powerplay as they narrowed the lead to 6-3 just in time for the third period.

A minute and a half into the third, with momentum slipping away from the defending champion Archers, captain Jason Fischbach picked a great time to register his first point of the playoffs as he put his team back up by four.  Maresca would score with five and a half minutes to go, putting the score at 7-4, but the Archers refused to let the Rats create another rally, and frustration began to mount.  The Rats had by far the fewest penalty minutes in the regular season with only 18, but they took 12 in this game, six of which just in the third period when they were trying to make a comeback.  The league’s best goaltender, Mike Davison, shut the door the rest of the way as the Archers held on for their second consecutive championship.  

With the most noteworthy playoff performances were certainly Chris Melillo, whose nine goals in two games were more than half of his team's postseason tallies, and Josh Sumoski, who registered three goals.  The Archers, who have now appeared in five straight championships and won the last two, look to repeat once again in the fall/winter season as they hope to cement their place in hockey history as one of only a few PTAHL dynasties.


 front:  Mike Zaffarese, Ryan Amann, Josh Sumoski, Val Fuchs, Taka Okai, Mike Davison
 back:  Shane Hine, Chris Melillo, David Fischbach, Kevin Inglis, Jason Fischbach, Marc Vermette, Mike Malarowski, Michal Sivulka
 not pictured:  Kevin Horstman, Jimmy Cassidy

2015/SPRING/NORTH: New Faces Lead Vudoos to Glory in Comeback Fashion

June 15, 2015

After finishing in sixth out of seven teams in the last two seasons they played, the Vudoos were looking to make some changes coming into the Spring 2015 season.  They were giving up too many goals, so they made a change between the pipes, bringing in rookie goaltender Phil Burrows, and they added speedy two-way defenseman Dan “Elvis” Pressl.  They also brought in Rem “R.E.M. Speedwagon” Vanderbeek for some scoring depth.  Despite the changes, the Vudoos lost their season-opener to the Muskrats, but bounced back with a win against the defending champion Phantoms.  They won their next two games as a few late goals led to a shootout win over Freddy’s HC, and then an ineligible player on the Phantoms yielded a forfeit win, although the Vudoos won the game anyway.  They then continued to extend this winning streak over the Stingrays, and then over the Ice Men with another shootout as star forward Wes “Side” Dorey noted in a postgame interview that this isn’t the same old Vudoos anymore.  In their next two games, they scored a total of nineteen goals as they beat down the Pterodactyls and Ice Men. 

Their winning streak was finally snapped at seven in their next-to-last game when they fell to the Pterodactyls 8-3.  Immediately following the game, a frustrated Dorey presciently quipped, “See you in the playoffs with our full team.”  The Vudoos bounced back with a big 10-5 win over the Muskrats in the season finale, finishing tied with the Pterodactyls for first place with a record of 6-2-2-0, but the Vudoos would take second as the Pterodactyls had them beat with the most regulations win tiebreaker.  This season, the Vudoos surrendered only three goals more than the league-fewest as Burrows made a big impact in net along with Pressl’s defense.

As a reward for their outstanding regular season, the Vudoos would take on the last place Stingrays in the quarterfinals.  The Stingrays struggled to score goals, but star goalie Kyle Daloisio kept them in games as their lone meeting in the regular season was won by the Vudoos by the low score of 4-2.  The Vudoos jumped out to an early lead in this one as Mike DuHaime opened the scoring, but they gave up a pair of quick goals to fall behind 2-1.  However, Chris Potts and R.E.M. Speedwagon scored just sixteen seconds apart to put the Vudoos back on top 3-2 going into the second.  David St. Louis scored to increase the lead, but the Stingrays got back within one soon afterwards.  However, Wes “Side” Dorey made it 5-3 with one period left to play.  Potts added another goal in the opening minute of the third to make it a three-goal game, and J.R. Wappel scored on a wrist shot from the point that found its way into the net as the Vudoos began to take a comfortable lead, now up 7-3.  With 8:42 to go, Dan Nacinovich increased the lead to five.  They gave up a goal later in the game, but the damage was already done as the Vudoos clinched a spot in the semifinals with an 8-4 victory.

Their semifinal opponent would be a formidable one as they were matched up against third place Freddy’s HC.  Freddy’s finished with only one more goal given up than the Vudoos, with 54, and tied them for the second most scored at 72.  To beat Freddy’s, the Vudoos would need to slow down Vinny Bird and rookie Elie Klein.  Klein and Bird both finished with 27 points, just ahead of Dorey at 26.  Goaltender Paul Kulbida was also having a great season with the second-lowest GAA at 4.93.  Despite the goaltending, the Vudoos’ only meeting with Freddy’s in the regular season was a high-scoring slugfest that culminated with the Vudoos capitalizing on a couple late powerplays to tie the game and then win in a shootout.  In this game, the Vudoos fell behind in the opening minute, but bounced back with goals from the Potts and Pans line as Chris Potts and Wes “Side” Dorey put the Vudoos up 2-1.  They gave up a tying goal, but DuHaime got that one right back to give the Vudoos a 3-2 lead heading into the second.

Dorey made it a two-goal game with a powerplay goal in the first minute of the second period, but Freddy’s quickly got back within one and then promptly tied the game at four.  Late in the period, Freddy’s took a 5-4 lead as this see-saw battle continued into the third. 

Klein scored his second of the game early in the third to give Freddy’s a two-goal lead with their fourth straight tally.  However, Bird took a tripping penalty a minute later, and Dan “The Pretzel” Pressl scored on the powerplay to cut the lead in half.  Freddy’s remained ahead 6-5 with ten minutes to go, but then top defenseman Alex Gorden was issued a roughing minor and a ten-minute misconduct for a hit on captain Billy DeGaetano.  Once again the Vudoos were determined to make Freddy’s pay for their undisciplined play, and Wappel scored on the powerplay to tie this game at six.  The powerplay was over, but Freddy’s was now without their top defenseman for the rest of this nailbiter.   Elvis Pressl scored again with four and a half minutes remaining, giving the lead back to the Vudoos.  However, this game was not over yet as Bird tied the game with just two minutes remaining.  The Vudoos remained focused though, and with just 32 seconds to go, R.E.M. Speedwagon found the Pretzel open in the high slot, and he made no mistake as he scored to finish off a hat trick and give the Vudoos the lead for the last time as they emerged from this back and forth battle as the victors, clinching their first PTAHL championship appearance.

Appropriately, the Vudoos would take on the Pterodactyls in the championship.  These teams tied for first, but the Pterodactyls gave up the fewest goals in the league and also scored the most by 16 as the league’s top three in points were all on the Pterodactyls’ roster, and goaltender Scott Brady posted the league’s best GAA at 4.91.  The Pterodactyls were also out for redemption after their run of three consecutive championships was ended by the Phantoms last season.  Regardless of the statistics and the history, the Vudoos were ready for the challenge as Dorey alluded to after losing to the Pterodactyls in the regular season.

It became apparent early on that this would be no easy series once the Pterodactyls took a 3-0 lead by the end of the first period of Game 1.  Potts scored a pair of goals in the second to bring the Vudoos within one, but a hooking penalty taken by Wappel allowed the Pterodactyls to score a goal just before the end of the second to take a 4-2 lead.  The Pterodactyls scored twice about a minute apart early in the third to open the lead up even further.  Dorey scored soon afterwards, but the Vudoos were unable to turn this into a rally as the Pterodactyls struck again.  Potts finished off a hat trick with four minutes to go, but again the Pterodactyls responded to maintain a four-goal lead.  The Vudoos ran out of time before they could mount a comeback, but they showed signs of resilience as Vanderbeek scored and Potts registered his fourth of the game to make the final score a more respectable 8-6.

Despite the positive note to build on at the end of that game, Game 2 was a must-win as a loss here would end the season.  The Vudoos decided to alter their approach, creating different line combinations to throw off the Pterodactyls line-matching strategy, moving Pressl back and forth from defense to forward, and wearing their alternate blue jerseys.  This time, the Vudoos scored first as Dan Poreda opened the scoring about four and a half minutes in.  The Pterodactyls got that goal back soon afterwards, but Nacinovich made sure the Vudoos left the first period with the lead as he stole the puck from top defenseman Sean Rappleyea right next to his net and then scored.  The Pterodactyls tied the game five minutes into the second, and then took a 3-2 lead with a powerplay goal resulting from another penalty taken by Wappel.  DeGaetano tied the game back up at three, but with just over a minute remaining in the period, a blatant trip committed by the Pterodactyls went uncalled, and the Vudoos were issued a bench minor for protesting the non-call.

The Vudoos killed the remainder of that penalty to start the third, and DuHaime scored four and a half minutes into the period to give them a 4-3 lead.  With 8:16 remaining, David St. Louis drew league-leading scorer Steve Osvold into matching minors for roughing, keeping him off the ice during a time his team needed him as they tried to tie the game.  Nonetheless, the Pterodactyls were able to tie the game with Osvold in the box and 6:46 remaining in the third.  Sixteen seconds later, the Vudoos would go shorthanded as Poreda took a high-sticking penalty.  While killing this penalty, Dorey was sent off for tripping, giving the Pterodactyls a chance to score the championship-clinching goal with a late five-on-three.  However, the Vudoos called a timeout to strategize, and they did a great job of executing the PK, but just as Poreda’s penalty ended, Potts was sent off for hooking, extending the two-man advantage to a full two minutes.  With top players Potts and Dorey watching from the penalty box, all the pressure was on Burrows and the penalty killers, who did an incredible job shutting down the league’s top line in a lengthy five-on-three situation.  Dorey’s penalty ended, and 36 seconds later, the penalty kill was complete as Potts escaped from the box with the game still tied at four. 

They were not finished overcoming adversity yet though, as Dorey was called for another penalty with 1:38 remaining.  Once again, the Vudoos came through with a crucial penalty kill that extended into overtime.  A minute and a half into the overtime period, the Vudoos streak of four straight penalties finally ended when Rappleyea was called for holding.  Just eighteen seconds into the powerplay, Potts scored to end the game and keep the Vudoos’ season alive as they forced a decisive Game 3.

After this emotional victory led by the penalty killers, the Vudoos were hungry for the win in Game 3 to end this thrilling series as the champions.  Potts opened the scoring with just over five minutes to go in the first, but Rappleyea tied the game two minutes later.  The Vudoos left the first period with the lead though as Jake Nechrebecki tipped a pass out of mid-air and into the net with ten seconds to go.  The Pterodactyls scored two early goals in the second to take a 3-2 lead as this series was still in either team’s hands.  With two and a half minutes to go in the middle frame, Potts scored again to send this game into the third tied at three.

Four minutes into the third period, Nacinovich scored to put the Vudoos back on top.  Just eighteen seconds later, DeGaetano scored to give his team a 5-3 lead with just over ten minutes to go.  The Pterodactyls battled hard to get back in this one, but the Vudoos didn’t come all this way to let this lead slip away from them as Burrows slammed the door shut.  With two and a half minutes remaining, the Pterodactyls got desperate as they pulled Brady for an extra skater, but this only allowed Dorey to score on the empty net fifteen seconds later.  Rappleyea scored for the Pterodactyls afterwards, but they would get no closer as the Vudoos took Game 3 by the final score of 6-4 to earn the prestigious title of PTAHL champions.

The most noteworthy postseason performers were Chris Potts with six goals and five assists for eleven points, Wes "Side" Dorey with five goals and two assists, and Dan Nacinovich who also registered seven points.  In addition, rookie Dan Pressl with three goals, three assists, and great defense is worthy of mention, along with the rest of the penalty killers who knocked off ten of thirteen shorthanded situations, none more important than the four full minutes, including two minutes of five-on-three against the highest-scoring line in the league with the championship on the line at the end of Game 2.  That critical penalty kill will go down as the turning point in perhaps the most exciting playoff series in PTAHL history.  The new and improved Vudoos will take the summer off as they usually do, and the rest of the league will have to enjoy it while they can because the powerful Vudoos fully expect to reclaim their title in the fall/winter season.


 Vudoos roster:
 front:  Dan Nacinovich, Jake Nechrebecki, Mike DuHaime
 back:  Wes Dorey, Dan Pressl, Rem Vanderbeek, Phil Burrows, J.R. Wappel, Billy DeGaetano, Jeff Michaels, Dan Poreda, David St. Louis, Chris Potts
 not pictured:  Brent McCain



2015/SPRING/CENTRAL: Berets on Top Again with Costa's Great Goaltending

June 14, 2015

Having been eliminated by the Muskrats in the playoffs in both of the last two seasons, including a narrow 3-1 defeat in a decisive Game 3 of the 2014-15 Fall/Winter championship, the Berets knew that this would be their season to take charge and rise to the top of the Central Division with the Muskrats moving to the North.  The Berets have had a very similar roster for almost all of their PTAHL existence, and this has allowed the team to grow together and maintain unmatched team chemistry.  The only roster move they made going into this season was replacing Christian Solis with Joe Patrick.  Other than that, they would take the ice with the same roster that came within two goals of last season’s championship.

The Berets got off to a good start, erasing a three-goal deficit at the start of the third period of their season-opener to win 6-5 over the Biohazards.  However, they would drop their next two including a bad 7-0 defeat to the Flames and an 8-4 loss to the Spitfires as their defensive play was underwhelming.  They put it together for their next game though as they got back to .500 with a monstrous 11-1 victory against the Pterodactyls.  In their next game, they proved that they are better than they had previously shown by taking down the Spitfires in a shootout to go above .500 at the season’s midpoint. 

The Berets then extended their winning streak to three games with a 6-1 win over the Pterodactyls, but dropped their next one to the Biohazards.  They had a great finish to the season though, winning their last three games, including one over the Flames who had previously thrashed them, and one over the Spitfires that would be SHI's only regulation loss all season.  With only one loss in their final seven games, the Berets finished in second place with a record of 6-3-1-0, tying the Flames for the second-fewest goals allowed while Pat Perez and Zach Ulloa led the offense, finishing second and third in points.  This season was a big turnaround for Ulloa, as he drastically decreased his regrettable PIM total down to just six.

As a result of their second place finish, Green Brook would advance straight to the semifinals where they would meet the third place Flames.  The Berets and Flames split their season series with each team winning once, but the Berets were red hot heading into the postseason.  The Flames scored first about halfway into the first period, but Matt Skjeie answered two minutes later.  The Berets took control of the game in the second period with early goals from Perez and Nep Ulloa, and another by Skjeieieieie to take a 4-1 lead.  Still in the first half of the period, the Berets would go on a powerplay, and Andrew Lorenc scored to make it a four-goal difference.  The Berets gave up a late goal, but took a 5-2 lead into the third.  Nuno Costa and the Green Brook defense did a tremendous job of shutting down the Flames in the third period.  With about seven minutes to go, Perez was sent off with a tripping penalty, but the Berets killed it off to preserve the three-goal lead.  They continued to deny the Flames, who scored more goals than anyone else in the regular season, as they kept the score at 5-2 until the final buzzer to clinch a spot in the Central Division championship.  However, Nep Ulloa was issued a game misconduct with about a minute to go in the game, meaning the Berets would need to start the championship series without their captain.

In the championship, the Berets would take on the SHI Spitfires.  The Berets and Spitfires have met in the championship three times before, with the Spitfires coming out on top twice.  This season, the Spitfires finished in first place with a record of 8-1-0-1.  They surrendered the fewest goals and took the fewest penalties while the Berets took the most.  To pull off the upset, the Berets would need to play disciplined hockey and shut down rookie Eric Ely, who finished second in goals.  Neither team was able to get on the board in the first period of Game 1 as goaltenders Nuno Costa and Menas Zion played to their fullest potential.  Green Brook was given a couple powerplays in the second, but they were unable to capitalize.  However, Skjeieieieieieie scored late in the period to give the Berets a 1-0 lead at the start of the third. 

That lead soon evaporated with an SHI goal early in the third.  With seven minutes to go, the Berets went on another powerplay, but again they were unable to deliver.  However, Joe Patrick scored thirty seconds later to give Green Brook a 2-1 lead with four and a half minutes to go.  The game was not finished yet though, as Patrick was called for hooking a minute later.  His teammates bailed him out to stay in the lead with a minute and a half remaining, but they would surrender the tying goal with just 43 seconds left.  Twenty seconds afterwards though, the Spitfires took a penalty that would carry over into overtime.

Green Brook’s powerplay unit was once again unsuccessful without Nep Ulloa in the lineup, so the Spitfires returned to even strength as this game continued to be anyone’s game.  The remainder of overtime continued to be very spirited, but neither team was able to get a shot behind the goaltending prowess of Costa or Zion, forcing this thrilling game to be decided by a shootout.  Zach Ulloa would go first in the shootout, and he scored to put the pressure on the Spitfires.  Costa came up with a stop on the first attempt he faced, so the Berets had the upper hand after the first round.  Perez would go next, and he too scored.  This meant the Spitfires needed to score to avoid losing, but Costa came up with another stop to end this riveting game in favor of the Berets, putting his team one game away from glory with their captain rejoining the team for Game 2.

Green Brook knew not to get complacent despite being so close to exaltation, as they are no stranger to close championship series that go right down to the wire, and the Spitfires were as formidable an opponent as they could have faced.  Game 2 was scoreless until late in the first when the Spitfires took a penalty, and this time the Berets capitalized as Patrick scored to put his team on top.  This game proved to be just the kind of game Green Brook is comfortable playing, with very little scoring as they suffocated the opposing forwards and took their chances when they presented themselves.  The Berets were unable to add to the lead in this period, but Costa ensured that they remained ahead as they took this 1-0 advantage into the crucial third period. 

The suspensefully low-scoring play continued in the third period.  The Spitfires upped the pressure, but the Berets matched their intensity with their defensive play as Costa continued to be a brick wall between the pipes.  George Aller added an insurance goal with five and a half minutes to go, increasing the lead to two goals.  This nailbiter would become even tenser as time wound down.  The Spitfires called a timeout and pulled Zion for an extra skater.  They fought hard, but Green Brook continued to hold on.  The Spitfires scored with five seconds to go to end Costa’s hopes of a championship-clinching shutout, but Costa blanked them long enough that they did not have enough time to generate another scoring chance as the Berets won the game by the score of 2-1, holding Ely goalless in the championship to upset the Spitfires and clinch the Central Division title.

Making this championship possible were Matt SkjE-I-E-I-O and George Aller both contributing three points in as many playoff games, and Joe Patrick with his pair of goals.  Even more noteworthy, however, are the special teams units that went 33% on the powerplay and killed off every shorthanded situation, and most notably, Nuno Costa, who posted a ridiculous postseason GAA of only 1.61.  However, perhaps the biggest factor of all was the disciplined play of the entire Berets roster.  After averaging a league-highest 6.8 penalty minutes per game in the regular season, the Berets took only one penalty in the championship series, which may have been the difference considering how powerful the Spitfires could be if given enough powerplays.  If the Berets can put their detrimentally unruly past behind them and play this disciplined on a consistent basis, they have the potential to be a contender every season, especially with Costa in net.


 Green Brook Berets roster:
 front:  Nuno Costa, Milton Solis, Matt Skjeie, Zach Ulloa, Nep Ulloa, Pat Perez, Eric DeGuilo
 back:  Justin Bornstad, Joe Delorenzo, Joe Patrick, George Aller, Andrew Lorenc, David Raphel
 not pictured:  Rich Hernandez, Alex Raphel

2015/SPRING/SOUTH: Third Time's a Charm as Archers Come Back to Win Title

June 18, 2015

After being eliminated in the semifinals four seasons in a row and then coming up short in the championship in each of the last two seasons, the Archers were hungry to finally finish the job this time around.  They would undergo some changes to the roster, losing Dan Bellafronte, Jim Sweeney, Jeff Michaels, Eric “Classy Goon” Amadeo, and Jimmy “Butch” Cassidy, who would have to sit the spring out with an ankle injury suffered in the fall/winter championship.  Replacing them would be former Team X member Chris Melillo, Kevin Horstman returning to the lineup, and rookies Michal Sivulka, Ryan Amann, and Shane “Jax” Hine.

As further motivation for this season, the Archers rival, the Rink Rats, would join the PTAHL this season.  The Archers franchise began when the Rink Rats, playing in a far less prestigious league, attempted to split into two rosters, but the split did not go as planned and a handful of players, including Jason Fischbach, Eric “Classy Goon” Amadeo, Dan Bellafronte, Val Fuchs, Mike Zaffarese, and goalie Mike Davison, were left with no team to play on as the Rats had filled up their roster without them.  Those players moved on to bigger and better things in the PTAHL as they joined up with what remained of the dwindling Trashers roster, renaming themselves the Replacements, and went on to pull off some of the PTAHL’s biggest upsets to win the championship that season.  Under the leadership of Fischbach and Classy Goon, the Replacements became the Archers and carved out their own identity that has not only become a longtime part of the PTAHL, but has also probably landed them on a few federal government watchlists.  However, despite being more of a franchise and less of a mish-mash of outcasts, the Archers were unable to win another PTAHL championship.

They would start the Spring 2015 season with a loud statement, crushing the Mini Melts :-) 16-2.  They then had their first showdown against the Rink Rats in their second game, and they came out on top of an exciting see-saw battle with an 8-5 win.  Next, they took on the Melts again, and even with captain Jason Fischbach in net, they still managed to win easily 11-2.  The Archers suffered their first losses of the season as they dropped both segments of a back-to-back against the highly-improved Vudoo, but they came back with two straight wins over expansion SHIce-T to improve to 5-2 on the season.  Next up would be another meeting with the Rink Rats, and another win for the Archers, by the score of 9-6.  They would then finish the season with another big win over the Melts, and another victory over SHIce-T to head into the playoffs on a five-game winning streak to put them in first place, three points ahead of the Vudoo.  The Archers scored far more goals than anyone else, with 81 total, 24 more than the Vudoo and Rink Rats who tied for second.  A large part of this was rookie Shane “Jax” Hine, who led the league in goals with 16 and points with 22.  Mike Davison’s GAA of 3.46 was second only to Fischbach’s 2.00 after his win over the Mini Melts :-).  With this first place finish, the Archers would advance to the semifinals for the seventh straight season, where they would meet last place SHIce-T, who pulled out an upset over the Mini Melts :-) in the quarterfinals.

SHIce-T struggled through the regular season mostly because in addition to beginning the season with no team chemistry as a newly-formed team, shoddy player attendance plagued them down the stretch.  However, SHIce-T came into this semifinal game with a full roster except for former Replacement Brian Vigilante, whose playoff leg injury proved to be a major turning point in the Replacements’ championship run. SHIce-T scored first in this game, but Josh Sumoski scored twice to take the lead away.  SHIce-T tied the game 25 seconds later, but it took only sixteen seconds for rookie Sivulka to regain the lead for the Archers.  “Jax” Hine added a goal before the period ended to make it 4-2 at the end of the first.  SHIce-T got one of those goals back in the second period to make the difference only one goal going into the third.  With an early powerplay, SHIce-T was able to tie the game at four, but Jax scored with nine minutes to go, giving the Archers a lead once again.  They remained up by one until Marc Vermette scored with just over two minutes left, but he took an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty immediately afterwards.  Twenty seconds later, SHIce-T scored to get back within one as the Archers penalty kill was cause for concern having given up a goal all three times they were called upon in this game.  However, the Archers were able to hold on and scrape by underdog SHIce-T to advance to the championship for the third straight season.

