J.A.F.H.T.: T. Bardascino (2-goals, 1-assist), M. Luise & T. Mastrocola (1-goal, 1-assist)
A Few Good Men: D. Curcio & M. Carlson(1-goal)
(Back row Left to Right) Marty Makarewicz, Derek Cipriano, Dusty Caufield, Pat Pirone Mike Luise, Mike Caso, Steve Oppedisano
(Front row Left to Right) Tom Bardascino, Tony Mastrocola, Alby Luise, John Mastrocola
Right from the opening faceoff, you could tell that J.A.F.H.T. had come to play as they ran and pressured the defense of A Few Good Men.This hustle and pressure paid off early as Tony Mastrocola got position at the side of the net and redirected Derek Cipriano’s shot from the point to give J.A.F.H.T. that crucial first lead of the game, only two minutes into the first period (and this reporter can state with conviction that Derek’s shot from the point was not a flutter ball).
Both teams traded scoring chances after that goal, as Nick Romano somehow missed a wide open net with a misfire of a shot that rolled into the corner.A minute later, Nick made up for this blunder with a dead-on shot from the high slot, only to watch his sure goal hit J.A.F.H.T. goalie Alby Luise in the shoulder as he dove across the crease and smothered the shot.Thirty seconds later, some hard fore checking by Franco Grutti and Umberto Baldassarre forced a turnover and set-up Dave Curcio’s top corner bullet of a goal from thirty feet out to tie this game at 1-1.If not for goalie Alby Luise’s diving save earlier that robbed Nick Romano of a sure goal as well as other saves made, the score could have easily been 3-1 in favor of A Few Good Men after one period.Instead, the first period was all even at 1-1 as J.A.F.H.T. held an 11-9 edge in shots after one period of play.
As the second period began, neither team held a distinct advantage in play, although J.A.F.H.T. continued to play aggressively with their fore checking game, constantly applying relentless pressure on the defense of A Few Good Men.What happened next was totally unexpected and took everyone by surprise, especially A Few Good Men.Without a doubt, this series of events turned out to be the turning point of this game.
In the big games of the Over-30 league it usually is the marquee players who are the game breakers and make the big plays.Not this time.This time, it was one of the grunts and members of the lunch pail gang who made the difference.At 7:22, off a face-off win by John Mastrocola, Tom Bardascino, a converted defenseman playing forward, scored on a scramble in front to put J.A.F.H.T. back ahead 2-1.On the same shift, only 22-seconds later at the 7:00 minute mark, seemingly catching A Few Good Men in a state of disbelief, Tom scored again.This time, after being set up again by John Mastrocola and brother Tony Mastrocola, Tom unloaded a slap shot off the wing to score past a surprised goalie and give his team a commanding 3-1 lead.Inspired by Tom’s pair of goals, J.A.F.H.T. amped up the pressure and offensive attack even more and scored the killer goal.
With 1:14 remaining in the second period, Pat Pirone’s rebound shot off a scramble, set up by Mike Luise and Marty Makarewicz in front, was mishandled by the goalie Bill Gardynski Sr. for A Few Good Men as he tried furiously to cover the rebound, only to watch in slow motion agony as the ball squirted out of his catching glove and roll ever so slowly into the net.A back breaking goal indeed for A Few Good Men as J.A.F.H.T. headed into the third period with a commanding 4-1 lead.At the end of the second period, J.A.F.H.T. was out shooting A Few Good Men by a 21-18 shot total.
A Few Good Men tried their best to claw their way back into this game, but, as had happened the previous two periods, whenever they tried generating a quality scoring chance, there was the defensemen of J.A.F.H.T. filling the shooting lanes and blocking or deflecting the shot and preventing it from reaching goalie Alby Luise.This subtle game within a game aspect of blocking shots didn’t get much notice on the game sheet, but, it had a huge effect on the game strategy and effectiveness of A Few Good Men.At 5:43, Mike Luise, set up by Tom Bardascino, scored off a rebound similar to the fourth goal whereby goalie Bill Gardynski Sr. had difficulty controlling the rebound leaving Mike with an easy tap in goal.Just under a minute later at 4:35, Mike Carlson, set up by Nick Romano and Chris Maraia, scored on a shot that picked the far top corner of the net to give A Few Good Men some life.However, the damage had been done already and a three goal deficit proved to be too much to overcome.
All that was left was for J.A.F.H.T. to play out the last few minutes like they had done for the previous 27, and count down the seconds to an unlikely win.Like Dave Hill and Gary Goodwin before him, it was only appropriate that Marty Makarewicz of J.A.F.H.T. was out on the floor when the game ended to savor the moment of finally removing himself off that dreaded curse list (after 25-seasons) and winning his first jacket.
Congratulations are also extended to first-time jacket winners in Captain John Mastrocola, Derek Cipriano and goalie Alby Luise.Speaking of first times, this was the first time that a non-marquee player of the Over-30 league had won the Playoff MVP award as Tom Bardascino surprised everyone with a big game performance for the ages.For goalie Alby Luise, the win was bitter sweet as he went back between the pipes and played net after a 15+ year hiatus.Finally, Pat Pirone tied Ed Nigro atop the career jackets won with 9.
Congratulations go out to the lunch pail gang known as J.A.F.H.T. for accomplishing what no one gave them the chance of making a reality and winning the championship.
2010 Winter Playoffs MVP
Congratulations to Tom for winning his 1st Playoff MVP Award.
Some things are meant to go together… Peanut Butter & Jelly.., Chocolate & Peanut Butter.., but, Tom Bardascino & Playoff MVP?Well, stats don’t lie and with 2-goals (including GWG) & 1-assist, Tom helped lead his team from a playoff long-shot to 2010 Winter Season Champions.