CapJack Rangers vs. Delray Alpha
SERIES PREVIEW Sem-finals series between CapJack and Delray
GAME #1 CapJack 4 – Delray 2

Delray jumps out to a 2-0 lead after the first period behind goals from Ciccarelli and Plett. In the second period, CapJack gets a goal from Siltanen and then explodes for 3 goals in the third period from Tambellini, Siltanen, and Crowder to take game #1.

  CapJack takes game #1.  With CapJack leading 1-0 we head to game #2.
GAME #2 CapJack 2 – Delray 1

CapJack gets 2 goals in the 2nd period from Mulvey and Kotsopoulos before Delray finally answers with a goal in the third from Tardiff.

  CapJack wins the first two games of the series on the road.

MWOTHL Semi-Finals between CapJack and Delray – home ice was not kind to Delray for games 1 and 2 as the Rangers return to the Oval Garden up 2-0 and hosting games 3 and 4. Can the surprise continue or will the Alpha awaken or will home ice continue to be a curse……….

GAME #3 Delray starts the scoring 4 minutes into the game when Taylor makes a solid hit on Kotsopoulus to gain the puck. Acton gets the puck, gains the zone, and passes to Tardif who does a few moves and takes a shot and beats Dion glove side for his 6th goal and a 1-0 lead. Then the whole game changes….9 minutes in Tambellini gets sent off for Hooking giving the Alpha a power play. A couple of good Delray shots, but Dion responds and then the Rangers knock Hoganson off the puck, Lafluer to Shutt – odd-man rush to Lafluer, back to Shutt and he’s dragged down by Hoganson – PENALTY SHOT!! He brings it over the line, chooses the slap shot approach – and he misses the net! UGH!!!! And so things go. Lemelin wasn’t even touched on that penalty shot – however, he does face 25 shots that do get on net during the game – and STOPS THEM ALL!

And he got offensive support from Laidlaw (1) in the 1st, Action (6) in the 2nd and Acton (7) again in the 3rd on a power play. What had been stiff Rangers defense in games 1 and 2, fell apart on home ice. Alpha controlled everything but the faceoffs and the Alpha have kept the top Rangers scorers silent as they get back into the series now down just 2-1.
STARS (all Delray of course):
1. Lemelin 25 saves
2. Action 2 goals
3. Tardif 1 goal

GAME #4 Game 4 and the gloves come off – Literally!! 104 total Penalty minutes, 52 per team. But with all those PIM, there were only 4 power plays – 2 by each team. There were 4 coincidental roughing penalties called – and then the fighting penalties took over as the 2nd period waned. But as the 3rd period started – 49 seconds in, the big brouhaha erupted. But more on that later, because there was some hockey played during Sunday night at the fights!

Period 1 – Fresh off being blanked at home in game 3 – and stopped from scoring period, Trottier and Lafleur team up for the games 1st goal. After a quick Gretzky rush and set up, the Rangers get the puck into the Alpha end, Lafleur sends one cross the crease to Trottier who snaps one into the net for his 5th and a 1-0 Rangers leads. Good to score again!! However, it wasn’t going to a shut out. 9 minutes in, Gretzky works some magic, gets it to Laidlaw who makes a slapper that Ciccarelli (8) tips in to tie the game (for Gretzky it was assist #9). So 1-1 and back to square 1 and it’s about now that the chippiness begins to turn into roughness as Gainey and Russell depart for the games 1st roughing call. After the penalties expire – the Alpha gains the lead. Just less than 6 to go and Lafleur is checked off the puck, Maloney controls it in an odd-man rush, passes to Cicarelli, to Tardiff, he shoots, and he lights the lamp for goal 7 – assisted by Ciccarelli (9) and Maloney (3). And it’s 2-1 Delray and that’s how the period ends.

