Congratulations Yellow Submarine - Spring 2017 Champions
Yellow Submarine torpedo’s the repeat dreams of the defending champs
For five months, Yellow Submarine has been waiting for this chance to avenge their first round playoff knockout in the winter 2016 semi-finals, and that stunning seven seconds into overtime loss to 11 Guys, 1 Ball. It may not have been publically talked about by Yellow Submarine, but it was definitely on everyone’s minds heading into this game. They wanted another shot at the defending champs and they got one, on the biggest stage as well, the Finals. Yellow Submarine overcame a two goal deficit, storming back to win in overtime by the score of 3 – 2.
Right from the start, you could tell that neither team would be playing conservative, trying to figure out what the other team was doing. Instead, both teams attacked offensively, while the defenses controlled the tempo. 11 Guys, 1 Ball set the tone of this game early by playing their typical physical running game, while Yellow Submarine matched that. You could see that both teams came ready to play. In a back and forth first period, each team had chances, but the goalies were on their game, stopping everything thrown at them, while the defenses controlled and cleared the rebounds. Yellow Submarine had the early momentum and was keeping the ball in the defensive zone of 11 Guys, 1 Ball and had the better scoring chances but could not convert. That all changed late in the period with 1:20 left, as John Mastrocola took a pass from Brien Sullivan up the right wing, and effectively used his speed threat to back the defenseman up, then pulled up just over the center line, using the defenseman as a partial screen, and beat the goalie low far side. That play and goal by John ignited his team and swung the momentum over to 11 Guys, 1 Ball. It was a great individual play and finish. At the end of the first period, Yellow Submarine held a 10 – 9 edge in shots.
With newfound momentum, 11 Guys, 1 Ball, used that to their advantage right from the opening faceoff of the second period, as they got the ball in deep and employed a two-man fore checking pressure on the defense of Yellow Submarine trying to force a turnover. The plan worked as only 0:18 seconds in, defenseman Alex Leone pinched in causing a turnover by the left wing and quickly let go a bomb from the right point that found the back of the net, giving 11 Guys, 1 Ball a commanding 2 – 0 lead. Getting hit with a one-two punch from 11 Guys, 1 Ball, Yellow Submarine was reeling and was on the verge of panicking unless someone stepped up to calm them down and make a play. Who else answered the call but their captain and Great One Matty Iannello came to their rescue. At the 7:00 minute mark, Matty made a heads up play to find some space in close, taking a pass from Ray Nickerson, to score and bring his team back into this game. Energized once again by this key goal, Yellow Submarine started taking back the momentum with some quality scoring chances. Their efforts paid off with only 1:31 left in the period as Matty first stripped the ball from the defenseman down low, found Brien Kehoe with a pass cycling down low, then Matty moved back into the high slot receiving the return pass from Brian, and scored low far side tying up this game. Based on the emotional reaction of Matty (last seen in his tournament playing days) you could see that the Great One was on a personal mission. At the end of two periods, this game was tied at 2 – 2 while Yellow Submarine maintained a slight edge in shots over 11 Guys, 1 Ball, 19 - 18.
Perhaps it was all that intense physical and emotional style of play by both teams after two periods that finally was taking its toll. Perhaps it was both teams coming to the realization that they had each given each other their best shots, and neither team was going to back down. Whatever it was, the third period settled down into more of a slower thinking type of game. Both teams were careful in their decision making, and ball control was the focus. Both defenses played solid defense and both teams tightened up coverage in their own defensive zones. As a result, scoring chances were very few, and the play and shots reflected this. The best scoring chance came when Matty had a clean breakaway and waited for Scott to make the first move, but, his shot was stopped by Scott and just missed rolling into the net. The third period remained tied at 2 – 2 as we headed to overtime with Yellow Submarine still maintaining a slight advantage in shots over 11 Guys, 1 Ball, 25 – 24.
As both teams lined up to start overtime, this reporter could not help but flash back to what happened in the winter 2016 playoff semi-finals when only seven seconds into overtime, Dominic Defrancisco made his famous mad dash straight to the front of the net and scored on a rebound. You couldn’t help but wonder would we see another impact changing play? We knew that the defense of Yellow Submarine had talked about this, but still, on the opening faceoff there was the defense spread apart as opposed to tightening the gap between them. If Dominic had recognized this space and pushed the ball forward he was off to the races. Only problem was he was facing off against Matty and that was not going to happen.
In a stunning and surprising moment at 4:06 of overtime, Jason Carrien pinched in on the left point and pushed the ball up to Ray Nickerson who was on his backhand. Unable to pass the ball to Matty like Ray usually does, Ray threw a backhand on net that somehow was simply missed by the goalie and scored on the far glove side ending this game in dramatic fashion. The final score was 3 – 2 in favor of Yellow Submarine, as Yellow Submarine had the only shots in overtime, finishing with an advantage of 28 – 24.
On the way to the Finals, Yellow Submarine dominated the Pylons and shut them out by a score of 4 – 0, led by their captain Matty Iannello, who figured in on every goal his team scored with 3-goals and 1-assist. For the defending champs 11 Guys, 1 Ball, they slugged it out until Tony Medeiros ended it on a great hustle play early (12 seconds) in double overtime by Dominic Defrancisco, in defeating Sour Grapes 2 – 1.
For his efforts throughout the entire playoffs, Matty Iannello of Yellow Submarine was named unanimous Playoff MVP. The Great One proved once again just how great he is by scoring 5-goals, and adding 1 assist in the playoffs. In the seven goals that Yellow Submarine scored in the playoffs, Matty had a hand in six of those. This was only the second time in Over-30 league history that a player has swept both the Season MVP and Playoff MVP awards; last accomplished by Franco Grutti during the winter 2007 season.
Congratulations to Ed Nigro who increased his career overall lead in championships won and now has 14 championships to his name. You may now refer to him as King Ed (right Pat?)!
Congratulations to Tony Bono on moving into sole possession of second place in overall championships, now with 12.
Congratulations to John Carey, Walter Maslak, Steve Iacoviello, Tim Hickey and rookie Bob Snyder on winning their first-ever championship jackets.
As a team, congratulations to Yellow Submarine for their spring 2017 championship, whose players include: Captain Matty Iannello, Ray Nickerson, Brian Kehoe, Tony Bon, Walter Maslak, Umberto Biancardi, Bob Snyder, Jason Carrien, Ed Nigro, John Carey, Steve Iacoviello and goalie Tim Hickey.
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