In the finals, the Archers would have a much more formidable opponent in the second place Vudoo, who finished just one game behind, and were the only team the Archers were unable to defeat this season.  The Vudoo jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead just two and a half minutes into Game 1.  The Archers bounced back with a pair of goals from Jax, but the Vudoo got one of those goals back just ten seconds later.  The Archers would tie the game up later in the period with goals from Kevin Inglis and Jason Fischbach, but Vudoo took a 5-4 lead by the end of the first. 

Early in the second, the Archers killed off a Taka Okai bodychecking penalty, Jax completed a hat trick, and Fischbach scored to give the Archers a 6-5 lead.  However, the Vudoo fought back with the next three goals to lead 8-6 going into the third.  The Vudoo took a three-goal lead six minutes into the third while the Archers battled hard to get back in this one.  However, their chances quickly got worse when Okai took another penalty with five and a half minutes remaining.  This time, the Archers struggling penalty kill prevailed, and Okai scored just fourteen seconds after being liberated from the penalty box, but the Archers now only had less than three and a half minutes to make up a two-goal difference.  They pulled Davison for an extra skater with two minutes to go, but this only yielded an empty net goal as the Archers dropped Game 1 by the final of 10-7.

With their backs against the wall, the Archers would need a win in Game 2, otherwise they would find themselves on the losing end of a championship-deciding game for the third straight season.  Once again, they trailed early as Melillo took a roughing penalty just 21 seconds into the game, and their struggling penalty kill surrendered another goal just one minute in.  The Archers would be shorthanded two more times in the first, but they managed to kill those off to keep the score at just 1-0.  Ryan Amann scored in the opening minute of the second to tie the game, and Kevin Horstman gave them the lead four minutes later.  However, the Archers would squander another powerplay as they were now 0 for 4 in the postseason, and the Vudoo tied the game at two before the period ended.

Five and a half minutes into the third, Melillo scored to put the Archers back on top.  With just over eight minutes remaining in the third, the Vudoo took a slashing penalty, and this time the Archers’ powerplay came through as Melillo scored again to make it 4-2 Archers with seven minutes to go.  However, the Archers were not out of the woods yet, because with five and a half minutes remaining, Jax would get himself taken out of the game as he got sucked into a few penalties, including a ten-minute misconduct.  His penalties were offset by Vudoo penalties, but the Archers no longer had their top scorer for the rest of this must-win game.  With 4:54 to go, Mike Zaffarese took a slashing penalty, and yet again the Archers’ penalty kill combined with their lack of discipline proved to be a problematic combination as the Vudoo scored on the powerplay to get back within one.  For the remaining four and a half minutes though, the Archers battled hard and avoided taking any further penalties.  Davison slammed the door shut as the Archers escaped with a 4-3 win to keep their season alive, and put themselves one game away from finally winning the championship.

After the Vudoo and Archers split the first two games, this series would be decided by a winner-take-all Game 3.  The Vudoo would strike first yet again, taking a 1-0 lead just over five minutes in.  The Archers bounced back though as Inglis tied the game two minutes later.  A minute afterwards, Fischbach scored, and Vermette made it 3-1 Archers nineteen seconds later.  The Archers prevented the Vudoo from getting on the board again for the rest of the period, but Okai found himself back in the penalty box with a hooking penalty that would carry over into the second.

While killing Okai’s penalty, Inglis took a hooking penalty of his own that would give the Vudoo a five-on-three, but the Archers’ PK unit prevailed this time, improving to above 50% for the first time this postseason.  The Vudoo would get one goal back about midway through the second, but Zaffarese scored a powerplay goal to put the Archers up 4-2.  Melillo added a goal two minutes later to increase the lead to three goals, but Inglis took penalties for tripping and unsportsmanlike conduct, forcing the Archers to rely on their penalty killers once again for the next four minutes.  The Vudoo took a penalty during the four-minute powerplay, but the Archers would go back on the kill early in the third during Inglis’s second minor.

The Archers began the third by once again shutting down the Vudoo powerplay.  They followed up with a goal as Josh Sumoski increased the lead to 6-2 with 9:43 remaining.  The Vudoo fought hard to get back in this one, but the Archers had built too much of a lead, and Davison and the Archers’ defense were too determined to let this lead slip away.  The Vudoo would get one more goal in the final minute, but it would not be nearly enough as the Archers’ three quick goals in a minute and a half during the first period gave them too big of a head start in this game as the Archers held on for a 6-3 victory to finally clinch the PTAHL’s South Division championship. 

With key contributions in the postseason were Shane "Jax" Hine, despite his penalties in Game 2 almost costing his team the championship, as he registered five goals and three assists in four games, and Chris Melillo, Josh Sumoski, and Jason Fischbach, who each scored three times.  Also worthy of praise is the penalty kill unit, who was able to find their game when it mattered most.  After surrendering a goal on a majority of their playoff shorthanded situations, the Archers went a perfect four for four in Game 3.  Without that sudden improvement, this story could have been very different, but the Archers were able to put it together with everything on the line and come out as PTAHL champions.  They look forward to repeating their success as they expect the core to remain on the roster, including the major additions of Shane “Jax” Hine and Chris Melillo.


 Archers roster:
 front:  Kevin Horstman, Ryan Amann, Josh Sumoski, Val Fuchs, Mike Davison, Mike Zaffarese, Taka Okai
 back:  Shane Hine, Marc Vermette, Kevin Inglis, Chris Melillo, David Fischbach, Jason Fischbach, Mike Malarowski, Michal Sivulka

2014-15/FALL-WINTER/NORTH: Phantoms Dethrone Pterodactyls in Three-Game Series

March 12, 2015

After a summer season that did not live up to their standards, finishing fourth out of six teams, the Phantoms were looking to put forth a better showing in the fall/winter.  Goaltender Tony Bucci returned to the team, along with Lou LoSapio, Doug Meade, and Al Cavallo.  Rookie Caleb Luther would join the roster as well this season.  The Phantoms would open against the Pterodactyls, who eliminated them in the summer semifinals and the spring championship.  This time, the Phantoms prevailed by the score of 5-2.  They improved to 2-0 with a high-scoring 10-8 win over the Ice Men before losing to the powerful Freddy’s HC.  They won their next four over the Flames, Stingrays, Pterodactyls, and Vudoos, scoring a combined 33 goals in that span.  They dropped a nailbiter to the Ice Men, but then beat the Stingrays again, and took down Freddy’s HC next so that halfway through the season, the Phantoms had defeated every foe they would encounter.  With a record of 8-2, this season looked promising for the Phantoms, and they would win their next three to put themselves even further into first place.  However, just as first place appeared to be nearly locked up, the Phantoms’ season took a wrong turn.

The Phantoms lost their next game to the struggling Pterodactyls, and then were beaten by the Stingrays in a shootout.  Until this point, every Phantoms loss was followed by a winning streak longer than the previous one, but this time the Phantoms would lose two in a row, and it soon became three in a row when they fell to Freddy’s HC, who were suddenly in hot pursuit of them for first place.  The Phantoms won their next two games, but not very convincingly as they beat the Vudoos who were having a down season, and edged the Flames—who lost every game except for one shootout win—by one goal.  They would follow up by getting beaten by the Ice Men.  Meanwhile, Freddy’s continued to win games and turned what looked like a distant first place lead into a tightly-contested race.  The Phantoms won their final game of the regular season against the Pterodactyls to finish tied with Freddy’s HC for first place, but Freddy’s would take the top spot and the quarterfinal bye with the head-to-head tiebreaker as they won two of their three meetings.

In the quarterfinals, the Phantoms would be matched up against the lowly Flames.  The Phantoms won all three games against them, outscoring them 23-11, but the Phantoms were looking much more beatable than they were in the first half of the season, and they only beat the Flames by one goal last time they met.  However, Paul “Revere” Doran scored five minutes in to put the Phantoms up, and Luther scored four minutes after that.  Bucci kept the Flames from scoring in the first period, and Mike Smitko made this a 3-0 game early in the second.  Kevin Inglis made it a four-goal lead before the Flames finally got on the board late in the period, but LoSapio got that goal back.  Kyle Krannich and Kevin Inglis then scored fifteen seconds apart, the Phantoms third goal in a span of 1:11 just before the second period ended to send the Phantoms into the third up 7-1.  The Flames scored an early goal in the third period, but the Phantoms prevented this goal from sparking a comeback as they shut them down the rest of the way, and Krannich added two more goals to complete a hat trick as the Phantoms advanced to the semifinals.

In the semis, the Phantoms would be matched up against the third place Ice Men.  The Ice Men struggled early on, but got stronger as the season progressed, finishing with a league-best 146 goals, thanks largely to Matt Torstrup, who topped the league with 56 goals and 76 points.  Stopping Torstrup would be essential if the Phantoms were to advance to the championship.  Neither team scored until late in the first, when the Ice Men took a 1-0 lead.  However, Jimmy Rotan scored to tie the game a minute later, and James “The Orca” Whalen, who finished fourth in goals, scored to put the Phantoms on top before the first came to an end.   

The Ice Men tied the score early in the second, but The Orca regained the lead halfway through.  He then completed a hat trick during some four on four action later in the period to increase the lead to 4-2, and Rotan scored again to send the Phantoms into the third up by three. 

The Orca capitalized on a powerplay early in the third with his fourth goal of the game to put the Phantoms up by four.  Torstrup finally registered a goal, but Phil Meade canceled it out with a goal shortly afterwards.  Torstrup scored again, but the Phantoms were still ahead 7-4 with half a period remaining.  The Phantoms took advantage of another powerplay with four minutes to go as Paul “Revere” increased the lead to 8-4.  The Orca contributed a fifth goal of this game, and eventually a sixth as he made a perfect deflection on a shot from the point by Paul “Revere.”  The Phantoms surrendered a late goal, but the damage was done as the Phantoms advanced to the championship with a 10-5 win.

For the third season in a row, the Phantoms would meet the Pterodactyls in the playoffs.  After having been eliminated by them the last two times, the Phantoms were determined to prevail this time around and end the dynasty.  The Pterodactyls had a mediocre season, but they advanced to the finals after taking down the Stingrays and then first place Freddy’s HC.  Whalen scored four and a half minutes into this game to give the Phantoms the first lead of the game.  It remained just 1-0 until late in the period when Rotan scored and The Orca added another goal to make it 3-0 after the first.

From this point on, it was complete domination.  Krannich scored in the first minute of the second, and Paul “Revere” made it 5-0 soon afterwards.  Krannich added another goal seconds later, and Caleb Luther increased the lead to a touchdown just nineteen seconds afterwards.  Forty-one seconds after that, captain Bill Malthaner scored the Phantoms’ fifth goal in a span of 2:42.  The Orca scored again to notch a hat trick in back-to-back games.  The Pterodactyls were finally able to stop the Phantoms from scoring for the rest of this period, but they still had a third period ahead of them.

Whalen scored two early goals in the third to complete a natural hat trick with his eleventh goal in just two games to give the Phantoms a monstrous 11-0 lead.  Perhaps they were taking out their frustrations of being eliminated by the Pterodactyls twice in a row, or maybe they were looking to exact revenge for the unnecessary 8-1 trouncing they endured in the deciding game of the spring championship, or possibly they were just looking to get back at Rob Cacioppo for slandering them in the power rankings.  Regardless of the reason, the Phantoms made the three-time defending champions look like they had no business being on the same ice as them.  Halfway through the third, Rotan would add another goal to make it 12-0.  The Phantoms finally surrendered a goal with two minutes remaining, but it was a long time since the winner of this game had already been decided, so the Phantoms would take this colossal, seismic 12-1 slaughterous win and put themselves only one win away from dethroning the defending champs.

The Pterodactyls put up a much better fight in game two.  They struck first to take a 1-0 lead with five minutes to go in the first, and then capitalized on a Damon Cassaro hooking penalty to send it into the second ahead 2-0.  The Orca scored in the opening minute of the second, but were unable to turn that momentum into the equalizer despite a powerplay.  Instead, the Phantoms surrendered another pair of goals to go down 4-1.  Paul “Revere” cut the deficit back down to two heading into the third after the Phantoms killed a Mike Smitko interference penalty.

Six minutes into the third, Doran scored again and suddenly the Phantoms were just one goal away from tying the score.  However, the Pterodactyls got that goal back about a minute later to make it 5-3 with around half a period remaining.  Phil Meade took an untimely bodychecking penalty with 33 seconds to go, but the Phantoms called a timeout, and Krannich scored with eleven seconds to go.  They needed just one more goal to tie the score, and they pulled Bucci for an extra skater, but this only brought them back to five-on-five due to Meade’s penalty, so they were unable to notch the equalizer, sending this series to a deciding Game 3.

The Phantoms got off to an ominous start in Game 3 as they trailed just over two minutes into the game and would be playing without the services of Kyle Krannich.  However, their resilience and ability to battle out of a slump is what got them here, and Jimmy Rotan scored late in the period to tie the score.  Early in the second, Kevin Inglis scored to put the Phantoms ahead.  They squandered a powerplay shortly after, but remained in the lead.  Late in the period, the Phantoms penalty kill was put to the test.  They had killed four of five so far this postseason, but would need to come up huge here with a one-goal lead and a championship on the line as Smitko was called for high-sticking, and Doug Meade was sent off for tripping ten seconds after Smitko’s penalty.  Less than thirty seconds into Meade’s penalty, Paul “Revere” was whistled for roughing, putting the Phantoms down two men.  However, the penalty kill came through once again and got the job done, keeping the Phantoms on top with just one period to go.

The Pterodactyls battled hard in the third to tie the game, but the Phantoms were outstanding defensively as Bucci turned away all shots.  With 5:40 remaining, Doran scored to give the team some breathing room, now up 3-1.  However, the Pterodactyls would get back within one about a minute later.  With a minute and a half remaining, the Pterodactyls pulled their goaltender for an extra attacker, but the Phantoms sealed the win with an empty-net goal from Rotan to ensure a 4-2 victory, ending the Pterodactyls’ reign, and capturing eternal glory for the Phantoms. 
With outstanding playoff performances were James “The Orca” Whalen, with twelve goals, Kyle Krannich and Jimmy Rotan, each with six goals and four assists, Paul “Revere” Doran, with six goals, two assists, and great defensive play, the penalty killers who killed seven of eight for an impressive success rate of 87.5%, and goaltender Tony Bucci, whose GAA of 3.00 was far lower than the league’s best regular season GAA of 4.35.  With the great play of the rest of the team complementing those top players, the Phantoms have reached the pinnacle of hockey achievement, they have ascended to the summit of athletic accomplishment, they have captured the greatest honor that can ever be bestowed upon anyone—the title of PTAHL champions.


 Phantoms roster:
 front:  James Whalen, Mike Smitko, Tony Bucci, Doug Meade, Bill Malthaner, Bobby Griffin
 back:  Caleb Luther, Paul Doran, Jimmy Rotan, Damon Cassaro, Kevin Inglis, Phil Meade, Lou LoSapio, Al Cavallo
 not pictured:  Kyle Krannich, 



2014-15/FALL-WINTER/CENTRAL: Muskrats Central Champs Once Again

March 9, 2015

After upsetting the Flames in the summer championship, the Muskrats came into the fall/winter season looking to repeat.  However, it would be very difficult in the early going as David Dassinger, Stephen Friedman, Jake Nechrebecki, and Brian Vigilante would not return for this season, and captain James Nobilio announced shortly before the start of the season that he was taking the season off because of some nebulous reasoning involving daylight savings time, leaving team founder Steve Miller with the task of swiftly reassembling the roster.  The Muskrats would have to forfeit their season-opener against the Berets as the roster was still in the works.  As a result of the forfeit, the championship banner-raising ceremony was canceled, much to the disappointment of their fans.   With ten days before their next game, the Muskrats had time to build their squad.  Rookie Sean Kwiatek joined the fold, and Miller brought in former The Black Team teammates Jon Jacey and David Fischer, who were able to recruit rookies James Lamb, John Falzarano, and Joe Osty.

With a roster now in place, the Muskrats would win their second game as they defeated the Spitfires 8-3.  Their roster would take another hit though as Rob Hackett suffered a season-ending injury between games, but they were still able to win their next two games decisively by a combined score of 12-1 over the Vudoos and Archers.  They would lose their next game in a nailbiter to the Biohazards before downing the Pterodactyls in a shootout and crushing the Vudoos once more to put their record at 4-2-1-0.  They fell to the Spitfires next and then were forced to forfeit another game to the Berets for using an ineligible player, bringing them down to just above .500 and teetering on the brink of dropping to a South bracket playoff position as they nearly fell to the bottom four in the eight-team Central/South standings. 

However, this seemed to provide exactly the motivation they needed for the rest of the season as they went on a massive eleven-game winning streak to close out the season with a final record of 14-4-2-0, good enough to edge the Berets and Pterodactyls for first place.  Despite two forfeits and Mark Gordin and Jon Jacey tying for fourth in the league in PIMs, the Muskrats scored 17 more goals than anyone else with 126, and also surrendered the fewest as Adam Grare led the league in GAA with 2.18 and a pair of shutouts.

In the semifinals, the Muskrats would be matched up against fourth place SHI Spitfires.  They met each other three times during the regular season, with each team winning once in regulation, and the Muskrats earning a shootout win in their most recent matchup.  Falzarano gave the Muskrats an early lead with a goal 1:50 into the game.  Kwiatek and Adam Napell scored later in the first to increase the lead to three goals as Grare kept SHI off the board in this period.  The Muskrats yielded two quick goals in the second before Steve “The Pirate” Doherty regained the two-goal lead.  The Spitfires took a few penalties in a short time span late in the second and early in the third, and Kwiatek made them pay as he scored a powerplay goal to put the Muskrats up 5-2.  The Pirate scored three minutes later, and Falzarano added his second of the game shorthanded about a minute afterwards to increase the lead to five goals.  Still not done, James Lamb added a goal, the Muskrats fourth goal in just over five minutes, to take a six-goal lead.  Grare slammed the door shut the rest of the way as the Muskrats clinched a spot in the Central championship.

The championship foe was the Green Brook Berets, who advanced after eliminating the Pterodactyls and would be looking for revenge as they fell to the Muskrats in the summer championship.  The Muskrats knew this would be a tough series as the Berets finished just three points behind them in the standings, and were second in goals scored and goals allowed.  Neither team was able to score in the first period of Game 1 as Adam Grare and Nuno Costa, first and second in GAA, refused to allow a goal.  It wasn’t until there was just 5:19 remaining in the second period that the scoreless tie was broken as Glen Friedman put the Muskrats up 1-0.  It took only 21 seconds for the next goal to come though, when Lamb doubled the lead.  A minute and ten seconds later, Friedman scored once more as the Muskrats quickly took a 3-0 lead late in the second.  The Muskrats focused on continuing to deny the Berets’ offense in the third period, and they exceled at that as Green Brook struggled to get a single shot behind Grare.  Despite a late penalty kill, the Muskrats got the job done as they shut the Berets out in Game 1, putting themselves just one game away from their second consecutive championship. 

The Muskrats came into Game 2 looking to seal the deal, but they found themselves shorthanded about five minutes in when Joe Osty took an interference penalty.  They killed it off, but surrendered a goal shortly afterwards to trail for the first time this postseason.  In the second period, the Muskrats continued to battle but were still unable to get on the board.  However, Grare kept them just one goal out despite having to kill a double-minor taken by Adam Napell.  Three minutes into the third, The Pirate scored to tie this nailbiter of a game.  They would go shorthanded again two minutes later though, but the penalty kill remained perfect as they prevailed for the sixth time in the playoffs.  Around halfway through the third, the Muskrats went on a powerplay, but they were unsuccessful as the end of regulation drew near with the teams knotted at one.  The Berets scored with three minutes remaining to take a late lead, but it was still only one goal.  The Muskrats refused to go down without a fight, and with 1:53 remaining, Dave Fischer scored to tie this instant classic at two.  Neither team scored in the little time that remained, so this game would go to overtime.  The five-minute sudden death period was fast-paced and evenly-played as both teams earned their scoring chances but were denied by Costa and Grare.  However, with 1:06 remaining before resorting to a shootout, Jon Jacey was sent off for bodychecking.  The Muskrats did a good job of killing the penalty, until Matt Skjeie put the puck on net from a wide angle in the waning seconds to get one final shot off, and it trickled through Grare’s legs and made it across the goal line just before time ran out to end the Muskrats’ 13-game winning streak and force a decisive Game 3.

If the first two games were any indication, Game 3 would be another low-scoring affair.  It only took three minutes for the Muskrats to take a 1-0 lead though as Falzarano put them ahead early, and Friedman increased the lead to two just a minute and a half later.  Green Brook cut the lead in half with a powerplay goal at the first period’s midpoint, but the Muskrats remained on top at the end of the first.  Their penalty kill unit would be put to the test once again early in the second, as Friedman was sent off for tripping, and Fischer took a hooking penalty during the PK.  However, they came through to retain the 2-1 lead.  They would have to kill one more before getting out of this period as Napell was whistled for hooking, but again they took care of business.  It remained just a one-goal lead as the third period began.  Any one shot could tie the game, but the Muskrats worked too hard this season to let this championship fall out of their hands.  Halfway through the third, Falzarano scored again to regain the two-goal advantage.  The Berets battled hard, as they had throughout the series, but the Muskrats calmly killed off the time that remained, one second at a time.  They would face another penalty kill in the final minute as Osty was sent off for tripping, but the PK unit prevailed once more to finish with an impressive postseason PK% of 82 as the final buzzer sounded, signaling the Muskrats’ second consecutive Central Division championship.

In addition to the entire penalty kill unit, individuals with noteworthy playoff performances were rookie John Falzarano with four goals and an assist in the four games, Glen Friedman and Steve “The Pirate” Doherty who each scored three goals and an assist, captain Steve Miller with four assists, and of course star goaltender Adam Grare with a miniscule postseason GAA of 1.46.  The Muskrats have announced that they will be returning to the North Division for the spring season, where they hope to continue their winning tradition.


 Muskrats roster:
 front:  David Fischer, John Falzarano, Steve Doherty, Joe Otsy, Adam Grare, Steve Miller, Glen Friedman
 back:  Jon Jacey, Sean Kwiatek, Adam Napell
 not pictured:  James Lamb, Rob Hackett



2014-15/FALL-WINTER/SOUTH: Biohazards Escape Quarantine to Capture their First PTAHL Championship

March 8, 2015

The Biohazards transferred to the PTAHL for the fall/winter 2012-13 season, but it took years of struggles to reach the top.  They finished every season except for spring 2013 in next to last place, but made some changes over the past year to drastically improve the on-ice performance.  In the summer 2014 season, many familiar faces temporarily left the roster, leaving openings for many rookies including Larry “The Canadian Guy” St. Denis, Ted Ypsilantis, and John Lattanzio.  Again they finished next to last as third out of four teams before being eliminated by the Archers in the semis, but this was an important rebuilding season for the team.

The Biohazards retained those three players for the fall/winter season while much of their old roster returned.  Mark Esposito, Hansel Atkins, Martin Rabe, Adam Steckler, Dave Peterson, Sean “Mr.” Feeney, Achilles Alon, and captain/goaltender Matt Ceglia came back for this season as rookie Kyle Warden joined the team.  However, perhaps the most essential move was bouncing Davy “Gravy” Hutchins off the roster.  The PTAHL media initially criticized the move, as Hutchins was coming off a breakout season, and was almost immediately named captain of his new team, the Motley Crew.  The Biohazards would face Hutchins and the Crew in the season-opener, and they obliterated them 15-1.  Their next game was a semifinal rematch against the Archers, which they also won big by the score of 8-2.  After just two games it became apparent that this was not the same old Biohazards.  Despite the South Division combining with the Central for the regular season, the Biohazards meant business and were determined to compete with the Central teams.

