Brick Oven to face Last Steep in town finals

Advances with win over Mikey’s Pizza

Mikey’s Pizza systematically imploded in the post-season, ultimately meeting their fate as the Brick Oven eliminated them from the playoffs Tuesday night at Big Mine Ice Arena.

They came into the playoffs the top team in town league, finishing with a record of 7-1, winning their last five games in a row.
But the wheels fell off the Mikey’s Pizza train last week as they fell to the Last Steep and were dropped to the loser’s bracket to face the Brick Oven. Things got worse for Mikey’s Pizza as they were forced to play the rest of the post-season without their star player, Chris Tanis.
The Brick Oven, meanwhile, was on the opposite side of the spectrum. After falling into the loser’s bracket early in the post-season they battled to stay alive, receiving some divine intervention when the Preacher, Tim Clark, heard the call while sailing the high seas and returned to port to make it to Crested Butte in time for the remainder of the playoffs.
Tuesday night the two met in the finals of the loser’s bracket with the winner advancing to face the Last Steep in the championship game Thursday night, and the loser hanging up their skates for the season.
It was painfully obvious early in the game that Mikey’s Pizza was at a loss without Tanis, who anchors the defense and can rattle off three goals pretty much at will.
Charles Gano did his best to rally the Tanisless team in the first period with a handful of random one-man rushes, but the Brick Oven defense is far too organized and disciplined to play “chase the puck.”
Gano managed to break free to fire off a shot but the puck sailed wide and Pete Cook grabbed it off the boards to skate the length of the ice and beat Mikey’s goalie Mike Preston with a quick flick of the wrist.
Two minutes later Mikey’s Pizza was on a power play looking for the equalizer, only to have it backfire as Brick Oven player Bill Frame broke loose up-ice and stuffed the puck near-post for a 2-0 Brick Oven lead heading into the second period.
Brick Oven player/coach Ben Preston shared some sage words with the squad during the break focusing the team on the basics.
“Keep both hands on the stick and play good hockey,” said Preston.
Though simple in its message, the words were no less effective and made all the difference in the second period as the Mikey’s team fell into utter chaos.
Players were getting tossed off the ice for penalties and game misconducts while the Brick Oven just kept their mouths shut and played good puck.
Frame buried his second goal of the game off a pass from Preston to give the Brick Oven a 3-0 lead four minutes into the second period.
Two minutes later, Clark shook off his sea legs to beat two players and fire a shot far-post for a 4-0 Brick Oven lead heading into the third period.
The Brick Oven rested on their four-goal lead in the final period, happy to skate with the puck and fire off the occasional shot.
Mike Preston stayed focused in net for Mikey’s Pizza with several big saves but the damage was already done.
Travis Berglund ruined Brick goalie Jay Harris’ bid for a shutout, scoring with 25 seconds left in the game—but the game was history at that point.
The Brick Oven and Last Steep face off Thursday, February 25 at 7 p.m. at Big Mine Ice Arena for the 2010 town league hockey title game. If the Brick wins the first game, the two will turn around and play again at 8:45 p.m.

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