NORDIQUES DEFEAT STING 3-2 TO TAKE TIER 6 CHAMPIONSHIP
Nordiques Winter 2009
March 27, Stamford, CT: It was all the sweeter for being come-from-behind and down to the wire.
After 4 straight years of championship-round defeats, the Nordiques brought home the trophy Friday night in a hard-fought, heartstopping game against a high-powered, talented Sting squad. After losing badly in the first of the best-of-three series last Tuesday night, the Nordiques returned to their strategy of scrappy, digging, never-give-up hockey to claw a win and even the series. Then, Friday night, in the deciding game of the series, the Nords fought back twice from deficits to even the score 2-2 in the third period; and, with 8 minutes left, notched another goal to take the lead 3-2.
Sting fought like demons, but the Nordiques went into overdrive, sending the puck repeatedly deep into the Sting zone and forechecking ferociously to keep it there. Sting pulled their goalie at the end, but were hampered by last-minute penalties, and were ultimately unable to match the Nordiques in energy and determination.
A pregame line shakeup paid dividends for the Nordiques, as all three of their goals were scored by the newly constituted second line. Bill Farrell evened the score twice for the Nordiques, and then, in the third period centered the puck to Charles Pevsner from the corner. The puck went between Pevsner's skates, but he did a 180 turn to grab it, then another 180 to dodge a defensemen and send the puck into the net. The Nordiques then settled down to the grim task of battling out the final 8 minutes to close the game, the series, and the season.
Charles Pevsner was awarded the game puck for scoring the winning goal, but stated, "It was a team effort, as it was all season."
Other comments from players:
George Comesana: "Four years! Four years! FOUR YEARS! [...followed by many enthusiastic but unprintable comments]"
Rich Gioia: "Great win tonight -- we have finally got the monkey off our back. I have never been prouder to be part of a team. What you guys did tonight is show the pride and fortitude that makes us the Nordiques. I have never been more honored or privilages to be part of a better team."
Bill Farrell: "That was a complete team win. Every team member has a role, and last night everyone played their role to a T. That's how we do it."
And finally, a wonderful summation from Peter DiMartino:
Our post-season began last Sunday with a quadruple overtime victory over a tough Nomads team. That seems like a long time ago. We continued into the finals by receiving a pretty sound beating at the hands of Sting on Tuesday. Somehow we sucked it up and found a way to come from behind to knot the series 1-1 on Thursday, with the Championship on the line just 24 hours from then on Friday night.
Besides asprin, I think about 2 things on this early Saturday morning...first, I just had a first-time and one-of-a-kind experience. At this stage of life, that's pretty cool. Second, our team captain has often reminded us during the season that our wins come from the fun we have together, and not the other way around. How true Ricky.
Nordiques had tons of fun last night as promised. We cheered one another, deepened our respect for one another, formed a unique bond, and had moments that cannot be bought, replaced, or forgotten.
Oh yeah, and we partied! In fact, I can't remember when I celebrated, from bar, to bar, to parking lot, to where-ever past 4am (at least not in this country anyway). On this team, guys 10yrs older than I and 20yrs younger all act the same age. We get along like family, perhaps even better.
In our own little world at Stamford Twin Rinks -an ice hockey mecca if like me you're from a humble place like Staten Isl, the Nordiques were the best on this one night.
Our Championship adversaries, Sting, were probably more talented to the man, but they could not match the Nordiques in character, courage, muscle and will.
After the game, Sting showed lots of class by sending pitchers our way and sharing a fabulous box of cigars provided by a particular Nordiques player who shunned all superstitions and brought cigars anyway (not to mention a camera! Almost as unforgivable as Dryer's new sticks and skates! ). After a week of letting hockey superstition rule my life, I'm glad I can let it go now and take a shave, wash some of my gear, and switch lights on/off in any particular order without playing headgames.
I am so lucky to have come upon this group to restart my ice hockey fantasies. Its crazy how the stars line-up, but I often have thought to myself that the hidden reason why fate brought me to Bear Stearns just 8 months before its collapse was to meet Jon Blumenfeld, who has become my friend and Nordiques team mate.
Right around midnight Nordiques won the Championship by the narrow margin of 3-2, winning the series 2-1.
Again, we had to rally from 1-0 and 2-1 deficits to win the game. We have had our mettle tested time and time again and Nordiques have always responded courageously and never ever let wins or losses interfere with our team ethos. Those seeds were planted long before I put the sweater on.
We won by tilting the ice, which can only be done with character and grit. In case you're curious, for all the hard work, we got a fkn hat... And an irreplacable memory that I hope everyone keeps with them as years pass.
