PRINCES OF WALES CONFERENCE SEMI-FINAL

CapJack RangersPittsburgh Spirit

CAPJACK vs. PITTSBURGH
  Capjack comes to town for the Semi-Finals. Lots of scoring in the forecast!
GAME #1 In a game where Schutt scores a HT and adds a helper as well as DeBlois scoring his first 2 of the playoffs with a helper, you’d think CapJack would have won handily… right?

CAP scores the first 2 by Schutt, but Pittsburgh goes on a 6 goal run to take the lead and despite giving up 3 more goals, managed to score 8 total to win Game 1 by a score of 8-5.

Exciting high scoring opening game! Let’s see what game 2 brings!

GAME #2 CapJack tries to tie up the series so they won’t go home down 2-0.

Maloney scores the only 1st period goal on the PP.

Trottier ties it up in the 2nd on the PP, but Pettersson (6) and Hart (2) make it 3-1 Spirit.

21 seconds into the 3rd the other Shutt (minus the C) scores his 6th to pull the Rangers within 1… but St. Croix shuts the door and Pittsburgh is up 2-0.

  Series can easily be tied at CapJack… that’s what we feel is gonna happen, but we’ll let the games be played to find out!
GAME #3 Stanley Cup Playoffs back in Madison Round Garden where the Rangers try to dig themselves out of the hole after dropping some heartbreakers in Pittsburgh to the Spirit. It’s a shame one of these teams will be eliminated, but Pittsburgh is sure going to try and end it before returning home.

Well after the 13 goal game 1 in Pittsburgh, the teams settled down to a mere 5 goal (3-2 Pittsburgh win) in game 2. What’s in store. Pittsburgh is going with Chico and the Man (any man, Lafleur, Sittler, Petterson, Greschner, heck it could be any or all of them). That’s a departure from the home games that featured St. Croix between the pipes for both games. Will the switch help, hurt or just give the same results? Rangers come back with Vachon…really…after he got shellacked in game 1(7 goales in 49 minutes – heck, no one was even sure if he’d show up).

But HE DID!! Boy, did he. And he had some serious help from his teammates – they probably were more worried that he did show up. How did the Rangers come through?
SOG – they held Pittsburgh to 22 (only 38 attempts)!
FaceOffs – Rangers won 64.2% – Really?? Yes
They outhit them (barely) and matched blocks.
But the real telling statistic was PIM – Rangers had 6 (for 2 Pittsburgh power plays – negates on both). But Pittsburgh has 24 penalty minutes, 6 Ranger advantages – they only converted on one, but that was basically more than a FULL PERIODs worth of Penalty minutes and a high powered offense playing with their hands tide.

OK – so what did CapJack do to go along with the stifling defense. Well, they did put up 36 shots – 19 in the 1st, 14 in the 2nd and then LET’S CLOSE RANKS in the 3rd and stop everything coming our way – and only 3 shots in the 3rd. Pittsburgh didn’t score in the 3rd, or the 1st. They did manage a goal with 1:58 left in the 2nd – Chouniard (2). But that goal made the score 3-1 CapJack.

Rangers put 2 in the nets midway through the 1st (30 seconds apart). The first came when the Rangers were pressuring in the Spirit end. Resch makes a save and freezes it. Bowness wins the faceoff – it goes to Cloutier to Schutt (with a C) on the point, to Siltanen to Schutt, a drive, a save, Chico can control it, and Siltanen is the man who comes away with it, over to Schutt, he shoots from a very bad angle – and he beats Resch stick side low. For Schutt – goal #7 and Siltanen gets assist #4.
DeBlois wins the next faceoff – Dudley and Mulvey work it for a shot, save, Dudley gets the rebound, to Barnes, back to Dudley – he shoots and scores his 4th of the playoffs and it’s 2-0 CapJack. All for period 1.
Period 2 starts and Maloney gets called for tripping 2 minutes in. Oh, he didn’t like the call, didn’t agree with the call and wouldn’t leave the ice. That cost him an extra 10 minutes for Misconduct. With 14 seconds left in the PP, the Rangers (who had been applying 2 tons of pressure) get one more chance and Cloutier puts in the net for his 4th. He picked a moment when traffic was oh, so heavy in front of Resch. Crowder and Schutt assisted.
As noted, the Spirit scored late in the period. It came after a CapJack offside, Pittsburgh wins the faceoff, Maloney and MacLeish put on a show and then it’s passed to Greschner who passes to Chouinard – slap shot – GOAL. High shot over the stick side and Vachon makes his only game 3 gaff.
And that was that. CAPJACK wins 3-1! There will be a return to Pittsburgh (will it be 2-2 or 3-1?).
STARS (all locals!)
1. Schutt 1 goal, 1 assist
2. Cloutier 1 goal
3. Dudley 1 goal
Chico did make 33 saves – a notable effort!

Rangers will not be eliminated during this trip to the Garden! They beat the Spirit and are now down 2 games to 1 – what will be instore for game 4…….?

GAME #4 Pittsburgh at CapJack – series stands a 2-1 Spirit – must game for Rangers … dat, da, daa

After the big win in game 3, the Rangers are looking for the equalizer and they quickly seek to set the tone. In goal for Pittsburgh – Chico and again, he’s looking for the man to complement him. St. Croix sits out another one after winning the 1st 2 games. For CapJack – Dan Bouchard – even though Roggie came through in game 3, Rangers sticking to their plan.

