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Spring 2003 Playoff Recaps

Storm Front Hits Promise Land! - June 24, 2003
Storm stymie Klash 4-3 to capture their first Long Island Cup title in a 'Game 7' command performance

In a match equal to the stage, ripe with intensity and drama, the Storm rallied from a two goal deficit with a forceful performance to claim the Spring C League title. The game was the third one-goal thriller between the teams in the last month. In the prior two meetings, the Klash spotted the Storm a two-goal lead before recovering to win. Tonight, however, was the climatic game between the two and it was the Storm that fought back. The Storm rally came fast, it came furious. With four goals in the final 8 1/2 minutes of the second period the Storm erased a two goal hole and emerged with a decisive one goal advantage. C League MVP, Brian McAleer, led the assault with two goals and an assist. McAleer's will and determination disrupted a rattled Klash squad who committed two costly penalties during the onslaught. Both penalties led to Storm goals, none more crushing than the fourth and final goal. As the second period was ticking down, McAleer fought off two Klash defenders deep in the right corner to break free with the biscuit and scored a wrap-around goal at the second period buzzer. At the time, there was no hint that McAleer's stunning second goal would be the gamewinner. The Storm had peppered 27 shots upon Klash goalie Ruben Santana with the stellar Santana equal to much of what the Storm rained on him. The Klash, while lacking for shots, had again heavily pressured the Storm's zone. In their previous two wins against the Storm, this pressure ultimately lead to a third period comeback. But tonight, there would be no such comeback. The Storm's defense, led by captain Alex Pitsironis, submitted a masterful period as they disrupted many Klash breakouts and controlled the neutral zone. For most of the period, the Klash could not get behind the defense and ultimately could not muster the elusive, tying goal.

Sweet Glory! - June 22, 2003
PLT extinguish Bethpage FD 4-2 to capture first Long Island Cup crown, Klash battle back, weather Storm 5-4 to force decisive final game

With sudden conviction, PLT took hold of their playoff destiny and unleased a final burst that erased a third period deficit to seize their first Long Island Cup championship with a 4-2 defeat of the Bethpage FD. PLT trailed 2-1 midway through the third before E League MVP, Joe Cimino, essentially took the game over. Without scoring a goal, Cimino, whose spirited play earmarked the earlier PLT wins, rallied his game, and his team, just as it appeared that Bethpage FD would force a final game. Cimino forechecked and backchecked with ferocity and at 8:16 of the third his hard work paid dividends. He willed himself through heavy traffic into the slot while drawing several Bethpage defenders and enabled Evan Boris to 'pick up the trash' after Cimino created a shot. Cimino continued his indefatigable hustle and five minutes later Bethpage again could not contain him. From a body laden slot, Cimino emerged with the biscuit ans set up defenseman Damian Ercole, who stepped in from the point unattended. Ercole picked top corner, glove-side for the go-ahead goal. During the final frantic minutes, Bethpage managed several scoring chances against PLT goalie Vin Winsky, but Winsky would not wilt under the pressure. Ercole later iced the game, and PLT's first LI Cup title, with an emptynetter.

Refusing to go according to form, the Klash forced the first and only extra 'Game 7' of the Spring 2003 playoffs with a last minute 5-4 win over the Storm. This thriller was close throughout. As is their want, the Klash again surrendered several early goals when the Storm skated hard from the initial drop and scored twice in the first five minutes. If not for the goaltending heroics of Klash goalie Ruben Santana, the Storm would have broken open the game. The Klash, however, steadied and began their climb back with a corner goal from Jim Moore at 3:51 of the first. After the Klash tied the match just 90 seconds into the second, the Storm retook the lead with a prolonged, well-executed powerplay effort ended by Alex Pitsironis' blueline blast that beat a screened Santana shortside. At this point, the Klash intensified their forecheck and closed the period with two well-earned tallies to take a 4-3 lead heading into the third. Much of the play in the third was carried by the Storm as they feverishly sought the tying goal. Santana made several clutch stops to stem much of the Storm attack but, at 2:28 remaining, the Storm overwhelemed the crease with four skaters and through a maze of bodies, skates, and sticks James Starr found the back of the net to tie the match. The game seemed destined for overtime but with just 36 ticks left Tim Cassese somehow rung the far post from a sharp leftside angle to clinch the win and to set up the ultimate do-or-die.

