Thursday, January 20, 2011

Digging out from under

With the temperatures rising and the snow starting to melt, it only seemed fitting that I attempt to dig out from under by cranking out a couple-two-tree, ok yikes five game reports that have been hanging over my head for some time while on sabbatical. So much for my new year's resolution to get each report out before the next puck drop. Anyhow, sit back, relax, and enjoy the 5-pak!

Jan 6: Home vs Pittsford
The Greece Athena/Odyssey Thunder Hockey team came up short losing their second game of the new year by a narrow 4-3 margin to the Pittsford Panthers on Thursday at Lakeshore. If you asked anyone in the building they probably would have told you that Thunder was going to run away with it after Jared Tam-Grimshaw notched a quick pair of goals to prime the pump within the first 2 minutes of play. The first one came at the 1:29 mark as Jared cut to the middle of the ice from the top of the circle and sniped short-side, assisted by Anthony Crawford. Just 20 seconds later captain Mike Briganti put slovakia on net from the point and Jared finished off the rebound to make it 2-0. Pat Crowe showed some moxy on D for Thunder taking his check to the wall a couple of times. Shots were 8-6 in Thunder's favor.

Second period was all Pittsford as they outshot Thunder by a mile (18-4) and rallied not once, not twice, but thrice, to take the lead at 3-2. Panthers' first goal came off a 2-on-1 break 40 seconds into the frame with Nino Dipasqule lighting the lamp assisted by Taylor Howard and Max Kaufman.Two minutes later Jim Boyatzies scored unassisted with a blast from the point that hit a skate and deflected in. Nick Panara rounded out the Panthers second stanza palooza with a goal of his own at the 4:50 mark, assisted by Sam Palmer and Peter Vasaturo. As I sat there listening to Neil Diamond at the intermission, I could not help but wonder what the H.E. double hockey sticks happened to the gritty team defense of two days prior that allowed Thunder to escape unscathed from the 2nd period of the Gates game???

Thunder got the equalizer 3 minutes into the third, on the powerplay when Simmy sailed a wing-wing pass to AC who bumped it up top to Ganti for the 1-hole blast. Unfortunately, Pittsford would counter 4 minutes later on their own powerplay with a 1-timer from the top of the right circle by el Nino assisted by Taylor Howard and Corey Parke. Snake had a nice hit on the half-wall to pinch off a late Panther rush. Thunder exercised their T.O. option with a minute to go and drew it up but it was simply not meant to be. Shots were 13-9 for a 3-period total of 33-25 Thunder. With this loss, Thunder's record slides to 4-2-1-1 but it's still early so everybody just remain calm, there's no reason to panic!

Jan 11: Home vs Irondequoit
What a difference 5 days and a weekend away from the rink serving pancakes makes as Thunder returned to the ice with a renewed sense of urgency and a little more hop in their step on 1/11/11 wearing their home whites, black shells and yellow socks...

Yeah, uh huh, you know what it is
Black and yellow, Black and yellow, Black and yellow, Black and yellow
Yeah, uh huh, you know what it is
Black and yellow, Black and yellow, Black and yellow, Black and yellow

Yeah, uh huh, you know what it is
Everything I do, I do it big
Yeah, uh huh, scoring goals ain't nothing
When I blocked a shot, that's fronting
Repping my team when you see me you know everything
Black and yellow, Black and yellow, Black and yellow, Black and yellow
I put it down from the bacon to the pan-cakes, I'm in
Black and yellow, Black and yellow, Black and yellow, Black and yellow
Spreadin' sauce on the PP yeah we gonna win
Black and yellow, Black and yellow, Black and yellow, Black and yellow
Go flippin' channels and you'll see me on ESPN
Black and yellow, Black and yellow, Black and yellow, Black and yellow

Not sure where that came from, I just sort of black and yellowed out at the keyboard for a minute. OK, where were we, oh yeah, Thunder skated past Irondequoit with a 5-2 victory on Tuesday the 11th in a game where goals in the first and third by the Eagles surrounded a 5-course meal served up by Thunder in the second frame. Before we get to the action, I would be remiss if I did not put JR on notice that she just may have met her match as one of the IQ moms was making some seriously strange sounds from the stands. At one point I could have sworn she was channeling Bobcat Goldthwait. But what does any of this have to do with hockey, idk?

