Action heating up
With the first two weeks of town league hockey in the books, now’s the time to catch the action at Big Mine Ice Arena. The cobwebs are effectively swept away as players are getting to know each other and reacquaint themselves with the game.
And while you’re on your way to the rink, why not stop by the Last Steep and/or Mikey’s Pizza for a great quick meal?
I know I would.
In fact, Thursday night I did, grabbing a slice of Mikey’s Pizza before heading over to catch the Last Steep face Mikey’s Pizza in town league hockey.
The Last Steep and Mikey’s Pizza are two town league hockey mainstays that are annually on the cusp of town league greatness.
That’s Mikey’s Pizza and the Last Steep, two quality local restaurants that each sponsor hockey teams in the town league.
The Last Steep.
Mmmmm… so hungry.
At any rate, the Last Steep opened the game following the simplest of hockey strategies: dump and chase. It’s effective in many ways. It gets the puck into the offensive zone without the burden of tape-to-tape passing on breakouts given the fact that tape-to-tape passing is relatively elusive in town league when you’ve got a variety of player abilities on the same team for the first time.
Or, you can just have one of your better players carry the puck into the offensive zone on their own and score, which is exactly how the Steep got on the board first as Eamonn Donovan did just that. Mikey’s goalie Andrew Winogradow denied Donovan’s first shot but Donovan followed on the rebound to lift the puck with a backhand and beat Winogradow.
The Steep continued to pepper Winogradow with shots but he stood his ground to come up with a number of big saves.
Steep goalie Zach Vaughter was equally impressive. While not quite as busy as Winogradow he came up with a huge save to deny an open look at the net off a rebound.
Mikey’s surged for the final two minutes of the first period and continued to press to open the second period. The effort paid off two minutes into the second period when Paul Moscatelli broke loose during a penalty kill and made a one-handed rush on the Last Steep net. Winogradow came out to shut him down but Moscatelli carried his speed across the face of the goal to slip it behind Winogradow and tie the game 1-1.
Before Mikey’s could gain any momentum off the goal, the Last Steep struck back. Shaughn Zaleski pushed up the boards to take a pass in the corner and fed Nate Welch in the slot for the goal and a 2-1 Last Steep lead.
Two minutes later, Zaleski did all the work himself, flying through two Mikey’s players to beat Winogradow and give the Steep a 3-1 lead.
Bill Frame and Moscatelli looked to bring Mikey’s back into the game with a couple combinations, but shots flew wide and the Steep carried a 3-1 lead into the third.
Mikey’s failed to connect on back-to-back power plays to start off the third period but the effort was there and eventually came to fruition with three minutes left in the game. Tom Schaeffer won a face-off in the Steep’s defensive zone and dropped the puck to Chuck Harmer. Harmer settled the pass and drove a low hard shot through traffic. James Allo crashed the net to tip the puck past Vaughter, pulling Mikey’s back to within one with plenty of game left.
Penalties ultimately handcuffed Mikey’s from finishing the comeback and the Steep sealed the 3-2 win.