Bridemaids No More! - June 21, 2003
LI-Bruins leave no doubt, conquer Grizzlies 6-0 to garner oraganization's first Long Island Cup championship

With a resounding effort the LI-Bruins left nothing to chance, fate, demons, or otherwise and trounced their playoff archrival, the Grizzlies, 6-0 to raise the Long Island Cup for the first time. The Bruins broke open a close game with a four goal eruption in the second period and left no opening for the proud Grizzlies to work any of their playoff voodoo. Tom Peterson notched a natural hat trick in a second period explosion as the Bruins steadly broke down a beleagured Grizzly defense. The Grizzlies started strong and swamped the Bruins early. Bruins goalie Adam Mottola, the D2 League MVP would not bend. He made several acrobatic stops during the period as the Grizzlies tried in vain to get the important early lead. Mottola, who turned away all 12 shots in the opening stanza, continued his impressive performance early in the second with several more timely saves. The Grizzlies became increasingly frustrated with their inability to score and ultimately took some costly risks that the Bruins offense gladly embraced. The Bruins scoring was started with two goals by Walter Schweizer before Peterson took control and put the game out-of-reach. During the postseason the Bruins never trailed while allowing only one goal, and with the win they emphatically exorcise the near-misses, should-haves, could-haves, and all other Red Soxian moments that dot the organization's past.

Championship Mountain - June 20, 2003
Sabres retake the throne, dispatch Bulldogs 6-3

Retaking their familiar seat on the HLI championship mantle, the Sabres executed their gameplan to near perfection and neutralized the Bulldogs big guns en route to capturing their fourth HLI championship 6-3. The Sabres' scoring hero was once again Rob 'Espo' Florie, the D1 League MVP. Florie confounded the Bulldogs throughout this contest scoring four goals. The crucial goal was Florie's third when he was, as customary, johnny-on-the-spot to put back a rebound from two feet to break a 2-2 tie with 4:23 left in the second. Florie proved elusive for the Bulldogs despite being the focus of the Bulldogs defense as he scored the Sabres first three goals. His third tally deflated the 'Dogs and the Sabres soon scored two more at the start of the third to break open the game. The Bulldogs tried gamely to get back into the contest but were repeatedly turned away by the stellar goaltending of Ruben Santana. Santana was at his best in the first period when he held firm during a 15 shot Bulldog offensive burst. After stemming this first period onslaught, Santana made several timely saves at opportune moments to bolster the Sabres championship repeat.

Miracle on Ice II - June 17, 2003
Bulldogs snatch victory from the stomach of defeat, steal 4-3 double OT win over Rangers, Bethpage FD survive Rats 2-1 in shootout, Cinderella put to sleep as Grizzlies shutout Blues 3-0

Literally scoring at game's end, the Bulldogs forced OT and, in double OT, finished off a snakebitten Rangers squad 4-3 in a miraculous win. Tom Leprine's blast off a face-off taken with 5 seconds on the clock barely beat the final horn to resuscitate a flatlined Bulldogs squad. After trading prime scoring chances and penalty kills (including the Rangers killing off a 2 minute 5-on-3) Leprine ended this playoff classic with another backline blast that found the top corner over sprawled Ranger goalie Chris Vience. Leprine's heroics negated a valiant third period Ranger comeback in which they finally solved Bulldogs goalie Eddie Kelerchian. The Eagle continued his sublime goaltending this postseason with several out-of-body saves in the third and overtime periods that staved off elimination for his flagging team. After spotting the Bulldogs two Steve Anderson goals the Rangers scored three unanswered with the last one coming on a power play with just 3:33 remaining. With their first and only lead the Rangers seem destined to move-on. The final tension filled three minutes saw the two captains locked in a strategic chess match as they maunevered and countered their line-ups at each play stoppage. After pulling Kelerchian, the Bulldogs forced five defensive zone face-offs in the final minute. The Rangers won the first four draws but, as sports history often supplies the unexplainable, the Bulldogs won the last and fate descended from the heavens.

