Congratulations Goodfellas - 2014 winter league champions. Missing from the photo are Emidio Magno and Colleen Sedille
With a Turtle leading them, Goodfellas keeps a steady pace in crossing that “Finish” line emerging as Over-30 champions
After starting the season 0-2, not having a full roster of players on a weekly basis, dealing with season long injuries, and having a few players go onto injured reserve heading into the playoffs, the Goodfellas overcame all of that to emerge as the winter 2014 season Over-30 league champions. Goodfellas, on the strength of two last minute (or more correctly last seconds) second period dramatic and momentum swinging goals, took over this game to emerge with a 6 – 3 victory over the hottest team in the league, Legends Last Stand.
The Finals featured two teams following different paths in getting to this game. Legends Last Stand, after starting off the season 0 – 5, went 6 – 1 down the stretch run and on a roll heading into the playoffs. They were without a doubt the hottest team heading into the playoffs. For Goodfellas, they were the team flying under the radar that no one really noticed, playing five hundred hockey all season and on a two-game losing streak heading into the playoffs. In looking at the season series between these two teams, Legends Last Stand held a distinct edge with a 2 – 1 head-to-head record and a 10 – 7 goal differential. Legends Last Stand finished in 3rd place overall while Goodfellas slipped into the 4th spot.
Heading into this game, this was a toss-up as both teams had multiple strengths in their favor. Goodfellas had good overall team speed (more so than Legends Last Stand), had the consensus best goalie in the Over-30 league, had a solid core of defensemen (some even considered it the best overall in the league), and they played a very structured and smart game. Legends Last Stand had the veteran leadership and playmaking abilities of Matty Iannello, a bonafide sniper in Anthony Lauletta on the wing, the lethal shot of John Lasala Jr who was capable of scoring anywhere on the rink at any time, and when on his game, had solid goaltending. What stood out as this game unfolded was just how many momentum swings and push backs that came from each team resulting in direct goals. This was one of the better played Finals in Over-30 league history; don’t let the final score fool you, this game was a lot closer than the final outcome. It took two dramatic goals scored twenty-five seconds apart at the end of the second period to determine the outcome of this game. Surprisingly, we didn’t see a lot of in-game adjustments by either team, especially heading into the third period.
As the first period began, we really didn’t know what to expect from either team, we just knew that both teams would come out running and play hard from the opening faceoff. That’s exactly what happened. Everyone knows that scoring the game’s first goal is a key, and Goodfellas struck first. Only twenty-seven seconds into the game, defenseman Jamie Kehoe found a seam in his defensive zone to carry the ball and rather than dump it in, he had time to unload a slap shot that beat the goalie to the low far side of the net. Game on!! Unfazed by this, just over a minute later, the second line for Legends Last Stand were swarming and cycling deep in the offensive zone when some pretty passing from defenseman Luigi Derenzes and John Colucciello found Niko Vramis at the top of the crease for a bang bang goal with a defenseman draped all over him. Each team generated momentum swings and push back throughout the period as the game was being played in a very fast back and forth pace. Legends Last Stand took advantage of one of these push backs with two minutes to play as Matty Iannello and Anthony Lauletta played a two man game down low before finding Luigi Derenzes open at the left point whose bomb beat the goalie. At the end of the first period, it was 2 - 1 for Legends Last Stand with both teams taking 12 shots on net.
The second period featured more of the same from the previous period, with both teams showing momentum swings and push backs that generated scoring opportunities and goals. However, it was the last seconds of the period that swung this game into Goodfellas favor (more about this later). Less than thirty seconds in off a defensive turnover, Tony Bono found himself on a breakaway looking to tie this game up; however, a great defensive sweep check by Derrick Power prevented Tony from getting off a shot.
