SPRING 2010: GAME #10 â€“ YOUNG CANADIANS END SEASON WITH A TIE!
Posted by: Graciano Da Ponte on Tue Apr 20th 2010 10:39am
With a playoff spot locked up several weeks ago, the YC have been playing like a team with no urgency. This has led to them starting out sluggishly in the 1st half of the past few games. This game was no different, as the Green Team came out knowing that a win or a tie would get them into the playoffs. The game was delayed for almost 6:00 minutes as the Green Team playersâ€™ awaited word on the final of the Blazers vs. Wet Bandits game. Once they found out the Bandits lost, they knew an opportunity to qualify for the playoffs had presented itself. Knowing that even a tie would get them into the post-season, they came out with purpose.
The fact that the game started late was a benefit to the Green Team as it cut down the YCâ€™s chances of coming back. The first goal was scored by Jordan Ulcar at 1:52 of the 1st half, when he snuck in behind the two defenders and received a pass, while staying onside, to break-in on Chris â€œThe Scorerâ€ Dâ€™Ascanio. The Green Team had scored the all important first goal and they followed it up with another at 11:18 of the 2nd half, by Nick Parente. Coach Graciano â€œSuper-Subâ€ Da Ponte was not happy with the demeanor of his team on the bench. Even though a playoff spot was assured many games ago, Da Ponte wanted his team to go into the post-season on a high note and losing to the Green Team definitely would NOT have been a high note.
It wasnâ€™t until Mario â€œThe Legacyâ€ Frassinelli arrived, that Da Ponte was able to shake up his lines. Whatever he did worked, because the YC scored two quick goals to tie the game. At 9:45, part-timer Daniel â€œRiotâ€ Marchione scored his 1st franchise goal, when he received a pass in the slot from Daniel â€œLate Arrivalâ€ Ascenzi. Marchione finally beat goalie Damian Briccardi over the glove, who had stymied the YC shooters up to that point. Particularly frustrated was Simon â€œGetting Marriedâ€ Khaouli, who had several chances to score but couldnâ€™t get one by Briccardi. In one play, Khaouli deked three players, only to have the ball roll off his stick as he was about to put it in.
The tying goal was scored by assistant captain, Angelo â€œShort Shiftâ€ Verardi, in similar fashion to the first. Brother, Michael â€œ8 Forwardsâ€ Verardi, found Angelo in the slot and he beat Briccardi over the glove again. Dâ€™Ascanio, who was back in between the pipes after a two game layoff, didnâ€™t show any rust as he shut the door after the tying goal.
Despite a slow start, the Young Canadians were able to come back and tie the Green Team. But that one point was enough to get the Green Team into the playoffs, as the Wet Bandits lost their game 3-2. The YC finished in 3rd place, setting up a 1st round match-up with long time rivals, the Super Smash Bros. This will be the 3rd time these two teams have met in the playoffs, with the SSB holding a 2-0 edge. Game #1 is on Sunday, April 25 @ 8:00 pm (Clatworthy Arena). In order for the YC to move on, they have to get over any mental blocks that are affecting them. Hopefully, coach Da Ponte has the tonic needed to get his team over the SSB hump!
SPRING 2010: GAME #9 â€“ YOUNG CANADIANS REBOUND FROM BAD LOSS!
Posted by: Graciano Da Ponte on Mon Apr 19th 2010 3:54pm
Coach Graciano â€œIâ€™m Backâ€ Da Ponte, went back between the pipes for his 2nd consecutive start and despite allowing an early power play goal, went on to make 14 saves for his 2nd win of the season. Once again, the YC came out sluggish in the 1st half. 3:00 minutes into the game, Captain Brian â€œDa Bridgeâ€ Da Ponte brought the ball out of his zone a little too comfortably, losing it to the fore-checker, then taking a hooking penalty. Jimmy Sgourakis beat Da Ponte on the ensuing power play with a screened point shot. After that goal, Da Ponte settled down and was unbeatable the rest of the way.
The Blazers were hanging onto a slim 1-0 lead at half time, but it would not last long. With Joe â€œPIMâ€ Giannotti & Ted Kellesis both in the box for roughing, the stage was set for long time YC goalie, Chris â€œWho Do I Hugâ€ Dâ€™Ascanio to score his first ever goal as a player. With some good work in the corner by Seymour â€œHappy Feetâ€ Korman, the ball came out to (Brian) Da Ponte, whose low shot was expertly tipped in past John Romas, by Dâ€™Ascanio. â€œWow, what a feeling. The guys kept teasing me about playing as a forward and not being able to score. Now I have more goals than several players on the team,â€ said a jubilant Dâ€™Ascanio. In fact, he was so happy to have scored, that he came straight off the floor to meet with reporters, instead of waiting until the post-game press conference.