With their hi-powered offense held in check, Bethpage FD turned to defense and goaltending to gut their way through this elimination match and survive the Rats 2-1 in a shootout. Bethpage goalie Nick Ceglio proved the game's number one star. After allowing a Lou Grappone goal on the game's first shot Ceglio allowed no more. He turned away 21 Rats shots, many in spectactular fashion including a crucial third period penalty shot. The Rats received this penalty shot with just 3:15 remaining in the game when Bethpage covered the puck in the crease. The Rats Dean Deangelo tried to go five hole but was foiled by Ceglio. Ceglio continued his clutch play through the overtime, and in the shootout he pitched a shutout. Bethpage, who struggled against the equally impressive Rats goalie Seb Tauriello, tied the game early in the third on a Mark Brooks power play goal.

Calling on their extensive playoff experience the Grizzlies once again stared down elimination and sent the Cinderella Blues home without so much a kiss 3-0. The Grizzlies utilized their playoff trademark tight, stiff defense in front of big game goalie Bob Avery. Three different Grizzlies scored with the gamewinner coming from captain Jack Waslin just 3 1/2 minutes into the game. The Blues, who had unleased a dormant offense to surprisingly get to this point, could not sustain any significant pressure against the Grizzly defense. With the win, the Grizzlies set up an eagerly anticipated rematch against their longtime rival, the LI-Bruins. In previous years, the Grizzlies have always tormented the Bruins. This year, the Bruins hold the upper hand but the question still remains - can they take that final, elusive step to slay their Grizzly playoff demon?

Payback - June 16, 2003
Klash avenge earlier loss, sink Cement 7-3

Shaking off a sluggish first half of the match, the Klash methodically put away a scrappy Cement squad 7-3. Three unanswered third period goals broke open this see-saw affair as the Klash depth advantage finally wore down Cement. Tim Cassese scored twice, each time establishing a two goal Klash lead. His second goal came via breakaway less than one minute after Eric Yanega had closed the gap to 4-3 early in the third. Cassese's goal seemingly took the air out of Cement's attack and Jim Moore's putback less than three mintes later sealed the Klash win. Klash goalie Ruben Santana sparkled in the first period and during a critical stretch early in the second. Cement carried the play for much of the game's first half as they repeatedly swarmed the flatfooted Klash. Santana singlehandedly kept the Klash in the match with several pointblank denials during these prolonged Cement pressures.

Cinderella Wakes Up - June 15, 2003
LI-Bruins close-in on the promise land with 4-1 crusher over Blues, Rats' third period rally puts away the Rage 3-1

Once step closer to the elusive Long Island Cup championship absent from their resume, the LI-Bruins exhibited poise and control in stepping on the Cinderella toes of the Blues 4-1. The Bruins, who must also face down their playoff demons, put forth another strong defensive effort. Forgoing their open, high-scoring ways the Bruins methodically attacked the Blues being sure not to expose themselves to defensive lapses. Their only significant defensive miscue led to the only goal they've surrendered this postseason. Four different Bruins scored with both Anthony Anastasio and Marc Hedquist scoring once and adding two helpers.

Shaking off a sluggish first two periods, the Rats discovered the AWOL offense in the third to propel themselves to a 3-1 dismissal of the Rage. Larry Spalter scored the game winning goal with just 2:48 remaining in the game. His goal came immediately after the Rats called timeout to setup their successful face-off strategy. John Hopkins iced the game a minute and half later with an emptynetter. The Rage controlled much of the game's first half. They outshot the Rats 10-4 in the first and took an early lead just 45 seconds in when Frank Cardinale buried a Mike Cole shot that somehow eluded Rats goalie Seb Tauriello. Tauriello would not allow another, however, thereby setting the stage his team's comeback.

