Congratulations Olive Pits - Spring 2020 Champions
Week # 17
Saturday, November 7 (Finals)
Week # 16
Saturday, October 17 (semi-finals)
Olive Pits wins back-to-back championships;
it's like "Deja Flu" all over again
Finally, after 11 months, multiple delays, and new playing guidelines put into place, the Spring 2020 season champion was crowned. Seven months after the season was suspended due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and another two weeks after concluding the semi-final playoff round, Olive Pits successfully defended their prior championship, winning back-to-back titles, with an impressive balanced scoring attack, outworking and outplaying Drama Queens by a 5 – 2 score.
As the first period got underway, both teams knew the importance of scoring the game’s first goal. As both teams were still settling into the game, it was Olive Pits who scored first, on a gift-wrapped pass off a defensive turnover. Three minutes into the game, Jim Barber was in the right position at the right time, about 25 feet out in the center of the rink, when an unforced defensive error handed him a gift of a pass. Jim wasted little time in firing the shot into a partially open net past the out of place goalie. Game on; advantage Olive Pits! Prior to this, in the first minute, Drama Queens hit the post and goalie Dave Giusti made a key save out front. With less than a minute to play in the period, Pat Pirone intercepted an errant pass on the right side, waited patiently and improved his angle by moving right to left to the center of the rink and fired a shot that beat the goalie back on the short side. Two goals scored by Olive Pits in the period resulting from unforced errors by Drama Queens. It was evident that Olive Pits had settled into their balanced two-line forechecking game and smothering team defensive coverage. At the end of the first period, Olive Pits had a two-goal lead, with both teams throwing 8 shots on net.
In the second period, it was more of the same as Olive Pits was taking over this game with hustle and effort while preventing Drama Queens from generating any sense of offensive attack or ball control. Olive Pits upped its lead to three goals as Dave Parquette was set up by the passing of Ron Aquino and Dave Costa two minutes into the period to grab the momentum and never let it go. Halfway through the period, Drama Queens made a surge and was swarming the net, with Tim Hickey having two prime scoring chances that goalie Dave Giusti was perfectly positioned on and smothered, leaving Tim shaking his head in disbelief. The surge lasted a few minutes as Drama Queens peppered the net with five in close scoring chances, only to be turned aside by Dave. With two minutes to play in the period, after surviving this surge, Olive Pits ended any hope for a Drama Queens comeback as Dave Parquette intercepted a breakout pass, calmly moved left to right, and scored an unassisted goal top far corner to take the wind out of Drama Queens. At the end of the second period, Olive Pits was clearly in charge with a 4 – 0 lead, while Drama Queens held a 17 to 14 edge in shots.
Heading into the third period, holding a four-goal lead, the game was well in control by Olive Pits and they never let up as a team. A minute and a half into the final period, they left no doubt who was more prepared to play and win this game as Ron Aquino was set up by the cycling down low by Jim on a pass from Ed Nigro, to make this a running clock game. With just over three and a half minutes to play and nothing to lose, Drama Queens pulled their goalie for an extra attacker playing desperate hockey. The move paid off as Ray Dow was set up by Don Maccini with three minutes and fourteen seconds left to break the shutout and finally get a goal past the red-hot Dave Giusti in net. Twenty-three seconds thereafter, with traffic out front, Mike Surette was set up on the point by Shawn Miville, who’s wrist shot found the far side. As the final minutes played out with a verbal trash talking sequence involving a player on each team that saw both players ejected, Olive Pits ran out the clock to secure their back-to-back championship. Olive Pits became the first back-to-back champion since Habitual Complainers did it over the 2015-16 seasons. The final score was Olive Pits 5 and Drama Queens 2, with Olive Pits holding a 25 – 22 edge in shots.
On their way to the Finals, Olive Pits was surprised by a short-handed Snow White team that frustrated Olive Pits with a stay back, stack the line defensive game waiting patiently for scoring chances, that took until overtime for Olive Pits to solve and defeat Snow White 1 – 0 in a classic goalie battle between Dave Giusti and Scott Rosato. Mike Luise’s veteran heads up play early in overtime, circling out from behind the net uncontested to score top corner far side was the difference in this game.
For Drama Queens, they jumped out to a three-goal lead against Shockwave then held on for a gritty 4 – 3 win, upsetting the first-place team to advance to the finals, led by Shawn Miville’s 2-goals.
For his overall impact on both his playoff games, including a shutout, posting an impressive 1.00 goals against average and stopping 44 out of 46 shots, goalie Dave Giusti was named Playoff MVP. This to go along with his other season hardware of co-Richie Chambers memorial best goalie award together with the Bill Mayne memorial award.
Congratulations to Ed Nigro for winning his 16th championship jacket and increasing his total as the career leader; Pat Pirone on winning his 13th jacket and moving into a tie for second place overall in jackets won; and captain Jim Barber on moving into sole possession of fourth place overall with his 12th jacket while winning 9 jackets in his last eight years as captain in the league.
Congratulations to the Olive Pits team for their Spring 2020 championship, whose players include: Captain Jim Barber, Mauro Colucciello, Ron Aquino, Dave Parquette, Mike Luise, Rick Cassano, Pat Pirone, Dave Costa, Alex Leone, Elder Lopes, Ed Nigro and goalie Dave Giusti.
Congratulations Dave Guisti on winning the Playoff MVP and pulling off the trifecta of spring 2020 season awards
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