History repeats itself as Goodfellas wins back-to-back championships
Captain Scott Young is the hero, “finishing” when it matters!
Every player that has been on a championship team from the winter season knows how difficult it can be to defend your title during the spring season, not to mention actually winning back-to-back championships. You need team chemistry, hard work, every player knowing their roles doing their job, and some luck as well. For Goodfellas, they had all of the above. What made this championship even more memorable was Goodfellas qualifying for the playoffs by winning their last game to get in.
They may have finished the season playing 500 hockey but Goodfellas proved to be one of the most difficult teams to play against during most of the season and playoffs, emerging as the spring 2015 season Over-30 league champions. Goodfellas, in a rematch of the winter 2014 season finals, won a dramatic 4 – 3 overtime victory over Legends Last Stand. In doing so, Goodfellas became only the 6th team in Over-30 league history to win back-to-back championships.
The Finals featured two teams following different paths in getting to this game. Legends Last Stand was in cruise control all season, easily winning first place three quarters of the way through the season. Legends Last Stand was clearly the best and most balanced team all season. For Goodfellas, as previously mentioned, played five hundred hockey all season and needed a win and some help from another team on the last game of the season to just get into the playoffs. In looking at the season series between these two teams, it wasn’t even close as Legends Last Stand won all three games played with a 15-5 goal differential.
Heading into this game, the consensus odds on favorite was Legends Last Stand. But this reporter knew better, that this game had the potential to go into overtime to determine a winner. Legends Last Stand was a formidable opponent, featuring the league’s leading scorer in Matty Iannellocentering the league’s top scoring line with Anthony Lauletta and Ray Nickerson. Along with that they also had the most balanced second line that could also score, a game changing shot from defenseman John Lasala Jrand solid goaltending. For Goodfellas, they had great team speed and resiliency, a smart and positionally sound defensive core that blocked lots of shots, and one of the top goalies in the league, Bill Gardynski Jr who was capable of single-handedly stealing any game.
The first period began with both teams going all out on the rink; playing hard each shift and making sure to change lines quickly to get fresh legs out there. Each team had scoring chances, mostly from the perimeter early. Three minutes in, Ray Nickerson, on a pass from John Lasala Jr, had the ball on the left wing just inside his icing line. As Matty Iannellomoved across to the left, Ray faked the pass and took a slap shot that seemed to catch the goalie off guard and scored on the long shot far side giving Legends Last Stand the early lead. Three minutes after that, some strong fore checking and cycling play by the second line of Legends last Stand resulted in a goal in tight by Mauro Coluccielloon a bang-bang pass from Niko Vramis. Just over two minutes later, Goodfellas caught a break. On a delayed penalty call, Goodfellas maintained control of the ball in the offensive zone as Legends Last Stand was thrown off by the call. After Joe Mancinellipassed the ball over to Rick Cassanoon the left wing, he smartly found Angelo "Kato" Delucastanding in the high right slot as he buried the shot to the top right side. Gaining momentum from this goal, Goodfellas upped their fore checking game and with less than a minute in the period, some strong cycling down low by John Kelleherand Tony Bonoresulted in Angelo getting the ball on the left wing boards. Making it look like he was going to stickhandle off the boards, Kato surprised everyone with a quick turn and shot that beat the goalie top corner on the short side. It was a great play on Angelo’s part. At the end of the first period, it was a 2 – 2 game with Legends Last Stand holding a 12 – 10 edge in shots.
The second period was a scoreless period, however, the playoff intensity and physical play by both teams was at a fever pitch as the referees let the boys (and girl) play and it showed on the rink as multiple scrums broke out and bodies were flying all over the rink. This was one of the most intense playoff periods this reporter has witnessed as both teams fought for every foot of space on the rink. There wasn’t a lot of open space to be found. Goodfellas was carrying the play with their team speed and the first line for Legends Last Stand was trying but not making plays like usual. The best scoring chance belonged to John Lasala Jrof Legends Last Stand who found himself open about thirty feet straight out and let go a bomb of a slap shot. Goalie Bill Gardynski Jrof Goodfellas was just as equal to the task blocking the shot with his left shoulder. It may have been overlooked during this game but it was a key save and moment. After two periods, the game was still tied at 2 – 2 with Legends Last Stand holding a 23 20 edge in shots.