Pearly Gates - June 14, 2003
PLT shutdowns Bethpage FD 3-0, Sabres sting Bulldogs 3-2 in OT, Rangers extinguish Stars 5-1

Ascending to their first HLI championship game, PLT completely shutdown Bethpage FD 3-0. This high energy, intense game was controlled by PLT's defense and goaltending. PLT goalie Vin Winsky was solid throughout the contest with his best work coming in the second. During this stanza, he stopped several prime Bethpage scoring opportunities in turning away all 12 shots. PLT scored once in each period with the key goal being a Joe Cimino shorthander at 3:51 of the second off a 2-on-1 feed from Damian Ercole. Ercole also scored in the third and assisted on the first PLT goal.

As is their playoff MO, the Sabres once again triumphed in a close, see-saw playoff battle and advanced to yet another championship game with a 3-2 overtime win over a dismayed Bulldogs team. The overtime winner was potted by goal machine Rob Florie who continued his knack for big game heroics (Florie also assisted on the other two Sabres goals). Florie scored at 2:02 of OT from his home-away-from-home spot of 10 feet in front of the opponent's net. Florie's goal decided a playoff battle that became increasingly contentious as the third period ticked off. Each team enjoyed several power plays in the final stanza with both teams scoring on a Bulldog power play; Sabre Will Kremmelbein broke a 1-1 at 14:02 of the third with a shorthanded goal before Bulldog Pete Kentros quickly answered two minutes with a power play score (his second goal of the match). Neither team could net the gamewinner in the remainder of the period with the 'Dogs having the better chances. Several late scrums heightened the building tension and set the stage for the decisive overtime theatrics.

Bouncing back from a frustrating first round defeat, the Rangers assumed an early lead and never looked back in sending the Stars home 5-1. The Rangers stormed the Stars in the first period. Stars goalie, Carl Guarino, was equal for most of this barnstorm stopping the first 13 Ranger shots before Mark Miller banged home a rebound with just 19 seconds remaining. The start of the second saw the teams trade goals before the Rangers opened their lead with another clutch playoff goal by Paul Iskyan off a nice Miller feed. The Stars were unable to mount a charge in the third as the Rangers scored twice more, both on the power play, to finish off the scoring.

Survive and Advance - June 13, 2003
Klash squeak by Court Officers 4-3, Storm tsunami Cement 10-1

In the playoffs, goals can came from unlikely sources and fortuitous plays. Matt Crafa's controversial blueline blast with 1:46 left in the game provided the winning margin for the Klash as they eliminated a gutty, gritty Court Officer squad 4-3. Crafa's bang-bang shot hit iron and twine simultaneously as the Klash enjoyed a late game power play. The goal negated Chris Biamonte's game tying short-handed goal less than two minutes prior. The Officers refused to let the Klash take control of this game. Despite being significantly outshot the Officers hung tough behind the stellar goaltending of Eric Miklich. The Officers played even through most of the first two periods before the Klash's Tim Cassese capitialized on an Officer mental lapse with a short-handed goal with only 58 seconds remaining in the second. The Klash, fortunate to survive another playoff classic between these two teams, were backboned and salvaged by the clutch play of goalie Rueben Santana.

They came early, they came often as the Storm swamped Cement with six first period goals in their 10-1 runaway. Cement had no answers for the high-powered Storm offense. The Storm attack was once again led by the dyanmic duo of Brian McAleer and James Starr who each had a hat trick in the game. Four of their goals came during the first period onslaught as the Storm seized control right from the drop and essentially secured their championship berth right then. This team has yet to show a weakness in dominating their two playoff games and are now one win away from placing their name on the Long Island Cup.