They dropped their next two games to the Pterodactyls, but followed up with an uplifting victory over the Central Division’s defending champion Muskrats, and then another win over the Archers to improve to 4-2.  The Biohazards then lost their next two to the Spitfires and Berets before beating the Archers for a third time and then losing to the Spitfires again, entering the second half of the season with a .500 record.  Their next two games would be against Hutchins and the Crew, which they won by a combined score of 20-3.  They split their next two with a loss to the Berets and a narrow win over the expansion Vudoos.  The following two matches were losses to the Muskrats and Berets, severely hurting their chances of securing a spot in the Central Division.  However, the fourth place Spitfires began to falter while the Biohazards took down the Pterodactyls, who were vying for first place, by the score of 4-1.  They followed up with a win over the Spitfires, and then another victory over the Archers.  This three-game winning streak gave the Biohazards a shot at clinching a spot in the Central bracket as they reached their final game of the regular season, but they came up just short as they fell to the first place Muskrats.  While their late winning streak was not enough to earn a spot in the Central bracket, it was enough to give them plenty of momentum heading into the playoffs as they finished with a record of 11-9, good enough for fifth in the combined Central/South Division to earn the top seed in the South playoffs.  They scored more goals than any of the other South teams by 12, surrendered 30 fewer, and took fewer penalties than any Central or South team except for the Vudoos while Larry “The Canadian Guy” finished with a league-best 31 goals and Ceglia posted the lowest GAA of the South goalies.

With the top seed, the Biohazards would be matched up against Hutchins and his winless Motley Crew in the semifinals.  It took barely longer than a minute for the Biohazards to take a lead as Larry “The Canadian Guy” made it 1-0 Biohazards.  Rabe scored later in the first to increase the lead to two goals.  Mr. Feeney and Alon scored before the period ended to put the Biohazards’ goal total after one period at four, which was more than the amount of shots they surrendered.  Chris Ypsilantis added a goal in the second while Ceglia and the Biohazards’ defense continued to keep the Crew off the board.  Three goals in the first five minutes of the third, including a second goal of the game for both Feeney and St. Denis, made the score 8-0 Biohazards.  Larry “The Canadian Guy” completed a hat trick with 4:16 to go to put the score at 9-0.  All that was left to do was preserve Ceglia’s shutout, and former Biohazard Dave Hutchins himself had a chance to spoil it in the final minute when he found himself on a breakaway, but despite making a good move, Hutchins shot wide as the Biohazards finished the shutout and sealed the win by the final of 9-0 to not only prove that giving Hutchins the boot at the start of the season was a positive move, but more importantly to clinch the Biohazards’ first ever finals appearance where they would have a chance at revenge over the Archers.

Despite being eliminated by them in the summer semifinals, the Biohazards won all four meetings with the Archers this season.  Eight minutes into Game 1, Alon scored to give the Biohazards the first lead.  Mr. Feeney added a goal late in the first to increase the lead to two goals as Ceglia was now four periods into the postseason and still had not yet yielded a goal.  The Archers got on the board in the opening minute of the second, but the Biohazards bounced back with goals from Larry “The Canadian Guy” and Mr. Feeney to make it 4-1.  Late in the period, Lattanzio continued his breakout season with a shorthanded goal to increase the lead to four goals heading into the third.  The Biohazards faced some adversity in the third when Warden and Feeney were sent to the penalty box within six seconds of each other, but their teammates killed the lengthy five on three to keep the difference at four.  The Archers would score a pair of late goals, but the lead was too large as the Biohazards held on for a 5-3 win, putting themselves on the precipice of eternal glory, the threshold of exaltation, the doorstep of ultimate human achievement—the PTAHL championship.

Six days later, the Biohazards would meet the Archers once again with a chance to clinch the franchise’s first PTAHL title.  They came out hungry, as St. Denis scored just under a minute and a half into the game to quickly give the Biohazards a 1-0 lead.  Esposito took a tripping penalty seconds later, but Lattanzio would score his second shorthanded goal in as many games to increase the lead to 2-0 just over two minutes into the game.  Ceglia recorded his fifth shutout period of the postseason to keep his team up by two going into the second period.  Four minutes into the middle frame, Chris Ypsilantis scored to make it 3-0, and St. Denis scored just nine seconds afterwards to increase the lead to four goals.  Rabe made it 5-0 two minutes later, but the Archers would finally get on the board.  However, the Biohazards would have a response yet again as one minute later, St. Denis completed a hat trick for the second game in a row to make it 6-1.  Ted Ypsilantis added a goal before the period ended to send the Biohazards into the third period up 7-1, just one period away from the championship. 

All they needed to do in the third was avoid a historic collapse.  Rookie Kyle Warden further increased the lead three minutes in, and Chris Ypsilantis made it 9-1 about halfway through the third.  Ceglia and the Biohazards’ defense continued to deny the Archers as Ceglia notched his sixth shutout period out of the six that were played in the playoffs, convincingly capturing the 2014-15 Fall-Winter South Division championship.

With tremendous postseason performances were Larry "The Canadian Guy" St. Denis, who put up seven goals in the playoffs, including hat tricks in both games of the championship, Sean “Mr.” Feeney with four goals, Chris Ypsilantis with four assists, John Lattanzio with a shorthanded goal in both games of the finals, and of course goaltender and captain Matt Ceglia with a ridiculous playoff GAA of 1.33 despite the false advertising painted on his mask.  With a South championship now under their belt, the Biohazards are looking forward to the next challenge as they will compete in the Central Division for the spring season.  They know some tough opponents lie ahead, but they defeated each of the current Central teams in the regular season except for Green Brook, and they are eager to take them on again.

 Biohazards roster:
 front: Martin Rabe, Adam Steckler, Larry St. Denis, Ted Ypsilantis, Matt Ceglia, Chris Ypsilantis, Dave Peterson, Kyle Warden, Joe Whalen, Adam Birnbaum
 back: Achilles Alon, Sean Feeney, Mark Esposito, John Lattanzio
 not pictured: Hansel Atkins



2014/SUMMER/NORTH: 'Dactyls Definite Dynasty with Third Straight Title

August 27, 2014

After winning the last two PTAHL championships, the Pterodactyls entered the summer season looking to become the first team to win three straight.  However, they lost many key pieces in the offseason.  Steve “The Wizard of Oz” Osvold, Brett Hodshon, Sean Rappleyea, and Geof Grek all left the roster along with goaltender Craig Cocchio.  However, some former Pterodactyls returned as Anthony Matrisciano and Gabe Wilson came back with goalie Scott Brady.  Rookie Felipe Rodriguez also joined the mix.

They opened the season against the Stingrays, whom the Pterodactyls defeated in the semifinals during their spring championship run.  The Stingrays gave them a tough game as usual, but the Pterodactyls squeaked out a win with a couple late goals from Brian Rappleyea.  In their next game, they took down Freddy’s HC 6-3 and then edged out the Phantoms 5-3 in a championship rematch.  In their fourth game, they defeated the Ice Men 8-4 to go undefeated at the season’s midpoint.  The Pterodactyls then crushed Freddy’s 12-3 and then won a sloppy one against the Ice Men by the score of 12-11 with a late goal from Greg Galligano.  They’d win their next game against the Stingrays 6-3 to set up a regular season finale against the second place expansion Banana Pancakes.  With first place already locked up, a win in this game would give them a perfect record going into the playoffs, but the Banana Pancakes tied the game in the final minute to steal a point.  The Pterodactyls prevailed in the shootout to remain undefeated, but losing their perfect record was a thorn in their side.  Nonetheless, they finished in first place and would have a quarterfinal bye.

In the semis, the Pterodactyls would face the fourth place Phantoms, who took out the Ice Men in the quarterfinals by the score of 10-3.  Their .500 record was nothing to write home about, but they would come into this game hungry after losing to the Pterodactyls in the spring championship, and the Pterodactyls would no longer have the services of rookie Felipe Rodriguez, who finished second in the league in goals.  The Phantoms controlled the game early on, but were unable to take a lead as they hit three posts in the first half of the first period, and Brady denied every shot that was headed for the inside of the net.  Later on, the Pterodactyls jumped out to a 1-0 lead when AJ "The Big Zackowski" scored with 3:47 to go in the period.  That lead ended six minutes into the second though, when Mike Smitko tied the game.  Goaltenders Scott Brady and John Fallone were flawless for the rest of the second, and the entirety of the third period as this game would head to overtime with a score of 1-1. 

The teams exchanged chances in overtime, but neither were able to find the elusive game-winning goal.  The Phantoms nearly did, but were again denied by the post, so this game would be decided by a shootout.  The Phantoms opened the shootout with one of the league’s most dangerous scorers in Kyle Krannich, but once more rang the puck off the post.  Anthony Matrisciano was up first for the Pterodactyls, but he was stopped by Fallone.  Paul “Revere” Doran went next for the Phantoms, but he was denied by Brady.  Dylan Colaneri would be the second shooter for the Pterodactyls, and the first person to put the puck in the net in a very long time as he beat Fallone five-hole to put the Pterodactyls ahead.  The Phantoms needed a goal in third round of the shootout to keep their season alive, but Brady came up with another save to send the Pterodactyls to the championship for the third straight season.

Just as they had hoped, the Pterodactyls would have a chance to exact revenge on the Banana Pancakes in the championship game after they ruined their pristine record in the final game of the regular season.  The Pancakes, in their first season of existence, earned a quarterfinal bye for finishing in second place, and advanced to the final after eliminating the third place Stingrays by the score of 6-2.  They scored more goals than any team in the regular season as Mike Criscitello and Mike Rossi tied for second in points, but the Pterodactyls gave up the fewest as Brady posted a league-best GAA at 4.50.  Three and a half minutes into the game, Brian Rappleyea scored to give the Pterodactyls a 1-0 lead.  Later in the period, Gabe Wilson increased the lead to two goals while Brady denied the Pancakes through the first period.

Matrisciano took a high-sticking penalty in the opening minute of the second, but Colaneri scored shorthanded to make this a 3-0 game.  About halfway through the second period, Zackowski was sent off for interference, and Criscitello put the Pancakes on the board during the powerplay.  He scored again with two and a half minutes to play in the period to narrow the lead down to just one goal, but Greg Galligano scored before the period ended to send his team into the third up 4-2.

Four and a half minutes into the third, Pancakes captain Ray Van Winkle took a penalty, and Galligano scored his second of the game on the powerplay to put the Pterodactyls back up by three.  With seven and a half minutes remaining, the Pterodactyls would go on another powerplay, and again they would score, this time from Colaneri just two seconds into the man advantage to make it 6-2.  Eighteen seconds later, the Pterodactyls would find themselves on yet another powerplay, but this time Criscitello scored shorthanded to bring the Pancakes back in the game, although they would need some quick scoring as they trailed by three with 5:43 to go.  The Pterodactyls keeped their composure though, and The Big Zackowski scored with four minutes to go, giving the Pterodactyls a 7-3 lead.  Van Winkle scored with two minutes remaining, but that was as close as they would get as the Pterodactyls became the first team in PTAHL history to win three straight championships.

With great playoff performances were Scott Brady, whose playoff GAA of 2.37 was nearly half of his league-leading regular season GAA of 4.50, and AJ Zackowski with two goals and two assists in the two postseason games.  Also worthy of mention is the entire powerplay unit as a whole as they converted on two out of three powerplays to pull away from the Pancakes in the third period.  After four years of slowly working their way to the top, graduating from a pathetic group of ugly ducklings to a true dynasty, 2014 was a glorious year for the Pterodactyls, and they will look to continue this winning tradition in 2015.


 Pterodactyls roster:
 front: Brian Rappleyea, Chris LaTourette, Scott Brady, Ryan Galligano, Greg Galligano
 back: Dylan Colaneri, Anthony Matrisciano, AJ Zackowski, Gabe Wilson, Rob Cacioppo
 not pictured: Felipe Rodriguez, Alex Smondyrev



2014/SUMMER/CENTRAL: Revamped Muskrats Win Championship in Upset Fashion

August 26, 2014

The Muskrats’ roster took a huge hit in the offseason, gaining Mark Gordin and Jake Nechrebecki, but losing star forwards in Nick “Slash” Kashmanian and the Criscitello brothers, key defenseman Adam “Manhandle” Crandall, and solid depth player Gregg Flakker.  With the way the roster was constructed after this exodus, the Muskrats found a better fit in the newly-formed Central Division with the Flames, Green Brook Berets, and SHI Spitfires.

They would open their season against the Flames, moving up to the Central after going undefeated in the South.  The Muskrats got off to a rough start as they dropped the opener by the score of 5-1, but bounced back with a big 10-3 win over Green Brook, and followed it up with a 6-4 victory against the Spitfires.  They would have another shot at the Flames next, but could not contain their quick offense in this one as they lost 13-6.  Their next game, against the Berets, was another big win, but then they would have to forfeit to SHI, dropping them to .500.  In their final two games, they lost again to the Flames to go 0-3 against them on the season, but blanked the Berets 4-0 to sweep the season series with them, finishing with an even record of 4-4, edging out the Berets for second place by one point.

They would meet those Berets in the semifinals, where they hoped to take them down for a fourth time this summer and clinch a spot in the championship.  The Muskrats would be without leading scorer James Nobilio for this one, but Stephen Friedman scored four and a half minutes in to give them a 1-0 lead.  Gordin scored a powreplay marker halfway through the period to increase the lead to two goals.  In the second period, the Muskrats’ offense was stymied, but Adam Grare kept his team up by two until they surrendered a shorthanded goal in the final minute of the period, cutting their lead down to 2-1 with one period remaining.  The Berets tied the game early in the third, setting up a thrilling finish with a shot at the Central Division championship on the line.  Overtime loomed near, but with three and a half minutes to go, Gordin sprung loose on a breakaway, but was taken down from behind and awarded a penalty shot.  He scored glove side to put the Muskrats ahead 3-2 late in the third.  Grare turned away all remaining shots as the Muskrats defeated the Berets once again despite not having Nobilio in the lineup, and would advance to take on the heavily-favored Flames in the championship.

The Flames were expected by most to cruise to another championship as they went another season without being defeated in regulation—their only falters were three shootout losses.  They scored more than twice as many goals as they gave up, averaging over seven goals a game.  Eight of the league’s top ten in points were on the Flames roster, and goaltender Vinny “The Oreo” D’Orio finished with the lowest GAA at 3.50.  In their three regular season meetings, the Flames outscored the Muskrats 27-12, and they advanced to the championship by crushing the Spitfires by the score of 8-1. 

Despite the statistics, the Muskrats jumped out to an early lead as Adam Napell scored just over two minutes in.  Just over a minute later, they would go on the penalty kill thanks to a slashing call on Brian Vigilante.  They killed the penalty, but surrendered a tying goal about thirty seconds later.  Teams exchanged powerplays in the second half of the period, but neither was able to break this 1-1 tie.  Napell scored again in the opening minute of the second as the Muskrats regained the lead.  They would go on a powerplay about two minutes later but were unable to capitalize.  Late in the period, Nobilio gave the Flames a chance to tie the score when he took a tripping penalty, but instead it was Adam Napell scoring shorthanded to complete a hat trick and give the Muskrats a 3-1 lead over the favored Flames.  However, the Flames would get that goal back before the period came to an end, and the game went to the third period with the Muskrats ahead 3-2.

Seventeen seconds into the third, Rob Hackett was called for tripping.  The penalty killers came through again, and Hackett scored 38 seconds after escaping from the box to make it 4-2 Muskrats.  The Flames battled hard to get back in this game, but the Muskrats refused to go into a shell as Napell added a fourth goal with half a period remaining, increasing the lead to three goals.  The time slowly ticked off the clock, but the Muskrats continued to frustrate the Flames as they began to take penalties, further hindering their hopes of a comeback.  Meanwhile, Adam Grare was as solid as ever between the pipes as he turned away all remaining shots to seal the 5-2 upset win, giving the Flames their first regulation loss in over two seasons, and the Muskrats the Central Division championship.  With notable performances were Adam Napell, who carried the torch in the championship with four of the Muskrats’ five goals, and Adam Grare, with a playoff GAA of 2.00.  With a repulsively abysmal performance was James Nobilio, who led the Muskrats in points during the regular season, but racked up a total of zero points in the playoffs and took an untimely penalty that could have cost them the lead in the final if not for Napell bailing him out with a shorthanded goal.  Congratulations are in order for all of the Muskrats, except for James Nobilio.  May the hockey gods have mercy and guide his wandering soul as he spends the rest of his career seeking to redeem himself.


 Muskrats roster:
 front: Adam Grare, David Dassinger, Stephen Friedman, Jake Nechrebecki, Rob Hackett, James Nobilio
 back: Steve Doherty, Adam Napell, Glen Friedman, Brian Vigilante
 not pictured: Mark Gordin, Steve Miller



2014/SUMMER/SOUTH: Roster Overhaul Sends Pterodactyls from Worst to First

August 25, 2014

After two consecutive last place finishes and first round exits, the Pterodactyls were in need of a shakeup if they were to become a force in the South Division once again.  The offseason did not start off very well for them however as they lost their top six scorers—captain and key defenseman Adam “Manhandle” Crandall, top scorer Justin Waldron, penalty accumulator Mark Gordin, as well as Jim Little, DJ Richards, and Tony Gesumaria.  They also lost depth in Troy Engel, Gene Carrigan, and Dave "The Wave" Hannon, leaving goaltender Jeff Leidner with just Tim Webster, Alex Smondyrev, Rob Mager, and Steve Creenan.  This exodus left the Pterodactyls with plenty of roster spots to fill, and they were taken by rookies Chris Kreuter, Kyle Paulhus, Ilmir Taigounov, and Kyle Argent as well as former Rubber Duckies forward CJ Gallagher, former Whalers winger Don Vallario, as well as Mike Venanzi and Rob Cacioppo dropping down from the North roster.

The Pterodactyls would open their season against the newly-formed Motley Crew with an 8-1 win, but doubts remained regarding the Pterodactyls’ ability as it was Motley Crew’s first game as a team.  They took on the Biohazards next and started to gain credibility with a 7-4 victory.  Next up was the real test as they took on the Archers who were favored to win it all going into the season, and the Pterodactyls proved that they too are a contender as they downed the Archers by the final of 5-3 with three unanswered third period goals from new faces Kreuter, Paulhus, and Gallagher, who turned down an offer from the Archers to sign with the Pterodactyls.  This was an uplifting win for the Pterodactyls as it signified the end of their time as the South Division’s punching bag, now having beaten all opponents in a 3-0 start to the season.  Their next two games would be a 9-4 win over the steadily-improving Motley Crew and a 9-6 win over the Biohazards as they remained undefeated now at 5-0.  Their undefeated season would come to an end in their next game as they fell to the Archers 5-3 to split the season series.  They responded with a narrow 4-3 win over the Biohazards thanks to a goal from Paulhus with five seconds to go, but this would be his last game with the team as he left for Arkansas.  His loss would be a large one as he led the team in scoring, but they showed that they still had enough scoring depth with a big 11-0 win over the Crew to finish the regular season tied with the Archers for first place.  The Pterodactyls finished with the most goals scored, but Paulhus factored in on nearly a quarter of them and they would be without him as well as Argent for the postseason.

With identical records and a split season series, the tie for first place would be broken by fewest penalty minutes, of which the Pterodactyls had a league-lowest 10 compared to the Archers’ 20.  As a result of their first place finish, the Pterodactyls’ semifinal opponent would be the winless Motley Crew, who scored only 15 goals all season while giving up 71.  It took only seventeen seconds for the Pterodactyls to take the lead as Kreuter, who finished the regular season second in goals with 13 despite playing defense, scored to give his team the early lead.  With this quick start, it looked like this game could be a repeat of their recent 11-0 drubbing in the regular season finale, but the Crew refused to lose their composure and kept the Pterodactyls from scoring another goal in the first period.  Leidner was flawless in the first though as he kept the Crew from getting on the board. 

Smondyrev scored two minutes into the first to double the lead, and Steve Creenan scored a minute and a half later to make it 3-0 Pterodactyls as they now felt more comfortable.  However, this game was not over yet as the Crew got on the board before the period ended, bringing them within two goals with a full period left to play. 

They would add another goal a minute into the third, and now suddenly the Crew was reinvigorated and was just one shot away from tying the score.  The Pterodactyls had a chance to regain a multi-goal lead with a powerplay in the middle of the third, but they were unsuccessful and remained up by just one.  Tension picked up for both teams as the Crew were running out of time, but the Pterodactyls were holding on by a thread.  Finally with two minutes remaining, defenseman Rob Cacioppo, winner of the PTAHL’s Most Handsome Player Award for the 14th consecutive season as voted on by league administration, split the defense and scored on a backhand to put the Pterodactyls up 4-2.  The Crew pulled their goalie for an extra attacker, but this only allowed Smondyrev, playing in his final game of the postseason before leaving on another scouting assignment in Russia, to seal the win with an empty-net goal, clinching their spot in the championship game, where they would predictably take on the Archers.

These two teams were expected to meet in the championship from the start of the season.  They both finished 7-1 with each team’s one loss at the hands of the other, and finished first and second in both goals scored and goals allowed as Leidner’s miniscule GAA of 2.68 was second only to Archers’ goaltender Mike Davison’s 2.62.  They combined for the only three shutouts of the season.  The Archers’ offense was largely based around captain Jason Fischbach, who led the league in goals with 14 and points with 21, and Kyle Turner, who tied for third in goals with 12 and second in points with 17.

CJ Gallagher, playing against the team he snubbed as a free agent, scored three and a half minutes into the game, giving the Pterodactyls the first lead.  However, Don Vallario was called for hooking two minutes later and the Archers tied the game on the powerplay.  The combatants exchanged unsuccessful powerplays late in the period before the Archers took a 2-1 lead with two and a half minutes remaining in the period.  Fischbach then scored with 39 seconds to go, giving the Archers a 3-1 lead heading into the second.

The Pterodactyls would have a chance to get back in the game early in the second with a powerplay, but again they were denied.  Leidner stayed strong in net though as he kept the Archers from scoring.  Late in the second, Kreuter scored to bring the Pterodactyls back within one.  They would go on a late powerplay that would carry over into the third.

The Pterodactyls were again denied on the powerplay, but they kept battling for the equalizer as Leidner continued to hold the Archers at three.  Time quickly dwindled away as the Archers held onto their narrow lead, but the Pterodactyls refused to go down without a fight, and of all people, CJ Gallagher burned the Archers again as he scored to tie the game with just 5:10 remaining.  It seemed likely that this game would go to overtime, but as fate would have it, Gallagher scored two minutes later to complete a hat trick in the championship game against the team he rejected an offer from, giving the Pterodactyls a late 4-3 lead after trailing 3-1.  Leidner and the Pterodactyls’ defense remained rock solid as they kept the Archers from scoring the equalizer and completed two straight shutout periods to capture the South Division championship just five minutes after it seemed they would go home empty-handed.

Mad props to rookie defenseman Chris Kreuter who followed up his great regular season with four points in the playoffs.  Much respect to CJ Gallagher who could not possibly have broken the Archers’ hearts any worse after denying them as a free agent and then scoring a hat trick to snatch the championship out of their hands.  Also, big ups to Jeff Leidner who posted a league-best playoff GAA of 2.50 with two crucial shutout periods in the second and third of the championship game, allowing his team to complete the comeback and go from worst to first in just one short season.  Seasons of rebuilding have finally paid off as the Pterodactyls are South Division champions once again.


