Posted by: Graciano Da Ponte on Mon Aug 29th 2011 3:33pm
After winning the Summer Championship & starting the Fall season 1-0, the Young Canadians received some shocking news. Forward Simon Khaouli will be out for 2 months with a separated shoulder. Khaouli had finished the summer on a strong note and was looking to continue his good play into the fall season, but will now enter rehab and, hopefully, be back for the Winter session.
Summer 2011: Young Canadians are 2011 Summer Playoff Champions!
Posted by: Graciano Da Ponte on Mon Aug 22nd 2011 2:07pm
The Young Canadians have won their 2nd Playoff Championship in the team's short history. Facing the 1st place Sneaker Pimps in the finals, the YC would lose game #1 by a score of 2-1. Needing a win to force OT in game #2, they did just that, winning the game 3-1. OT solved nothing, so it was onto the dreaded shootout to decide a winner. After both Simon "The Beard" Khaouli & Gino "Original YC" Gallo scored on their 1st shots, YC goalie, Chris "Shootout King" D'Ascanio, shut the door while Mike "Clutch" Verardi scored the winner as the team's 3rd shooter.
Game #1: The Young Canadians found themselves up against a Sneaker Pimps team with several part-timers in the line-up. Although these players added skill to the Pimps' line-up, the game was still a tough, grinding battle. In total, 64:00 minutes of penalties were assessed, including three 10:00 minute misconducts & a game misconduct. Both teams scored once on the power play.
The Sneaker Pimps outshot the YC 17-14, which is not a common occurence, and held a 2-0 lead at half time. Daniel "The Flash" Ascenzi would bring the YC to within one goal, when he banged home a loose ball in the crease. But despite pulling the goalie for an extra attacker, the YC couldn't tie the game. The YC now needed to win game #2 outright, to force OT. A tie would not be good enough.
Game #2: The Young Canadians had their full line-up for the final game of the summer season & they needed it. The game was very intense, but relatively clean compared to game #1 of the series. This may be due in part to the Sneaker Pimps also having their proper line-up, with no part-timers. Both teams battled hard and the game remained 0-0 at half time.
The game's 1st goal was on the PP, when Chris "McMaster" Defina fed an open Hern "Portuguese Man-O-War" Azeredo on the point. Azeredo, who has possibly the hardest shot on the team, blasted a slap shot past a screened David Pighin. 6:00 minutes later, Azeredo put the YC up by 2. Carrying the ball through the neutral zone, he cut up the middle and was surprised to find the defenders allowing him space to continue. Azeredo snapped a quick wrist shot past a stunned Pighin.
With 3:25 left in the game, Marco "Slick Hair" Ariganello, was called for slashing. The Sneaker Pimps, sensing OT, had nothing to lose by pulling their goalie early to get a 6-on-4 advantage. But with 2:26 remaining, Mike V. stole the ball and scored an empty-netter. What followed, may be the strangest situation ever witnessed in YC history.
Knowing that Ariganello's penalty would carry over into OT, Coach Graciano "The Tactician" Da Ponte, pulled his own goalie with just under 2:00 minutes left in the game. Asked to explain his bizarre decision, Da Ponte said "We needed to score on our own net because I had to get rid of Marco's penalty. I did not want them to have a power play in overtime."
Once the Sneaker Pimps clued in, they put a player in front of the YC net to prevent the YC from scoring in THEIR OWN net! They also kept the ball in their own zone to prevent the YC from taking it all the way back to score. After a face-off win in the neutral zone, Peter "The Italian-Looking Pork Chop" Vicente passed the ball back to Azeredo who went top cheese on his own empty net. With everything settled in regulation, the game would now go into OT.
In 2010, the YC faced a similar situation vs. the Toros and lost. But this year, OT would settle nothing. The best chance came when Pimps' star player Stephen Parent hit the post with under :30 seconds to play. So it was onto the shootout. With the option to shoot 1st or last, Khaouli went 1st and made a nice deke to score. But Pimps' Gino Gallo also scored to keep things tied at 1-1. Then Michael "Neon" Petruccelli & Omar Khan missed respectively. On the 3rd shot Mike V. came running in and picked the glove side corner on Pighin. Jerry Mancini missed for the Pimps.
With a 2-1 lead, all the YC needed was 2 stops from D'Ascanio, which is what they got. After stopping the 5th shooter, the team rushed the floor to celebrate a difficult, but well deserved championship victory. This was the Young Canadians' 2nd League Championship in 2 years, but it will be the first time they will have their name engraved on the new YCBHL Champions Trophy.
Summer 2011: YC Advance to Finals for 2nd Year in A Row
Posted by: Graciano Da Ponte on Wed Aug 17th 2011 3:12pm
After winning their semi-final series against the Expendables, 3pts - 1pt, the Young Canadians have moved on to the finals for a second consecutive summer. This time, the YC will try to reverse the results from last year (an OT loss, when the series ended tied at 2pts). The YC advanced on the strength of their 6-0 thrashing of the Expendables in game #1. The Vicente-Defina-Ascenzi line exploded for 8 pts in that game. It was the first time the YC had beaten the Expendables this season. Despite being "given the game" as one Expendables player put it, the YC were expecting a much tougher test in game #2, and that's exactly what they got.
The Expendables held a 1-0 lead at half-time, mainly because the YC offense couldn't sustain any momentum. This was the result of much time spent killing penalties, including a 4:00 minute slash & a 5 on 3 disadvantage. Late in the half, Michael "Macho Man" Verardi tied the game on the power play, but the goal was called back because brother Angelo was deemed to have been in the crease.