Bounce Back - June 12, 2003
Grizzlies rebound in 3-1 send-off of Avalanche, Bethpage FD douse Rage 6-3

In the face of adversity and facing a swift playoff exit, the Grizzlies re-established their playoff identity with a come from behind 3-1 win over regular season champ Avalanche. The Grizzlies spotted the Avalanche an early one goal lead in a listless first period. Looking at their playoff mortality, the Grizzlies responded. They scored twice within a minute in the middle of the second on two Avalanche defensive lapses. Their playoff game experience came to the fore in the third as they weathered several futile Avalanche responses while stretching their lead on an Andy Dalto goal off a front-of-the net scramble. Grizzlie goalie Bob Avery once again rose to the occassion turning away 21 of 22 Avalanche shots.

Sending a message that the E league title is going through them, the Bethpage FD tendered their second consecutive convincing performance with a 6-3 squelching of the Rage. After an even two periods, the turning point came with just three seconds left in the second. With the clock running down, Ryan Jappell scored a crushing game winning goal through heavy traffic in front of Rage goalie Pete Zsamboky. This goal opened the flood gates. Bethpage swarmed the Rage end throughout the third outshootting them 17 to 3 and scoring three cherry-on-top goals. Bethpage continued to spread out their offense as four more players scored their first playoff goals with Rich Baudile scoring twice.

On Eagle's Wings - June 11, 2003
Bulldogs stonewall Rangers 4-1, LI-Bruins exorcise Grizzlies 4-0

By now all know that the great playoff equalizer is the one who suits up between the pipes. Pardons are granted and on-ice sins absolved when the man in the middle is in the zone. Last night, Bulldog goalie, Eddie 'The Eagle' Kelerchian, submitted a performance for the ages as he willed his team to a 4-1 defeat of a flabbergasted Rangers squad. The Rangers, who outshot the Bulldogs 37 to 17, were left to only shake their heads as Kelerchian made spectacular save after spectacular save. Some of Kelerchian heroics defied physics as he unveiled all tricks in his goalie repertoire. The Bulldogs came out of the gate flying and secured an insurmountable 3-0 first period lead with the third goal coming with just one second left in the period as Joe Catapano onetimed a clean right face-off win by brother Mike. The goal bolstered the Bulldogs and provided them the buffer needed to weather the subsequent, fruitless Ranger shot barrage in the final two periods.

There comes a time in every rivalry (well, at least every non-baseball rivalry) when the persecuted faces the mirror and says no more, not tonight. The LI-Bruins, seemingly forever the hapless playoff victims of the Grizzlies, rose up with vim and vigor and emphatically slayed their playoff demons with a resounding 4-0 shutout. The Bruins, as in past playoff tilts with the Grizzlies, took the early lead but this night they did not cower when the Grizzlies came knocking and imposed an unforseen, collective will to finally subdue their playoff nemesis. The crucial goal last night was a Greg Persak lunchpail goalmouth putback which resulted from a prolonged offensive zone pressure. From there, the Bruins refused any imminent Grizzlies reply to secure their watershed victory.

Movin' on Up - June 10, 2003
PLT edge Rats 2-1 on late goal, Bethpage FD corral Mustangs 6-2

In the playoffs every shift is an important shift and every shot, regardless from where on the ice, is a potential goal. Last night, a seemingly harmless Joe Cimino blueline shot somehow eluded a dejected Seb Tauriello propelling PLT to a 2-1 win over the Rats. Cimino's goal came with only 1:40 remaining in the game. To that point, Tauriello had turned away 28 PLT shots to keep the Rats even. The Rats took a first period lead on a goal from Pete Patterson. PLT cranked the offense in the second firing 15 shots at Tauriello with only Joe Capobiancco able to get one to the back of the net. PLT goalie Vin Winsky, while not facing as many shots of Tauriello, came up big in the third with several crucial saves.

Using their young legs and overall speed advantage Bethpage FD patiently put down a snakebitten Mustangs squad 6-2. Bethpage was able to beat the Stangs to several loose pucks to generate the scoring chances build a 4-0 lead early in the third. The Mustangs could get no closer than 4-1 as they expended their last gasp. Bethpage's defense repeatedly negated Mustang pressure by limiting prime chances even though the Stangs desperately crashed the Bethpage goal. Joe Seiter scored twice for Bethpage and Mike Brooks chipped in with two assists.