PERIOD 2 – As in period 1, the Rangers get going quickly with Trottier winning the faceoff – Lafleur slaps one, Trottier recovers it, Robinson gets it, to Trottier, to Cloutier, to Lafleur back to Cloutier and he shoots and scores (5) and that ties the game :34 seconds into period 2! Then Lowe and Trottier go off at 2:26 for roughing. While gone, Ciccarelli (9) scores his 2nd of the game and it’s 3-2 Delray. 3 minutes later Valentine (5) scores to tie it back up 3-3. Then Ciccarelli and DeBlois go off for roughing at 6:59. And then Vaive and Martin go off for roughing at 9:28. And no one scores during those events – but tempers are getting shorter and shorter. Fans have their fight cards at the ready! Then after a Dore penalty expires, the Alpha in control and changing lines gain the zone, Lyle shoots but Dion stones him, but the puck goes back to Hunter and he shots from a very weird angle and nabs the post – and it ricochets into the net for the go-ahead goal – his 4th – and Delray regains the lead 4-3. Then the temperature changes and while the Rangers are gaining control and setting up for a shot, Vaive jumps on Mulvey and a fight finally breaks out. The refs break it up quickly – no clear winner and they both go off for fighting. Lines are jumbled. Then with 2:40 to go, Plett is whistled for interference – a POWER PLAY! And the Rangers actually take advantage of it – it took most of the power play, but they get one in Crowder and Trottier set up Cloutier (6) for the goal, his 2nd of the game and it’s the last goal of the period (19:03) and the 2nd period ends with a 4-4 tie!

PERIOD 3 – 3rd straight period the Rangers score within the opening seconds – Trottier wins the draw, Cloutier carries the puck up ice into the zone, to Trottier – slap shot, goal (6) and 2nd of the game and the Rangers have the 5-4 lead! However, as the announcer states, there is heave tension on the ice. Gretzky wins the next faceoff, Alpha working it up ice, Lapointe hits Gretzky and Rangers gain control – Alpha not happy with the hit (figures, you hit the star and no one like it – put a skirt on him). Rangers with it in the neutral zone and Cicarelli goes after Lapointe – we have a fight. They’re down and separated – but wait, Hunter joins the fight, now Taylor and Acton joins in the melee – an awful lot of Delray guys jumping in here. Well, Kotsopuolos is a party to it as is Crowder and the BENCHES are clearing (uh-oh). Cloutier joins the brawl. Finally, calm (sort of) is restored and the penalties are being announced:
Cicarelli and Lapointe – 5 minutes fighting; Taylor, Hunter 5 minutes fighting; Kotsopoulos, Crowder, 5 minutes fighting; Acton, Cloutier 5 minutes fighting, GAME misconduct! That hurts. And this happened 43 seconds into the 3rd. Hockey returns, Trottier is removed from the circle and Merrick with the faceoff. To Maloney, to Radif, to Maloney, to Plett to Lowe and he rips it past Dion for his 3rd goal and ties the game 5-5! So 1:17 into the 3rd, we’ve had 2 goals and 50 minutes of penalties. And believe it or not – the tensions were still there and Delray coach told Wild Bill Plett to go get Valentine out of the game for a while and sure enough, 55 seconds later he goes after Valentine and they end up in a fight – again listed as a draw, but the Alpha gets Valentine off for 5 minutes along with Plett, so you tell me… GUESS WHAT – that was the last penalty of the game.

So – we actually get back to hockey with 18:43 to go and the score tied 5-5. Guess they figured it was time to get down to business. 5 1/2 minutes later the Rangers gain control and Shutt gets it to Russell, a slapper is misdirected, but Shutt regains it to MacMillan, to Mulvey to GOAL! Mulvey’s 5th and the Rangers regain the lead 6-5 with 13 to go. That’s when Delray shows why they are the better team. The final 12 minutes of the game is solidly under their control. They do not take a lot of shots, but they keep the Rangers from doing much of anything. And the shots they do take – well, they all seem to find the back of the net. At this point, they’ve already scored once and they end up with 6 total SOGs in the 3rd and 3 more of them will find a home. Hunter (5) with 10 and 1/2 to go ties the game. Then Tardif (8) scores his 2nd of the game with 8 to go and it’s 7-6 Delray. Then while putting on the clamp and dump, Lyle steals the puck with 2 to go, he sees Hunter up ahead, sends it to him and Hunter shots and puts it in the net for his 6th goal of the playoffs and a HAT TRICK!! And worse – it gives the Alpha an 8-6 lead. And they aren’t about to give that up and they win the game to even the series.
1. Hunter 3 goals
2. Ciccarelli 2 goals, 1 assist
3. Tardif 2 goals (and the GWG)
Acton and Cloutier ended up with 15 minutes each in penalties

  So, in a series where the home teams can’t win (pretty much the opposite of the first round) the series goes back to Delray with the Rangers hoping that trend continues. The momentum was certainly theirs in games 1/2 but shifted after the missed Penalty shot in game 3 – now to get it back.