That goal seemed to inspire his teammates, as the flood gates opened up. Andrew â€œI Need A Rideâ€ Ariganello, scored on a late change, when he received a beautiful pass from Korman. He beat Romas over the glove. At 6:09, Daniel â€œGo Avs Goâ€ Asecnzi, scored on the power play when he tapped in a rebound from Giannottiâ€™s point shot. Holding on to a tenuous 3-1 lead, the YC defense would be decimated as Da Ponte, then Giannoti would be kicked out of the game for what could only be described as marginal calls. Neither one was the instigator in their scuffle, but both received the harshest of decisions. With 1:07 to go in the game, another defenseman, Anthony â€œPhaneufâ€ DiMarco, was called for roughing, giving the Blazers a golden opportunity to get back in the game. With their goalie pulled for an extra attacker, the Blazers poured on the pressure, getting the majority of their seven 2nd half shots in that 1:00 minute span. But Da Ponte shut the door and Anthony â€œAVâ€ Verardi ended up scoring an empty-netter to secure the victory.
The Young Canadians still have not locked up their position in the standings. They can finish anywhere from 1st to 4th. Coach Da Ponte will be stepping back behind the bench for their next game on Sunday, April 18 @ 5:00 pm (Rinx) vs. the last place Green Team. The Green Team was dealt a serious blow to their playoff chances when they lost 3-0 to the SSB. But they are not eliminated yet. Even a tie against the YC will give them a chance to qualify.
SPRING 2010: GAME #8 â€“ YOUNG CANADIANS LOSE BIG WITH COACH IN NET!
Posted by: Graciano Da Ponte on Thu Apr 15th 2010 11:11am
Coach Graciano â€œSwiss Cheeseâ€ Da Ponte lost his 1st game in over a year of subbing for the Young Canadians, 5-1 to the Gladiators. It was an overall bad team performance, but the coachâ€™s play in net left many wondering why he went in net in the first place. With a playoff spot clinched several games ago, Da Ponte needed to play a minimum of 3 games to be eligible for the post-season. Regular starter, Chris â€œNo Carolinaâ€ Dâ€™Ascanio, will be absent during the 1st round of the playoffs. Da Ponte admitted after the game that he was, perhaps, a little too overconfident. â€œMy attitude is that I will win every game that I play. Even when we were down 3-0, I still felt that weâ€™d win the game. Of course, that wouldâ€™ve required me to make some saves! I appreciate Daniel (Ascenzi) trying to cheer me up in the dressing room, but I know I played a bad game, the players know I played a bad game, the fans know I played a bad game, even my 6 month-old daughter knows I played a bad game.â€
The Gladiatorsâ€™ scoring started on a delayed penalty to Daniel â€œAshâ€ Ascenzi, when no one picked up Stefano Abbaglivo in the slot and he one-timed a shot past Da Ponte. Somehow the slow motion shot found a tiny hole between Da Ponteâ€™s glove & pad. The 2nd goal was also a weak backhand that floated over Da Ponteâ€™s shoulder. 4:00 minutes later, Abbaglivo scored his 2nd of the game, when Da Ponte failed to cover the ball during a scramble in the crease. The Gladiatorsâ€™ goalie situation was the complete opposite of the YCâ€™s. Carlo Bernardo stood on his head several times, making incredible saves in close. Simon â€œMiami Viceâ€ Khaouli was snake-bitten on this night as Bernardo had his number.
In the 2nd half, the YC continued to press forward, but were stymied by the great goaltending of Bernardo. Khaouli found himself with an open net, but was stopped by Bernardo as he fell onto the floor to block the shot. Dâ€™Ascanio, who has yet to score as a player, had his best chance blocked by a Gladiatorsâ€™ stick. Abbaglivo would end the YCâ€™s hopes, with his 3rd of the game that beat Da Ponte low glove side. The YC managed to break the shutout, when Ascenzi scored his 4th of the season, but it was too little too late. Russel Behrns finished the scoring with 3:30 minutes left to play.
This was easily the Young Canadiansâ€™ worst game of the season. For a team that had become accustomed to winning, this loss brings them back down to reality. A reality that included coach Da Ponteâ€™s bruised ego. He will get a shot to redeem himself before the playoffs start, when he steps back in between the pipes this Saturday, April 17 @ 6:00 pm vs. the Blazers 2 (Rinx).
SPRING 2010: GAME #7 â€“ YOUNG CANADIANS STILL CANâ€™T BEAT OLD RIVALS!
Posted by: Graciano Da Ponte on Mon Apr 05th 2010 2:12pm
The Young Canadians faced their old rivals, the Super Smash Bros., for the ninth time in the last year and still find themselves without a victory. Although they did well to comeback from a 4-1 first half deficit to finish the game 5-5, coach Graciano Da Ponte still canâ€™t understand why his young team canâ€™t put together a full 30:00 minute effort against the SSB. They had as good an opportunity as ever, when it was discovered that Alessio Sblendorio was strapping on the pads in relief of regular goalie Renzo Baldassi. But despite knowing there was a player in net, the YC only mustered 6 shots on Sblendorio in the 1st half.