 Pterodactyls roster:
 front: Jeff Leidner
 back: Ilmir Taigounov, CJ Gallagher, Chris Kreuter, Rob Mager, Steve Creenan, Tim Webster, Rob Cacioppo, Don Vallario
 not pictured: Kyle Paulhus, Kyle Argent, Alex Smondyrev, Mike Venanzi



2014/SPRING/NORTH: Pterodactyls Soar to Back-to-Back Championships

July 9, 2014

Coming off their unexpected championship run in the fall/winter as the sixth place team, the Pterodactyls were looking to repeat as champions, but this time as a favorite rather than an underdog after improving their roster in the offseason.  Dylan Colaneri and AJ Zackowski return to the lineup and are joined by former Team X star defenseman Sean Rappleyea, brother of veteran Pterodactyl Brian Rappleyea.  The Pterodactyls opened their title defense with wins over the Ice Men and Vudoos, but dropped their third game in a shootout to the Stingrays.  They bounced back with a four-game winning streak, culminating with a 5-3 win in a championship rematch over Freddy’s HC.  Their next two games ended in shootouts as they fell to the Muskrats and prevailed over the Stingrays before ending their season with a three-game winning streak for a first place finish with a record of 9-0-1-2 as they were unbeaten in regulation. 

Leading the charge offensively were Steve “The Wizard of Oz” Osvold with a league-best 39 points while Zackowski tied for first in the league with 20 goals and Sean Rappleyea finished second in assists with 16.  This offensive firepower led the Pterodactyls to the second-highest goals total with 78, just two behind the first place Muskrats.  Meanwhile, their 38 goals surrendered were the fewest as Craig Cocchio finished with a league-lowest GAA of 3.00.

As a result of finishing in first, the Pterodactyls would have a quarterfinal bye, and would take on the fourth place Stingrays in the quarterfinals.  The Stingrays finished with a .500 record, but have historically given the Pterodactyls a hard time as Kyle Daloisio is always a difficult goalie to beat, finishing just behind Cocchio with a GAA of 3.55.  The Stingrays and Pterodactyls split the season series as both games went to a shootout and each team won one.  With Cocchio unable to play in this game, the Pterodactyls called upon former goalie Scott Brady, and would be at an advantage in this game as the Stingrays would be without the Boscaino brothers.  Colaneri scored just under three minutes into the game to give the Pterodactyls an early lead.  Shortly afterwards, Rob Cacioppo proved why he is a better captain than Mark “The Fraud” Messier ever was as Sean Rappleyea went to the bench to let Cacioppo on the ice, but Cacioppo told him to extend his shift and sure enough Rappleyea scored to increase the lead to 2-0.  The Stingrays tied the game up in the second with a goal off a faceoff and another resulting from a defensive zone turnover, so this game would be another close one between these two teams as it went into the third tied at two.  It remained even as Daloisio and Brady were rock solid until Brett Hodshon was tripped with two and a half minutes left, and The Wizard of Oz scored on the powerplay to give the Pterodactyls a late 3-2 lead.  Zackowski added an empty-netter as the Pterodactyls would advance to the championship.

In the finals, the Pterodactyls would meet the third place Phantoms, who advanced to the championship after upsetting the Muskrats with a third-period comeback.  The Pterodactyls won both regular season meetings decisively by the scores of 7-3 and 9-3, but the Phantoms would be no pushover as Kyle Krannich finished tied for first in goals and with James Whalen and Paul “Revere” Doran, the Phantoms had a dangerous trio that could tear any opponent’s defense to shreds, as was evidenced by the third period of their semifinal game when Whalen scored three goals and Krannich registered four points to come from behind and take down the second place Muskrats. 

Around three minutes into Game 1, the Pterodactyls jumped out to a 1-0 lead with a goal from Brett Hodshon.  Zackowski increased the lead to two a few minutes later, and in the waning minutes of the third period the Pterodactyls had a huge opportunity as Phil Meade took two penalties on the same shift and Paul “Revere” Doran took a roughing minor during the penalty kill, resulting in a two man advantage.  Zackowski scored on the powerplay, and during the ensuing stoppage, Krannich was handed a ten-minute misconduct.  The Pterodactyls powerplay continued and the Phantoms were now without their best player for the next ten minutes.  The Pterodactyls capitalized on this powerplay again as Greg “The Hairless Horseman” Galligano made it 4-0 before the period came to an end.  The Phantoms got on the board late in the second with a shorthanded goal, but Colaneri scored seconds later to regain the four goal lead.  The Wizard of Oz added a goal in the second period’s final minute as the Pterodactyls took a big 6-1 lead into the third.  Brian Rappleyea took a hooking penalty early in the third, and this provided a spark for the Phantoms, who scored on the powerplay and then added two more goals in the next two and a half minutes to narrow the score to 6-4.  Hodshon put an end to this just 27 seconds later though as he scored his second of the game to make it 7-4.  Whalen added a powerplay goal for the Phantoms with 3:12 to go, but that was as close as they would get as the Pterodactyls held on to take Game 1 by the final score of 7-5, putting them just one win away from being the first team to repeat as champions since Freddy’s HC did so five seasons ago.

The Pterodactyls got off to a great start in Game 2 as they hoped to end the series as soon as possible.  Sean Rappleyea scored on the powerplay a minute and a half into the game, and Colaneri increased the lead to 2-0 five minutes later.  However, the Phantoms were not going down without a fight as Whalen scored 35 seconds later.  Colaneri responded with another goal though to send the Pterodactyls into the second with a 3-1 lead.  The Phantoms bounced back quickly in the second as Paul “Revere” Griffin scored in the opening minute and Bobby Griffin tied the game at three just over two minutes after the start of the period.  The Phantoms made things difficult for themselves with more penalties though, and Colaneria added a powerplay goal to regain the lead for the Pterodactyls.  Later in the period though, Zackowski took a holding penalty and Krannich made him pay with a powerplay goal of his own, and before the period ended, Whalen scored again to give the Phantoms a 5-4 lead with one period left to play.  This third period was one for the ages as the Phantoms held on with all their might to their one goal lead and the Pterodactyls gave them everything they’ve got as they tried to muster just one goal to tie the score.  The Pterodactyls had a great chance to capitalize on another Phantoms penalty as Krannich was sent off for bodychecking with four minutes to go, but Tony Bucci and the Phantoms’ penalty killers got the job done.  The Pterodactyls pulled goaltender Scott Brady for an extra attacker, but this only allowed Whalen to complete a hat trick with an empty-net goal as the Phantoms tied up the series and would force a decisive Game 3.

The Phantoms struck first in this eschaton game as Paul “Revere” gave them a 1-0 lead four and a half minutes in.  However, the Hairless Horseman tied the game a minute later, and Colaneri scored two minutes afterwards to put the Pterodactyls on top.  Once again, penalties would be the Phantoms downfall as The Wizard scored a powerplay marker to make it 3-1 Pterodactyls, and Sean Rappleyea added a goal before the period ended as they took a three goal lead into the second.  Early in the second, the referees clearly made a mistake as Rob Cacioppo was sent to the penalty box for holding the stick, but the Pterodactyls killed the penalty.  Two minutes later, Colaneri scored again to make it 5-1 as the Pterodactyls kept the Phantoms from getting on the board in the second period.  With a big enough lead, the Pterodactyls just needed to avoid a major collapse in the third to clinch the title.  They refused to decrease the pressure offensively though as Colaneri completed a hat trick three minutes into the period to make it 6-1.  The minutes fell off the clock as the Pterodactyls kept the Phantoms from chipping away at the lead.  In the final three minutes, Brian Rappleyea scored, and The Wizard of Oz added a goal to seal the deal with a huge 8-1 win as the Pterodactyls captured their second straight championship, proving that their Cinderella run in the fall/winter playoffs was no fluke.

Players with particularly praiseworthy postseason performances were Dylan Colaneri with eight goals in four games and Steve “The Wizard of Oz” Osvold with four goals and three assists.  Also, big ups to top three defensemen Sean Rappleyea, AJ Zackowski, and Brian Rappleyea, who all registered at least five points while doing a tremendous job shutting down the opposing teams’ best forwards.  With their well-balanced roster featuring suffocating defense and a threatening offense, the Pterodactyls look to keep flying in the summer and go down in the PTAHL history books as a dynasty along with the Freddy’s HC teams of two years ago.

 Pterodactyls roster:
 front: Ryan Galligano, Adam Grare, Geof Grek, Chris LaTourette, Greg Galligano
 back: AJ Zackowski, Dylan Colaneri, Brian Rappleyea, Sean Rappleyea, Brett Hodshon, Steve Osvold, Rob Cacioppo
 not pictured: Alex Smondyrev, Craig Cocchio



2014/SPRING/SOUTH: Flames' Roster Shakeup Yields Undefeated Season

July 8, 2014

After being upset in the first round of the playoffs by the fifth place Whalers last season, the Flames added a slew of newcomers:  Ned Allan, Bob Cresci, Joe Fallacaro, Mike Van Pelt, John Rinon, and goaltender Vinny D’Orio.  This roster shakeup made a huge impact, as the Flames went from a fourth place finish and a first round exit to a dominant spring season.  They took down the Spitfires in the season opener by the score of 6-1, and then got their revenge over the Whalers as Chris Pallante scored the winning goal in a five-round shootout.  The Flames then went on a tear as their new players began to mesh perfectly with the returning players.  They crushed the Archers in their third game 13-2, and then took down the Pterodactyls by the score of 12-4.  After that they downed the undefeated Berets 5-2 to seize first place from them. 

They went on to win the remaining seven games, having never scored less than five goals in any game, and putting up a touchdown in each of their last four regular season matches.  As the regular season came to a close, Pete Haglund, Steve Pinto, Chris Pallante, Nas and Ned Allan, and Bob Cresci were six of the league’s top seven in points while D’Orio’s incredible GAA of 2.50 was second only to George Plaskota’s 2.31.  As a result of these impressive statistics, the Flames won all twelve games, with only one being decided by a shootout, and finished with 90 goals scored, 37 more than the second place Spitfires, and the fewest goals against for a goal differential of +60 while the second highest was only +12.  However, as impressive as these numbers may be, championships are not awarded during the regular season. 

With their first place finish, the Flames earned a quarterfinal bye and advanced to the semifinals, where they would take on the sixth place Biohazards, fresh off a 3-0 upset win over the third place SHI Spitfires.  In their two regular season meetings, the Flames outscored the Biohazards 15-6, but the Biohazards would jump out to the first lead as they opened the scoring halfway into the first period.  However, captain Nas Allan scored two minutes later to tie the score and Tom Krause put the Flames ahead less than a minute afterwards.  Cresci added a powerplay goal in the second to increase the lead to 3-1.  Halfway through the third, Daniel Ford made it a three goal game, and with under five minutes to go, John Rinon added a powerplay marker to make it 5-1.  The Biohazards scored shorthanded with three minutes remaining, but Rinon scored another powerplay goal as the Flames went three for three on the man advantage to seal a 6-2 semifinal win and advance to the championship.

In the championship, the Flames would take on the second place Green Brook Berets, looking to defend their fall/winter championship.  The Berets finished with a regular season record of 8-3-0-1, with two of their three regulation losses coming to the Flames.  The Berets had some scoring talent in Matt Skjeie and Pat Perez, but the spotlight was on the goalies in this series as George Plaskota and Vinny D’Orio were far and away the top two goalies this season with GAAs of 2.31 and 2.50 respectively and a combined record of 17-1.

The first period of Game 1 lived up to its billing with neither team able to get a shot behind D’Orio or Plaskota.  Cresci opened the scoring 3:41 into the second period as he gave the Flames the first lead.  Pallante scored late in the period to increase the lead to two goals as D’Orio continued to stifle the Berets’ shooters.  However, Skjeie beat D’Orio in the opening minute of the third to bring the Berets back within one goal.  Pallante responded with a goal four minutes later to make it 3-1.  D’Orio shut the door the rest of the way as the Flames held on for a hard-fought 3-1 win to take the series lead.  After winning every game they’ve played for nearly four months, they would need just one more to bask in the glory that is the PTAHL championship.

Four and a half minutes into Game 2, Cresci scored his third goal in as many games to quickly put the Flames ahead.  Later in the period, Jan Hubka was called for slashing and the Flames would go on their first penalty kill of the postseason.  D’Orio and the PK unit got the job done, and then did so again shortly afterwards to kill off a John Rinon holding call that carried over into the second. 

Two minutes after killing Rinon’s penalty to remain in the lead, Haglund scored to increase the gap to two goals.  Pat Perez scored shorthanded for Green Brook a minute and a half later to bring the Berets back within just one goal, and they had an opportunity to tie the score around the game’s midpoint when Joe Fallacaro took an interference penalty, but again the Flames’ penalty kill came through.  After another two minutes, Pinto was sent off for high-sticking, but once more the penalty killers got the job done as they preserved the 2-1 lead.  With under thirty seconds to go in the second period, Haglund lined up undetected along the far boards for a neutral zone faceoff, and earned himself a breakaway on which he beat Plaskota to give the Flames a 3-1 lead and plenty of momentum just in time for the third. 

Rinon scored his third goal of the playoffs five and a half minutes into the third, increasing the lead to 4-1.  D’Orio had only given up four goals in a game twice this season, and the Berets only had nine and a half minutes to put up the three goals needed to even the score at four.  The Flames continued to play great defense and controlled the play with their speed and passing that has led to their success all season long.  Second by second they killed off the remaining time as D’Orio mercilessly denied all third period shots from the Berets, and the Flames held on to win by the final of 4-1 and capture the PTAHL championship. 

With notable playoff performances were Bob Cresci, with three goals and an assist, Chris Pallante, with two goals and two assists, and Vinny D’Orio, with a record of 3-0 and a miniscule GAA of 1.33.  Also deserving mention are the special teams units, as the powerplay went three for four, and the penalty killers went a perfect four for four.  With this championship, the Flames have become the first team predominantly from Staten Island to win the PTAHL championship.  Plans for a parade have reached a standstill though as league administration refuses to allow it until the Port Authority declares all PTAHL players exempt from the exorbitant tolls.

 Flames roster:
 front: Ned Allan, Steve Pinto, Vinny D'Orio, Sal Bonomo, Pete Haglund, Nas Allan, John Rinon
 back: Dan Ford, Mike Van Pelt, Tom Krause, Jan Hubka, Steve Nierenberg, Young Kwon, Bob Cresci, Chris Pallante, Joe Fallacaro


2013-14/FALL-WINTER/NORTH: Pterodactyls Go from Chumps to Champs with Key Position Changes

March 20, 2014

Two seasons after winning the South Division championship, the Pterodactyls expanded to two rosters for the Summer 2013 season and began fielding a team in both divisions.  They got off to a rough start in their first North Division season, but they pulled off enough wins to finish in fourth place.  They eliminated the fifth place Rubber Duckies in the quarterfinals, and would take on the Muskrats in the semifinals.  The Pterodactyls jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead, but lost 6-3 with hat tricks from Anthony Criscitello, who as a free agent prior to the season rejected a Pterodactyls offer to sign with the Muskrats, and captain James Nobilio, who on multiple occasions has tried to lure Pterodactyls’ star forward Brian Rappleyea to the Muskrats.

The Pterodactyls underwent many changes in the offseason.  With rookie goaltender Scott Brady not re-signing, they would again have a new goalie as they picked up Craig Cocchio as a result of Team X merging with the Pterodactyls’ South Division team.  Zackowski and Colaneri would take the fall/winter season off, but they picked up former Laffy Taffy members Steve “Wizard of Oz” Osvold and Brett Hodshon to lead the offense.  Defenseman Andrew Miano was called up from the South Division, Chris LaTourette, one of the original members of the franchise from the District 5 days, returned to the roster, and rookie Mike Venanzi was brought in for additional depth.

Despite the multitude of roster moves, the Pterodactyls got off to a decent start, winning three of their first four as their new players made an immediate impact--Cocchio posted a shutout over the Muskrats and “Wizard of Oz” Osvold put up four goals on the Vudoos.  They lost their next two, won the next game in a shootout after tying it late in the third, then won their next game via another Cocchio shutout and four-goal performance by the Wizard.  With a record of 4-3-1-0, things seemed to be alright, but the season quickly went downhill from there.  The Pterodactyls lost their next five games.  Morale was plummeting, the team was falling down the standings, forward Gabe Wilson would miss the rest of the season as he relocated to Florida, and Cocchio was starting to miss plenty of games with a back injury.  Somehow they scraped out a miraculous shootout win against the Ice Men despite only icing seven skaters, but they lost their next three in which they surrendered 26 goals.  However, with three games remaining, the team stumbled into a season-changing revelation.

The Pterodactyls would have to play another game with a slim roster.  They pulled out a win last time, but on this occasion they would have only five skaters.  Knowing that they would most likely spend the majority of this game defending, the Pterodactyls moved their two top players, Brian Rappleyea and Steve Osvold, to defense.  It was a bold strategy, Cotton, and it paid off for them as they mustered a 6-4 victory, their first regulation win in ten games.  Since it worked so well, Rappleyea and Wizard of Oz remained on defense for the final two games of the regular season, and the Pterodactyls won those games 5-3 and 8-3.  This season-ending three game winning streak was huge not just to go into the playoffs with momentum, but also because their record of 7-11-2-0 was just two points good enough to finish ahead of the Phantoms for sixth place, meaning they would play the 12-8 third place Vudoos in the quarterfinals rather than the 11-3-2-4 Stingrays who finished tied with Freddy’s HC for first place.

Despite finishing third and fourth league-wide in points with 39 and 37, Osvold and Rappleyea stayed on defense for the quarterfinals.  If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, and the Pterodactyls would need strong defense in this game as the Vudoos had the most potent offense in the league with 139 goals.  The Wizard of Oz and Rappleyea would have their hands full with Wes “Side” Dorey, who led the league in goals with 43 (ten more than anyone else), assists with 29 (also ten more than anyone else), and points with 72 (28 more than anyone else).  The Pterodactyls fell behind early as they gave up a goal in the opening minute, but Osvold scored four minutes later to tie it at one.  However, they would have to play the rest of the game without the Miano brothers as Andrew Miano’s neck was cut by a skate and he would need to be taken to a hospital.  Dorey scored late in the period, followed by another Vudoos goal 25 seconds later to give the Vudoos a 3-1 lead after one period.  Early in the second period, Rappleyea scored shorthanded and Alex Smondyrev converted on a powerplay as the Pterodactyls climbed back to tie the game.  Later in the period, Hodshon scored and Rappleyea added another to turn a 3-1 deficit into a 5-3 lead in just one period.  Dorey scored again early in the third, but Greg Galligano canceled that one out, and Venanzi scored soon after to give the Pterodactyls a 7-4 lead.  In the game’s late minutes, the Vudoos scored two quick ones to make it a one goal game, but the Pterodactyls’ defense and the services of former goaltender Scott Brady, filling in for an injured Craig Cocchio, denied the Vudoos’ many late chances as they held on for the 7-6 win.  After the game ended, the Pterodactyls received word that Miano was alright after having his neck stitched up, but he would have to miss the rest of the postseason, beginning with another semifinal matchup with the Muskrats.

The Pterodactyls and Muskrats have been developing one of the most intense rivalries in PTAHL history.  A handful of former Pterodactyls ended up on the Muskrats:  Adam “Manhandle” Crandall, brother Jason Crandall, Nick “Slash” Kashmanian, and Tyler Strauss, one of the Pterodactyls’ founding members.  Muskrats captain James Nobilio has tried many times to add Brian Rappleyea to that list, but unlike the others, he has refused to abandon his teammates.  The rivalry intensified when Anthony Criscitello rejected a Pterodactyls offer to sign with the Muskrats prior to the summer season, and even further when the Muskrats ousted the Pterodactyls in the semifinals last season during their championship run. 

With Cocchio returning to the Pterodactyls’ goal crease after recovering from his back injury, this game was expected to be a close one as he posted the third lowest GAA in the regular season at 4.12, and Muskrats’ goaltender Adam Grare was second at 2.95.  Despite forgetting his skates like some kind of smooth-brained idiot and having no choice but to wear a pair of loaners, the Wizard of Oz scored within the first three minutes to give the Pterodactyls a 1-0 lead.  Later in the period, Greg Galligano scored shorthanded to make it a two goal advantage.  Osvold and Galligano each scored again early in the second to make it 4-0 Pterodactyls.  Cocchio’s shutout was broken with a shorthanded breakaway goal by Slash, but Hodshon scored on the same powerplay to make it 5-1.  However, Nobilio added a goal before the period ended to narrow the lead to three with one period to go.  The Muskrats cut the lead down to two early in the period, but Hodshon scored again about two minutes later to make it 6-3 as he, Galligano, and Osvold each had a pair of goals.  For the remaining nine minutes, Cocchio and the Pterodactyls’ defense shut down the Muskrats to continue this Cinderella run into the championship where they would meet another longtime rival, Freddy’s HC.

Freddy’s HC has been a thorn in the side of the Pterodactyls for almost the entire history of both teams.  While both teams struggled in the early years, the Pterodactyls suffered multiple gut-wrenching losses to Freddy’s, known at the time as Gone Fishin’.  Gone Fishin’ dramatically improved and eventually won four championships in five seasons while the Pterodactyls’ improvements did not translate to playoff success.  This rivalry would be put on hold as a result of the Great Separation of 2012 when the league split in half and the Pterodactyls went to the South Division while Freddy’s HC was clearly cut out for the North.  With the Pterodactyls now fielding a team in both divisions, the next chapter in this rivalry was set to be written.

Freddy’s HC finished first in the league with a record of 12-5-2-1, and whereas the Pterodactyls advanced to the championship by pulling off two upsets, Freddy’s only had to face the eighth and seventh place teams as a result of their regular season success, and now would be taking on the sixth place Pterodactyls.  Of the three regular season games against Freddy’s, the Pterodactyls won only one and it was in a shootout.  Unfortunately for Freddy’s, bigtime scorer Vinny Bird “is the Word”, who put up a hat trick in each of their last two games against the Pterodactyls, had been missing the playoffs with a knee injury and would not be able to return for this series.  However, the Pterodactyls would still face some tough scorers in Jake Worby as well as Alex Gorden, who finished fourth in goals at 23 and fifth in points with 36.

The Pterodactyls kept Rappleyea and Wizard of Oz on defense, and matched them up against Worby and Gorden.  This helped keep the favored Freddy’s HC from taking an early lead in Game 1, but the Pterodactyls were also not able to generate any goals of their own in the early going.  Gorden broke through and put Freddy’s up 1-0 with five minutes to go in the first, and Worby scored in the final minute of the period to send Freddy’s into the second with a 2-0 lead.  Freddy’s scored again early in the second to make it 3-0.  Finally with just over six minutes to go in the second period the Pterodactyls got on the board with a goal from Hodshon, but they went into the third still trailing 3-1.  Marcin Nieroda of Freddy’s scored a pair of goals early in the third to take a big 5-1 lead.  It looked as though this would be a quick series, but the Pterodactyls called their timeout and immediately responded as Hodshon scored again less than a minute later to bring the Pterodactyls back within three.  The Pterodactyls continued to inch closer when the greatest player in PTAHL history, Rob Cacioppo, scored from the point to narrow the score to 5-3 with six minutes remaining.  Twenty seconds later, the Wizard of Oz scored and just like that the Pterodactyls had turned a 5-1 deficit into a one goal game with 5:36 still left to play.  With three minutes to go, the Pterodactyls would go on a powerplay, but they were unable to find the equalizer and left the ice with their backs against the wall as they now needed to beat first place Freddy’s HC twice in a row.