In the first 4 games of the series, the visiting team has won every game, evening the series 2-2. CapJack travels to Delray for game 5 to see if that trend continues.

GAME #5 CapJack jumps out early scoring 1:53 into the game on a goal from Valentine which was assisted by Shutt and Lapointe. In the 2nd period, Delray came out with some energy and evened the game 2:02 into the period on a goal from Rota. With the crowd beginning to cheer they got a second goal 5 minutes later from Wayne Gretzky to put them up 2-1. CapJack was unfazed and managed to tie the score at 2 with a goal from Tambellini with 3:04 left in the period. Entering the final period tied at 2 Siltanen got a PP goal 8:45 into the period which ended up being the game-winner as Delray could not form a threat.

CapJack 3 – Delray 2

Star #1 – Tambellini
Star #2 – Valentine
Star #3 – Rota

  Well, the series continued to defy normal expectations as the visiting team has now won all 5 games. CapJack has a chance to end the series by breaking the streak in game 6.

Good old fashioned playoff hockey – tight defense, lots of checking and hits, but clean, minimal penalties, low scoring, and home-ice advantage! Well, let’s start with that last one. 5 games in and the underdog Rangers lead 3 games to 2. And there have been 3 games in Delray and 2 here at Madison Round Garden – and the ROAD TEAM has won all the games!! That could be good news for the Rangers since, if it goes 7 games, they will have 4 road games. But can that pattern actually last? ….

GAME #6 The Alpha skate on the Round Garden ice seeking to avoid elimination and hoping for the chance to change the home ice pattern in a game 7. Gretzky beats Trottier for the opening face-off and Ciccarelli gets it over the line to Green, to Maloney who slides it to the Great One and he gets it over to Ciccarelli who shots – score – the LAMP IS LIT (and it’s not the smoking lamp). 1-0 Delray 30 seconds into the game. Ciccarelli #10 from Gretzky (11) and Maloney (7). Whew – oddly enough, the fans were all at the seats as fast action has been the norm, but this is getting out of hand. Rangers seek to get this turned around and 2 minutes later Mulvey, Shutt, and Valentine are working it into the Alpha end when Valentine hurries the play and loses the puck – line changes, Risebrough slaps it into the Ranger end and then he and Micheletti work it to Hunter – shoots – SCORES! 2-0 Delray 3 minutes into the game – oh no! Hunter (7) from Micheletti (2) and Risebrough (1). I’m beginning to look for Vin Diesel as things are happening fast and furiously – a couple of minutes later Valentine and company get into the Alpha zone, Lapointe shoots – blocked by Green and Hunter works it up ice. To Risebrough, Russell breaks his stick, Alpha on seeks to take advantage of that. Green gets it to Risebrough, he goes inside, shoots, SCORES!!! 3-0 Delray, oh no double no!!! Risebrough (2) having a great start from Green (5). 5 1/2 minutes into the game and the home crowd is stunned, silent, and trying to figure out what to do! Well 15 seconds later, Lowe is whistled for roughing – ok, this should help! But no – the Alpha tighten down the house – NO SHOTS! We reach the halfway point in the 1st, Delray up 3-0 when the Rangers take it into the zone, and Sutter and Mulvey suddenly square off – FIGHT! – oh boy, Sutter is in trouble, Mulvey has him down and they are separated, clear winner. Penalties: Sutter 5 minutes fighting, Mulvey 5 minutes fighting – and for clearly winning the fight, he earns a GAME misconduct! WHAT???? Well, the Rangers bench seems to have a new outlook – at least something positive might come from the fight. And perhaps it does, 3 minutes later Dion controls the puck and leaves it for Siltanen and the Rangers change up. He and Robinson and Shutt work it up with Lafluer – back to Siltanen to Robinson (who is exerting his leadership) and he drives, shoots, GOAL!! And the Rangers are on the board, 3-1. Robinson (2) from Siltanen (7) and Lafleur (11). So the 1st period is drawing to a close, it’s settled down, but the Alpha still holds a 3-1 lead. Lemelin looking good, puck in the Delray end, Gretzky and Kotsopoulos get into it a bit and they are both sent to an early locker room trip for roughing, with less than a minute to go. Puck is dropped in the Alpha end, Trottier wins the draw, to Cloutier – he goes stick side, low – GOAL! 3-2 with just 20 seconds left. Cloutier (7), from Trottier (6) and Siltanen (8) And we have a new game as the 1st period finally ends with a 3-2 Delray lead, but the momentum (at least for now) has shifted the Rangers way…… Rangers peppered Lemelin with 13 shots in the 1st while Dion faced only 9 (1/3 of them going in.)

