DOWNSVIEW PARK 3 on 3 TOURNAMENT
Posted by: Graciano Da Ponte on Thu Feb 10th 2011 2:43pm
To all the great fans of the Young Canadians, come support the split YC squad in it's quest to have one of them win Downsview Park's Annual 3 on 3 tournament, this Saturday, Feb. 12, 2011. The 2 teams were drafted by goalie Chris D'Ascanio & coach Graciano Da Ponte, who will be going in net for his team. Here's how they look:
The Hitmen (Team Chris)
The "EH" Team (Team Gratz)
Both teams will play their 1st game @ 9:30 am & their 2nd game @ 11:30 am. But the big match-up of the day will be at 1:00 pm, when the 2 teams will face each other. It will be teammate vs. teammate, friend vs. friend, brother vs. brother, coach vs. players, the cliches go on & on.
Don't miss what will surely be an epic battle!
Spring 2011: Devastating Injury to Captain
Posted by: Graciano Da Ponte on Tue Feb 08th 2011 11:15am
Long time Young Canadians Captain, Brian Da Ponte, has re-injured his knee during the team's 1st practise of the season. Da Ponte, who missed the last 6 games of the winter league including the playoffs when he first sprained his left MCL, was testing the knee during a 3-on-2 drill, when the unthinkable happened. As he attempted to poke the ball away from a forward, he stepped on the outstretched stick of Tony Pallotta and re-aggravated the previous injury. Da Ponte went down immediately, clutching his left leg. Coach & older brother, Graciano, could draw only one conclusion; that the team had lost it's leader for another extended period of time.
"I think he was equally in pain as well as frustrated at getting hurt again," said the Coach. "I talked to him after the practise and we both agreed that he will be sitting out the whole Spring season, in order to come back 100% healthy for the summer. The team came so close to making the All-Ontario's last year and I think this year we can get over the hump. But in order to do that, the team will need it's captain & inspirational leader."
Winter 2010/11: Quarter Finals - YC Lose in A Shootout!
Posted by: Graciano Da Ponte on Mon Jan 31st 2011 11:39am
The Young Canadians tied their series with the Red Devils, after winning game #2 of the 1/4 Finals by a score of 2-1. By virtue of the win, the game went into OT, but that solved nothing. In the end, the game needed a shootout to decide a winner and it was the Red Devils who prevailed 1-0.
In Game #1, it felt like Michael "Petro" Petruccelli vs. the Red Devils. His performance was overshadowed by a poor defensive effort by the other forwards. Back-checking was not in the playbook on this night, as all Devils' goals were scored from within 6 feet of the crease. The two defenders were left to handle the extra guy down low, themselves, which meant there was always a man open. The Devils capitalized by scoring 4 goals.
Two pivotal moments marked the demise of the YC in game #1. After going down 2-0, the YC scored on the PP when Petro's 1-timer from the point got past a screened Henry Santos. But on the next shift, the Devils scored to take a 3-1 lead, deflating the still celebrating YC bench.
The other moment was in the 2nd half, when the YC had a 5 on 3 advantage for almost 2:00 minutes. Instead of constant ball movement like the 1st PP, the YC did the opposite and just hung onto the ball, allowing the penalty killers and the goalie to establish their positions. The 2 man advantage resulted in several shots, but no goals. After that, it was obvious to most that the YC would not be mounting a come-back.
In game #2, Coach/goalie Graciano “Back to the Bench“ Da Ponte re-united the Verardi brothers, hoping to spark some offense, but once again, the YC started off sluggishly. Only 1:36 into the game, Devils’ Kim Robibeiro scored a weak goal through Da Ponte’s 5-hole. Considering the YC’s goal scoring troubles, that 1 goal might’ve been enough to send the Red Devils through to the next round. The YC needed to win the game to force OT, a tie wasn’t acceptable.
After 5:00 minutes, the YC slowly started to come to life, as the 3 lines got used to each other again. Their transition game was much better than it was in game #1, which led to several good chances and the forwards paid more attention to their defensive responsibilities. Halfway through the 1st half, Devils’ goalie Henry Santos, looked to have hurt himself after stretching to make a save. He was down for several minutes. Towards the end of the half, with the YC on the PP, Simon Khaouli was called for interference on Santos, despite him being outside of the crease. Once again, Santos spent a few minutes on the floor.
Early in the 2nd half, the YC would finally break out for a goal, when Angelo Verardi completed a pretty passing play from his brother Anthony & Michael. Soon after, Petruccelli got away from a defender, but was slashed across the legs, resulting in a 4:00 minute power play. The YC managed to keep the ball in the offensive zone for long stretches and were rewarded with a 2nd goal. Petruccelli finished off a play, from line mates Khaouli & Daniel Ascenzi.
From that point onward, the game tightened up, as both teams felt that another goal would seal one team’s fate. The Red Devils needing only a tie, played conservatively and counter-attacked, while the YC, not wanting to give up a tying goal, did the same. But it was Santos theatrics that stole the spotlight in the 2nd half, as he went down twice more, wasting about 4:00 minutes each time.