As for this Staten Island kid who moved to Stamford 6 yrs ago, I finished the season where you might expect...in the penalty box serving out a roughing call.
Last night already seems like a blur, but I just have to say that all year our Defense played stellar hockey first and foremost, and none of this could have happened without Anthony in goal who's joy for the game is infectious. Our forward lines capt'd by Ricky and assisted by Dougie stepped it up game after game with each line playing its role perfectly. From the team veterans who gave us leadership to the newer guys who played any role on any line, you should all be as proud of one another as I am of you today. Lastly, our second line was unstoppable all year. Kudos to Cookie, Billy, Jim, Jim, Jim and so on and everyone else who filled out that line. And Charles...awesome goal last night...you busted it up all night...congrats.
Next up, Spring starts Wednesday against guess who...yup, Sting!
Nordiques neutralize Sting 3-1 to even playoff finals series
March 26, Stamford, CT: Unbowed by their loss two days earlier, the Nordiques came storming out and defeated String 3-1 (including an empty net goal) to even the Tier 6 playoff finals series 1-1. The series will be decided by Friday's game at Stamford Twin Rinks.
In the opinion of several players, it was one of the best games in Nordiques history. Sting scored first, evened up by Phil Rincand; Bill Farrell followed up with a goal to make the score 2-1, and then, after Sting pulled their goalie, the Nordiques had a chance at an empty net goal. A Sting player threw his stick to divert the puck, and as a consequence the goal was allowed to technically make the score 3-1.
Captain Rich Gioia, speaking in English this time, commented to the team: "Great game tonight. I can't even begin to explain to you how proud and honored I am to be the captain of this team. You all came out and skated with every ounce of heart you had. We shut them down and outskated them to almost every loose puck. Not only did we out skate them, but we got into their heads and took them off their game."
Nordiques outplayed by Sting 5-2 in 1st game of playoff finals
March 24, Stamford, CT: Clearly at the top of their form, Sting skated, passed, and stickhandled their way to a 5-2 victory over the Nordiques 5-2 in the first game of the best of three playoff finals series. The Nordiques were virtually shut down the entire game, the only goals coming from a shorthanded effort by Andrew Vranos and a scrappy goal with 45 seconds left in the game.
Captain RIchard Gioia, philisophical as always, noted in the post-game locker room in his usual execrable French, "Oubliez ça, le jeu à deux. Mettre sur certains morceaux. Christ, personne ne meurt!"
Nordiques edge Nomads 3-2 in 4th playoff overtime
March 22, Stamford, CT: In the first round of the Winter 2008 Tier 6 playoffs, the Nordiques battled the Nomads to a 2-2 tie in regulation. There then followed a three scoreless sudden death overtime periods, until Bill Farrell netted the puck in the fourth overtime period to propell the Nordiques to the playoff finals.
Captain Richard Gioia commented (in bad French), "C'est ce qui arrive lorsque vous jouez avec votre coeur et ne pas abandonner!"
Nordiques cap regular season with 6-1 win over Lightspeed
March 6, Stamford, CT: The Nordiques dominated Lightspeed 6-1 in the final regular season game in a smartly skated game. Lightspeed scored in the first minute of the game, and fought hard but were unable to keep up with Nordiques after they leapt to a 4-1 lead at the end of the first period.
The Nordiques now look forward to the winter playoffs. Keep tuned to this channel.
Nordiques outskated by Nomads 4-2
February 24, Stamford, CT: The Nordiques were lackluster in the first period, and fell behind 4-0, and although they were re-energized in the second period and picked up 2 goals, it was not enough. Despite many close third-period chances by the Nordiques, the Nomads consistently beat the Nords to the puck in center ice and killed off several penalties to prevail 4-2.
Nordiques bested by Norsemen in 2-2 shootout
February 16, Stamford, CT: The Nordiques skated to a 2-2 tie against the Norsemen in a fast-paced contest featuring stunning saves by goalie Anthony. Although the Nordiques were ahead for the entire game, with 1:45 left and a faceoff in the Nordiques zone, the Norsemen pulled their goalie, which strategy paid off with a goal with 1:30 left to tie it up. Despite a near-breakaway by James Delorey with a few seconds left, the game ended in a 2-2 tie, but the Norsemen bested the Nordiques in the shootout to take the technical win.
Nordiques catch up to Lightspeed in 4-4 shootout
February 15, Stamford, CT: (No game report available.)
Nordiques 5, Norsemen 2
February 12, Stamford, CT: (No game report available.)
Nordiques 4, Nomads 2
February 8, Stamford, CT: (No game report available.)