The SSB built their 1st half lead on the back of 4 power play goals. The parade to the penalty box started at 11:21 of the half and continued with 3 more consecutive penalties at 5:52, 5:33 & 4:03. The SSB took full advantage of what they were given by referee Sal Pupo, who made all the calls. After the 3rd goal, coach Da Ponte used his timeout to settle his frazzled team. The YC responded with a goal by leading scorer Anthony â€œLegend Killerâ€ Verardi, who finished off a perfectly executed 3-on-1. Unfortunately, any momentum gained was lost 2:00 minutes later, when the SSB scored their 4th power play goal.
At half time, a visibly upset Brian â€œMini Bladesâ€ Da Ponte, was yelling at his mates, hoping to stir some emotions. Their big break came at 8:05 of the 2nd half, when Mike Morra was given a 4:00 minute slashing penalty. At the urging of Anthony â€œTankâ€ DiMarco, coach Da Ponte decided to use him as a screener in front of the net. The move paid off immediately as Sblendorio never saw Marco â€œBackstreet Boyâ€ Ariganelloâ€™s point shot go by him. With the YC still on the power play, Peter â€œThunderboltâ€ Vicente, out hustled an SSB defender to the ball and placed a perfect shot over Sblendorioâ€™s shoulder. But once again, the SSB would halt the YC comeback with a quick goal :20 seconds later. Daniel Tombolillo was left all alone in the slot and released a quick 1-timer that Dâ€™Ascanio had no chance to see.
The YC showed their resolve, when :16 seconds after the SSB took a 2 goal lead, Mike â€œ11th Placeâ€ Verardi pulled the YC back to within one. The YC continued with the pressure, knowing that Sblendorio was getting tired and it resulted in a too many men penalty being assessed to the SSB, with 2:29 left to play. Despite numerous chances to score, it wasnâ€™t until the penalty was about to expire & Dâ€™Ascanio on the bench, that A. Verardi scored his 2nd goal of the game to salvage a tie. Once again, it was DiMarcoâ€™s screen in front that allowed Verardiâ€™s shot to get through unseen.
This match-up was the definition of a game of two halves. Both teams played a good half and a bad half. The Verardi brothers, Anthony & Michael, came up big for the YC, while ringers Mike Morra, Geremy Capone & Daniel Tombolillo combined for 3 goals & 7 assists for the SSB. The Young Canadians showed great character by not giving up and coming back from a 3-goal deficit. They will need to keep this momentum going if they want to finish in 1st place. Their next game will be vs. the Gladiators on Sunday, April 11 @ 10:00 pm. Coach Da Ponte will once again be going in between the pipes for his 2nd start of the season.
SPRING 2010: GAME #5 â€“ YOUNG CANADIANS IN SOLE POSSESSION OF FIRST PLACE!
Posted by: Graciano Da Ponte on Tue Mar 23rd 2010 2:39pm
The Young Canadians have taken over sole possession of 1st place after beating the Alliance in a close game, 3-2. The Alliance were riding a 22 game unbeaten streak heading into their showdown, but the YC came out firing on all cylinders and once again played an excellent defensive game. The special teams, which havenâ€™t been very special, also came up big, scoring 2 power play goals including the game-winner.
The YC broke the ice at 9:47 of the 1st half when Daniel â€œChippendaleâ€ Ascenzi swatted in the rebound from a Brian â€œDavidâ€ Da Ponte point shot. The Alliance would tie the game after referee Joe Lopes called a too many men penalty, even though the YC only had 4 players on the floor. Even the other referee made a 4 finger gesture to his partner, to no avail. Jason Cigan scored :22 seconds after the penalty had started. Perhaps the YC still had their minds on the bad call because Cigan scored again :16 seconds later. Coach Graciano â€œJib-Jabâ€ Da Ponte called a timeout to settle his troops down. â€œI needed them to refocus and get their minds off of the bad call. I told them to get back to what was working earlier in the half, dump the ball in and forecheck.â€
The YC would get their chance when back-to-back tripping & roughing calls gave them a 5-on-3 power play. Adam â€œTake Heedâ€ Casinelli, pinched into the slot and 1-timed a rebound past Alliance goalie, Chris Lioulios. Normally, coach Da Ponte doesnâ€™t like his defenseman to drop so low into the offensive zone, but with all the extra space, Casinelli made the right decision and scored his 2nd of the season. With the game tied 2-2 at half time, both teams would be looking for the big break that could decide the winner.
That moment came at 14:06 of the 2nd, when Dominic Gaudino was called for body checking Angelo â€œSpeedyâ€ Verardi. The suddenly hot YC power play moved the ball up the floor quickly. Andrew â€œNo Freedomâ€ Ariganello made a pass to his uncle, Marco â€œNew Socksâ€ Ariganello, who 1-timed it past Lioulios. The Alliance came on more aggressively after that goal, trying to tie the game, but YC goalie, Chris â€œHockey Poolâ€ Dâ€™Ascanio shut the door earning 3rd star honors.
The Young Canadians are off to their best start in franchise history. The team is clicking and everyone is producing, but they will face a stiff test next Sunday, March 28 @ 9:00 pm (Rinx) vs. the Rebels. The Rebels are know as a dirty team and will often resort to violent tactics when things donâ€™t go their way. For the YC to finish on top of the division, they will have to beat their rivals, something they havenâ€™t done in several games.