Spring 2011: ¼ Final Game #2 – Young Canadians Win 1st Ever Playoff Series in OT!
Posted by: Graciano Da Ponte on Fri May 06th 2011 3:19pm
Spring 2011: ¼ Final Game #2 – Young Canadians Win 1st Ever Playoff Series in OT
After being shutout 2-0 by the Toronto Heat in game #1 of their Quarter-Final series, the Young Canadians rebounded with one of their best efforts of the season. With every line contributing a goal, it was a total team effort. The YC dominated most of the game, until penalties in the last 5:00 minutes allowed the Heat to make it close. But Daniel “Young Gun” Ascenzi’s empty-netter assured the teams would go into overtime. And in OT, the hero would be Simon “The Giant” Khaouli.
His breakaway goal came after Chris “McMaster” Defina, found him streaking down the opposite boards. Defina made the cross-floor pass and Khaouli chipped the ball past the defender, going in alone from the blueline. Heat goalie, Ryan Howard came out a little too far and was helpless to stop Khaouli’s deke to the stick side. The YC players all jumped over the boards in jubilation and swarmed their teammate as Khaouli, who desperately wanted to make an impact, made his customary leap into the glass.
After a team meeting before the game where he talked about the power play, coach Graciano “The Back-up” Da Ponte felt that the YC could take this game if the Heat got into penalty trouble. The game wasn’t even 2:00 minutes old when Michael “Petro” Petruccelli scored the 1st goal with a quick wrister that beat Howard. Then the inevitable power play opportunity came when Giuseppe “Pizza Joe” Colantonio was assessed 4:00 minutes for cross-checking. The YC completely dominated the power play and even though they didn’t score, they wore out the Heat penalty killers.
Mid-season free agent signing, Gino “Original YC” Gallo would get the much deserved PP goal after his one-timer went over the net, but Angelo “Canuck” Verardi retrieved the ball and put it back out in front for Gallo to tap in. At half time, the shots were 14 – 3 in favor of the YC.
Angelo capped off a frantic opening few minutes of the 2nd when he buried a 2-on-1 rush from his brother, Mike “8 Forwards” Verardi. From that point onward, the Heat tried to muster some offense, but were continually turned aside by D’Ascanio & his defensemen. It wasn’t until the YC went down two men that the Heat would get back in the game. Two tripping calls, one to Defina & the other to Paul “The Plumber” Bevilacqua and an interference call on Anthony “Tank” DiMarco, allowed the Heat to come within one goal, with :15 seconds left on the clock. But Gallo would win the ensuing face-off forward to Ascenzi, who took his time before scoring the empty-netter.
In OT, D’Ascanio made a few tough saves as the Heat started with some early pressure and the YC had trouble clearing the zone. After a blocked shot, Defina fought off the opposition to get into position to clear the ball. But instead, he spotted Khaouli on the other side of the floor. And the rest, as they say, is history.
The Young Canadians had never won a Men’s League playoff series that went into OT or a shootout. They did it, first by playing a complete game in regulation, never faltering, even when the Heat made a come back. And by steadying their nerves in OT. It would’ve been easy for fear to take over and for the players to squeeze their sticks too tight, leading to mistakes. But they held firm and now move on to face the surprising 7th place Beak in the semi-finals. The Beak upset the #2 seed, Red Devils 4pts – 0. The YC better not take the Beak lightly, like the Red Devils did, or they will find themselves out of the playoffs!
3 STEP PROCESS TO WINNING BALL HOCKEY GAMES
Posted by: Graciano Da Ponte on Mon Feb 28th 2011 12:54pm
I found this on another ball hockey website (http://www.redwingsballhockey.com/index.php?p=home). It's an interview with the former coach of the St. Mike's Ball Hockey program. I thought his approach to winning games is a good one. Read his answer to the question below:
Q: The Hawks say you have a 3 step process to win ball hockey games…explain?
A: PREPARATION, EXECUTION, CIRCUMSTANCE
PREPARATION: Always be prepared by practicing at a high tempo, prepare yourself pre-game both mentally and physically, get to arena early, with a businesslike approach, communicate with your teammates and be on the same page on how you want to attack the opponents that night.