In Game 2, the Pterodactyls struck first as Hodshon scored seven minutes in.  However, this lead evaporated when Freddy’s put up two late goals to take a 2-1 lead into the second period.  Freddy’s scored again just over six minutes into the second to make it 3-1, but Rappleyea responded with a powerplay goal to bring the Pterodactyls within a goal with six minutes to go in the second.  However, Gorden and Nieroda scored within the next four minutes to make it 5-2.  With 34 seconds to go, Osvold scored to bring the Pterodactyls within two, but Gorden notched his second of the game to put Freddy’s back up by three by the start of the third. 

The Pterodactyls were one period away from their magical playoff run coming to an end.  They would need to come up big in this third period, but it started off terribly as Worby scored his second of the game one minute in to make it 7-3 Freddy’s HC.  Needing to make up a four goal deficit in fourteen minutes seemed like a tall order, but the Pterodactyls remained resilient as Hodshon put up two quick goals in the next 2:14 to complete a hat trick and slim the difference down to 7-5.  Seconds later, the Pterodactyls found their comeback hopes slowed when Steve Miano was called for slashing.  Cocchio and the penalty kill unit got the job done though and kept Freddy’s just two goals away.  With 5:42 to go, the Pterodactyls brought themselves within a goal as Osvold notched his second of the evening.  Now back in nearly the same situation as they were in Game 1—one goal away from completing a huge comeback with about five and a half minutes left—the Pterodactyls knew that the tying goal is often the hardest to get, but this time they made it happen as Osvold completed a hat trick to tie this game at seven with 3:39 remaining, just over ten minutes after they were down 7-3 and it seemed as though their season was coming to an end.  The momentum was clearly now in the Pterodactyls’ favor, and the frustration of their opponents was noticeable as they took two ill-advised penalties, resulting in a late five on three.  During the two man advantage, Brian Rappleyea scored his second powerplay goal of the game to cap off this miraculous comeback and put the Pterodactyls ahead.  Ryan Galligano was called for interference with 52 seconds to go, but once again the Pterodactyls’ penalty kill came up big as they sent this game into the PTAHL history books with a monumental 8-7 comeback win, forcing this series to a decisive third game.

Six months of hard work would all come down to this one game.  Freddy’s HC looking for their fifth PTAHL title, and the Pterodactyls looking to complete their unpredictable run with their first North Division championship.  Statistics and standings meant bo diddly at this point, all that mattered was execution as one game now separate each team from either perpetual glory or shameful, soul-crumbling disappointment.  The Pterodactyls went on a powerplay two minutes into the game, but they were unable to take an early lead.  They had another chance on the powerplay later in the first, but again the Freddy’s HC penalty kill bested them.  The first period finished scoreless as goaltenders Paul Kulbida and Craig Cocchio refused to be the first to falter.  Roughly three minutes into the second period, Brett Hodshon, who many analysts considered a bust after a mediocre regular season, scored his ninth goal of the playoffs to put the Pterodactyls ahead.  Cocchio continued to deny Freddy’s HC’s shooters, and Greg Galligano scored with 2:44 to go in the second to give the Pterodactyls their first multi-goal lead of the series.  They took this 2-0 lead into the third, but Rappleyea was called for tripping as the period expired so they would start the third on the penalty kill. 

The Pterodactyls killed the penalty and remained up by two as Freddy’s continued looking for answers to Cocchio’s outstanding display of goaltending.  Just under four minutes into the third, Wizard of Oz scored to make it a 3-0 lead.  After the third periods they’ve had in the past two games, the Pterodactyls knew that no lead is safe, and they focused on clamping down on Freddy’s as they repeatedly denied their scoring chances.  With 6:37 to go, Geof Grek was called for tripping, but once again the penalty kill prevailed as they finished the playoffs 6 for 7 with two shorthanded goals.  The Pterodactyls’ defense was as strong as ever for the final four and a half minutes as they continued to frustrate the forwards of Freddy’s HC.  One by one the seconds ticked off the clock until the final buzzer sounded and the sixth place Pterodactyls were crowned PTAHL Champions. 

In doing so, the Pterodactyls became the lowest-ranked team to win the championship, and the first team to come out on top after losing Game 1 excluding the Killer Bees’ forfeit to Gone Fishin’ in the Summer 2011 season.  With notable playoff performances were obviously Brett Hodshon, whose 9 goals, 12 assists, and 21 points in just four games far surpassed his regular season output, Steve “Wizard of Oz” Osvold with 8 goals and outstanding defensive play against the opponents’ top scorers alongside Brian Rappleyea, who, like Greg Galligano put up 4 goals and 3 assists.  Also deserving of mention are Scott Brady, who filled in tremendously when Cocchio was out with his back injury, and the Phantoms, whose loss to a five-skater Pterodactyls roster showed the Pterodactyls that moving Osvold and Rappleyea to defense would completely turn their season around.  Indeed it did, as they went from a record of 4-11-2-0 going into that game, to ending the season as the champions of the PTAHL.













 Pterodactyls roster:
 front: Chris LaTourette, Craig Cocchio, Geof Grek, Greg Galligano, Ryan Galligano, Steve Miano
 back: Alex Smondyrev, Mike Venanzi, Steve Osvold, Brett Hodshon, Brian Rappleyea, Rob Cacioppo
 not pictured: Gabe Wilson, Andrew Miano

2013-14/FALL-WINTER/SOUTH: Green Brook Berets' Team Mentality Pays off With Championship

March 19, 2014

The Green Brook Berets entered the PTAHL for the Spring 2010 season as part of the league’s first expansion beyond its Original Three Era.  With much of the roster converting from roller hockey, the Berets struggled early on, finishing near the bottom of the standings as their players worked on developing their ice hockey skills.  They relied very heavily on Pat Perez for goal-scoring, and teams were able to beat the Berets by focusing on solely shutting down Perez.  However, while wins were few and far between, the Berets did show signs of potential as they were strong defensively and played very well as a team.  After their first couple seasons, experts began to take notice of their potential.  In a meeting between league administrators, PTAHL Administrator Rob Cacioppo noted that he expected the Berets to be good in the then upcoming season.  However, PTAHL Tyrant Rob Ruszala scoffed and dismissed this assertion as blasphemous rabble-rousing. 

The Berets steadily improved from season to season as they further emphasized their strengths.  Their stalwart defense continued to improve, especially with goaltender George “Vezina” Plaskota behind them.  Other than defense and goaltending, Green Brook’s greatest asset may be their team chemistry.  Captain Nep Ulloa was aware of this as he has kept the roster nearly identical four years later.  He made sure not to overreact to a few unsuccessful seasons and rather than try to add individual talents, the Berets made some minor tweaks but overall the team developed together as one unit. 

In the Summer 2012 season, the Berets made their first championship appearance, but were defeated by the SHI Spitfires.  The following season, Fall/Winter 2013-14, they finished in first place with a dominant record of 19-1.  However, in the semifinals they became the victims of the biggest upset in PTAHL history as Team X, who finished in last place with a record of 1-18-0-1, eliminated the Berets in a shootout.  The Berets rebounded with another first place regular season with a record of 10-2.  However, they once again fell to the Spitfires in the championship.  Despite the Berets now dominating the South Division during the regular season with a record of 29-3 over two seasons, their first championship continued to elude them.  In the summer 2013 season, the Berets took a small step backwards as they finished in third place.  Perhaps they would feel less pressure not finishing on top of the standings, but once again they were upset by a last place Team X.

Possibly demoralized after earning a reputation as the San Jose Sharks of the PTAHL with great regular season success but heartbreaking playoff losses, the Berets struggled early this season as they lost their first two games in shootouts to the Pterodactyls and Whalers, two teams that would finish in the bottom three of the standings.  However, they bounced back by winning their next four games, surrendering only eight goals over that span.  They lost two of their next three, giving them a modest record of 4-2-1-2, but went on an absolute tear from then on.  In their next seven games, they scored 39 goals and gave up only nine as Plaskota posted two shutouts.  They then won their remaining four games to end the season with an eleven-game winning streak for a record of 15-2-1-2 for yet another first place finish.  While defense and goaltending is what the Berets have historically been built around, they led the league in goals this season with 109 as Pat Perez finished as the league’s top point-scorer with 46 while Christian Solis placed in third with 36 and George Aller tied for fourth with 30.  Perez and Solis finished the season tied for most assists with 22.  Meanwhile, the Berets surrendered a league fewest 47 goals against as Plaskota put up a league-leading GAA at 2.24 with three shutouts.

The Berets’ first place finish earned them a quarterfinal bye, and in the semifinals they would take on the fifth place Whalers who advanced after defeating the Flames.  Green Brook lost their first meeting with the Whalers in a shootout, but won their remaining three, outscoring them 17-3.  The Berets took a 1-0 lead nine and a half minutes after the opening puck-drop with a goal from Joe DeLorenzo.  Just over halfway through the game, Christian Solis scored to make it a two goal game, but the Whalers got back within one before the period ended.  However, Jon Boot scored early in the third to regain the two goal lead, and George Aller made it 4-1 just 22 seconds later.  The Whalers produced another goal late in the third, but Perez added an empty-net tally to give the Berets a 5-2 win.

In the championship, Green Brook would be matched up with the second place SHI Spitfires, the same team that ended the Berets’ run in the finals twice before.  A very low-scoring series was expected as the Berets and Spitfires were first and second in not just the standings, but in fewest goals allowed.  In hockey’s history there have been some notable goaltending battles for championships:  Patrick Roy/John Vanbiesbrouck in the 1996 Stanley Cup Finals, Martin Brodeur/Ed Belfour in 2000, and now George “Vezina” Plaskota/Menas Zion in the Fall/Winter 2013-14 PTAHL South Division championship.  Zion’s 2.67 GAA and two shutouts were second only to Plaskota.  Five minutes into the game, the Berets went on a powerplay, but they were unable to sneak a puck behind Zion.  Seconds later, they would go on the penalty kill as Steve Midgley took a hooking penalty, but Plaskota and the Green Brook PK unit prevailed to keep this game scoreless.  With 3:19 to go in the first period, Milton Solis scored to give the Berets the first lead in this championship series.  About halfway through the period, Midgley scored to make it 2-0 Green Brook.  With 1:12 to go in the second, the Berets found themselves back on the penalty kill as Robert Pinzon was called for tripping.  This powerplay carried over into the third, but yet again the penalty kill got the job done.  As the third period slowly elapsed, the Berets clamped down defensively and prevented the Spitfires from getting on the board.  Perez added an empty-netter once again as Plaskota registered his fourth shutout of the fall/winter, and second against the Spitfires.  However, this game was very close and the Berets could not afford to get complacent as a slip-up in Game 2 would eliminate their 1-0 series advantage.

The Spitfires came out with more intensity early in Game 2, and they scored just under four minutes in to give themselves a 1-0 lead and, perhaps more importantly, to prove to themselves that Plaskota is in fact beatable.  However, late in the first, Midgley scored to tie the game at one just in time for the second period.  The score remained even at just one each as the game progressed.  The Spitfires felt their backs against the wall and the Berets had victory within reach, but there was still plenty of work to be done for either team in this evenly-contested battle.  Midgley took an ill-advised high-sticking penalty late in the second, but yet again the Berets’ penalty kill prevailed, killing off all penalties in the postseason.  Five minutes into the third, the Spitfires took a penalty, but the Berets’ powerplay was unable to create the go-ahead goal, so the score remained 1-1 with about half a period left in regulation.  With neither star goaltender willing to budge, it appeared as though this game would be decided in overtime, but with only 1:35 left, George Aller changed everyone’s plans as he scored to give the Berets a very late 2-1 lead.  In desperate need of a goal to save their season, the Spitfires pulled Zion for an extra attacker, but this only allowed Aller to score again on the empty net with 52.5 seconds remaining, clinching the Green Brook Berets’ first ever PTAHL championship.

It was a long process for the Berets to ascend from their early days near the standings basement to first place seasons and a championship, but they have proven that maintaining a team mindset will yield results.  Many teams try to improve their roster by adding more skilled players, mercenaries sent out to score as many goals as possible.  Green Brook, however, made it a point to keep their nucleus together over the years and as a result they developed their individual skills together while also strengthening their team chemistry.  This, combined with Plaskota’s rock solid goaltending performance, evidenced by his playoff GAA of 1.00, has enshrined the Green Brook Berets in hockey immortality as PTAHL champions.  Perhaps their focus on keeping almost all the familiar faces on their roster while still striving for the championship can be traced to Green Brook Township’s motto, “Small enough to know you, large enough to get things done.”  Captain Nep Ulloa is reportedly in the process of securing permits for a championship parade down Route 22, details soon to come.

 Green Brook Berets roster:
 front: Milton Solis, Eric DeGuilo, Nep Ulloa, Pat Perez, Christian Solis, George Plaskota, Jon Boot
 back: Rob Pinzon, George Aller, Steve Midgley, Joe DeLorenzo, Rich Hernandez, Andrew Lorenc, Dave Raphel, Justin Bornstad, Alex Raphel

2013/SUMMER/NORTH: Nobilio and Criscitello Combine for 17 Playoff Goals to Lead Muskrats to Glory

August 28, 2013

After falling to the Rubber Duckies in the summer semifinals, the Muskrats made a big move in the offseason acquiring Anthony Criscitello, who rejected an offer from the Pterodactyls to play on the Muskrats with former teammates from the now defunct Mighty Ducks, captain James Nobilio and Adam “Manhandle” Crandall.  They would open their season against the Rubber Duckies, and Criscitello made his presence felt immediately, scoring four goals en route to a 10-6 victory.  In their next game, they downed the expansion Flames before losing to Freddy’s HC.  The Muskrats then won their next four games, including a late comeback and a shootout win over the Pterodactyls, a 5-2 win over the previously undefeated Stingrays, and two huge blowouts in which they extinguished the Flames 14-0 and annihilated the Duckies 12-4.  Their winning streak was snapped in the final game of the regular season though when they fell to the Pterodactyls after a couple late goals.  Nonetheless, they had the most goals scored by twenty with a total of 61, thanks largely to Nobilio’s 20 and Criscitello’s 14, good enough for first and second in the league.  Also, their record of 5-2-1-0 was good enough for second place and the accompanying quarterfinal bye.

In the semifinals, the Muskrats would take on the fourth place Pterodactyls, one of only two teams to defeat them in the regular season.  Aside from the close regular season games between these two teams, the many storylines in this one included defensemen Adam and Jay Crandall taking on the team that scouted them and brought them into the PTAHL, Criscitello facing the team that he snubbed in the offseason, and Pterodactyls’ forward Brian Rappleyea having to answer to the Muskrats after repeatedly rejecting their offers and staying with the Pterodactyls when they were in the South Division.  The Muskrats trailed early after surrendering a goal just over two minutes in.  They then gave up another goal to none other than Rappleyea to take a 2-0 deficit into the second period.  Despite going on the penalty kill twice in the second period, goaltender Adam Grare kept the Pterodactyls from scoring while Criscitello scored twice to tie the game at two with one period remaining.  Early in the third, Nobilio scored to give the Muskrats their first lead of the game.  He then added another two goals and Criscitello notched another one to make it 6-2.  They surrendered a late goal, but the damage had already been done as hat tricks by both Nobilio and Criscitello sealed a 6-3 Muskrats victory and a spot in the championship.

The Muskrats’ championship foe would be the unlikeliest of opponents—the expansion Flames who finished the regular season winless, but pulled off upsets over Freddy’s HC in the quarterfinals and the first place Stingrays in the semifinals.  In their regular season meetings, the Muskrats downed the Flames 7-5 and 14-0, but the Flames had shown throughout the postseason that this is not the same team that limped through the regular season.  In the opening minute of Game 1, Adam Napell was called for holding and the Flames scored on the powerplay to take an early 1-0 lead.  The Muskrats’ offense was unable to get on the board in the first period, but Grare kept them within just one.  In the second, the Flames were guilty of too many men on the ice, but despite the powerplay, the Muskrats remained scoreless.  Nobilio took a tripping penalty, but his teammates bailed him out and killed the two minutes.  About three minutes later, with 5:14 to go in the second period, Nobilio scored to tie the game at one.  He then scored again just 23 seconds before the period ended to put the Muskrats up 2-1.  A minute and a half into the third, Criscitello scored to make it a 3-1 lead over the Flames.  They surrendered a goal with four minutes left, but Grare and the Muskrats’ defense held onto their narrow one goal lead to win 3-2 and put themselves on the brink of PTAHL exaltation.

Despite their backs being against the wall, the Flames felt as though they could force a third game if they could shut down Criscitello and Nobilio, as they were the only two players on the Muskrats' roster to score a goal in the postseason so far.  However, that task is much easier said than done as both Criscitello and Nobilio scored a pair of goals in the first eight minutes of Game 2 to take an early 4-0 lead.  They surrendered a goal shortly afterwards, but Steve “The Pirate” Doherty got it back to make it 5-1 Muskrats after the first period. 

The Muskrats would start the second period on a powerplay, during which Criscitello completed a hat trick to give his team a five goal lead.  They gave up a goal seconds later to make it 6-2.  The Muskrats were faced with some adversity in the following minutes as Brian Vigilante took a hooking penalty, and while on the penalty kill Nobilio was sent to join Vigilante for tripping.  Goaltender Adam Grare and the penalty kill unit did a great job of killing the two man advantage though, so the four goal lead stood.  With seven minutes to go in the period, Vigilante took another penalty, but yet again the penalty killers got the job done.  Later in the period, “The Pirate” scored his second of the night to make it a big 7-2 lead with just one period separating the Muskrats from the zenith of PTAHL achievements.

The Flames were not ready to give up yet, as they scored two quick goals in the first three minutes of the third period to make it 7-4 and suddenly they were on the verge of getting back in this game.  The Muskrats were able to regroup, and Criscitello scored three minutes later to slow down these comeback hopes.  However, with 6:38 remaining, the Flames were able to score another one, and then again with 4:10 remaining to make this a close 8-6 game with plenty of time left to tie the score.  To make things even more dramatic, Adam “Manhandle” Crandall took an interference penalty with 3:36 remaining, giving the Flames a powerplay when they needed it most.  Once again the penalty killers were called upon, and once again it prevailed to finish the postseason with a 90% success rate.  As the powerplay started to dwindle away, the Flames pulled their goaltender for an extra attacker, but this only allowed Nobilio to complete a hat trick on the empty net to clinch the championship for the Muskrats.

When all was said and done, Nobilio finished the postseason with nine goals and four assists for thirteen points, and Criscitello notched eight goals and two assists for ten points, both in just three games.  While he did not put up such astounding numbers, this championship is a glorious accomplishment for PTAHL veteran Will Velasco.  After starting out as a serf with the Puck Pirates in the PTAHL’s Original Three era and putting in his time as a vassal over the past few years, with this championship, he is now worthy of the title Lord Willington of Velasco, as was bestowed upon him by King James Nobilio and Viceroy Rob Cacioppo.  

The Muskrats have come a long way since being created from the ashes of The Black Team by Steve Miller, and they expect this championship to be a building block for the future.  Captain James Nobilio has every intention of creating a Muskrats dynasty akin to the Freddy’s HC dynasty of 2011 and 2012, and if he can keep this core together, comprised of elite scorers, staunch defensemen, and reliable goaltending by Adam Grare, a dynasty in the near future is a very strong possibility.

 Muskrats roster:
 front: James Nobilio, Adam Grare, Alex Miragaya, Anthony Criscitello, Glen Friedman
 back: Adam Crandall, Steve Doherty, Brian Vigilante, Jason Crandall, Grey Jones, Nick Kashmanian, Willington Velasco
 not pictured: Adam Napell












2013/SUMMER/SOUTH: Phantoms Dethrone Spitfires for South Championship with Late Heroics

August 27, 2013

When the Phantoms came into the PTAHL at the start of the 2012-13 Fall/Winter season, they were immediately one of the top teams in the league.  They finished the regular season in first place, but lost in the championship to the Stingrays.  Since then, their roster has taken some hits as they lost star forwards Kyle Krannich and Paul Doran prior to the spring season.  Before this season began, they would also lose Lou LoSapio and Doug Meade.  They picked up two-way defenseman Nick Bacigalupo, who broke the PTAHL’s record for most Italian last name, but the continued loss of key players resulted in the Phantoms relegating themselves to the South Division for the summer.


There were high expectations for these North Division defectors, but after losing their first two games they quickly fell to the bottom of the standings and perhaps more importantly, the power rankings.  The Phantoms felt disrespected by the lack of confidence the PTAHL media had in them, and apparently that was just what they needed to motivate themselves for the rest of the season.  In their next game they obliterated the previously undefeated Archers by the convincing score of 11-1.  The sleeping giant had been awoken, and one by one the Phantoms vanquished every foe the South Division had to offer them.  In the second half of the season, the Phantoms avenged their two early losses to the Spitfires and Berets as they smashed the Spitfires by the score of 7-2, and then shut out the Berets.  By the end of the season, the Phantoms had won every game since those two losses, and climbed all the way to the top of the power rankings as well as the standings, earning a quarterfinal bye.


In the semifinals, the Phantoms would be matched up against the Cinderella Team X, who upset Green Brook in the quarterfinals.  In the first period, goaltenders Craig Cocchio and Tony Bucci kept their opponents from scoring despite each team having a powerplay as they remained stuck in a scoreless tie with one period down.  It didn’t take much longer for the Phantoms to take the lead though as Bobby Griffin scored to make it 1-0.  One minute later, Mike Smitko scored to make it a multi-goal lead.  Bucci continued to deny Team X’s scoring chances throughout this period, and two and a half minutes before its conclusion, Bacigalupo scored to make it 3-0.  About halfway through the third period, Bucci’s shutout was broken by star forward Sean Rappleyea, whom the Phantoms had so far done an excellent job of shutting down.  The Phantoms found themselves in a bit of trouble when rookie Mike Smith took a roughing penalty seconds later, but Bucci and the Phantoms’ penalty killers got the job done as they remained up 3-1.  They killed off the last four and a half minutes to preserve the score and advance to the championship where they would meet the defending champions, the SHI Spitfires.


The Spitfires were one of only two teams to defeat the Phantoms this season, but in their more recent meeting, the Phantoms prevailed by five goals.  However, this was the Spitfires’ third finals appearance in the past four seasons so they were no stranger to performing when it matters most.  Just over two minutes into Game 1, the Spitfires took a 1-0 lead.  The Phantoms went on the powerplay three minutes later.  They did not score on the man advantage, but they accumulated momentum that they turned into a goal shortly after as Bacigalupo tied the score.  Forty-two seconds later, Phil Meade scored to put the Phantoms up 2-1.  Less than three minutes into the second, Griffin scored to give the Phantoms a two goal lead.  Again Meade followed up forty-two seconds later as the Phantoms scored four straight goals to take a 4-1 lead.  However, the Spitfires were not going down without a fight, and Brian Kelly scored to bring them back within two near the game’s midway point.  Griffin answered shortly afterwards though to give his team a 5-2 lead.  Before the period ended though, SHI would score another goal to bring themselves back within a pair of goals at the third period’s onset.