PERIOD 2 – Can it get more intense? YES!! HINT – neither starting goalie finished the 2nd period! 4 penalties are called – Maloney and Valentine for roughing 2 minutes into the period, then Lowe goes off right at the end of that coincidental penalty and 4 minutes later Rota will get called from roughing. Let’s look at the action:
We already looked at the early penalty situations and the Rangers could not take advantage of the Lowe penalty. It was beginning to look like playoff hockey but then toward the 7-minute mark the Alpha gain control and Taylor brings it into the zone, over to Laidlaw, passes back to Taylor, who flips it to Tardiff – he takes a shot – SCORE!! 4-2 Delray and the tide is shifting again. Tardiff (9) from Taylor (6) and Laidlaw (2). Then Delray wins the center face-off, but can’t get anything, and the Rangers gain control in their own end. Palmer brings it out to DeBlois and we have a delayed penalty – DeBlois still has it, he slaps it and Tambellini is able to redirect it and blam! GOAL!! Tambellini (3) from a great set up from DeBlois (4) and Siltanen (9) again!! Rota was the guy called on the delayed penalty. So we are back to a 1 goal game, 4-3 Delray. CapJack wins the center ice face-off and Cloutier quickly moves into the zone, to Lafleur – slap shot and he SCORES his 1st playoff goal this year-his 1st (he’s set up a BUNCH!). And we have a tie. Lafleur (1) from Cloutier (8). Delray bench is not happy with a tie and they gear up. Those last two CapJack goals were less than 30 seconds apart! So the Great One talks to his teammates and you can see the intensity. A couple of minutes later Alpha is working it in the Rangers end, Taylor shoots, Dion SAVE. Gretzky then wins the face-off with a kick. Right to Crossman, to Ciccarelli to Gretzky (uh-oh), he does some Wayne stuff, goes behind the net, the wraparound – the GOAL!! The alpha back on top 5-4! Gretzky (7) from Ciccarelli (11) and Micheletti (3). How much can we take? Apparently MORE! 4 1/2 minutes later, still 5-4, Rangers working the puck up ice, Trottier with it, he’s hit by Micheletti and turns it over. Micheletti has it, to Taylor to Crossman – slapper – SCORE!!!! 6-4 Delraywith 4:48 left in the wild 2nd. Crossman (2) from Acton (9) and Taylor (7). And Dion got a piece of it, but he looks shell shocked and leaves and Bouchard comes on. OK – down 6-4, the Rangers look to revive themselves – Bouchard might be the answer. 2 1/2 to go, and Dore makes a big hit on Acton, and the Rangers control it and change lines. Valentine has it to Robinson (again assuming some control) behind then net, to Shutt for the long breakout pass. He shoots it in, Valentine recovers it to Shutt back to Valentine, to Siltanen – fires the 200 mph slap shot and it just flew past Lemelin so fast he didn’t even have a chance to blink and it’s back to a 1 goal game, 6-5 Delray. For Siltanen it was goal 5 assisted by Valentine (6) and Shutt (7). And oh, no, another goalie change – Lemelin is leaving and Parro skates on and roughs up the crease. And with the 2 new goalies – no other scoring happens in the 2nd. 3 goals for each team and it’s still a 1 goal game, 6-5 Alpha heading to the 3rd.