Heading into the third period, the defense of both teams was controlling and dictating how this game was being played. Neither defense was giving in, nor getting caught out of position or making unnecessary turnovers. The game was now being played in the middle of the rink. Passes by both offenses were just missing team mates and when they did manage to get through, there were both goalies making the saves. Halfway through the period, the second line of Legends Last Stand were cycling down low when the ball found its way onto the stick of John Coluccielloin the slot whose shot to the top far corner just missed. A few minutes after that, Jamie Kehoemade a heads up play after Legends Last Stand cleared the ball out of their zone. Jamie took a pass from Tony Bonoand wasting no time he carried the ball over the center line and shot the ball low far side which somehow got past the goalie. With three minutes to play, the way this game was playing out, everyone sensed this game was over. Legends Last Stand needed a break and received this as Ray Nickersongot a pass from Derrick Power and his shot on net was saved, however, the rebound resulted in a defensive turnover as the ball found its way onto the stick of Matty Iannello. With less than a minute and a half to play, the Great One did not miss and tied up this game. At the end of three periods heading into overtime, the score was tied at 3 – 3 with Legends Last Stand outshooting Goodfellas 32 – 30.
Overtime didn’t last that long. With pressure generated by Legends Last Stand, the defense of Goodfellas threw the ball up the right wing and as the winger went to play the ball near his feet his stick was tied up by the defense of Legends Last Stand, negating the icing call. As a forward hustled back to cover for Legends Last Stand, a turnover resulted in the ball finding Joe Mancinelli’sstick on the right boards, who passed down low in the slot to Rick Cassano. With Legends Last Stand scrambling to cover open players, the ensuing chaos saw the defense overplay and accidentally knock their goalie down. Ricky alertly got the ball over to the left circle directly onto the stick of Captain Scott Young. Staring at an open net with players down in front of him, the player known as the Pretender left no doubt, taking his time and “finishing” when it matters most, scoring the game winning goal as he was mobbed by his team mates. The final score was a 4 - 3 overtime victory by Goodfellas and back to back championships.
On the way to the Finals, Goodfellas won a very close 1 – 0 victory over FOURget About-It on Tony Bono’sgoal and the strong goaltending of Bill Gardynski Jrstopping all 32 shots he faced in this game. For Legends Last Stand, it was a late third period outburst with just over a minute to play that broke open a close one goal game resulting in two open net goals being scored. Anthony Laulettaled the offense in scoring two goals.
For his efforts throughout the playoffs, especially in the Finals, Angelo “Kato” Deluca of Goodfellas was named the Playoff MVP. Angelo’s 2-goals in the first period helped his team overcome a two goal deficit. Katowas by far the best player on the rink in the Finals.
Congratulations to Jamie Kehoeon winning his fourth jacket in a row and is now tied with Pat Pironeas the only two players to have won four straight championships in league history. Jamie is now motivated to work out over the summer for his “Drive for Five” campaign when the new season begins.
Congrats to Mike Collinson removing his name from that cursed list as the longest active player never to have won a jacket. Season 14 was lucky for Mike as the previous 13 seasons played never resulted in a jacket. Congrats also to Tony Bono who moves up the all-time championship list, tied for second place in winning his 9th jacket!
As a team, congratulations to Goodfellas for their back-to-back spring 2015 championship, whose players include: Captain Scott Young, John Kelleher, Joe Mancinelli, Rick Cassano, Angelo Deluca, Mike Collins, Jamie Kehoe, Mario Deluca, Colleen Sedille and goalie Bill Gardynski Jr.
Spring 2015 Playoff MVP
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