Three minutes into the third, the Spitfires scored to get within a goal, still with plenty of time remaining.  The Phantoms held onto this slim lead for nearly nine minutes.  However, a tripping penalty on captain Bill Malthaner followed by a slashing call on Meade resulted in a two man advantage for the Spitfires.  They scored just before Malthaner’s penalty had ended, tying the game at five and keeping themselves on the powerplay.  However, Griffin won the ensuing center ice faceoff and skated straight up the middle to score shorthanded on a breakaway, putting the Phantoms back up by one goal with 3:17 remaining.  The Spitfires’ powerplay continued though, and with 2:45 remaining, they scored to tie the game at six.  Neither team was able to break the tie before time ran out, so this game would go to overtime.


Teams exchanged scoring chances during this spirited overtime period, but the goaltenders were equal to the task.  With just under two minutes to go, the Spitfires took an untimely slashing penalty, putting the Phantoms on the powerplay for the rest of the overtime period.  However, they were still unable to score, so a shootout would be necessary to decide this one.  The first shooter was Bobby Griffin of the Phantoms, and he scored to give his team the upper hand.  The Spitfires responded with Nick Pawlyk, but Bucci denied him.  Up next for the Phantoms was Nick Bacigalupo, and he scored to put all the pressure on Spitfires’ shooter Brian Kelly.  Kelly was rejected by Bucci as the Phantoms clinched Game 1 and gave themselves a chance to take him the championship two days later in Game 2.


The Phantoms jumped off to a quick start in Game 2 as Bacigalupo scored two and a half minutes in.  However, rookie Brent Livingstone took an interference penalty two minutes later and Pawlyk scored on the powerplay to tie the game.  The score remained even at one for the remaining ten and a half minutes of the period.  In the second period, penalties by Bacigalupo and Kevin Inglis put the Phantoms on the penalty kill, but they were able to kill both penalties as the score remained one each at the start of the third period.  Two minutes into the third, a double-minor for roughing taken by Ryan Carlin gave the Phantoms a great opportunity to take back the lead and put themselves minutes away from glory.  However, they were denied throughout the first three minutes of the powerplay and the fourth was negated by a Kevin Inglis goaltender interference penalty, so the game remained 1-1 with about half a period remaining.  About two minutes after Inglis was released from the box, the Spitfires scored to take a 2-1 lead with five and a half minutes left to play.  One by one, these crucial minutes evaporated from the clock.  However, with 1:52 to go, Phil Meade scored to tie the game at two.  Overtime appeared imminent, but the Phantoms refused to let this series go to a third game.  Just 47 seconds later, Livingstone scored to miraculously put the Phantoms up 3-2.  In about three quarters of a minute, the Phantoms went from about to lose the game as well as their lead in the series to being just over a minute away from winning the championship.  The Spitfires pulled their goaltender for the final minute, but the Phantoms were as solid defensively as ever before, holding onto their slight lead to grab the South Division Championship from the SHI Spitfires in stunning fashion.


The Phantoms are looking to build on this championship, as captain Bill Malthaner announced in a postgame press conference that the Phantoms will be moving back up to the North Division for the upcoming fall/winter season.  To complement the big performers on this team, for example Griffin with his four goals in three playoff games, Bacigalupo with his three goals and two assists, and Meade with his three goals, key players will be returning the roster, most notably Paul Doran, Kyle Krannich, and Lou LoSapio.  A long season in a challenging division awaits them, but the roster is being re-injected with the skill of seasons past, and as the final minutes of this championship has shown, the Phantoms have the composure and mental fortitude to overcome adversity.


 Phantoms roster:
 front: Don Vallario, Nick Bacigalupo, Adam Grare
 back: Damon Cassaro, Phil Meade, Bobby Griffin, Kevin Inglis, Bill  Malthaner, Brent Livingstone
 not pictured: Mike Smitko, Jacky Morin, Mike Smith, Tony Bucci










2013/SPRING/NORTH: Beatrice's Hat Trick Overtime Goal Wins Title for Shorthanded Hauss Hunters

July 1, 2013

When the rosters were announced for this brand new North Division, many experts believed the Hauss Hunters would be the team to beat, although some argued the Mighty Ducks were the better team and cited the Hunters' slim roster as a potential disadvantage.  Both teams firmly believed that they were superior to the other, and it wasn't until five games into the season that these two squads met face-to-face.  Prior to that, the Mighty Ducks beat Laffy Taffy twice and the Hauss Hunters split their games agains them with their loss coming via forfeit due to the use of an ineligible player.  At this point, it was evident that the Mighty Ducks and the Hauss Hunters were the top teams in this elite division.  When they finally met for the first time, the Hauss Hunters came out on top in a close 7-5 game.  They then won their next three with their first non-forfeit loss not occurring until their seventh game when they were upset by Laffy Taffy.  They had now beaten the Mighty Ducks three times, with one of them being a forfeit.

They bounced back from the loss with a huge 10-3 win over the Ducks.  They then exerted their dominance over Laffy Taffy once more with a 10-5 win, but their play began to fall off following this game.  At this point in the season, the Hauss Hunters were struggling to field a team as their already narrow roster was dwindling further.  As a result, they forfeited their next game to the Mighty Ducks because they were unable to muster enough skaters to play.  In their next match, they barely scraped by the lowly Laffy Taffy with a shootout win.  In their final game of the regular season, they were crushed by the Ducks 17-7.  While they had clinched first place and a semifinal bye with their outstanding performance earlier in the season, their play to finish the seasno was not impressive and had many believing an upset in the championship game would not be that surprising.

The Mighty Ducks defeated Laffy Taffy in the semifinals, making official what many had predicted early on--a championship game between the Hauss Hunters and Mighty Ducks.  The Mighty Ducks would be without Captain Duck, James "Charlie Conway" Nobilio, and bash brother Sean "Dean Portman" Rasimowicz, but the Hauss Hunters would be missing the services of Rocky Romanella, who finished first place in goals with teammate Nick "Slash" Kashmanian, and supporting cast Jake Worby, Jackson Udelsman, and Gordon Bowen, leaving them with only four skaters.  However, this team was used to not only playing with a slim roster, but also winning with a slim roster, averaging almost eight goals a game throughout the regular season.  Three minutes into the game, the Hauss Hunters went up 1-0 with a goal from Slash.  Three minutes later, Matt Ruthberg scored to make it a two goal lead until Mike "Adam Banks" Criscitello scored with 3:18 to go in the first to cut the lead to one.  However, with a minute and a half to go in the period, John Beatrice scored to make it 3-1 Hunters heading into the second.

In the opening minute of the second, Anthony "Cake-Eater" Criscitello scored to bring the Ducks back within a goal.  The Hauss Hunters were able to cling to this one goal lead until just over halfway through the period when Mike "Adam Banks" Criscitello scored to tie the game at three.  Just fifty seconds later, Alex Gorden "Bombay" scored to put the Ducks up 4-3.  This lead only stood for a minute and a half though until Kevin "Marshall" Mathers scored to tie it at four.  With 2:58 to go, Mike "Adam Banks" Criscitello completed a hat trick and put the Ducks back up, now ahead 5-4.  However, just ten seconds later, Slash scored his second of the game to send this game into the third period knotted at five each.

Beatrice scored his second of the game in the opening minute of the third to put the Hauss Hunters up 6-5.  They had a great chance to expand their lead when bash brother Kevin "Fulton Reed" Rasimowicz took a tripping penalty with 8:20 remaining, but they were unable to score on the powerplay.  This squandered powerplay proved to be huge as the Mighty Ducks tied the score with 4:37 to go thanks to Anthony "Cake-Eater" Criscitello's second goal of the evening.  Matters soon became even worse for the Hauss Hunters when "Marshall" Mathers was called for elbowing with 3:51 remaining.  The Hauss Hunters had only taken a total of eight penalty minutes all season, but they now found themselves killing a penalty at perhaps the worst possible time, especially considering they only had four skaters for this game and would be killing this penalty with only three.  They were able to successfully kill the penalty though.  For the remaining two minutes, teams exchanged chances, but neither was able to make one count, so this championship game would head to overtime.

The teams played very deliberately for the start of the overtime period.  The Hauss Hunters were exhausted, having played there full peridos with no substitutions and only four skaters on the ice.  Meanwhile, the Mighty Ducks wanted to be careful not to make a critical championship-deciding mistake.  However, this mistake occurred about fifty seconds after overtime had begun when defenseman Adam "Dave Karp" Crandall made a turnover in the neutral zone that sprung the Hauss Hunters on a two-on-one.  Beatrice skated the puck up the left side and attempted to pass it, but the pass was stopped by a Mighty Ducks defenseman.  Beatrice collected the loose puck and shot it short side to complete a hat trick, but more importantly, to win the PTAHL North Division championship for the Hauss Hunters.  Congratulations to the Hauss Hunters on this achievement of utmost remarkability!

Hauss Hunters roster:
front:  Brandon DeLibero, Nick Kashmanian
back:  John Beatrice, Kevin Mathers, Matt Ruthberg
not pictured:  Rocky Romanella, Jake Worby, Jackson Udelsman, Matt MacDonald, Gordon Bowen

2013/SPRING/CENTRAL: Rubber Duckies Upset Freddy's HC to Win Central Championship

July 3, 2013

Prior to the start of the Spring 2013 PTAHL season, Bullmoose re-branded themselves, ditching the dull gray jerseys for bright yellow ones, and switching the team name from Bullmoose, as chosen by founding captain Adam "Manhandle" Crandall, now on the Muskrats, to Rubber Duckies.  Rosterwise, they lost scorer Tim O'Connor, but added Dominick Fiore and Chris Tamas as well as new goaltender Matt McKenna.  This team has always been a contender since coming into the lague, but they had only advanced to the championship once so far--the Spring 2012 season in which they lost to Freddy's HC.  As suual, Freddy's and the Rubber duckies put forth very strong roster for this season as well, and were expected by many analysts to meet in the championship once again.

The Duckies' first game of this season would come against Freddy's, and they lost a close one by the score of 5-3.  They then took down the Ferrymen before dropping two straight to the Muskrats.  With a record of 1-3 a third of the way through the season, some questioned whether or not the Rubber Duckies really were a team to be reckoned with or if they just looked good on paper.  They followed up this criticism by shutting out the defending champion Stingrays in their next game.  After this, they once again lost to Freddy's, but yet again it was a close two goal game, 8-6 this time.  However, they were now halfway through the season with a disappointing record of 2-4.  From here on out, the Rubber Duckies completely silenced the critics as they went undefeated for the second half of the season.  They finished with a record of 8-4, second only to the nearly undefeated Freddy's HC, whose only loss was a forfeit to the last place Whalers in the final game of the regular season.  The Rubber Duckies would take on those Whalers in the quarterfinals.

A minute and a half into this game, Kevin O'Connor scored to give his team a 1-0 lead.  Not long after, Fiore and captain Bryan Pagan scored to make it 3-0 Rubber Duckies early on.  O'Connor added another goal early in the second period to make it 4-0.  They surrendered a goal to the Whalers, breaking McKenna's shutout, but Fiore then scored a pair of goals to finish off a hat trick and make it 6-1.  Around six minutes into the third, Pagan scored again to make it 7-1.  In the closing minutes, O'Connor scored his third of the evening to match Fiore's hat trick and make the final score 8-1 in favor of the Rubber Duckies.

In the semifinals, the Rubber Duckies would take on the third place Muskrats, featuring former teammates Adam and Jay Crandall, as well as captain James Nobilio.  The Muskrats finished with a record of 6-5-1-0 and gave up only 32 goals all season, the fewest in the league.  Once again, O'Connor got the scoring started early, this time scoring just 1:01 into the game to quickly put the Duckies on top.  Late in the first, the Duckies went on the powerplay, during which O'Connor scored again to make it 2-0 at the end of one period.  O'Connor, who in the past was known for taking costly penalties and constantly apeparing at the top of the league's penalty minute list, was now an asset to his team as he finished the season with 18 points and only 4 penalty minutes.  This new version of Kevin O'Connor was playing dividends for the Rubber Duckies, as he had already racked up five goals in the postseason so far after just four periods of play.  Five minutes into the second period, Sean Holton scored to make it 3-0 Duckies.  Later in the period, rookie Chris Tamas scored to make it 4-0 after two periods as McKenna carried a shutout into the third.  About halfway into the third, Holton scored again as the Duckies started running away with this one, now up 5-0.  With just 2:40 to go, the Duckies gave up a goal, breaking McKenna's shutout.  They surrendered another goal soon after, but the damage had already been done as the Rubber Duckies advanced to the championship with a 5-2 victory over the Muskrats.

Exactly one year to the day after falling to Freddy's in the championship, the Rubber Duckies would have a rematch.  Freddy's finished first in the league in goals scored with 77 and only gave up one more goal than the Muskrats.  Undefeated with the exception of a forfeit to the last place team in the final game of the regular season, Freddy's was the favorite and had been expected to go all the way, but the Duckies had played the hardest and if any team could take them down, it would be the Rubber Duckies.  Just over four minutes into the game, the Duckies found themselves on the powerplay, during which Sean Holton scored to give them, once again, an early lead.  Freddy's kept the Duckies from expanding their lead, but McKenna kept Freddy's off the board for his fifth shutout period of the playoffs.

With just under five minutes to go in the second, Freddy's tied the score at one, but a minute and a half later Chris Tamas scored to regain the lead for the Duckies.  With 1:07 remaining, Freddy's scored again to tie the game.  After the goal, a scuffle occurred that resulted in a Rubber Duckies powerplay.  On the powerplay, Gregg Flakker scored to make it 3-2 just before the period came to an end.  Things were looking good so far for the Duckies, as they were up by a goal with just one period remaining, but also were doing an excellent job of keeping league-leading goal scorer Vinny Bird off the scoresheet.  He finished the season with a whopping 22 goals, but was invisible in this game so far.

Five and a half minutes into the third, Dan Simo scored to make it 4-2.  About two minutes later, Sean Holton scored to make it a three goal game with just under half a period to go.  Soon afterwards, now with less than five and a half minutes remaining, Holton exhibited serious ups as he leaped high into the air to catch the puck in the neutral zone, descended back to the ice, and proceeded to stickhandle around multiple Freddy's HC skaters before deking goaltender Chris Dudo to complete a hat trick and make this a 6-2 game with time running out.  Approximately forty seconds later, things got even worse3 for Freddy's when Dan Simo bumped into Dudo, drawing a goaltender interference penalty, but Dudo responded by grabbing Simo's cage, incurring a five-minute major and a game misconduct for holding the facemask.  Freddy's would now have to play the rest of the game with no goaltender.  With one minute remaining, Fiore scored to make it 7-2, and Holton added his fourth goal of the game and sixth of the postseason to cap off an 8-2 victory for the Rubber Duckies as they win their first championship in franchise history.  In each of the three playoff games, the Rubber Duckies grabbed an early lead and did not trail at any point.

Aside from Holton and his six goals, also with noteworthy playoff performances were Kevin O'Connor with five goals and three assists, Matt McKenna with two shutout periods in each of the three games and a GAA of 1.67, and captain Bryan Pagan for going three consecutive games without being suspended.  Congratulations to the Rubber Duckies on downing the Freddy's HC powerhouse and winning their first championship!

Rubber Duckies roster:
front:  Jimmy Cassidy, Gregg Flakker, Matt McKenna, Kevin O'Connor, Dan Simo
back:  Anthony Metta, Dominick Fiore, Chris Tamas, Sean Holton, Bryan Pagan
not pictured:  Scot McClintic, Dan Brand, Brandon Corey

2013/SPRING/SOUTH: Spitfires Thrilling Postseason Run Ends with Championship

July 2, 2013

The SHI Spitfires’ fall/winter season as defending champions ended in disappointment.  After finishing the season playing extremely well during a stretch of tough opponents to finish in third place, they were ousted in the quarterfinals by last place Team X, who went on to reach the finals.  SHI still had a bad taste in their mouths at the start of this season, and they used the pain of the prior season’s loss as motivation. 

They opened their spring season against the Care Bears, who played in the North Division the season before.  The Spitfires were not intimidated by this new foe, and crushed them by the score of 8-1.  They dropped their next two games to the Pterodactyls and Archers, but then went on a three-game winning streak including a big win over the Biohazards, a close 4-3 win over their fall/winter assailants, Team X, and another 8-1 thumping over the Care Bears, earning a record of 4-2 at the season’s midpoint.  They then lost to powerhouse Green Brook Berets, but bounced back by handing the defending champion Pterodactyls their first regulation loss of the season.  However, the Spitfires hit a rough patch after this as they dropped three straight to the Biohazards, Berets, and Team X.  Their final game of the regular season was against the Archers, and the winner would clinch third place.  With third place on the line, the Spitfires were able to overcome their slump and blasted the Archers by the final score of 8-1 to decisively clinch third place, resulting in another quarterfinal matchup with Team X.

Team X jumped out to an early lead as star rookie Tim Finnerty put them on the board two minutes into the game.  The first period ended with the score still 1-0 X.  Four minutes into the second period, Max “Cameraman” Vasilyev tied the game.  Just after killing a penalty, Sean Carlin scored to give the Spitfires a 2-1 lead.  Late in the period, Bob Cunius scored to make it a two goal lead.  With just five and a half minutes remaining, Tony DiMonte made victory seem imminent when he put SHI up 4-1, but the game was not over yet.  Nineteen seconds later, DJ Richards scored to make it 4-2, and Finnerty scored with 4:25 to go and then again with 1:25 left to miraculously tie the game.  Teams exchanged chances during the thrilling overtime period, but nobody was closer to ending this classic than Bob Cunius, who rang the puck off the post late in the period.  Goaltenders Menas Zion and Craig Cocchio refused to give up the deciding goal, so this classic would go to a shootout.  Neither team scored in the first round as DJ Richards and Nick Pawlyk were both denied.  In the second round, Finnerty’s fancy between-the-legs shot went over the net, but Brian Kelly was also unable to score.  Scott Baumann of Team X was stopped in the third round, but so was Alex Aleshinskiy, sending this to a fourth round.  Jason Crandall made a good move, but Zion was able to reach across the crease with his leg to make a highlight reel save.  DiMonte was up next to try to win the game, but he was also rejected.  In the fifth round, Rob Mager was stopped by Zion.  Next up for the Spitfires would be Max “Cameraman” Vasilyev.  Something deep inside told Vasilyev that he would have better luck with his helmet-cam off, so as he skated towards center ice he switched it off and proceeded to score the shootout’s only goal to end this marathon of a game with the final score of 5-4 after a five-round shootout that ended 1-0, sending the SHI Spitfires to the semifinals.  The Spitfires fans expressed outrage that Vasilyev’s shootout winner was not recorded on video, but if it helped him score this crucial goal, then he did what must be done.

In the semis, the Spitfires would run into the defending champion Pterodactyls.  In recent seasons, games between these two teams have usually been very close, and this was no exception as neither team managed to score in the first period.  Four minutes into the second, the Spitfires found themselves down 1-0, and although they were still unable to score a goal of their own, Zion and the Spitfires defense kept the Pterodactyls from taking a multi-goal lead.  Halfway into the third period, Paul Cavanaugh scored to tie the game at one goal apiece.  Ten seconds later they became shorthanded when rookie Sean O’Reilly was called for a high stick.  The Pterodactyls generated a wealth of chances on the powerplay, but Zion denied every shot.  With 2:12 to go, the Spitfires were again forced to kill a penalty when Tom Lynch was called for interference.  Just like last time, Zion and the SHI penalty killers came through in the clutch, resulting in another overtime game.  Overtime was very tightly-contested, but in the final minute the Spitfires’ forecheck forced a turnover and Lynch made a centering pass to the slot, where Aleshinskiy ripped a wrist shot under DiBai’s arm and into the net to eliminate the defending champions and send the SHI Spitfires to the eschaton of PTAHL glory for the second time in three seasons.

In the championship, they would take on the Green Brook Berets in a rematch of the Summer 2012 South championship, in which the Spitfires prevailed over the Cinderella story Berets by the score of 5-1.  This time, the Berets were the favorite as they finished in first place with a record of 10-2, and won both games against SHI during the regular season, outscoring them 10-3.  The Spitfires found themselves trailing early when Milton Solis scored 25 seconds into the game.  Brian Kelly tied the score three minutes later, but Steve Midgley made it 2-1 Green Brook just twenty seconds afterwards.  Later in the period, Sean Carlin scored to tie the game at two, and before the period came to an end Nick Pawlyk scored to put the Spitfires up 3-2 at the end of the tfirst.  In the first half of the second, both teams successfully killed off penalties.  With 4:50 to go in the second, Steve Midgley scored to tie the game at three.  Tony DiMonte was called for a high stick late in the period, but the Spitfires killed the penalty to remain tied at three with one period remaining. 

A minute and a half into the third, the Spitfires were forced to kill a penalty when captain and NHL legend Paul Coffey took a slashing penalty.  The penalty kill was successful, but about thirty seconds later, Nick Pawlyk took Coffey’s spot in the box when he was called for roughing.  A minute into this penalty, the powerplay was negated when Milton Solis was called for holding, resulting in four on four play.  Twenty seconds into the four on four, Justin Bornstad was called for roughing, giving the Spitfires a four on three powerplay for about forty seconds, and then a two man advantage.  They were unable to capitalize on the man advantage, but they maintained the momentum and scored about thirty seconds later as Aleshinskiy put the Spitfires up 4-3.  The Berets battled hard, attempting to tie the game back up, but three minutes later their chances took a drastic hit when Steve Midgley took an elbowing penalty.  By the time Green Brook returned to full strength, there was only 2:46 left.  Fifty seconds later, the Spitfires were forced to put forth one more big penalty kill, as Sean Carlin was sent off for tripping.  Just as in the semifinals, the penalty kill came up huge when it was needed most, as they were able to kill the rest of the time off the clock and hold onto this narrow lead to clinch the Spitfires’ second PTAHL championship.  With most notable performances, aside from the penalty killers, were Aleshinskiy with the game-winning goals in the semifinal and the championship, and goaltender Menas Zion with a playoff GAA of 2.48.  With two championships in three seasons, the Spitfires now fully deserve to be feared, especially in the postseason.  If they can keep this core together, they will continue to be a top team for years to come.  Highlights from Vasilyev's helmet-cam can be seen here:

SHI Spitfires roster:
front:  Sean Carlin, Nick Pawlyk, Mike Cacace, Paul Cavanaugh, Tony DiMonte, Menas Zion
back:  Robert Sheahan, Sean O'Reilly, Bob Cunius, Alex Aleshinskiy, Max Vasilyev, Tom Lynch, Brian Kelly, Paul Coffey

2012-13/FALL-WINTER/NORTH: Daloisio's 0.75 GAA Carries Stingrays to Championship

April 1, 2013

The Stingrays began playing in the PTAHL in the Spring 2012 season.  They started off as one of the top teams in the league, but their season took a turn for the worst about halfway through when they started to fall down the standings.  Their season ended with a first round loss to Freddy’s HC, who went on to win the championship.  They played elsewhere in the summer but came back with an improved roster this season and had championship aspirations from the start.  Although there is no record of it ever occurring since inferior leagues do not publish championship recaps, the Stingrays lost in the finals to the Phantoms in the other league before both teams decided to take their rivalry with them to the PTAHL.

The Stingrays lost three of their first four games, but then quickly turned it around winning eight of their next nine to ascend to the top of the North Division standings.  The Phantoms then ended a Stingrays seven game winning streak, but the Rays went on another five game winning streak that brought them to the regular season finale against the Phantoms.  Once again the Phantoms snapped the Stingrays’ winning streak, and in doing so they took first place from the Stingrays by tying them in points and beating them out with the regulation wins tiebreaker, earning a quarterfinal bye.