EXECTUTION: Execute the game plan and stay focused throughout the game. All that matters is your teammates and your coaches and winning your individual battles on the floor against the opposition. Don’t waste your energy on the refs or getting off-track with the opposition taunts. Execute your strengths as much as you can in a 40 minute window and take the will out of the opposing team.
CIRCUMSTANCE: If you do the above two steps to the best of your ability, then circumstances will take care of themselves. A scoring chance will arrive and circumstance will determine whether the ball is in the back of the net or you hit the post or the goalie makes a great save. Take care of the first two steps, PREPARATION AND EXECUTION, and more often than not, CIRCUMSTANCES will go your way. If you don’t take care of the first two steps, your chances of winning reduce…
SAD DAY IN YOUNG CANADIANS HISTORY...
Posted by: Graciano Da Ponte on Tue Feb 22nd 2011 10:21am
It is with great sadness that I am reporting the departure of long time Young Canadian, Seymour Korman. He has been with the team since the Summer of 2008 (Juniors) and has played through 9 seasons. Seymour wrote me a passionate letter and has given me permission to post it on our site for all his teammates to read:
As much as it pains for me to tell you this, I have reached the point in my life where I can no longer be a Young Canadian. Ever since I started university, I knew that eventually, my workload and responsibilities would overcome any spare time that I had for my own enjoyment. Additionally, I have not been able to play at a standard which I had been used to for most of my career, including my first few seasons with the YC, when I had the availability to practice my game and exercise consistently.
Every person on the team is like a brother to me, not to mention an incredible hockey player, and I will definitely never forget them. My experience with the YC has been one of the most rewarding ones of my life, and I am absolutely certain that the team is going to achieve amazing accomplishments, and will win more championships than a trophy case can hold. I am sorry that my decision has come so suddenly, but it is one that I only realized I had to make the morning before our last game.
Once again, I apologize for my abrupt decision, and thank you for your understanding.
Good luck to the team,
On behalf of myself & the rest of the team, I wish you well on your journey and want you to know that you will always be a "Young Canadian" in our eyes.
Spring 2011: Game #11 - YC Come out Flat in 1st Half, But Verardi's are Back!
Posted by: Graciano Da Ponte on Mon Feb 14th 2011 1:22pm
The Young Canadians opened their 2011 Spring season with a 5-4 loss to the Screaming Eagles. The YC have been off for 2 weeks, since their devastating shootout loss in the winter season. Coach Graciano Da Ponte was back behind the bench, now that regular goalie Chris "Steeltown" D'Ascanio has recovered from a hand fracture that kept him out all winter. But D'Ascanio was showing signs of rust early on.
The Eagles scored 2 quick goals, 1:00 minute apart halfway through the 1st half, both on shots that D'Ascanio would normally stop. Anthony "Black Ops" Verardi got on the board for the YC, after Paul "Italian Stallion" Bevilacqua poked the ball from an Eagles' forward directly to Angelo "Marry Me" Verardi, who fed Anthony in the slot. Only :30 seconds later, the Eagles would regain the 2-goal lead.
While being pressured by a fore-checker, Anthony "Tower of Power" DiMarco got to the ball in the corner first and wrapped it around the boards on his forehand. Eagles' forward Jason Nebelung was waiting for it at the blueline & intercepted the clearing attempt. Walking in untouched, he blasted a slapshot past D'Ascanio. The YC defensive coverage broke down once again on the 4th Eagles goal. Ronny Peleg was left all alone at the side of the net to convert a 1-timer past D'Ascanio. Coach Da Ponte had seen enough and called a timeout.
"I told the guys that we are down by three goals because of a lazy attitude towards back-checking and defensive coverage. We were playing the same way we did in game #1 of the winter season, but in that game, we had missed the fall season. I don't know what excuse they had for being so sluggish today!" Indeed, several players on the bench were saying that the game wasn't over, even though it looked that way.