PERIOD 3 – 1 minute in, Russell is called for roughing, Delray on the PP! Of course, the penalty was just a minor love tap, but it was on Gretzky, so what do you expect? But the Rangers totally dominate the penalty, killing it with even a Delray threat of a shot – in fact, the penalty winds down with Shutt making a crushing hit on Crossman and the Rangers end up with a 2 on 1 rush – Lafleur and Shutt – but when it’s back to Shutt, he get his skates ahead of his brain and trips and falls! Oh boy! So play continues. 5 minutes in and with the puck going end to end, but defense currently ruling. Sutter has the puck for Delray and there’s a big hit on Big Bird and the Rangers gain control. Lafleur brings it in, to Siltanen, over to Trottier, he looks but instead feeds a hard pass to Cloutier who slaps it right past Parro (he got to it, but couldn’t keep it out) and the Rangers SCORE and TIE the game, 6-6 with 14:32 left. Cloutier scores (8) from Trottier (7) and Siltanen (10) – his 4th assist of the game! But it was costly as Siltanen injures his ankle and is out! OK – tie game and now Delray wakes up – after shooting 9 SOG in both the 1st and 2nd period (netting 33%), they really go hard with 12 SOG in the 3rd. So far Bouchard has been able to stop everything and anything and the teams are still tied as we reach the final minute of regulation. The last-minute action see Valentine winning a faceoff in his own end. Rangers change lines and get the #1 group out there for the final minute – it would be nice score here, end this thing, break the home-ice jinx, and get a rest! Yeah, right! Trottier keeps control and fires it to Cloutier who works it to Lafleur – Rangers seem relaxed and on a mission. Lafleur to Russell – Russell? He comes from nowhere, and makes a surprising move, clears and fires the slapper – GOAL!!!!!!!! He rips it passed Parro who was still waiting for Russell to pass it to one of the big guns. For Russell, it was his 1st of the postseason and it was set up by Lafleur (12 – told you he had a bunch of helpers) and Cloutier (9). And now the Rangers have a lead, 7-5 with 57 seconds to play. Can it be?? Well, Tambellini sort of wins the face-off, kicking it out, but Delray gains the puck. Guess who comes on as the extra skater – WAYNE! A risky pass to Micheletti works, Vaive skates it into the attacking zone – Micheletti to Sutter to Gretzky – he winds, fires – Bouchard KNOCKS it down and freezes it. 40 seconds left, Tambellini wins the faceoff, to DeBlois but Hunter hits him and the Alpha has the puck. Risebrough, to Crossman, to Risebrough to…Gretzky. He dekes, he drives, Bouchard with a kick save – REBOUND IN FRONT – Gretzky has it, 19 seconds left … Rangers can’t get to the puck … Hunter to Crossman to WAYNE – winds up and fires again…DeBlois BLOCK its… 13 seconds left, puck at center ice, Delray has it, but they can’t get any more shots off, the horn sounds, the RANGERS WIN! RANGERS WIN! RANGERS WIN. Final 7-6, what a GAME!!
Lots of action and surprises and momentum swings. And Delray never gave up. Where did Bouchard come from? What a final 24 minutes he had stopping 15 shots and that final rush, wow! He was swamped by the Rangers as the horn sound – and first out was Dion!!

STARS: (all CAP)
1. Cloutier 2 goals, 2 assists
2. Siltanen 1 goal, 4 assists!!**
3. Lafleur 1 goal, 2 assists
SERIOUS HONORABLE MENTION (and the real star): Bouchard!

SERIES SUMMARY So, the home game jinx was finally broken and the Rangers win the series 4 games to 2. Amazing and strange series – the first 3 games where pretty normal postseason affairs. Then Delray and CapJack explode for 14 goals in game 4 but return to tight hockey in game 5. Then Delray found the secret to beating Dion and pummeled him with effective shots – and the Rangers responded by giving him a break – and by scoring themselves and a 13 goal finale with the winning goal in the last minute of regulation!

Congratulations to Chris on picking up Delray and taking them to the #1 seed in the Clarence Campbell division and the Stanley Cups semi-finals!!