In the quarterfinals, the second place Stingrays would face the seventh place Care Bears, who started off dominating until roster turbulence caused them to rapidly drop en route to a season-ending ten game losing streak.  However, with the always dangerous Criscitello brothers on the roster—top two in the league in goals and points, each with over 40 goals and 60 points—the Care Bears had the potential to pull off an upset.  Mike Criscitello struck first to put the Bears in the lead, but Greg Schehr tied the score before the period ended.  In what was not expected to be a close matchup, the Stingrays and Care Bears were knotted at one after the first period and shots were even at 11-10 Stingrays.  The Stingrays took control in the second period though, with a natural hat trick by George Helock to put them up 4-1 with one period left.  Early in the third, the Stingrays added another goal to go up by four goals.  Throughout the third period they only gave up a total of five shots, and Kyle Daloisio, the league leader in GAA denied all of them.  Schehr added another goal in the closing minutes to send the Stingrays to the semifinals with a 6-1 win.

In the semis, the Stingrays would run into the third place Ferrymen.  The Ferrymen were near the standings basement for a while early on, but put it together and climbed all the way up to third.  Each game between these two teams was close, all ending with a 3-1 final, but the Ferrymen would be without superstar Rocky Romanella, who finished fourth in the league in goals.  Mike Boscaino scored early on a partial breakaway and then Jackson Udelsman scored not long after to give the Stingrays a 2-0 lead after the first period.  Schehr added a shorthanded goal early in the second, and the score remained 3-0 until Kevin Rasimowicz and Shane Connor scored late in the period to make it 5-0 Stingrays going into the third.  In the first few minutes of the third period, while the Stingrays were already shorthanded, Rasimowicz took a slashing penalty that would cost Daloisio his first PTAHL playoff shutout as the Ferrymen scored on the two man advantage.  Later on, George Helock scored to make it a five goal game once again.  From here on out, Daloisio and the Stingrays defense clamped it down as they held on for a 6-1 semifinal victory.  They would move on to the championship where they would meet, as fate would have it, the Phantoms.

Of their three regular season meetings, the Stingrays only won one of them, beating the Phantoms 5-2 in their first matchup.  They lost the next two by the lopsided scores of 6-1 and 6-2.  The Phantoms were the only team that was able to defeat the Stingrays since November 18th, the Stingrays' sixth game of the season.  Despite having lost convincingly to them in their last two games and also falling to them in the other league’s summer championship, the Stingrays were confident going into this clash of the titans with the way Daloisio was playing between the pipes, having only surrendered two goals through two games so far this postseason.  On the other hand, the Phantoms had the high-octane goal-scoring duo of Kyle Krannich and Paul Doran, who combined for 55 goals and 87 points this season while their team surrendered only 76 goals, second only to the Stingrays. 

The Stingrays wasted no time taking the lead in Game 1 as George Helock opened the scoring just nineteen seconds in.  As the period progressed, Bob Conover and Mike Boscaino were both called for tripping, but Daloisio and the penalty killers prevailed both times as the Stingrays took a 1-0 lead into the second.  Boscaino scored to make it a multi-goal lead halfway through the second while Daloisio continued to keep the Phantoms off the scoreboard.  Just over a minute into the third, Boscaino scored again to make it a 3-0 game.  Throughout the third, Daloisio kept Doran and Krannich completely off the scoresheet as the Stingrays shut out the Phantoms.  Helock added a second goal in the closing minutes to seal a 4-0 Game 1 victory, putting the Stingrays on the precipice of endless glory.

The Stingrays did not get off to as quick a start in this one as they did in Game 1, but they did take the lead with a goal by Boscaino to exit the first period with a 1-0 lead again.  Early in the second, Helock scored to make it 2-0 as Daloisio continued to riddle the Phantoms’ offense.  With about half a game remaining, the Phantoms would need to find some answers to their scoring woes or their season would be finished.  The championship looked even more likely for the Stingrays when they took a 3-0 lead with 4:11 to go in the second.  Before this period ended, Henry Hinterstein scored a powerplay goal to make it 4-0 Stingrays with just one period separating them from their first PTAHL title.  The Stingrays gave up a goal early in the third, but they prevented the Phantoms from rallying and chipping away at the lead any further.  The Stingrays killed a penalty in the final few minutes and finished off the rest of the time remaining to capture the championship.

The Stingrays did not dominate early in the season, but it didn’t take them very long until they became a powerhouse.  When the playoffs began, they only get better, especially in net as Daloisio was as rock solid as ever, only letting three shots by him throughout all four playoff games for a preposterous GAA of 0.75.  Also with noteworthy performances were Mike Boscaino with three goals in the finals and George Helock who finished the postseason with seven goals.  Congratulations to the Stingrays on this most honorable achievement!


Stingrays roster:
front:  Kyle Daloisio
middle:  Henry Hinterstein, George Helock, Bob Conover
back:  Mike Ciampi, Joe Nobilio, Jay Lawrence, Mike Liantonio, Mike Boscaino, Brian Conover, Kevin Rasimowicz, Shane Connor, Jackson Udelsman, Greg Schehr

2012-13/FALL-WINTER/SOUTH: 'Dactyls Survive Postseason of Upsets to Win their First Championship

March 28, 2013

The Pterodactyls entered the PTAHL as an assorted bunch of misfits in the Spring 2010 season, the second season of the PTAHL’s existence.  About half of the roster at the time had only roller hockey experience, some had ice hockey experience but hadn’t played in years, and one or two players were well past their prime, even for adult league.  Many of this roster’s pieces had never played with anyone else on the team before.  Fittingly, the team was known back then as District 5, a reference to the similarly pathetic team in the first Mighty Ducks movie before Coach Gordon Bombay renamed them the Ducks.  Also analogous to Coach Bombay, captain Rob Cacioppo was not all that excited about starting this team, but was forced to by PTAHL tyrant Rob Ruszala as he sought to expand the league beyond its Original Three franchises, much like Bombay was forced by the state of Minnesota to coach District 5 after he blew a .08.  After a lackluster inaugural season, District 5 was beginning to play as a cohesive unit, and after voting on a new team name in the offseason, they renamed themselves the Pterodactyls, a name they could take pride in.  Despite their improvements, they still struggled to win games for a few seasons, until eventually some key roster moves and years of building team chemistry turned the Pterodactyls into a good regular season team that always choked in the first round of the playoffs.  Coming into this season, the Pterodactyls were once again expecting a solid regular season, and were hoping to finally put together a lengthy playoff run.

They lost their season-opener to the Green Brook Berets, and then after that won every game except for two of their remaining three games against Green Brook and their final game of the regular season, which they lost to the SHI Spitfires.  Completing the season with a record of 15-4-1-0, the Pterodactyls finished in second place and earned a quarterfinal bye.  With particularly noteworthy regular season performances were goaltender Mark DiBai and skaters Brian Rappleyea, Greg Galligano, and Ryan Galligano.  DiBai led the league with two shutouts and finished second in GAA at 3.01.  Rappleyea led the league in goals with 35, tied for the league lead in assists at 29, and led in points with 64 while Greg Galligano finished fourth in the league in points with 31 and Ryan Galligano finished eighth with 26 points.

While the Pterodactyls enjoyed their quarterfinal bye, the fourth place Archers were knocked off by the fifth place expansion Biohazards, and the third place defending champion SHI Spitfires, who were playing extremely well towards the end of the season, were stunned by last place Team X, who finished with an abysmal record of 1-18-0-1.  One year ago, the Pterodactyls put forth a dominant regular season and were upset in the semifinals after their quarterfinal bye.  There was some speculation that the bye is what hurt the Pterodactyls as they were not prepared for a semifinal game.  This time it was clear the bye was a good thing to have as both quarterfinal matchups resulted in unpredictable upsets.  In the semis, Team X would take on first place Green Brook, who finished with a historic record of 19-1, and the Pterodactyls would be matched up against the fifth place Biohazards.

The stage was set almost exactly like last year, where the Pterodactyls had an outstanding fall/winter season, had a quarterfinal bye, and then fell to the fifth place team in the semifinals.  This time, as the Pterodactyls were entering the building prior to their game, they witnessed the biggest upset in PTAHL history as Team X downed the almighty Green Brook Berets.  After seeing this happen and remembering the disastrous end to their previous fall/winter season coupled with their atrocious playoff record of 1-8, the Pterodactyls made sure not to underestimate their opponent in this one.  Neither team managed to gain an upper hand until Rappleyea put the Pterodactyls up 1-0 late in the first.  Shortly afterwards, Ryan Galligano scored a powerplay goal to make it 2-0, but in the final minute of the period, the Biohazards cut the lead in half.  Greg Galligano added a goal in the second period to make it 3-1 Pterodactyls, as they were controlling the pace of this game, outshooting the Biohazards 29-9 through two periods.  In the opening minute of the third, Rob Cacioppo—winner of the PTAHL’s Most Handsome Player Award for the ninth straight season, awarded by the league administrator—scored to make it a 4-1 game.  For the remainder of the game, the Pterodactyls focused primarily on defense as they kept the Biohazards from chipping away at the lead.  Greg Galligano added a goal in the late minutes to make it 5-1.  They did surrender a goal with three seconds to go, but the damage was done as the Pterodactyls skated off with a 5-2 semifinal win and earned their first ever finals appearance where they would meet the Cinderella story Team X.

In the championship, the Pterodactyls would be facing off against former teammates Jason and Adam Crandall, who were on the Pterodactyls until PTAHL tyrant Rob Ruszala ordered them off the roster to start their own team, Bullmoose, before eventually ending up on Team X.  On the other hand, this Pterodactyls roster featured former Team X players Tim Webster and Steve Miano, whom the Pterodactyls picked up in the offseason.  The first period of Game 1 featured no scoring as goaltenders Mark DiBai and Kevin Hunter were playing the best hockey of their PTAHL careers this postseason.  However, half a minute into the second period, Greg Galligano fed Miano in front, and he scored on a low wrist shot to give the Pterodactyls the first lead of the finals.  The score remained 1-0 until halfway through the third period, when former Pterodactyl Adam “Manhandle” Crandall beat the defensemen to a loose puck in front of DiBai and flipped it by him to tie the game at one.  Shortly afterwards, Team X won a faceoff in their own zone and turned it into a breakaway on which Brandon Wong beat DiBai five-hole to put X up 2-1 with 4:51 remaining.  The Pterodactyls called a timeout, and just thirty seconds later Rappleyea scored to tie the game.  Overtime seemed more likely with each passing second, but a wrist shot by Greg Galligano beat Hunter with 2:57 remaining to put the Pterodactyls back on top 3-2.  Rappleyea killed off a huge chunk of the remaining time as he took the puck all over the ice, keeping it away from Team X.  X finally did get possession deep in the Pterodactyls’ zone, but time expired as three Pterodactyls pinned the puck against the boards to ensure the win and put themselves on the frontier of PTAHL immortality.

Two days later, the Pterodactyls and Team X took the ice for Game 2, with Team X trying to even the series and force a decisive Game 3 while the Pterodactyls were going for the sweep.  Late in the first, the Pterodactyls found themselves on the powerplay.  Under the instruction of Rappleyea, the Pterodactyls had been spending a lot of time working on their powerplay for the past few seasons, and it paid off when it mattered most as Cacioppo found Rappleyea open in the slot and hit him with a pass that he turned into a goal for a 1-0 Pterodactyls lead.  Just seventeen seconds later, Ryan Galligano scored to quickly make it a two goal game.  In the second period, DiBai and the Pterodactyls' defense kept Team X from getting on the scoreboard, but Hunter and Team X prevented the Pterodactyls from expanding their lead, so the third period began with the Pterodactyls still up by two.  The third continued much like the second period, with neither team willing to give the other an inch as the Pterodactyls focused on preserving their lead.  As the closing minutes drew near, it seemed evident that the Pterodactyls would not need any more goals as they continued denying Team X.  With 2:38 remaining, X called a timeout and eventually pulled Hunter for an extra attacker.  This did not pay off for Team X as Rappleyea scored on the empty net with 48 seconds to go to make it 3-0 Pterodactyls.  However, Team X would not go down without a fight as captain Brett Cowan scored eight seconds later to break DiBai’s shutout and make it 3-1.  Adam “Manhandle” Crandall would add another goal to cut the lead down to just one, but he did so with only three seconds left.  Team X was unable to get a goal right off the center ice faceoff, so Rappleyea’s empty net goal proved to be the championship-winning goal as the Pterodactyls were finally rewarded for their years of struggles and mediocrity. 

In their three playoff games, Rappleyea posted four goals while Greg Galligano put up three goals and two assists and DiBai posted a GAA of 2.00.  Everyone else on the team, while not putting up such impressive numbers, played a tremendous role in creating chances for the goal-scorers as well as limiting the opposition’s chances as the Pterodactyls will no longer be known as choke-artists, and will now be known forever as the Fall/Winter 2012-13 PTAHL South Division champions.



Pterodactyls roster:
front:  Steve Miano, Brian Rappleyea, Ryan Galligano, Geof Grek, Greg Galligano
back:  Mark DiBai, Rob Cacioppo, Dennis Peterson's jersey, Alex Smondyrev, Tim Webster
not pictured:  Sean Caldwell, Jim Little, Dennis Peterson

2012/SUMMER/NORTH: Freddy’s HC Continues Their Dynasty with Fourth Title in Five Seasons

August 26, 2012

Freddy’s HC came into this season with a target on their back after having won their third championship in four seasons. Freddy’s lost a significant chunk of their spring championship team: Jen Dunbar, Steve Worby, Taras Popel, Mike Darrar, Rhett Behrje, Matt Parkinson, Nicole Illuzzi, and goaltender Chris Dudo. Fully understanding that teams would be looking to take them down, Freddy’s captain Chuck Ugalde called upon his extensive scouting network to fill those roster spots with some big offseason additions. Aside from Emily Trethewey returning to the team as goalie, Freddy’s brought in three rookies that made an immediate impact, Jay Adams, Mike “Tree” Trusca, and Adam “Vin Diesel” Vindigni.

Freddy’s opened the season against Team X, who also made big roster moves this offseason and was expected to contend for a championship. After finishing the first period down by a goal, Freddy’s put up four straight goals in the second and went on to win by the score of 7-5. In their next game they would take on a solid Pterodactyls team, and they beat them convincingly, 11-6. Next on the schedule was the SHI Spitfires, a team has struggled in past seasons but is on the rise. After trailing for much of the game, Freddy’s took their first lead with about five and a half minutes to go, but the Spitfires tied the game with their goalie pulled and won in a shootout. Freddy’s would have a chance to redeem themselves in their next game against a struggling Green Brook Berets team. They fell into a 2-0 hole early in the game, but battled back to a hard-fought 8-6 win.

Despite earning four out of a possible six points in these two games and now sitting in first place, critics were saying they should have won more convincingly against these two teams and that they are not as elite a team as they used to be. Freddy’s was determined to make these naysayers eat their words as they came out in their next game and trounced the Archers by the score of 14-4. The rest of the schedule would include more difficult teams—the Ferrymen, the Muskrats, and Bullmoose. Freddy’s defeated the Ferrymen in a spirited 4-2 match, but would need to keep their winning streak going to stay in first place. A close 6-3 win over the Muskrats kept Freddy’s in first place until the Pterodactyls passed them with a win in their final game, setting up a decisive season-ending championship rematch that Freddy’s would need to win to take first place.

Freddy’s came into this game refusing to let first place slip out of their hands. They gave up two quick goals, but stormed back to take a 4-2 lead by the time the first period had ended. Bullmoose got back within one at the start of the second, but Freddy’s scored seven consecutive goals and went on to dominate Bullmoose 12-4 to finish the season at the top of the standings and go straight to the semifinals. As a result of the loss, Bullmoose finished in fifth place and had to play a quarterfinal game against the Ferrymen. They won the game, setting up yet another rematch between Bullmoose and Freddy’s, two teams that are quickly becoming rivals, in the semifinals.

The start of this semifinal game was very similar to the start of the previous game between these teams. Bullmoose jumped out to an early 2-0 lead before Freddy’s rallied for five straight goals (two by Trusca and one each by Garth Behrje, Adams, and Gordon Bowen) to take a 5-2 lead into the second period. In the opening minute of the second, Bullmoose scored to get within two but Adams answered with his second goal of the game to make it 6-3. Shortly after, Bullmoose scored again to make it 6-4, but Trusca quickly scored his third goal to preserve the three goal lead for Freddy’s. Before the period ended, Bullmoose added another goal to put themselves back within a pair of goals going into the third. In the third period, Bullmoose scored two more goals to pull even and send this game to overtime. Neither team scored during the overtime period, so this game would have to be decided by a shootout. Sean Holton of Bullmoose was the first shooter and he was denied by Trethewey. Mark Howansky was up first for Freddy’s and he scored to put his team up after the first round. Star forward Kevin O’Connor was next for Bullmoose, and he scored. Freddy’s countered with a goal by Trusca to stay on top with one round to go. Tim O’Connor needed to score to keep Bullmoose alive, but he was denied by Trethewey as Freddy’s HC clinched their fifth consecutive championship appearance, where they would meet the Muskrats.

Despite being the underdog, the Muskrats were very optimistic about beating Freddy’s, especially because Freddy’s would be without the services of Jay Adams, who was suspended for an abuse of official incident in their semifinal win over Bullmoose. The first period of the championship game was very close. Goaltenders Trethewey and Adam Grare were well-prepared for this game, as they both made scoring goals a difficult task. About halfway through the period, Freddy’s surrendered the first goal of the game. They had some quality scoring chances, but were unable to tie the score before the period ended.

Trusca found the equalizer in the opening minute of the second period. About three minutes later, Bowen scored on the powerplay to put Freddy’s up 2-1. Two minutes after that, Bowen scored another powerplay goal to take a 3-1 lead. Just one minute later though, the Muskrats got themselves back within one with a powerplay goal of their own. With 5:39 to go in the period, Trusca scored his second goal of the game to give Freddy’s a 4-2 lead. They then had to kill off a Chris Capone kneeing penalty before going back on the powerplay and converting on the man advantage for the third time when Capone made it a 5-2 game going into the third.

The Muskrats advanced to this game with a dominant third period to defeat the Pterodactyls in the semifinals, and they would need another huge third period in this game. One minute and fifteen seconds after the start of the period, Muskrats superstar James Nobilio finally got on the scoreboard with a powerplay goal that cut the lead back down to two. About a minute later, Freddy’s gave the Muskrats a chance to get within one when captain Chuck Ugalde took a tripping penalty. Instead of letting the Muskrats get closer to tying the game, Jake Worby scored shorthanded to put Freddy’s up 6-3. The lead looked relatively comfortable until Trusca was called for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for throwing a Muskrat’s stick, and over-exuded his disagreement with the call in a manner that got him ejected from the game and gave the Muskrats a huge chance to get back in the game with a seven-minute powerplay. Freddy’s did a terrific job in killing this penalty off one minute at a time, and with 1:16 left to kill off, Jake Worby ended up with a great scoring chance that forced Muskrat Tyler Strauss to take a tripping penalty to prevent Worby from scoring, negating the remainder of the long powerplay. Freddy’s kept the puck out of their net for the remaining few minutes as they went on to win their fourth championship in five seasons.

Despite a huge roster shakeup coming into this season, Freddy’s was able to adapt and picked up yet another championship. Because of this, some say Chuck Ugalde should be regarded as highly as George Steinbrenner and Lou Lamoriello. Even if the Freddy’s HC dynasty begins to fade, it will be a very long time before any other team can match their success, as no other team has even won the championship twice. As the curtains close on another PTAHL season, the rest of the league is once again left scratching their heads and wondering if it is possible to win a playoff game against Freddy’s HC.

Freddy's HC roster:
front: Mark Howansky, Emily Trethewey, Ralph Bowen
back: Jake Worby, Dan Lewycky, Jay Adams, Chuck Ugalde, Gordon Bowen, Mike Trusca, Garth Behrje, Chris Capone

2012/SUMMER/SOUTH: Spitfires’ Season of Improvement Ends with Championship

August 26, 2012

The SHI Spitfires came into this season after struggling through the spring. Determined to break out of the league basement, they made some key roster additions coming into the summer season. In addition to bringing Steve Purn out of retirement, they added free agents Pat Tharrett and Jeff Angert. The Spitfires opened the season against two tough opponents, the Muskrats and Bullmoose. The Muskrats became one of the top teams in the league this season and though the Spitfires lost, they held them to a close 6-3 game. In their next game they took on the high-flying Bullmoose team that made it to the championship game last season. After the second period, the Spitfires were trailing, but were only losing to heavily-favored Bullmoose by one goal. Bullmoose added four goals in the third as the Spitfires lost by the final score of 5-1, but for most of the game they were able to skate with one of the best teams in the PTAHL. Despite being 0-2, in these first two games SHI began to show signs that they were not nearly as easy an opponent as their former selves.

The Spitfires’ next opponent was Team X, another team that struggled last season, but they added some big name free agents and were expected to be a contender this summer. Two goals by Mike Carzima, as well as a goal each by offseason additions Tharrett and Purn, and veterans Paul Cavanaugh and Brian Kelly tallied up to six for the Spitfires while Jeff Leidner was rock solid in net and only surrendered one goal en route to an unexpected massive 6-1 Spitfires victory. This big win put the Spitfires on the map and let everyone know that this was not the Spitfires of old. Their next game would be against Freddy’s HC, the defending champions that have won three of the past four championships and further strengthened their roster before the start of this season. A back and forth game culminated with Tharrett scoring as Leidner was pulled for an extra attacker to send the game to a shootout in which the Spitfires defeated the league powerhouse Freddy’s HC. The Spitfires were now a .500 team and beat two very good teams in the process.

SHI lost their next game in a close battle with the Pterodactyls, but followed it up with a victory in an impressive goaltenders’ duel in which Leidner bested Plaskota with a shutout as the Spitfires won 2-0. After dropping their next game to the Ferrymen, the Spitfires finished off their season against the Archers, who were the defending champions last season. The Spitfires took a 4-1 lead before the third period which proved to be insurmountable as they held on for a 4-3 win to finish the season at .500. Finishing in sixth place, the Spitfires earned a quarterfinal bye and went straight to the lower bracket semifinals where they would meet Team X.

Both teams struggled to score goals as goaltenders Leidner and John Fallone were both on top of their game. The scoreless tie finally broke when Team X scored with 3:11 remaining in the second period. Just a minute and six seconds later, Team X took a 2-0 lead as the Spitfires suddenly found themselves down by two goals in a game in which they had been kept off the scoreboard so far. The Spitfires were not discouraged though, and came out strong in the third period. Two and a half minutes into the period, Jeff Angert scored to cut the lead in half. Three minutes later Steve Purn scored to tie the game at two, and the Spitfires were now back in the game. The minutes ticked away and overtime appeared likely until Paul Cavanaugh scored with 3:43 remaining to put the Spitfires in the lead. Time was winding down and Team X pulled Fallone with 45 seconds to go, but the extra attacker did not help them and they surrendered an empty net goal to Brian Kelly as this impressive third period comeback propelled the Spitfires to the lower bracket championship game where they would meet the Green Brook Berets.

Green Brook struggled throughout the season. They lost all eight regular season games but turned it around once the playoffs began. They upset the Archers in a close quarterfinal game and then shut out the fourth place Ferrymen in a huge upset to advance to the championship. However, SHI was determined to end this Cinderella story. Two and a half minutes into the game, the Spitfires went on the powerplay after Steve Midgley took a tripping penalty, but they were unable to capitalize. Play continued back and forth and with 4:48 remaining in the period, Angert scored to give the Spitfires a 1-0 lead. One minute and eleven seconds later Kelly scored to quickly make it 2-0 before the first period expired.