Opening Period – Rangers get on the board quickly as Larry Robinson scores his 1st of the playoffs in just under 2 minutes of the game. Trottier and Shutt (without the C) work it all over the place and then pass it to Robinson who fires away for the goal. Fans erupt, players erupt, acne erupts, Vesuvius erupts.
Then the Spirt ERUPTS – they score 3 unanswered goals. The first just a bit over 2 minutes later, the 2nd, a minute and a half later and then 14 minutes in, they make it 3-1. Fortunately, the Rangers get one with 30 seconds left so the 1st ends 3-2, could have been worse, way worse.
Quick recap. Patey gets his 1st goal (from Vickers and Greschner) at 4:07. Maloney then tallies his 5th – from MacLeish and Chouinard. Patey’s goal came on a deflection of Greschner’s slapper. Maloney earned a gift when MacLeish’s shot was stopped, but the rebound came right to him and he would have been immediately demoted if he missed it. Chouinard’s goal was a work of art as he took a pass from MacLeish, skated into the Ranger zone and then fires – after a fake of course – and he beats Bouchard stick side low. Rangers goal is scored by Gare (1) assisted by Trottier. Period 1 ends 3-2 Pittsburgh. All 1st period penalties were coincidental minors so no PPs.

2nd period sees two more set of coinky-dink minors as well as 2 Power Plays for CapJack and one for Pittsburgh – but they all are fruitless (for the offenses anyway). Rangers however, pummel away at Chico with 16 shots (to 8 for Pittsburgh) and finally with 40 seconds to go, Larry Robinson (2) again finds the back of the net to tie the game at 3-3. This time he’s set up by Bowness and Schutt (with a C).

So we move to the 3rd with a 3-3 knotted game – next goal will be big and minute and a half in that goal happens. Face-off in the Rangers end – Lafleur gets control, passes to Sittler – he wastes NO TIME and shoots – GOAL! It was a great shot and a big time goal and Pittsburgh is hanging on to 4-3 lead. Rangers keeping the pressure up looking for a chink in the Chico armor and it is found at the 8:42 mark. Lonsberry shots it in to the corner. Trottier digs it out, passes to Long, to back to Trottier to MacMillan and he shoots and scores – slap shot – his 1st of the playoffs. Resch is really looking over his equipment, he got a piece of it, but it went right through and into the net. TIE GAME – 4-4! Odd fact – 4 of the 8 goals to this point were 1st goals of the playoffs for the scorers!

11 minutes and 18 seconds left in regulation … tick…tick…tick… WHISTLE…. PENALTY! Lapointe is nailed (pun intended) for cross checking. Spirit on the PP! Time in the penalty winding down – the PP has been played well by both them. Huber checks Schutt (WAC – that’s “with a C”) and Spirit gain control. Play gets to Norwich at the point – slaps one – Gare blocks it – Vickers gets it, looks for anyone, sees no one and then he goes around behind the net and tries the wraparound – it works, GOAL – his 3rd, but more importantly it puts Pittsburgh back in the lead. Norwich and Hedberg get the helpers. Now it’s a battle of determination. Rangers are determined to get another, Pittsburgh to stop any other. Rangers pour on offense (14-7 in shots in the 3rd) buy the Spirit pour on the defense. They outhit the Rangers 21-14 for the game, especially so here in the 3rd. But CapJack still has something cooking up their sleeves and pull Bouchard for the final minute – doesn’t work, Chico and the Spirit stop everything else and hang on to win the big one, 5-4.
Only consolation (and it really isn’t one) is the Larry Robinson was given 1st star – I thought it was really Chico’s. He does get a notable with 37 saves – 60 in the last 2 games.
Star 2 – Chouinard 1 goal, 1 assist
Star 3 – Vickers 1 goal, 1 assist
Trottier gets most points – 3 assists and 15 winning faceoffs (out of 21), but he gets no Cigar.

  So – Rangers tried hard to square it, but fell a goal short tying it (AGAIN) in game 4 so Pittsburg goes home with a bit 3-1 lead. Got to win 1 in Pittsburgh NOW, so we can have a chance to ultimately win 2 there. No big deal, right?
GAME #5 The series goes back to Pittsburgh. It’s been a closer series than the 3-1 Pittsburgh lead would indicate. Here we go!

CapJack comes out firing and gets two from Siltanen (3) and DeBlois (3) to lead 2-0.

Pittsburgh capitalizes on a double minor against Trottier and scores twice with Pettersson (7) and Maloney (6) tying the game 2-2.

2nd period sees Pettersson score his 8th of the playoffs on another PP to make it 3-2. Chico Resch stops all 20 shots thrown at him in period 2.

3rd period Chouinard (4) tries to heat up (finally) as the Spirit go up 4-2!

Then the Rangers tell the rowdy Spirit crowd to SHUTT UP and then SCHUTT UP! As the both Shutt (7) and Schutt (8) score 3 plus minutes apart… tied 4-4 in the 3rd with 13:49 left to go!!

1:27 later, Pettersson (9) completes the Hat Trick to put the Spirit up 5-4!!

CapJack keeps pressing and pressing, but Chico stands on his head as the Spirit go on to win it 5-4 and advance to the Cup Finals for a 2nd straight season!!

CapJack outshot the Spirit 40-25, but 24 of the Spirit’s 25 shots were Scoring Chances and only 17 of the Rangers 40 shots were Scoring Chances.

Spirit 3-3 on the PP was the difference, really.

Congrats to CapJack on a great season and as exciting of a 4-1 series as you can get!

So who will we play? With Philly up 3-1, will it be an all Pennsylvania Cup Final??