Miller Time - June 9, 2003
Rangers third period surge sinks Bucs 5-2

Finding their AWOL offense (and winning hockey sense) in the third period, the Rangers put together their best stretch since early in the season and put away the Bucs 5-2. Mark Miller provided much of the spark as he scored twice and assisted once in the decisive final stanza. Miller, who finished with a hat trick, stamped his 'mark' on the game with a nifty, seeing-eye lead past that sent Paul Iskyan alone on a breakway that Iskyan converted for the game winning goal at 9:45. The Rangers stifled the Bucs the rest of the way allowing few Bucs' scoring opportunities.

Cinderella kicks-in the Door! - June 8, 2003
Blues bewilder Avalanche in 3-1 shocker, Sabres lance Stars 7-3

The dress has been fitted, the glass slippers have been sized Cinderella has officially shown at the dance. In an unexpected turn of events, the once death-bed Blues have given notice that the D2 playoff has a fourth team with their startling 3-1 win over a dazed Avalanche squad. In a game once again played in Blues style, defense prevailed and scoring chances were sparse. The match did start quickly with each team scoring once in the first three minutes but soon settled to the Blues' liking. The Blues laid back and resisted chasing the younger, run-and-gun Avs. They kept the Avs from skating cleanly into the offensive zone and penetrating the center box in front of Blues goalie Tom 'Jiggy' Zdrojeski. They remained patient on offense and finally capitalized with just 1:56 left in the second on a Tony Testa onetimer. The third period was all Blues' ironclad defense as the Avs could not muster a charge and ultimatley the Blues put the game away on a 2-on-0 breakaway goal from Doug Munn, his second, with 2:56 remaining.

Riding the five goal rampage of Rob 'Espo' Florie, the Sabres sent notice that the championship train is back on track in their 7-3 dispatch of the Stars. The Sabres, whose championship reign was broken last Fall by the Stars, took control of this match early in the second stanza with four unanswered goals including a natural hat trick by Florie. The Stars had no answer for Florie as they allowed him to repeatedly park unattended in the slot where he is most dangerous. In the third, the Sabres dictated the game pace with aggressive neutral zone play that disrupted any Stars comeback.

Stormy Weather - June 7, 2003
Storm swamp Court Officers 8-2, Conditions postpone Grizzlies v. Bruins and Bethpage FD v. Mustangs contests

In a match of contrasting playing styles, speed and quickness overwhelmed old-time hockey as the Storm routed the Court Officers 8-2. After spotting the Officers an early 1-0 lead, the Storm's speed advantage began to slowly impact the game. The Storm were able to consistently turn plays in neutral zone to create odd man rushes. Feasting on these scoring opportunities was the tandem of James Starr and Brian McAleer. Each had 6 points with Starr scoring 3 and assisting on 3, and McAleer notching 2 and helping out on 4 others. The Court Officers closed to 3-2 early in the second before the Storm broke the game open with 5 unanswered goals.

Upset City - June 6, 2003
Rage slay LI-Dragons 4-1, Cement stun Klash 5-4 in a shootout

In the latest example of why we play the games, the Rage knocked out the Fall '02 E League champs Dragons 4-1 in a major upset. The Rage executed the tried and true playoff formula of defense and goaltending to pull off a win over a team that closed the regular season winning 8 straight games in which they outscored their opponenets 47 to 15. The Rage seized an insurmountable 3-0 lead early third on a Frank Cardinale counterpunch goal. The team then closed ranks in front of goalie Peter Zsamboky and salted away the win. The Dragons could only score once during their last gasp as Zsamboky turned away chance after chance in the final stanza.

