Spring 2018 Champs. Pictured back row left to right: Jim Clarke, Tony Medeiros, Jason Glista, Todd Bryson, Tim Hickey, captain Dominic Defrancisco, John Leite and Dave Costa. Pictured front row left to right: Mike Naczas, Sandra Glista and Dave Guisti. Missing from the picture are Mike Luise and Bob Snyder.
First-ever woman goalie champion Sandra Glista
History will be WAS made
As the Over-30 league repeatedly has come up with fresh new ideas to keep the league relevant and an enjoyable on so many levels, it only makes sense that the league finally made history with a woman goalie winning a championship! History was madeas Sandra Glista became the first-ever woman goalie to accomplish this honor and do so impressively throughout the playoffs. Take that guys, Sandra proved (once again) that she belongs in the “Big Boys hockey" circle. Sandra follows in the footsteps of Colleen O’Connell, a three time winner, as the only other woman player to have accomplished this feat.
History was also made for the Portuguese Power trio of Dominic Defrancisco – Tony Medeiros – John Leite for being the most dominant Portuguese trio ever to play in the Over-30 league as they have won 4 out of the last 6 championships in the Over-30 league, starting with the winter 2015 championship. In following their captain’s leadership style of play (the heart and soul of this team), Blues Brother’s started this game by quickly scoring all the goals it would need and stun Team Cherry with a 3 – 1 victory.
The first period saw each team have their own strategy for the Finals. Blues Brother’s was determined to come out and run Team Cherry right out of the building and generate scoring chances with their relentless fore checking game. Team Cherry, missing their best player and their goalie coming back after a two week layoff, was just trying to survive the period until it could get its offense going. For Blues Brother’s, their plan worked to perfection as they blitzed Team Cherry with three goals scored early in a span of two minutes. Just over two minutes into the game, after a scramble out front and some swarming fore checking, Jason Glista opened the scoring with a slap shot from the right point, on a pass from John Leite that beat the goalie low short side. Thirty seconds later, Dave Costa’s fore checking resulted in a defensive turnover as he drew the defense over to him to set up Todd Bryson for a wide open empty net goal. Stunned, Team Cherry caught a much needed break to counter this surge as Gary Goodwin scored a minute later as his shot was initially stopped but found a way to still go into the net. Before anyone could say momentum swing, Blues Brother’s answered right back only thirty-four seconds later by who else but their captain on the power play, as Dominic was set up by Jason to put his team back up by two goals. At the end of the first period, Blues Brother’s held a 10 – 9 edge in shots and more importantly a 3 – 1 lead on the scoreboard.
As we entered the second period, with his team missing two forwards and putting the emphasis on having two complete lines, we noticed an in-game adjustment made by the captain of Blues Brother’s. He sacrificed the normally reliable shut down defense of Naz and moved Naz up front. The move paid off as who knew that Naz could transform into a power forward. As the period played out you could see that Team Cherry started to find its game, as it cleaned up its season long issues of the forwards unable to handle passes from its defensemen between the white lines. With that issue take care of, Team Cherry started to generate scoring chances on their own with Ron Aquino and Paul Correia being the prime generators of these chances. Meanwhile, the defensive trio of Jason Glista-Dave Costa-Jim Clarke was protecting the house, giving goalie Sandra Glista some good looks at oncoming shots while controlling this period for Blues Brother’s. Blues Brother’s kept generating scoring chances but not at the same intense level or frequency that they had throughout the first period’ scoring outburst. At the end of two periods, Blues Brother’s still held a 3 – 1 lead, although Team Cherry had a 19 – 18 edge in shots.
Entering the third period, both goalies had settled in to stop any scoring chances generated, the defenses were now controlling the pace of the game, the up tempo fast pace from the first period had taken its toll on both teams offenses as both teams shortened their shifts and kept rolling players over the boards. This game would come down to which team played smart hockey and limited their defensive mistakes. Both teams did just that. For Blues Brother’s, they settled into playing a more wait and see approach by concentrating on having layers back in defensive coverage while still jumping on offensive opportunities. For Team Cherry, they activated some of their defensemen to jump into the offense using more of a swarming offensive attack. Paul Correia was making plays for Team Cherry and getting his looks but there was Sandra to shut the door on him. The same was true for Tim Hickey for Blues Brothers who was using his legs for speed but there was goalie Jake Deehan denying him in net. As the period moved past the halfway point you could see that Blues Brother’s had players back in defensive coverage and every counter attack generated by Team Cherry was met with a wall of players with no room for team Cherry to make plays. Blues Brother’s used the clock to their advantage by continuing to chip the ball out of their defensive zone making Team Cherry restart from deep in their own end. The strategy worked to perfection…get an early lead, play smart hockey and sit on the lead, and let the clock run down. The final score ended up being 3 – 1 in favor of Blues Brother’s with all the scoring done in the first period. Team Cherry ended up holding a 30 – 28 lead in shots taken.
On the way to the Finals, no one was giving either Blues Brother’s or Team Cherry a chance as they each faced the one of the top two teams during the regular season. The smart money was clearly on Trojan Horse and Maybe One advancing to the Finals. The problem was the smart money overlooked the underdogs who went on to only give up 1 goal against and no goals against respectfully in their victories.
Blues Brother’s started off as the best team during the spring season, posting shutouts in their first two games, but, an injury to their starting goalie derailed them during the middle point of the season, as they finished the season playing five hundred hockey. There were questions of this team as they headed into the playoffs; playing more individual than as a team and not playing as a five man unit was predominant. However, Blues Brother’s regained their mojo and swagger at the right time.
In their semi-final game, Blues Brother’s played desperate hockey in defeating the defending champs Trojan Horse, winning 2 – 1. How dominant was Blues Brother’s in this game? They completely shut down the league’s most dominant offense by only giving up a goal with five seconds to play. Dominic led the way, as he usually does in the big games, scoring the game’s first goal and Todd Bryson followed with his goal, while goalie Sandra Glista shut down the potent offensive attack of Trojan Horse. Team Cherry in their semi-final game pulled off the season’s biggest upset as they were missing their best offensive player and starting goalie to stun and shut out Maybe One by a 1 – 0 score. Brian Kehoe scored the game’s only goal late in the first period and fill in goalie Ray Dow was impressive stopping all 28 shots he faced, looking and playing like Marty Brodeur in net.
For his leadership and scoring efforts throughout the entire playoffs and unanimous choice by the voters, Dominic was named Playoff MVP. For Dominic, this was his second Playoff MVP award.
Congratulations to Sandra Glista on not only winning her first-ever championship jacket but also becoming the first woman goalie to do so. Congratulations also to Todd Bryson on winning his first-ever championship jacket. For Dave Costa, after a prolonged absence from the Over-30 league, it ended his 14 year drought going back to 2004 when he last won a jacket, ending his place atop the list for the longest drought amongst active players (sorry Cooch but that title now belongs to you with 12 straight years since your last jacket!).
Congratulations to Blues Brother’s for their spring 2018 championship, whose players include: Captain Dominic Defrancisco, Tony Medeiros, John Leite, Mike Luise, Tim Hickey, Todd Bryson, Bob Snyder, Dave Costa, Jason Glista, Mike Naczas, Jim Clarke, and goalies Sandra Glista and Dave Guisti.
2018 Spring Playoff Most Valuable Player
Congratulations Dominic Defrancisco on winning your second Playoff MVP award
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