On Wednesday evening, CIRIUS Fitness Ice Hockey arrived at Jersey Shore Ice Arena with one goal in mind, to win their first championship. The hype prior to game time was at an all-time high, and for the players, the anticipation leading up to the game was almost unbearable.
CIRIUS Fitness made a few changes to their normal strategy before the game. Will Hanley orchestrated some key adjustments to generate a high energy lineup and spark some chemistry on both sides of the ice. Brendan Keelen and Mike Nill were set as a pair on offense, while George Noble and Joe Cirincione were set as the second pair. Dave Keelen, Scott Dinella, and Will Hanley would then cycle through as the third man on each line. The concept was designed to keep consistent lines while offering fresh legs for each shift change. Another key adjustment was sending Chris Johnson back to defense to join the Fischer brothers and Ryan Nolan. As usual, Andrew Rammairone started between the pipes.
Shortly after the puck dropped, CIRIUS did not get the start they wanted. Within the first two minutes, the team found themselves killing a 5-3 after Joe Cirincione and Will Hanley were each called for stick penalties. While this could have been a major momentum swing right out of the gate, the special teams unit successfully killed off both penalties. Only a few minutes later, George Noble put the first tally on the board for CIRIUS. With five minutes remaining in the first period, Shaughnessy took a roughing penalty which gave CIRIUS their first power play of the game. After failing to score, CIRIUS took their one goal lead into the first intermission.
The second period got a bit chippier as the game grew more intense. Eric Fischer was called for interference within the first minute and a half. Another strong effort by the penalty kill unit resulted in CIRIUS maintaining its one goal lead. Shaughnessy found themselves in the penalty box for almost four minutes but CIRIUS was unable to capitalize. However, six seconds after a 5-on-3 power play concluded, Mike Nill, scored to put the team up by two goals. Less than two minutes later, with 3:12 remaining in the period, Joe Cirincione put the team up by three with a goal from the slot. The three goal lead was cut to two after Shaughnessy scored their first goal of the game with under a minute left in the second period.
During the intermission, many of the team members spoke up motivate the group. Goalie Andrew Rammairone stressed the importance of playing tight defensively. Brendan Keelen and George Noble spoke up about the offensive game and keeping a third guy high in the zone to back-check when needed. CIRIUS spoke words of encouragement to ensure the two goal lead would not slip away. It was a crucial moment in the game and the team was confident they could avoid a Shaughnessy comeback attempt, similar to Games 1 and 2.
The third period started and the team went right back to its game plan. They chipped pucks into the zone and chased after them. Rammairone, as he had been all game, was solid in goal and stopped every shot that came his way. Then, with 6:56 remaining in the final period, CIRIUS’ hard work paid off. Scott Dinella, new to the team this season, scored perhaps one of the biggest goals in team history. As the puck hovered around the front of the opposing goaltender, Dinella sought it out and bashed it into the back of the net. The bench erupted in pure elation as Dinella’s arms shot up into the air to celebrate. The score was now 4-1 with half a period remaining in the game.
Shaughnessy made a effort to come back and finally managed to put another tally on the board with 3:34 remaining in the game. CIRIUS called a timeout to have one last discussion. The team huddled close and fired off thoughts and insights about how to secure the victory. They split for the last time of the season and went right back to work. Critical seconds continued to tick off the clock. CIRIUS continued to clear the puck from their zone and force Shaughnessy to go chasing after it. Then, with two minutes left in the game, the Shaughnessy netminder was replaced with an extra skater.
After battling through for a minute and a half, Joe Cirincione forced the puck in the offensive zone. Shaughnessy defenders attempted to shoot it around the boards to clear the zone but he kept the puck in once more. As a defender closed in, Cirincione flipped the puck to Will Hanley who finished off the victory by scoring the fifth and final goal of the game.
The win sealed CIRIUS Fitness Ice Hockey’s first ever Championship. The team celebrated on the ice and then back in the locker room. In the end, the Championship is a true testament to how far the team has come after ending 2014 in disappointment. New blood in the locker room and a new attitude on the ice brought forth the most successful season as a unit. Andrew Rammairone was instrumental in the team’s success after an incredible rookie season. Scott Dinella’s Championship goal was a stroke of excellence which gave CIRIUS the cushion they needed to secure the win. Their additions to the usual suspects on the ice made this season what it was…the best in the league.
The group will enjoy a well-deserved break as they recover in preparation for the summer season at the Jersey Shore Ice Arena.
On Monday night, CIRIUS Fitness Ice Hockey and the Shaughnessy Shooters went to battle yet again. The dream of a series sweep was cut short after the team let up a late goal to lose Game 2 by a score of 4-3.
Game 3 is tonight at 10:30pm. Needless to say, all of their hard work, their blood, sweat, and tears will be put to the test tonight. It has been a long season for CIRIUS Fitness, perhaps the longest one they have ever played together. After a fifteen game regular season, winning in overtime in the first round of the playoffs, defeating a challenging opponent 9-5 in the semi-finals, and fighting through the first two games of the championship series…only a single game remains between them and their elusive first championship.