Despite a last second effort by Seymour Korman & Peter Vicente, the game would end 2-1. Overtime would solve nothing as both teams had chances but couldn’t beat either keeper. Onto the shootout, where Red Devils 2nd shooter, Matthew Coelho, would be the only player to score a goal, as the YC went 0-for-5. After his 5th & final save, Santos could be seen jumping for joy and getting tackled by his teammates, calling into question, whether he was ever really hurt in the 1st place.
The Young Canadians had a tremendous season defensively. But it was a lack of scoring that eventually led to their demise. Coach Da Ponte tried several different line combinations throughout the season, but none seemed to change the team’s fortunes. The YC will now have to move forward and hope their offense starts clicking in the Spring season. In the mean time, the team will look towards the Downsview Park 3 on 3 tournament on Saturday, February 12th, where they will be split in 2 and placed in the same division, eventually facing each other.
Winter 2010/11: Game #12 - YC Finish Season in 5th Place!
Posted by: Graciano Da Ponte on Mon Jan 24th 2011 10:36am
The Young Canadians finished their 3rd Winter campaign in 5th place and in the playoffs for the 1st time. Knocking off their rivals, the Wet Bandits, 3-2 in the final game of the regular season, the YC gained a small measure of revenge for the 2 losses from the summer season. The Wet Bandits, who already knew they were eliminated from the playoffs before the game started, gave the YC a tough game. David Menna scored the 1st goal on the PP, when he poked a loose ball at the side of the net, past goalie Graciano Da Ponte.
The YC would respond :09 seconds later when converted goalie, Chris "Steeltown" D'Ascanio, scored his 1st of the season, after coming back from a serious hand injury. It wasn't a pretty goal, but being a goalie, he knows how important it is to get a quick goal back. D'Ascanio was seen teasing best friend & captain Brian Da Ponte after the game. "I told him that after 8 games, he has no goals. I played in 3 and scored more than he did." To add insult to injury, Da Ponte's Jets lost to D'Ascanio's Steelers later that night.
The YC and their fans were happy to see Mike "The Wrestler" Verardi finally break out of his goal scoring slump. His 1st came when the score was tied 1-1 and both teams filling up the penalty box. It was 3-on-3, when Verardi managed to chase down a dump in for a breakaway. His 2nd goal was on the PP, as he finished off a nice passing play from Daniel "I'm On Top" Ascenzi & Adam "Little Bro" Casinelli.
The Bandits would get back within one, after Michael Parente put in his own rebound, while short-handed. Da Ponte had made the initial save, but left a juicy rebound which he couldn't stop. The YC would hang on the rest of the way, thanks in part to some amazing glove saves and a crucial pad save as time was running down. "All the guys were congratulating me on the great save at the end. I didn't know where the ball was, but they (Bandits) kept hacking my pad, so I just held it against the post until Defina came in and knocked their guy out of the way," said Da Ponte.
By virtue of their 5th place finish, the Young Canadians will now have the most difficult route to the finals. First they will face the hated Red Devils in the 1/4 Finals. If they manage to win that series, they will go on to meet the Toronto Tormentors in the Semi-Finals. Not an easy task, but one that Coach Da Ponte feels that his team can accomplish, as long as they find their scoring touch!
Winter 2010/11: Game #11 - Top Offense vs. Top Defense!
Posted by: Graciano Da Ponte on Mon Jan 17th 2011 10:47am
The Young Canadians stopped the Toronto Tormentors offensive juggernaut on Sunday, holding them to only 1 goal for. Unfortunately, the YC couldn't score a goal themselves, resulting in a 1-0 win for the Tormentors. The Tormentors average almost 6 goals for per game and just came off a 9-0 thumping of the Nordiques tha day before. The YC did a magnificent job holding off league leading scorer, TJ Stovell, who has 21 goals in 10 games. Most of the credit goes to goalie Graciano Da Ponte, who faced 21 shots and stymied the opposition for most of the game.
Tormentors goalie, John Maybury, also played a fantastic game and was deserving of 3rd star honours. With both goalies locked in a duel, the game appeared to be heading for a double-shutout, until Jason Sutcliffe managed to squeeze a shot past 2 screens & Da Ponte's glove. With 5:22 left in the game, the YC still had a chance to tie it, but despite pulling the goalie with 1:00 left, they could not get the goal they deserved.
Overall, the YC had a slight edge in game play in the 1st half, but it was the inconsistent penalty calls that did them in. After getting a rule clarification at half time, Da Ponte explained to his players that you can stand a player up if he has the ball, as long as you don't turn to move with him. Shortly after, Peter "The Veteran" Vicente, was called for interference for standing up a Tormentors' player. The ref explained that he had gotten his stick too high on the other player's body. The YC killed off that penalty, but it was a frustrating non-call that led to the Tormentors winning goal.
While forechecking in the offensive zone, Angelo "Tan-Man" Verardi, was interfered with while trying to retrieve the ball. Neither referee made the call and the Tormentors went down the floor, eventually scoring the GW. To say the refereeing had an impact on the game would be a huge understatement! The YC had been playing well until the penalty parade started.
The bottom line is that the YC played well enough to win this game, but just couldn't score. This is something the team is not used to. In previous seasons, the YC have not had any problem putting up great offensive numbers. This winter, the offense has dried up, but the defense has been stellar