Playing more focused and hungrier Cement prevailed in a shootout to upset the Klash 5-4. Cement forced OT with just 20 seconds on the clock off a frantic scramble in which George Reis onetimed a Danny Ganderla behind-the-net feed. Reis' tally was his third of the game (he also added one in the shootout) and prevented the Klash from stealing this win. Cement controlled the early action and jumped out to a 3-1 lead. Midway through the second the Klash finally rid the rust and began to dominate play. They scored two goals late in the period and if not for the goaltending heroics of Jorge Padinha would taken control of the game. Padinha was at times spectacular in frustrating the Klash who finally seized their first lead on a Jan Deguire putback with 2:50 left. But Cement wanted the game more and did not let their hard work go for naught. After Reis' tally forced overtime the teams skated a scoreless five minutes before Padinha proved the difference in the shootout.

Mojo Risin' - June 5, 2003
Blues play taps for the Minutemen 3-0

Seizing momentum from their stirring regular season finish, the Blues extended their season with a 3-0 whitewash of the Minutemen. The Minutemen started the game strong and rushed Blues goalie Tom Zdrojeski for most of the first period. Zdrojeski stood tall and the Minutemen were essentially spent. The Blues patiently executed their defense-first game plan and bided their time ferreting out elusive scoring opportunities. Their first goal came unexpectedly as Doug Munn's behind-the-net centering pass deflected in off Minutemen goalie Rob Marotta's stick. This good fortune sparked the Blues offense. The Blues dominated the third and scored twice more in preserving Zdrojeski's shutout.

Steady as it Goes - June 4, 2003
Stars wear down plucky Blades squad 5-2

Maintaining their composure after being outplayed for much of the first two periods, the LI-Stars returned to form in the third scoring three unanswered goals to put away the Bladerunners 5-2. The Stars superior offensive power was kept in check for big chunks of the game. The Bladerunners repeatedly jammed the neutral zone hindering the speedy Stars from breaking in cleanly. The Stars, to their credit, remained focused and finally broke the Blades in the decisive third period. Sean Persall's second goal at 12:43 of the third nudged the Stars ahead 3-2. The Stars Jason Selss, stoned on a penalty shot at 10:36 in the third, put the game away at 4:36 with a laser from the left circle, a shot that Blade netminder Steve Haas had no chance.

Baby Steps - June 3, 2003
Cement sink Beavers 11-5, Court Officers torment Capitals 4-3, PLT stymie Napper Tandys 3-1

Scoring on four of their first five shots, Cement ambushed a stunned Beavers squad with 6 first period goals to advance into the double elimination round with a 11-5 win. Before the Beavers could settle in they were down two and skating uphill in a nightmarish period. Every shot seemingly found the back of the net. The Beavers steadied the game in the second and closed to 7-4 early third. They could not, however, close any further. Cement's attack was impressively efficient - they scored 11 on only 22 shots - and spread throughout the line-up; Dan Gandarela, David Jose, and Carlos Mendes each had two. Dan Ronen had a hat trick in a losing effort.

Continuing their late season clutch play, the Court Officers added to the Capitals postseason woes ousting them 4-3 in come-from-behind fashion. Two improbable Mike Lamiroult third period goals capped the rally with the gamewinner coming off a deflection at 7:37 remaining. The Officers, undefeated in their final four matches, played a trademark period in the third. They crashed the net on offense and circled the wagons in front of goalie Mike Falabella. Falabella made several spectacular saves in the first two periods to keep the Officers within hailing distance.

Playing solid and steady defense PLT patiently executed their offense and subdued the spirited Napper Tandys 3-1. PLT's defense limited Napper's scoring chances as they kept any sustained pressure away from netminder Vin Winsky. PLT scored once in each period with the backbreaker being a Joe Cimino blast that initially was stopped by Napper minder Ed Derudder but had just enough momentum to trickle across the goal line with just four minutes remaining. Derudder was stellar throughout keeping Napper Tandys close. Napper, as is their want, fought gamely but ultimately could not counteract the smaller, quicker PLT crew.

Play-in Games

Out of the Grave(June 3) - Rage bust Phantoms 8-1 in E League play-in upset
Back from the Brink (June 2) - Blues go from life support to dancing w/ 2-0 win over Scorpions in D2 League 3-team play-in