With the game still being played at a fast pace, a rather simple innocent looking play by John Kelleher down low in the offensive zone produced an unexpected result. Less than three minutes into the period, with the ball on his stick cycling down low in the right corner, John shielded the defender off him to turn and shoot the ball on net from a bad angle. Somehow, Tony Bono gained position in front to redirect the shot through the five hole, tying this game at 2 – 2. Once again, not fazed by this turn of events, Legends Last Stand pushed back less than a minute later as Matty Iannello was sprung open down the left wing on a quick breakout pass from Ray Nickerson and John Lasala Jr to beat the goalie far side, giving Legends Last Stand the lead again at 3 – 2. It was here that this reporter was surprised not to see an in-game adjustment by Legends Last Stand to now use the clock in their favor, slow the game down, and force Goodfellas to open up and have their defense activate more and take some chances.
It was in the last seconds of the period that the momentum changed once again and determined the outcome of this game. First, with twenty-seven seconds on the clock, Angelo Deluca had the ball on the high left wing and found some space to unleash a slap shot that beat the goalie tying this game up at 3 – 3. Before Legends Last Stand could run out the period and collect their thoughts lightning struck with only three seconds left in the period, as Joe Mancinelli was perfectly positioned out front with a defenseman all over him to collect the rebound of a Jamie Kehoe slap shot and somehow manage to lift the ball just under the crossbar in tight into the net for the game’s dramatic goal and moment. You could literally see the wind taken out of the players from Legends Last Stand based on the body language reaction as a collective team. After two periods, Goodfellas now had a 4 – 3 lead with each team taking 11 shots on net.
Heading into the third period, the big question was not the score but how Legends Last Stand would come out and play. We soon got an answer. We didn’t see that push back that we previously had seen. Understandably, it was if all the energy and drive had been taken out of them by that last second Joe Mancinelli goal. This reporter was somewhat surprised that Gary Goodwin was not activated from his defensive position to back up to wing to inject some much needed energy and running into the attack for Legends Last Stand. As the period was played out, the defensive core of Goodfellas took over, just as they had done so in their previous playoff victory to shut down the offense of Legends Last Stand. With two minutes to play, Jamie Kehoe was set up on the left point by John Kelleher, whose slap shot through a screen found the back of the net for the big insurance goal. Less than thirty seconds later, Scott Young took advantage of a defensive turnover to move down the left wing to score an unassisted goal. Game, set, match for Goodfellas. The final score was 6 - 3 and a hard earned victory for Goodfellas as both teams finished with 32 shots each in this game.
On the way to the Finals, Goodfellas soundly defeated the first place team Who Needs Superstars by the score of 3 – 0 on the strength of Joe Mancinelli’s 2-goals and Bill Gardynski Jr’s shutout, stopping all 33 shots he faced. For Legends Last Stand, Matty Iannello sent a direct message to his counterpart captain Jim Barber of FOURget About-It that league history would NOT be made on his watch with a sound thrashing by the score of 5 – 0. Matty scored 2-goals while adding an assist as he factored in his team’s first three goals, while goalie Jeff Deharo stopped all 25 shots he faced in recording the shut out.
For his efforts throughout the playoffs, Joe “Turtle” Mancinelli of Goodfellas was named the Playoff MVP. Joe scored two of his team’s three goals in the semi-finals, while scoring the dramatic game winner in the Finals. For Joe, this was his first championship jacket in 18 seasons played in the Over-30 league, finally removing his name atop the list of the most cursed active player without a jacket!
Congratulations to Jamie Kehoe on winning his third jacket in a row and instead of him chasing league history to be the only player ever to win four straight jackets, he is letting Over-30 league history chase him. Congrats to Mario Delucaand rookie Emidio Magno on winning thier first jackets. Congrats also to Tony Bono who moves up the all-time championship list by winning his 8th jacket!
As a team, congratulations to Goodfellas for their winter 2014 championship, whose players include: Captain Scott Young, John Kelleher, Joe Mancinelli, Rick Cassano, Angelo Deluca, Emidio Magno, Jamie Kehoe, Jason Glista, Mario Deluca, Colleen Sedille and goalie Bill Gardynski Jr.
Playoff MVP - the Turtle
Finally after 18 seasons Joe Mancinelli wins his first jacket!!!!
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