Well, true to their word, the YC came storming back. A. Verardi scored his 2nd of the game in similar fashion to the first. Working the ball with his 2 brothers, AV got open in the slot and let a shot go past Ron Grisbook. At half time, the score was now 4-2, but the YC felt that they had turned the tide. Less than 2:00 minutes into the half, Ang. Verardi scored the 3rd goal for the YC, with help from his brothers. The YC completed the comeback when Michael "1st Pick" Verardi scored a beautiful power play goal.
With 3:58 left on the clock, Da Ponte called a timeout to review the PP with his players. Despite taking some time to set up properly, the 5 man unit finally got the ball to A. Verardi at the top of the umbrella. AV was able to lure the 2 PK forwards towards him, leaving Chris "No Goals" Defina open on the left side. Defina walked in untouched but instead of shooting, passed the ball to Mike Verardi, who picked the top corner.
The YC had scratched & clawed their way back into the game, but disaster struck with :48 seconds left. The Eagles had dumped the ball deep into the YC zone, where Peter Zinner went to retrieve it. After deking Daniel "The Flash" Ascenzi, Zinner walked out and put a perfect shot over D'Ascanio's shoulder. Despite a face-off in the Eagles zone, the YC weren't able to get another shot on Grisbrook.
Even though the Young Canadians lost their first game of the Spring season, coach Da Ponte is not worried about his team. "So we don't go undefeated, big deal. Now we have to concentrate on what we did right and move on from there. The Verardi brothers appear to be back on track after a woeful winter season and that's important for us. We scored on the only power play opportunity we had because they executed the way I told them to. And Chris played extremely well in the 2nd half. We'll be alright," said a relaxed Da Ponte.
The Young Canadians next game will be against long time rivals, the Rebels on Sunday, February 20 @ 6:00 pm.
DOWNSVIEW PARK 3 on 3 POST-TOURNAMENT RESULTS
Posted by: Graciano Da Ponte on Mon Feb 14th 2011 11:02am
Congratulations to The "EH" Team for beating the The Hitmen in their head-to-head match-up and for finishing second in the group. Unfortunately, their goal differential wasn't good enough to qualify as a wildcard. The tournament ended up being won by Coach Da Ponte's former teammates.
As parents gathered around the outdoor fence to watch their loved one's face each other, both teams knew that the Orange Villains would most likely finish 1st & move on to the next round. Only a completely lop-sided victory by The "EH" Team would move them on goal difference and early on, it looked like it might happen.
The "EH" Team stormed out to a 4-1 lead on the strength of 2 Adam "I Love Marco" Casinelli goals. Goalie Chris "Terrible Towel" D'Ascanio, still reeling from a poor game #2 performance was being bombarded with shots from all corners. After a series of saves, his team finally got some momentum when Anthony "AV" Verardi & Peter "Young Love" Vicente brought the team back to within one. But the players goalie Graciano "Old Canadian" Da Ponte had been counting on to score when he selected them, came through with timely goals to take an insurmountable 8-3 lead. The Hitmen would chip away, but eventually lost 9-6.
"EH" Team Captain, Angelo "The Plumber" Verardi spoke with the referee before the game started. "I told him that we are all teammates and not too be strict when calling penalites. I wanted him to let us play, even if it got a little rough," said Verardi. And to the referees credit, he did exactly that. In fact, the only penalty, which resulted in a penalty shot, was assessed to Joe "PIMS" Giannotti for sitting on the ball in the crease.
Stepping up to take the shot for the Hitmen was big, bad Simon "The Giant" Khaouli. Khaouli, earlier in the week, spoke with Da Ponte & guaranteed to score on him. As Khaouli started on net, Da Ponte used his Jedi-mind trick to get Khaouli to shoot wide. The visibly upset Khaouli can watch the replay of his miss ad-nauseum, once Da Ponte edits the video footage.
The MVP of this game for The "EH" Team was Adam Casinelli & for the Hitmen, it was Anthony Verardi. The winners can now look forward to a nice dinner at the hands of the Hitmen, as was agreed to before the game. Hopefully, next year, Coach Da Ponte can find another goalie and a few more substitutes so he can enter 3 teams in the tournament.