IQ drew first blood at 6:04 in the first, with a goal from Mike Basta, assisted by John Papas. Thunder put a great deal of pressure on the Eagles, outshooting them 11-8 and carried that momentum into the second despite trailing by 1. That did not last long as Brandon Hutchison put rubber on net and Anthony Crawford finished off the rebound a minute and a half in to knot it at 1's. Jared Tam-Grimshaw picked up the second helper. Eight minutes later AC was back in ring for another swing, ok make that 3 swings, and third whack was a charm as he netted his second goal of the evening, assisted by Mattle and Hutch (Sorry, but Huggy Bear could not be reached for comment). Two minutes later, after demonstrating a great deal of patience and poise with the puck, Anthony Fedele went 5-hole from the slot, assisted by Mike McNeil and Eric Hostetter - nice teamwork boyz! Next up was Mike Briganti and he drained the 3 from top of the key with a 1-hole PPG assisted by AC and Jared T-G at 2:40. And last but not least, just before the break, back on the powerplay, McSkillet served up a cream puff for Grimshaw from behind the net and Tyler slam dunked it, assisted by AC. Shots were 14-8 Thunder for a 2-period total of 25-16.

Irondequoit got their second goal, a shortie, 3.5 mins into the final frame when Nick Papas dug a partially wedged puck out from under Cumming's left pad and put it away on a slow whistle. Rest of the way was a bit of a cool down as Thunder killed off four penalties with Snake logging a routine harry and Curran demonstrating the "cup" harry on a 3-1 break for the Eagles. Jared got the gate for a questionable CFB and Mordenga got to serve the minor. This of course garnered a roar from the stands as he skated to the box. Eric Grills, Pat Crowe, Jeff Geitner, and Austin Briganti got the nod for the final kill as Thunder advanced their record to 5-2-1-1.

First star goes to AC130 who was in the air all nite with 2+2 for 4pts. Second star goes to Ian Cumming with 25 saves on 27 shots for his third W on the season. Third star goes to Anthony Fedele with the game winner. Honorable mention goes to Brandon Hutchison, Mike McNeil, and Jared Tam-Grimshaw who each logged a pair of assists.

Jan 13/15: Home-Home with Spencerport
Thunder played a home-home 390 series with Spencerport last week which ended in a split decision as the Rangers came out on top 2-1 @ MCC on Thursday (1/13) and Thunder countered with a 5-3 win at the 'shore on Saturday (1/15).

* * *

First period of the first game was relatively quiet with play even up in both ends and shots came in at 6-4 in Thunder's favor. A-Sim was helping himself out by keeping his stick active in the passing lanes. Thunder cracked the seal a few minutes into the second as O-B went D-D, Grims hit the one-time fat, and Mattle went upstairs with a lob wedge glove side... shin da hole... 1-0 Thunder. A-Sim continued to handle the puck well, making several long lead breakout passes to stretch the ice. Dominic Gruttadauria rallied at 9:54 with the equalizer for Spencerport, assisted by Anthony Depetres. Jonathan Clark stacked the pads at the point for his second harry of the game. Fast forward to the end of the second... Scott Doud scored on a hard blast that hit A-Sims stick but continued on into the net for what would prove to be the winner for Spencerport with only 43 seconds to the ice cut. Shots were 17-6 in Thunder's favor for a 2-period total of 23-10. No scoring to report in the third, although shots were 7-3 Thunder. Still scratching my head on how Thunder more than doubled the Rangers shot production (30-13) yet still came out on the short end of the stick. Sounds like we need some remedial work in the LOTE department, in particular FINNISH. That, and tip your hats to the Ranger's keeper.

First star goes to Tyler Fess who turned away 29 of 30 shots he faced for the Rangers. Second star goes to Scott Doud with the game winner. Third star goes to Andrew Simonelli with 11 saves on 13 shots. Thunders record drops to 5-3-1-1 with the loss. Hang in there boys, tomorrow is another day!

* * *

Second game was a special teams showcase with ten pens to Thunder, eight pens to Spencerport, and interestingly 14 of the 18 total pens were concentrated in the second period. Three of Thunder's 5 goals came on the PP and all three of the Rangers goals came on the PP as well. So much for letting them play, but it is important to protect the players so it's all good. When all was said and done and the dust was settled and the smoke was cleared, Thunder emerged with their sixth win of the season. While the Sherry's are no longer with the team in body, their spirit lives on in Amanda's beautiful voice. Just close your eyes and it's as if she is standing right there in the penalty box belting out the anthem. Very powerful.

Thunder opened the scoring 36 seconds in on the powerplay when Ganti hooked it to AC on the left side of the umbrella and AC zinged it across the seam to Jared for on-ice wrister to beat Fess. Nothing in the middle, but Spencerport would answer back at the end of the period with eleven ticks left on the clock, as Dom Gruttadauria put away the rebound in the slot that kicked out from a shot by Scott Doud, assisted by Frank Lattuca. Shots were fairly even although Ranger's slightly edged Thunder 9-7.