Tempers flared in the early part of the second period when Paul Cavanaugh and Tom Lynch of the Spitfires and Jon Janda of Green Brook were all given unsportsmanlike conduct penalties, resulting in a Green Brook powerplay. Leidner and his defense successfully killed the penalty. With 5:50 to go in the second, Lynch was sent to the box again, this time for interference. While killing the penalty, Tony DiMonte was called for tripping and now the Spitfires found themselves on the wrong end of a two-man advantage. Once again the Spitfires penalty kill prevailed, but seconds later Green Brook finally managed to get a puck behind Leidner to cut the lead to 2-1 with 2:11 remaining in the second. With 53 seconds to go, Brian Kelly scored his second goal of the game to put SHI back up by two with one period remaining.

The Spitfires smelled a championship just minutes away from them as they came out as hungry as ever to start the third period. Just 26 seconds into the period, Angert scored his second of the game to put the Spitfires up 4-1. Green Brook was desperate for goals, but Leidner kept denying them. The Spitfires, knowing that they did not need any more goals, focused on helping Leidner out defensively to completely suffocate the Berets. With 5:46 remaining in the game, Pat Tharrett scored to make the final score 5-1 and complete a fantastic championship season for the SHI Spitfires. As the SHI Spitfires continue to climb the ranks of the PTAHL, they will look back on this championship as a huge step in the right direction. The future looks bright for this young franchise.

SHI Spitfires roster:
Brian Kelly, Pat Tharrett, Steve Purn, Jeff Angert, Paul Cavanaugh, Mike Carzima, Young Kwon, Paul Coffey, Bob Cunius, Tom Lynch, Jeff Leidner, Nick Pawlyk, Tony DiMonte, Kyle Brand

2012/SPRING: Freddy's Wins Third Championship in Four Seasons

July 3, 2012

After being dethroned as champions by the Cinderella story Replacements in the Spring championship, Gone Fishin' got a sponsorship from Freddy's Sports Bar and Grill and took the ice with new black jerseys, their first uniform change since their early Puck Pirates days during the PTAHL's Original Three era. Despite the championship loss, expectations remained high for Freddy's as they entered the summer season having appeared in the championship each of the last three seasons and won twice. They failed to meet these expectations early in the season. In their season opener they faced the Stingrays, who were playing in their first PTAHL game. It was a close game, but Freddy's started the season with a 3-1 loss. They followed this up with a big upset loss to the Spitfires. Their losing streak extended to three games when they fell to the Bullmoose in a shootout in their next match, but after this game they finally began to turn their season around when they beat the Replacements in a championship rematch to begin a three game winning streak. They dropped their next two but finished their season with four straight wins, including a huge 9-2 win over league powerhouse Bullmoose. Freddy's finished the season in fifth place, but that did not accurately reflect their level of play in the latter part of the season.

In the quarterfinals, fifth place Freddy’s HC would meet the fourth place Stingrays, who started the season as good as anyone else, but began to falter after the season’s midpoint. Mike Liantonio gave the Stingrays a 1-0 lead with five minutes to go in the first period. Seconds later, Freddy’s found themselves on the powerplay, but were unable to convert so they went into the second period trailing. Early in the second period, Freddy’s went back on the powerplay and Rhett Behrje scored to tie the game at one goal apiece. After this goal, teams exchanged a pair of powerplays in which neither team managed to capitalize, but Jen Dunbar gave Freddy’s a 2-1 lead with under three minutes remaining in the period. In the third period, Freddy’s had to kill three more penalties, going six for six on the night, as Chris Dudo was a brick wall between the pipes, keeping the Stingrays from finding the equalizer. In the final minute, the Stingrays resorted to pulling star goaltender Kyle Daloisio for an extra attacker, but this only led to Behrje scoring his second goal of the game on the empty net, sending Freddy’s HC to the semifinals.

Freddy’s would face another team built around goaltending in the semifinals when they took on the second place Green Brook Berets, backstopped by perennial Vezina candidate George Plaskota. Once again Freddy’s would have to come from behind as Pat Perez gave Green Brook a 1-0 lead about six minutes into the game. This lead only lasted about thirty seconds though until Gordon Bowen tied the score. With just under five minutes to go in the period, Dan Lewycky scored to put Freddy’s on top. As this first period approached its final minute, George Aller was called for a slashing penalty. Very early into the powerplay, a nifty behind the back pass by Bowen at the blue line led to Mark Howansky slamming home the rebound of a hard shot by Garth Behrje to give Freddy’s a 3-1 lead going into the second. Dudo was on top of his game in this period, turning away every Green Brook shot. Meanwhile, at the other end of the ice, Jake Worby rang a shot off the post and into the net to make it 4-1 with five minutes left in the period, and Jen Dunbar made it 5-1 with a minute and a half to go. With a comfortable four goal lead, Freddy’s was able to focus on defense in the third. Once again Dudo pitched a shutout period, and Bowen scored his second goal of the game about halfway through to ensure a convincing 6-1 win for Freddy’s as they clinched their fourth consecutive championship appearance.

In the finals, Freddy’s would face a team structured very differently than their previous opponents. Instead of the main focus being goaltending, Bullmoose is a team designed to simply score a ton of goals. This strategy seemed to work very well for them, finishing in first place and winning many games in blowout fashion, as well as having the top three point-scorers in the league on their roster. However, Freddy’s remained confident with their recent regular season 9-2 thumping of Bullmoose still fresh in their minds, not to mention Dudo’s postseason GAA of 1.00. Game 1 of the finals would be the first time Freddy’s scored the first goal in this postseason, when Chris Capone scored 2:16 into the game. Just 43 seconds later, Gordon Bowen made it 2-0. Teams swapped powerplays, but the score remained 2-0. A minute before the period came to a close, Dan Lewycky gave Freddy’s a promising 3-0 lead going into the second. About halfway through the second period, Bullmoose superstar James Nobilio took a tripping penalty that allowed Lewycky to score his second goal of the game on the powerplay, giving Freddy’s a 4-0 lead. Kevin O’Connor made sure Bullmoose did not start to panic, as he put his team on the board less than two minutes later. However, this only angered the beast as Freddy’s scored four goals in a span of 1:26—one each by Howansky, Lewycky (completing a hat trick), Capone, and Taras Popel—to give Freddy’s a huge 8-1 lead at the start of the third. Tim O’Connor scored five and a half minutes into the third to make it 8-2, but they would need a quick outburst of scoring to get back in this game. Less than a minute later, Bowen scored his second goal of the game to put Freddy’s back up by seven. Adam “Manhandle” Crandall scored on an emphatic slapshot with 6:33 to go, but time was running out for Bullmoose. Bowen then completed a hat trick with 3:05 remaining. Nobilio scored with about two minutes left, but it wasn’t enough as Freddy’s stunned the favored Bullmoose goal-scoring juggernaut by the score of 10-4, nearly suffocating their high-powered offense while exploiting their weakness on defense. Bullmoose was left searching for answers before they took the ice two days later with their backs against the wall.

Game 2 began differently, with Tim O’Connor giving Bullmoose the first lead of the game just over five minutes in. However, Howansky tied the score shortly after with his third goal of the playoffs. Not to be outdone, Jen Dunbar scored her third of the postseason as well, which teammate Gordon Bowen referred to as the “snipe of the game.” Mike Darrar ripped a slapshot from the blue line that Dunbar, positioned next to the goal crease, deflected top shelf to give Freddy’s a 2-1 lead with a minute remaining in the period. Early in the second, Bullmoose tied the score, but Darrar regained the lead just seconds later. Popel then added another quick goal for Freddy’s, putting them up 4-2. Kevin O’Connor cut the lead in half while on the powerplay, but Darrar answered again with a shorthanded goal to make it 5-3. With 6:33 to go in the period, Howansky scored again to put Freddy’s up 6-3. Two minutes later, Tim O’Connor scored to bring Bullmoose within a pair of goals, but Darrar finished a hat trick before the period ended to send Freddy’s into the third period with a 7-4 lead. There was now only one period separating Freddy’s from their third championship in four seasons, but they knew a three goal lead was not safe against Bullmoose. Dudo continued to perform, as did the Freddy’s defense. With 7:09 to go, Bullmoose did score though, with Kevin O’Connor bringing Bullmoose back within two, but a minute later Darrar scored his fourth goal of the game to make it 8-5. The final six minutes ticked away as Freddy’s went on to be crowned champions once again. With three championships in only four seasons, Freddy’s again reminded everyone that they have become the most successful franchise in PTAHL history, while the other two of the Original Three, Those Guys and Mid-Ice Crisis, are now shrouded in the mists of memory. Seasons come and go, but the Freddy’s HC/Gone Fishin’/Pirates/Puck Pirates franchise continues to be a force to be reckoned with. With a strong core and a history that its players are proud of, there could be no end in sight for this dynasty.

Freddy's HC roster:
front: Mark Howansky, Jen Dunbar, Steve Worby, Chuck Ugalde, Garth Behrje, Ralph Bowen, Taras Popel, Chris Dudo.
back: Jake Worby, Mike Darrar, Dan Lewycky, Gordon Bowen, Rhett Behrje, Chris Capone, Matt Parkinson
not pictured: Nicole Illuzzi

2011-12/FALL-WINTER: Replacements Shock the World with Unlikely Championship Run

March 16, 2012

The Replacements team was formed shortly before the start of the season by combining the remaining players from the Trashers with a group of incoming players that was too small to form a team of their own. Expectations were not very high for this mish-mash of players, especially after losing their first game by the score of 10-1 to the SHI Spitfires, who were playing in their first PTAHL game. They then got blown out in their next two games, 7-1 to the Pterodactyls and 6-2 to Gone Fishin', before finally capturing their first win when they beat the Goodfellas 9-6. From here on out they struggled, winning only six games during the regular season to finish in fifth place out of six teams and stumbling into the playoffs on a four-game losing streak before meeting the Goodfellas in the quarterfinals.

The Replacements split the season series with the Goodfellas, but the Goodfellas entered the postseason on a two-game winning streak, and carried that momentum into the first period of the quarterfinal game. Just over ten minutes into the game, the Replacements found themselves down 3-0 and lost co-captain Brian Vigilante to a knee injury. However, with 1:56 remaining in the period, James Nobilio put the Replacements on the board and sparked the comeback. Early in the second, the Replacements tied the game with a second goal by Nobilio and the tying goal from Michael Zaffarese. The Goodfellas were not done yet though, as they went back up by two goals halfway through the game. The Replacements continued to show resilience however, and Nobilio completed a hat trick to bring his team back within a goal heading into the third period. With seven minutes left in the third, Nobilio added a fourth goal to tie the game, and with just 2:36 remaining Jason Fischbach deflected a blast from the point by John DeCamp into the Goodfellas net to give the Replacements the lead for the first time in this game. The Goodfellas pulled their goalie but were not able to tie the game as the Replacements defense prevailed and Fischbach sealed the victory with an empty net goal to make it 7-5. The Replacements enjoyed this upset victory, but knew that they would have a tough match in the semifinals two days later against the first place Pterodactyls.

The Pterodactyls finished the season with a record of 18-2 and dominated the season series with the Replacements, winning all four games and outscoring the Replacements 26-4 including shutouts in their two most recent games. Once the playoffs begin, these numbers become meaningless though. Unlike the quarterfinals where the Replacements were behind for much of the game and stunned their opponent in the end, this time they took the lead on the first shift. Just 31 seconds into the game, Jason Fischbach deflected a centering pass by Nobilio into the net to put the heavily-favored Pterodactyls on their heels. Later in the period, the Pterodactyls tied the game on the powerplay while co-captain Eric Amadeo sat for a roughing penalty. The second period featured very strong penalty killing by the Replacements, as they shut down the Pterodactyls powerplay three times to keep them from taking the lead and keeping the score tied at one going into the third. Nobilio put the Replacements back on top early in the third period, but this time the lead only lasted for a couple minutes until Brian Rappleyea, the league leader in points tied the game with nine minutes remaining. Teams exchanged chances, but it was the Replacements that broke the tie once again. With 5:34 left on the clock, Jake Esformes converted on a centering feed by Nobilio that eluded the Pterodactyls defense and put the Replacements ahead 3-2. As time winded down, it became apparent that the underdog Replacements did a great job of frustrating the Pterodactyls, as Dennis Peterson took a cross-checking penalty that put the Pterodactyls down a man to finish the game while still in need of the equalizer. The Replacements defense and goaltender Mike Davison stymied the Pterodactyls for the final two minutes and completed one of the greatest upsets in sports history, but even the 1980 US Olympic hockey team had to beat Finland two days after downing the Soviets to win gold, so the Replacements prepared for the next chapter of this Cinderella story, another tough matchup in the championship where they would meet two-time defending champion Gone Fishin'.

Just like in the semifinals, the Replacements would have to beat a team that they failed to defeat in any of their regular season meetings. More importantly though, they carried with them a ton of confidence after their huge upset a few days prior. Jake Esformes opened the scoring in this championship game 2:45 after the opening puck drop. About five minutes later, the Replacements found themselves on the penalty kill when Nobilio took a tripping penalty. The Replacements successfully killed the penalty and seconds after escaping from the penalty box, Nobilio put the Replacements up 2-0. With 34 seconds remaining in the first, Michael Zaffarese put his team up by three goals as goaltender Mike Davison completed a shutout period. The Replacements picked up in the second period where they left off, as Nobilio scored 31 seconds in to give the Replacements a stunning 4-0 lead over the powerhouse Gone Fishin'. With 9:40 remaining in the second, Gone Fishin' finally got on the board, but less than three minutes later, Nobilio put the Replacements back up by four with his third goal of the game and eighth of the playoffs. Gone Fishin' scored again shortly after, but again the Replacements countered. This time it was Zaffarese, his third goal in as many games. The Replacements would go back on the penalty kill for the closing minute of the second period on another tripping call, but this time they would surrender a goal, the first powerplay goal given up by the Replacements in the playoffs. This goal gave some hope to Gone Fishin', bringing them within three goals with an entire period left to play, plenty of time considering the amount of offensive production their roster was capable of, including league leading goal-scorer Daren Helmold. The Replacements gave up a goal with just over nine minutes remaining, but they kept their cool and stayed focused. Gone Fishin' pressed hard for another goal, but the Replacements defense stayed strong. With 6:16 left to play, John Decamp was called for hooking, putting Gone Fishin' back on the powerplay. A goal here would put them one away from tying it with over four minutes remaining. However, the Replacements penalty kill prevailed for the 8th time in 9 attempts this postseason. Shortly after killing the penalty, Jake Esformes scored his third goal of the playoffs to put the Replacements up 7-4. Davison and his defense kept the puck out of the Replacements' net for the final four minutes as the Replacements kept Helmold out of the goal column and overthrew Gone Fishin' as PTAHL champions.

This championship is perhaps the most memorable in PTAHL history, as the Replacements, a team that was expected to have no shot at the championship, defied all odds and beat league juggernauts to claim eternal glory. There are some sports upsets that define a generation, the Miracle on Ice, Giants over Patriots in the Super Bowl, and now Replacements over the Pterodactyls and Gone Fishin'. Disney is expected to begin filming Miracle 2 this summer, starring John Travolta as Brian Vigilante and Johnny Depp as Eric Amadeo.

Replacements roster: Eric Amadeo, Dan Bellafronte, Michael Conroy, Mike Davison, John DeCamp, Tom Domotorffy, Jake Esformes, Joe Fiazzo, Jason Fischbach, Val Fuchs, John Gray, Rob Mager, James Nobilio, Josh Sumoski, Jim Sweeney, Brian Vigilante, Michael Zaffarese

2011/SUMMER: Gone Fishin' Repeats as PTAHL Champs

September 28, 2011

Gone Fishin' entered this season looking to defend their spring championship. Most other teams improved their rosters in the offseason, so Gone Fishin' made sure to do the same by adding key new skaters such as Vinny Bird, Sean Doyle, Marcin Nieroda, and Mark Kulbida. In addition, goaltender Emily Trethewey decided to play this season as a skater to make room for Mark Kulbida's brother Paul between the pipes. There was no doubt this was a very strong roster, especially with superstar Vinny Bird complementing the star power of Gordon Bowen and Jay Ewan, but it was yet to be seen if the team would suffer from a championship hangover and play less hungry after having just been crowned champions, and if all the new players would disrupt team chemistry.

Once the season got underway, Gone Fishin' was sure to answer those questions convincingly. It quickly became apparent that the only teams that were a threat to Gone Fishin's defense of the title were the Killer Bees and to a lesser extent, the Goodfellas.

The Goodfellas put together a great late-season run to pass Gone Fishin' for second place at the very end, but ran out of gas as they were upset by the Green Brook Berets in the first round of the playoffs. In the same round, Gone Fishin', who finished in third place, defeated the Trashers easily by the score of 13-5 while the Killer Bees mercilessly conquered the Mighty Perch.

The semifinals matchups featured the first place Killer Bees facing off with the Cinderella story Green Brook Berets and Gone Fishin' doing battle with The Black Team. The Killer Bees had another seemingly effortless victory over a far inferior opponent, while Gone Fishin' scratched and clawed their way to a hard-fought 8-4 victory over The Black Team, setting up a championship series between the Killer Bees and Gone Fishin'.

The Killer Bees dominated the regular season, only losing one game. This one loss, however came at the hands of Gone Fishin' in what was a very close 5-4 game, so neither team was going to take the other lightly. The Killer Bees were apparently more prepared for Game 1 though, as they cruised to an 11-5 win to put themselves on the precipice of PTAHL immortality. In Game 2 however, the Killer Bees failed to score a single goal as Gone Fishin' went on to win easily to force a decisive Game 3 two days later. In Game 3, The Killer Bees were once again unable to find the back of the net and perhaps a missing person report should have been filed for every player on the team as they were invisible on the ice in both of these games, allowing Gone Fishin' to capture the PTAHL championship for the second season in a row. Congratulations to Gone Fishin' for being the first team to repeat as PTAHL champions!

2011/SPRING: Gone Fishin' Sweeps Those Guys to Win Spring 2011 Championship

July 11, 2011

Gone Fishin', who finished in last place in the fall/winter season with a record of 2-16, has pulled off a massive turnaround and won the Spring 2011 Championship. They did so in convincing fashion, sweeping first place Those Guys two games to none by scores of 11-2 and 9-3.

Gone Fishin' entered the season with a low reputation, coming off their less than impressive fall/winter season. However, they showed signs of a team destined for great achievements, upsetting the Pterodactyls in the play-in game and playing a tough game against the eventual champions, Bloomberg HC, in the semifinals. They continued this momentum into the spring season, which they started with two colossal wins: 17-5 over The Black Team and 9-2 over the Pterodactyls. Their only two losses of the season would be to Those Guys, who finished with an identical record of 8-2.

After their first round bye, Gone Fishin' would find themselves in a semifinal matchup with the Green Brook Berets, a team that finished only one point behind them in the regular season. The Berets played a tough game against Gone Fishin' late in the season that ended with a 2-1 shootout Gone Fishin' victory after a thrilling goaltending duel between Gone Fishin's Emily Trethewey and Green Brook's George Plaskota. Plaskota, who this season set a PTAHL record with a GAA of 2.82 was unable to attend. Some may argue that Gone Fishin' had it easy with Plaskota not between the pipes, but you can only beat the team you play, so Gone Fishin' made sure to capitalize on this opportunity, clobbering the Berets by the score of 8-2 to advance to the championship.

Just as fate would have it, Gone Fishin' would meet Those Guys in the championship, the team they tied with for first place and the only team to beat them all season. This time, Gone Fishin' was determined to conquer Those Guys when it mattered most. They took control of the championship series from the very beginning, as star forward Michael Darrar scored only twenty seconds into the game. He added another goal, followed by goals from teammates Jay Ewan, Adam Dahl, and Chris Capone to give his team a 5-0 lead at the end of the first period. They refused to let up on offense and continued to play great defensively in conjunction with outstanding goaltending by Emily Trethewey as they cruised to an 11-2 Game 1 victory. This huge goal differential may have put some doubt in the heads of Those Guys and gave Gone Fishin' all the confidence they needed as they approached Game 2.

In the second game, Gone Fishin' would be the ones forced to play without their star goalie, as Emily Trethewey, who posted a GAA of 3.93, second all-time only to Plaskota, would be unable to participate. However, Gone Fishin' would again jump out to an early lead as Daren Helmold scored less than a minute and a half in. He scored a second goal with 4:40 remaining in the period, but Those Guys scored just twenty seconds later. Young Kwon regained the two goal lead before the period would come to a close and Gone Fishin' finished the period up 3-1.

Gone Fishin' completely took over in the second period. Darrar scored only fifteen seconds in followed by his second goal 3:21 into the period. Only nine seconds later, Helmold completed a hat trick. Star defenseman Gordon Bowen added a fifth consecutive Gone Fishin' goal with 5:34 left to play in the period. Anthony Criscitello of Those Guys, who dominated the offensive statistics with 49 goals and 66 points would finally get on the scoresheet when he scored a goal to make it 7-2 with just over two minutes left in the second period.

The third period featured Gone Fishin' holding onto their lead with great team defense that stifled the high-flying offense of Those Guys. Jay Ewan scored a goal early in the third, followed soon after by Bowen's second of the game to put Gone Fishin' ahead 9-2 with ten minutes remaining. They focused on defense for the rest of the game, as they did not surrender a goal until the final 1:20 of the game when Ivan Tukhtin scored. This was too little, too late for Those Guys as Gone Fishin' went on to win 9-3. Congratulations to Gone Fishin' for their impressive championship season!

2010-11/FALL-WINTER: Congratulations to Bloomberg HC, our 2010-11 Fall/Winter Champions!

March 22, 2011

Bloomberg HC has won the 2010-11 Fall/Winter PTAHL Championship, winning the best of three series over the Vikings two games to one. Bloomberg was not considered a contender until about halfway into the season, starting with a record of 2-3, but following those initial five games with a record of 11-2 to take first place with a victory in their final game and prove to the league that they were for real despite their slow start.

Due to finishing in first place, Bloomberg was matched up against Gone Fishin' in the semifinals, a team that finished with a dismal record of 2-16. Despite their bad record, Gone Fishin' gave Bloomberg a very tough game, but Bloomberg took control of the game in the third period and eventually won by the score of 9-6 and advanced to the championship where they would meet the Vikings.

Bloomberg took Game 1 of the finals with a huge victory that left a lot of doubt in the minds of the Vikings. The Vikings scored 36 seconds in, but Bloomberg answered by scoring the next six goals and continued to dominate for the rest of the game, finishing with an impressive 12-4 win.

Game 2 was much closer, as this was a must-win game for the Vikings, who at one point had a 6-1 lead in the second period. Bloomberg scored the next three to bring the score within two, and kept it close the rest of the way, but the Vikings held on for a 13-8 victory to force a decisive Game 3.

Game 3 was anticipated to be a very close game, with each team on the brink of heartbreaking defeat or eternal glory. Just as in Games 1 and 2, the Vikings scored the first goal, but Bloomberg, who made a big comeback in the standings to reach first place, would make a comeback in this game to win by a large margin, this time by the score of 9-2. Very few would have considered Bloomberg to have a serious chance at the PTAHL championship early on, but over the course of the season their play showed that maybe their offensive firepower was just too much for other teams to handle. If there were still any doubters as Bloomberg finished the season in first place with a league-leading 180 goals, they proved them wrong as they not only put up nine goals, but surrendered only two when it mattered most. Congratulations to Bloomberg HC for a tremendous season!