Spring 2013 Season Playoff Championship Winner Midas Touch
Game Summary – Midas Touch turns the Over-30 championship game to gold with a convincing victory
It was no secret that the eventual two teams who made it into the Finals would deserve to be there. What was surprising was this game featured the top two teams in the Over-30 league, in Midas Touch and On My Own respectfully. Surprising in that it is very rare that the top two teams in the Over-30 league end up playing each other in the Finals. For On My Own, this was their second consecutive trip to the Finals, while for Midas Touch, they proved from the halfway point of the season onward that they truly deserved to be here as they were simply the best team in the league. Heading into the playoffs, Midas Touch was on a roll, going 4-0-1 in their last five games with plenty of momentum on their side and ended up tied overall for giving up the fewest goals against during the season. For On My Own, after a torrid start to the season, they limped into the playoffs going 1-4 in their last five games, while still leading the league overall in goals scored. On My Own was capable of scoring in bunches, while Midas Touch played more of a grind-you-down patient style of play. If one team held a distinct edge heading into this game it was Midas Touch with their shut down four defensemen lead by Jon Pickard. The consensus talk around the rink heading into this game favored Midas Touch.
The season series between these two teams featured each team winning once and tying the other time, with Midas Touch holding a slight edge in goals for-goals against, by a differential of 10 – 7. Basically, both teams matched up pretty evenly with Midas Touch holding a slight edge. And nowhere was that edge more apparent but in the veteran leadership of Midas Touch’s own version of the “Big 3” in Mark Stickney leading the offense, Jon Pickard quarterbacking the defense and goalie Jeff Deharo bricking up the net. Not to sell On My Own short themselves, they had Dave Curcio leading the charge up front on offense, Ray Dow controlling the defensive zone and goalie Scott Rosato stopping almost everything thrown his way. The first goal would be key in this game, but, even more important would be which team would want this game more. Whichever team had everyone playing hard every shift showing they were into this game, with their intensity level dictating the energy level in the game, would emerge as the winner. What we didn’t expect was for one team to hold back and stand around watching the play and their team mates while somewhat panicking with the ball at times.
The first period started off fast and furious and less than a minute in, before the fans could settle into their seats who else but John Desmond gave his Midas Touch team the early lead at fifty-eight seconds on a great individual effort. Dez came in behind Mark Stickney’s fore check down the left wing to force a turnover and split two defenders by cutting back through the middle to score from the high slot. Everyone talks about getting that first goal of the game to set the pace, Dez made sure his team got that first key goal and put his Midas Touch team up 1-0. On My Own countered this goal with some aggressive fore checking, however, when they managed to get a shot off, it was either blocked by the defense or stopped by the goalie. With both teams generating some scoring chances and the goalies each making some key saves, it was the next play that appeared to change the way this game was played. With just over a minute to play, On My Own failed to get the ball out of their zone as defenseman Jason Glista kept the ball in at the right point for Midas Touch. With Derek Shaw setting up a perfect screen out front of the goalie with a defenseman draped over him, Jason’s high shot deflected off the defenseman then off Derek and past the screened goalie with 1:13 in the period. After a referee conference, it was determined that the goal would stand putting Midas Touch up 2-0. The difference so far in the game was a strategic bounce that favored Midas Touch as well as the defense of Midas Touch controlling their defensive zone and working the ball back out of their zone better than the defense of On My Own. After one period, the score favored Midas Touch 2 - 0, who held a 13 – 8 edge in shots on net.