The YC battled back in the 2nd half, with Rookie-of-the-Year candidate Damon "Vidal Sasoon" Cuccione, bulging the twine with a beautiful wrist shot. The score would remain tied at 1-1, until the Expendables scored what they thought was the winning goal. With 1:24 remaining and their goalie on the bench, Joe Hill's shot got through a bunch of screens and squeaked by the outstretched leg of goalie Chris "High Flyer" D'Ascanio.
With the Expendables leading 2-1 and not much time left on the clock, the YC fans felt their team heading towards the dreaded overtime. Coach Da Ponte called a timeout to organize his troops for the upcoming minute. As soon as they had control of the ball in the offensive zone, D'Ascanio would be pulled for the extra attacker.
At 1:10, despite some protest, D'Ascanio came out of the game. The Expendables managed to clear the zone twice, but the YC immediately gained the zone again and with :24 seconds left in the game, the miracle happened. Simon "Playoff Beard" Khaouli tipped in a Marco "Not Too Old" Ariganello point shot to tie the game. From the bench, it appeared Khaouli had kicked the ball in. But to his credit, he managed to stay out of the crease and get his stick in front of his foot to tip it in.
A final score of 2-2 would be all the the Young Canadians needed to move on. They will now face the Regular Season Champions, the Sneaker Pimps. Game #1 is on Wednesday, August 17 @ 8:30pm (Rinx).
Summer 2011: ¼ Final Game #2 - YC Advance to Semi-Finals
Posted by: Graciano Da Ponte on Mon Aug 08th 2011 1:43pm
The Young Canadians took a 3-1 lead into the final 3:00 minutes of the game but walked away with a 3-3 tie to eliminate the feisty Bulls. The YC were comfortably on their way to the next round, when penalty trouble & lackadaisical defensive zone coverage almost led to the upset. In the end, the YC were deserving of the series win & will now face the only team they haven't beaten all season, the #2 ranked Expendables, in the semi-finals.
Michael "Lethal Weapon" Petruccelli continued his hot scoring streak, scoring the 1st goal of the game. The lead would hold up until Duca Phangsoa scored his 1st of 3 goals, with 1:24 left in the 1st half. But Anthony "Freedom of the Seas" Verardi would restore the lead less than 1:00 minute later, after some good screen work in front of the net from brother Angelo "Royal Caribbean" Verardi. The Verardi brothers, along with Adam Casinelli & Anthony DiMarco, all returned from their one week vacation to give Coach Da Ponte a full line-up again.
Marco "Too Old for this Shit" Ariganello, was credited with scoring the YC's 3rd goal when both he & Simon "Party Time" Khaouli both jabbed at the loose ball in the crease. Both Joe "The Itallian Stallian" Guido & Petruccelli got the assists. Petro, who has always played centre, is now starting to rack up some assists to go with all his goals.
Despite the final flurry by the Bulls, they did have some earlier chances, due to the YC's lack of movement in the defensive zone. Too often, the coverage was slow to rotate, with the Bulls' forwards exploiting gaps & sneaking in behind the defensemen. In the end, the Bulls ran out of time and were eliminated.
The Young Canadians will now face the Expendables, who needed a shootout to beat the 7th place G-Way Monsters, in the semi-finals. Game #1 is on Thursday, August 11 @ 7:30pm (rinx).
Summer 2011: ¼ Final Game #1 – Young Canadians Win without Top Scorers!
Posted by: Graciano Da Ponte on Wed Aug 03rd 2011 2:12pm
The Young Canadians went into the 1st Quarter-Final game against the 6th place Bulls, without the services of their top line and 2 defensemen. As it turned out, they weren't needed. On the shoulders of a hat-trick by Michael "No Passes" Petruccelli, the YC routed the Bulls 6-2. The game was actually tied at 2 in the 2nd half before the "Petro" show began.
With the team finally grasping Coach Da Ponte's power play system, they finished 2 for 4 on the PP, with both Petruccelli & Simon "The Gentle Giant" Khaouli scoring. The YC penatly killers were also up to the task, holding the Bulls to 0 for 3 on their PP chances. Due to the short bench, Da Ponte moved forward Hern "Portuguese Man-of-War" Azeredo to his natural position on defense. Azeredo excelled on the back line, consistently moving the ball forward and running the PP. He finished with 3 assists.
The Bulls were able to keep the game close (they scored 1:00 minute into the 1st half). The score at half time was 1-1. Petruccelli made it 2-1 early in the 2nd with a dazzling, highlight reel, forehand/backhand deke. But the Bulls fought back to tie it, when Giuseppe "Pizza Joe" Colantonio snuck in behind the YC defenders to one-time a pass past a helpless Chris "7 Doughnuts" D'Ascanio. But less than a minute later, on the PP, Petruccelli put the YC up for good.
After Peter "Beer Pong" Vicente put the YC up by 2, the Bulls players seemed deflated and resorted to dirty tactics. Unfortunately, the referees were not penalizing the Bulls players for their infractions, which led to stickwork going uncalled. With :05 seconds left to play, Phil Colella cross-checked Petruccelli into the boards. Petro retaliated with a spear to Colella's stomach. In the post-game hand shake line, Colella repeatedly called the YC a dirty team, forgetting that it was he who initially cross-checked Petro.
In the end, the Young Canadians finished the game with only 9 players. Both Joe "The Goon" Giannotti & Chris "Ice Hockey" Defina got ejected for accumulating 6:00 minutes in penalties. Despite being short benched, the YC dominated the 2nd half and put on a good show for the few fans who did not go away on vacation. Now, the YC need only a tie in game #2 on Sunday, August 7 @ 10:00 pm (Rinx) to move on. But with all 5 players returning for game #2, they will be eager to contribute and get a win.