Is it live or is it memorex? Of course that reference is probably lost on kids these days with the advent of flash drives and iPods, but just the same, it was nice to hear Amanda's voice belting out the anthem to set the mood for another saturday matinee (11-Dec) at the shore, this time with Webster Schro-der. Funny, i thought Schro-der was a Charles Shultz character. Clearly, the section five announcers are hooked on phonics.
Seeing less than optimal chemistry in the first two outings Webby shook things up with a fresh look up front (24-9-6)(18-14-19)(21-36-15). Thunder capitalized early on the powerplay when senior captain Michael Briganti slid one by Beyo 1-hole from the top of the umbrella, assisted by Justin Simonelli and Anthony Crawford. At the other end of the rink Briganti slammed the door in Webster's face with a huge block taking away the attack lane to keep them at bay, but before the end of the period someone missed an assignment leaving Jordan Antetomaso alone in the high slot where he would rally with a shot that went post and in, assisted by Joe Schuler. McNeil hit a post but no goal. Shots were 9-6 in Thunder's favor. As Webby proceeded to give his team a bit of a tongue lashing at the period break for a lackluster first frame, one could see heads starting to bob to the musical stylings of Neil Diamond with Sweeeeet Car-o-line....good times never seemed so good... lightening things up. Even the stripes were getting into it.
Thunder let no moss grow on the rolling stones in the second as they converted at the 14.11 mark, on the PP once again. It was Tyler Grimshaw who would light the lamp 4-hole post and in this time, assisted by AC and Simmy. Shortly thereafter Thunder found themselves on the short end of a 5 on 3 situation. Joe Vyverberg showed his mettle gutting it out on the biggest kill of the game with a nice step-up on his check and several clears to neutralize Webster's attack. Midway through the period and back at even strength Webster pulled a bingo play out of their LAX bag as Nathan Schuler fed Trevor Heckathorn in the high slot coming off the bench and Heckathorn ripped a shot that hit Cumming's stacked pads but continued up over and in to tie it at 2's. Shane Callahan picked up the second helper on the Webster goal.
Now most of you are probably familiar with what a "Harry" is, right? Well, except for maybe Ron Sherry who had to have his wife explain it to him, ha! For the uninitiated, it is a badge of honor, courage, and a little stupidity, when you put your body in a shooting lane to block a shot with your shins or your chest or your neck or your purse or your face, basically whatever it takes. The term originated back in the 70's when Harry Shaw made a living blocking shots for the Rochester Amerks. One night he took a puck in the face (remember no helmets back then) and returned after the intermission all stitched up to finish the game. In addition to the Harry Shaw society, there is another camp that we don't usually speak of - the Flamingos. Now as a hockey player you don't want to be affiliated with that group, because the term Flamingo in hockey refers to when a defending player is in a shooting lane and lifts one leg to let the puck pass through so as to avoid being hit by the puck. If you find the urge to do this you must resist and then get yourself to the nearest 12-step program.
Here's something else you can't do (just ask Sam Mordenga) - you can't fire the puck after the whistle. Webster's Callahan learned this the hard way when he took a shot seconds after the play was whistled down when he was about 10 feet offsides. Off to the sin bin you go for unsportsmanlike conduct. Who knew Ganti could jump, but when the biscuit went airborne near Webster's blue line he lifted off and dang near gloved it ten feet up in an attempted keep. Webster forged ahead with a pair of goals at the end of the second to put Thunder on their heels as Jesse Caulkins hit the mark at 1.26 assisted by Antetomaso and Callahan then Conlan Keenan finished at 0.25 assisted by Callahan as well. OOOh to be a fly on the wall in the Thunder dressing room for this intermission break!
In his Freshman year, Anthony "AC" Crawford's specialty was going top shelf with authority but he had no assists. This year he has gotten his playmaker on with 7 assists through 8 and a half periods, but wait, hold the phone, this just in... AC sniped the 3-hole with a laser that had eyes, at the 6.12 mark on the powerplay, assisted by Simmy and Ganti, for his first goal of the season. A buck and a half later Simmy got his own... rebound that is... as he beat Beyo stick side for the equalizer, assisted by Eric Hostetter and Mike McNeil, to force OT.
The extra period was intense as intense chocolate milk with 4 on 4 play at the outset. eHots went in 1 on 0 with a breakaway bid that could have sealed the deal but it was simply not meant to be. Thunder took a T.O. with 14 seconds remaining and tried drawing it up with a 4v3 advantage, but it was to no avail as the horn sounded before they got set up and the game ended a 4-4 tie. Thunder outshot Webster by a narrow margin of 26-23 with Ian Cumming making 19 saves for Thunder and Brandon Beyo stopping 22 for Webster.
First Star of the game goes to Justin Simonelli with 4pts (1G-3A) and the GTG. Second Star goes to Anthony Crawford with 3pts (1G-2A). Third Star goes to Michael Briganti with 2pts (1G-1A) and an all around great performance. Ganti did what a captain has to do playing big in all 3 zones, covering for his teammates, and leaving it all out there on the ice. Ian McLellan and Pat Crowe made an appearance on D as did Brandon Hutchison at forward.
Ran into former Thunder Assistant Captain David Russell lurking around the tunnel after the game and when asked for his thoughts D-Russ offered the following: "very Thunderesque gutting it out and hoping for a bounce". Could have used a bounce but oh well, we still got out of the game with a point. All in all it was a great comeback that gave the fans their money's worth. With this tie Thunder's record is now 1-0-1-1.