Heading into the second period, we started to notice a trend in this game. Midas Touch was playing with more confidence, more intensity and controlling the ball in all three zones on the rink. On My Own was not attacking the defense, sitting back watching the play rather than provide team mates with available options, and was quicker to turn over the ball. Keep in mind that this was still a 2-0 game at this point and On My Own was still in this game. However, you could see this game slowly getting away from them. Midas Touch was cleaner in their line changes and regularly shifting all five players on both lines. On My Own started to get away from changing their lines as efficiently as Midas Touch. Just under four minutes into the period, this would come back to haunt them as once again the steady fore checking pressure by the forwards of Midas Touch, combined with the calm ball movement out of their defensive zone by their defensemen produced another turnover by On My Own. Once again it was Jason Glista making the heads up play as his quick shot from the point resulted in a save by the goalie only to have Dez (right place at the right time) knock in the rebound at 6:48 of the period to up Midas Touch’s lead to 3-0. Seeing the lack of urgency and desperation on On My Own, observing how their forwards were still sitting back watching the play and their team mates with the ball, and being outnumbered in the offensive zone of Midas Touch when they were able to generate some scoring chances, one got the sense that this game was already over. At the end of two periods, Midas Touch held a commanding 3 - 0 lead, as well as a 21-17 shot advantage.
With no choice but to activate their defensemen into the offense and potentially expose them to an odd man scoring chance, the defense of On My Own started the third period trying to jump up into the play as much as possible. An early penalty, less than a minute in to On My Own quickly changed that strategy. Compounding that was a second penalty to On My Own thirty-six seconds into killing the first penalty. If they could survive this and weather the storm, they still had a chance to come back. They killed off the first penalty; however, Jon Pickard made sure that they paid on that second penalty, scoring a power play goal. Pic jumped into the play sliding down from the point, taking a pass from Dez and Mark Stickney to score at 8:15 putting his Midas Touch team up
4 – 0. At this point, too many things were going wrong for On My Own, not to mention too many things going right for Midas Touch. It was evident that Midas Touch was the better team in this game. At 4:35, Jim Barber capped off his team’s dominance in this game by scoring on a slap shot from the right wing after the fore checking pressure from the ageless one, Mark Stickney, forced another defensive turnover. Game set and match for Midas Touch as running time quickly counted down the remaining time left. With less than a minute to play and with the game already in hand we observed Jim Barber making a classy move that we have only seen done by long-standing veterans of the Over-30 league. With two chances to go in all alone on a breakaway for individual glory, Jim took the ball away from the next and into the corner to kill time off the clock and not run up the score. The final score was a 5 –0 shutout for Midas Touch as they outshot On My Own by a 27–24 margin.
On the way to the Finals, Midas Touch, led by Dez’s two goals on offense and Jon Pickard’s shut down defense, defeated the Portuguese Pretenders by a score of 3 – 2, once again jumping out to a commanding three-goal lead heading into the third period with their timely scoring and patient smothering team defense, withstanding two late third period goals by Tony Medeiros, and hold on to advance to the Finals. For On My Own, luck was smiling down on them in reaching the Finals. After being outshot throughout the game and watching more of their opponents shots miss the net, On My Own held a 1-0 lead throughout their game and held off the Wanna Be’s by a score of
2 – 1. The game ended in stunning and controversial fashion as Anthony Lauletta scored from the left of the crease as the horn went off. Opinion is still split as to if the ball crossed the line or not before the horn went off.
For his efforts throughout the playoffs, John Desmond was named playoff MVP as a unanimous choice. Dez scored 2-goals, including the game winner, and added an assist in the Finals to go along with his 2-goals scored (including another game winner) in the semi-finals. Congratulations to Mark Stickney moving into a tie for fourth place overall will 7 championship jackets. In addition, congratulations goes out to the four first-time winners of jackets in Jason Glista, Mike Surette, Mike Florentino and Matt Anctil.
Congratulations to the Midas Touch spring 2013 season championship team whose players include: captain Jim Barber, Market Stickney, John Desmond, Steve Oppedisano, Derek Shaw, Rick Cassano, Angelo Deluca, Jon Pickard, Jason Glista, Mike Florention, Mike Surette, Jeff Deharo and Matt Anctil.
Spring 2013 Season Playoff MVP John Desmond
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