Nordiques squelch Renegades in 3-3 shootout
January 17, Stamford, CT: The Nordiques came back from a 2-0 deficit in a thrilling second period to tie the game, then brought the score to 3-2 in the third; but a determined Renegades squad pulled their goalie with 1:30 left, and won 4 straight faceoffs to even the score with 30 seconds remaining. The subsequent shootout resulted in only a single puck in the net, but it was enough, as Jim Cook lifted the Nordiques to their first tiebreaker win of the season.
Nordiques stung 4-1
January 7, Stamford, CT: The Nordiques fell to the Sting 4-1 in a hard-fought match on Wednesday night at Stamford Twin Rinks. The Nordiques were outskated and consistently beaten to the puck by an energized Sting squad, let by a clearly out-of-tier player who scored 3 of the 4 Sting goals unassisted.
Rick Gioia commented, "Although the outcome wasn't the one we wanted, we all still gave it our best....We know we keep our team together win or lose, and that is what makes our team so great. We play to have fun and the wins come from the fun. I also want to commend Anthony on an excellent game last night. You stood on your head!"
Nordiques zip past Lightspeed 6-4
December 30, Stamford, CT: It was never really in doubt.
Despite the 4 goals scored overall by Lightspeed, the Nordiques convincingly took charge of the game, jumping to an early 2-goal lead and then easily outpacing Lightspeed. Perhaps lulled into overconfidence, after almost every goal the Nords slacked off and allowed Lightspeed to return the goal, but to no avail.
The final two minutes of the game were especially exciting, as the Nordiques incurred a penalty and Lightspeed pulled their goalie, to give them a 2-man advantage. The Nordiques killed the penalty and fended off the 2-man advantage successfully, and as the final seconds ticked away James Delorey had a breakaway on the open net -- only to be fouled by a Lightspeed. (As there were only fractions of a second left in regulation time the refs did not bother to call the penalty.)
In the post-game locker room, Joe Reilly gave each player a Christmas present: A Nordiques puck, and a grab-bag Nordiques gift (among the items: pins, bumper stickers, action figures). Joe, the entire team thanks you for your generous and thoughtful spirit!
Nordiques defeat Norsemen 3-2
December 14, Stamford, CT: (No game report available.)
Nordiques tie Nomads 2-2 but lose sudden death shootout
December 5, Stamford, CT: The Nordiques skated to a 2-2 tie against the Nomads in a fast-skating game on Friday night. The 5-goal shootout was also tied, so the tiebreaker moved to sudden death format, where the Nomads prevailed.
The Nordiques generally controlled the play and had many chances, but the Nomads were kept in the game by fine goaltending and good defensive play.
The Nords next take to the ice against the Norsemen on Dec. 14.
Nordiques storm Puck Bandits 4-1
November 23, Stamford, CT: The Nordiques crushed perennial rivals the Puck Bandits 4-1, in a game played almost completely in the Bandits' end.
The score might have been higher, but for the confusion engendered on the Nord's bench, as an unprecedented 14 forwards showed up for the game; a difficult to manage situation compounded by an early game start by the referee, and the late arrival of several forwards. Line change and line rotation misunderstandings led to three "Too many men on the ice" penalties against the hapless Nords -- surely a league record.
The bench situation will probably not recur, as the Nordiques will soon lose a few forwards for the season, as they fly north and south for winter careers.
Nordiques chase Renegades 4-0
November 16, Stamford, CT: The Nordiques routed the Renegades 4-0 in a game totally dominated by the Nords. Could this be their season after all?
Sting stung by Nordiques 8-5
November 9, Stamford, CT: Captain Rich Gioia said it best: "Way to put the hammer down in the third when necessary to close out the game. They stayed in the game for about 2 1/2 periods and then we broke it open. However, if not for their #3 the game would have been much more one sided. Let's just keep on rollin the way we are and take it to the Renegades this coming weekend."
Nordiques pin down Nomads 4-3
November 4, Stamford, CT: The Nordiques won a tight game against the Nomads, fresh from Tier 5. Down by a goal entering the 3rd period, the Nords battled back to score the tying and winning goal under tight pressure.
Nordiques shell Renegades 9-3 in season opener
October 25, Stamford, CT: The Nordiques blasted into their Winter 2009 season with a 9-3 victory over the Renegades. A full squad turned out for the opening game, which at one point was 6-0.
Newly elected captain Rich Gioia commented, "We had a very fine start to this season with a big win over the Renegades. I look forward to taking the ice with all of you again tonight against the new Tier 6 Nomads. For those of you who got to play against the original Nomads before they moved up to Tier 5 they are always a tough game, but if we play the way we did this game we will do just fine."
"nos bras meutris vous tendent le flambeau, a vous toujours de la porter bien haut..."