A buck thirty into the second Thunder cashed their second man advantage, this time with Grimshaw scoring, assisted by Jared and Ganti. Three minutes later Jared got his second goal and third point of the nite, compliments of some hard work down low by Brandon Hutchison feeding the puck out front to setup the authoritative finish. AC picked up the second helper on Thunder's third goal. Two minutes later and back on the powerplay, Jared got the hat with a 1-hole snapper that hit the mark a foot off the ice, assisted by Ganti and Hostetter. As Thunder segwayed to the PK, eHots showed he can play big in all three zones as he stacked the pads to block a point shot and clear the zone, harr-yyyyy! Clark had a nice block at the top of the crease as well. But the pims kept coming as fast as Thunder would kill them off and eventually Spencerport took advantage, of a 2-man advantage, with a 5 on 3 goal banged home by Matt Corey on the back door off the point feed from Matt Kaser, assisted by Scott Doud.

Corey would rally again on the powerplay for the Rangers halfway into the final frame, assisted by Scott Doud and Michael Chiappone to make it interesting at 4-3, but fear not as Tyler Mattle would take the jail break headman from Mike McNeil (who had intercepted an errant Ranger's pass) and put the icing on the cake with a Ricky Bobby shake-n-bake 5-hole change-up that left Fess scrambling to locate his jock with just 75 seconds remaining in the contest. Shots were 29-25 overall in Thunder's favor. Cumming had 22 saves for the win, Fess had 25 saves for the Rangers.

First star goes to Jared T-G with the hat plus a helper for 4 points. Second star goes to Mike Briganti with 3 assists. Third star goes to Matt Corey with a pair of goals for the Rangers. With this win Thunder advances to 6-3-1-1. Keep it coming boys!

Jan 18: Home vs Brockport
Again with the yellow socks, OMG. They must really like Whiz Khalifa and perhaps DJ Khaled as well cuz...

All I Do is win win win no matter what
got hockey on mind i can never get enough
and everytime I step up on the ice
everybody hands go up
and they stay there
and they say yeah (Thun-Der!)
and they stay there
Watch the goalies go up down, up down
cause all I do is win win win
and if you goin’ in put your hands in the air..

That's right, Thunder got their Win on Tuesday nite with a half-hearted 4-2 decision over Brockport. It was most definitely not Thunder's best effort, probably their second most disappointing win of the season according to the coaching staff, as they gave up a first period lead when they fell asleep early in the second. Still have to credit the Blue Devils for hanging in there and battling to the very end, but a better effort by Thunder could have easily put this thing out of reach.

Captain Mike broke the ice at the 4:16 mark in the first period, with a top shelf blast from the point off the draw by Mike Lucarelli, assisted by Brandon Hutchison. Shots were 7-3 Thunder. Second period saw Brockport net two early goals off battles in tight. First one went to Zach Coughlin, assisted by Forrest Grady and Mike Knapp 1:42 in. Second goal was scored by Zach Stahl off the rebound from a shot by Kyle Wallenhorst 4:06 in. Thunder bounced back from the let down a buck and a half later when Jared took a shot on the ice and McNeil redirected it short side to beat Keene for the equalizer on the powerplay. Grimshaw picked up a phantom assist on the play. Picking up right where they left off in the previous game, Mike McNeil hit Tyler Mattle coming off the bench as a Thunder pen expired and Mattle would walk in uncontested to beat Keene low stick side for the eventual winner with 3:20 to go in the second stanza. Two minutes later AC popped up on the grid with a bid that took some paint off the post but he kept cycling with Justin and Jared until Jared finished the job, 4-2 Thunder. Shots were 11-7 for a 2 period margin of 18-10 for Thunder.

Second intermission featured the stylings of the solid black, purple, and gold dancers with a most unusual rendition of Sweet Caroline. Latest roster for this show choir includes the likes of Andrea O'Brien, Renee Mahoney, Laurie Mattle, Judy Cumming, Carm Crowe, someone sitting next to Judy and Carm, plus a Thunder player who shall remain nameless and shameless for joining in. Just imagine if those pictures find their way out onto his facebook!

With Simmy getting the gate for a major slash, Grimmy hittin' the showers after a scrap around the net, and couple more minors that would ensue after that, Thunder found themselves in a precarious predicament protecting a 2-goal lead as they were forced to weather half a period of play on the PK. Ganti earned his letter with almost 4.5 mins of the 7 min kill, supported by Snake, Clark, and O'B. Jared threw in a leg-stack harry to support the cause, and Ian certainly came up big with several key breakaway saves. Shots were 11-6 to B-Ports favor in the 3rd, although Thunder came out on top 24-21 overall. A win is a win, but again, this was still alot closer than it needed to be.

First star goes to Captain Mike not only for lighting the lamp but also for his leadership getting us out of the "3rd" inning. Second star goes to Ian Cumming with 19 saves for his 5th win of the season. Third star goes to Tyler Mattle for the GWG plus a top-notch effort on the PK. Thunder's rolls to 7-3-1-1 with the win. Speaking of rolling...

Warm up the bus... warm up the bus... no, not rubbing it in for B-Port, rather referring to the impending Thunder roadie to the North Country for the Odgensburg tourney this weekend. Don't forget to pack your duo-fold as you can practically touch the north pole from there. GO THUNDER !!!

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