CIRIUS Fitness Ice Hockey was founded just shy of two years ago. The team has battled their way into their second championship series and looks to raise the trophy tonight. However, Shaughnessy is undoubtedly their biggest rival and has always tested their patience on the ice. The team will have to buckle down in a big way if they are to fulfill their season’s goal of the ultimate prize.
The story of the season has been Andrew Rammairone. Stepping into the big shoes that Jay Moye left behind, Andrew has exceeded any and all expectations. He started all nineteen games thus far and has a single moment left to define his rookie season wearing a CIRIUS uniform. Rammairone has stepped up to every challenge this season and will do more of the same tonight.
While Rammirone’s skills have been exceptional, the team will also need an outstanding effort from the defensive warriors protecting him and the front of his crease. Will Hanley, George Fischer, Eric Fischer, and Ryan Nolan understand their role tonight. They must clear the front of the net and keep the puck out of their defensive zone. The fantastic four must be tight on every shift. They have also not been shy from stepping in to provide support for their offense throughout the season. Watch for them to continue their strong efforts tonight.
The offense must fire on all cylinders. Their captain, Brendan Keelen, has to get going early. He’s capable of scoring from almost anywhere on the ice. CIRIUS will lean on Mike Nill for his speed and seemingly limitless energy on the ice. George Noble’s role of star playmaker will be crucial if CIRIUS is to capture the victory this evening. Chris Johnson’s moves through the offensive zone must lead to shots on goal which can be buried by Dave Keelen and Scott Dinella playing tough in front of the net. Finally, Joe Cirincione must shoot hard and shoot often to break down the defense in front of him and get the puck in the back of the net.
Each championship series game has been decided by moments. Tonight's moments must be generated by energy, determination, and drive by the CIRIUS team. This is it. This is the biggest stage they have seen since the team began.
It is the ultimate challenge for the ultimate prize.
Who wants it more?
CIRIUS Fitness Ice Hockey faced off against the Shaughnessy Shooters for Game 1 of the Championship Series last night at 10:30pm.
CIRIUS finished the season at 9-6 before winning an unbelievable overtime game in the first round of the playoffs against the Generals. On Monday, their third period explosion led to a 9-5 victory over the Slashers in the second round. The team was ready to do battle on Thursday night in what would undoubtedly be a very challenging series against their biggest rival.
The team rolled with seven forwards consisting of Brendan Keelen, Mike Nill, George Noble, Mike Pavlou, Scott Dinella, Chris Johnson and Joe Cirincione. The defense consisted of Will Hanley, Ryan Nolan, Eric Fischer and George Fischer. Andrew Rammairone started in goal for his eighteenth straight game.
CIRIUS started the game off strong and kept moving the puck around trying to create chances in the offensive zone. The team was able to score the first two goals of the game in similar fashion. George Noble and Brendan Keelen were the goal-scorers, both coming off a rebound on a second chance opportunity.
Mike Pavlou was forced to leave the game for about a period of play. As he created a screen in front of the opposing goaltender, a shot by Joe Cirincione struck Pavlou in the skate sending the puck clanging off the post. As the puck settled back on the ice, so did half of Pavlou’s skate blade. With a broken skate, he left the game for repairs.
In the third period, and after Pavlou had returned, Will Hanley made a play at the point that turned into the most crucial goal of the game. Hanley slid across the blue line and took a slap shot. In the same position as he was when his skate blade shattered, Pavlou stood in front of the goalie and created a screen. As puck came barreling past, Pavlou tipped it to redirect it which sent the puck right into the back of the net. CIRIUS now led 3-0.
Shaughnessy fought back and scored two goals to tighten the game to a one goal lead. As the clock continued to tick away, the atmosphere at the rink grew more and more tense. With about a minute and a half left in the game, Shaughnessy pulled their goalie and started ripping shots from every angle. Andrew Rammarione continued his dominance and blocked every puck that came at the net. His team rallied around him, diving and blocking shots at every opportunity. The team clung to their lead as the final horn went off…CIRIUS captured the series lead at 1-0.
Game 2 is tonight at 10:15pm at the Jersey Shore Ice Arena. We are all anxiously awaiting puck drop as everything is on the line tonight. CIRIUS Fitness Ice Hockey has the opportunity to capture their first ever championship if they are able to claim victory. It will not be an easy task but the team hopes to band together for another big effort on the ice with the ultimate prize at stake.
On Monday evening at 8:00pm, CIRIUS Fitness Ice Hockey gathered at the Jersey Shore Ice Arena to take on the Slashers in their highly anticipated semifinal matchup. Coming off an incredible overtime victory in the quarterfinals, CIRIUS hoped their gritty play and determination would continue in the next round.
CIRIUS packed out the bench as the team boasted their full roster for the big game. Nine forwards skated for the team who were broken down into three lines; Line 1 – George Noble centered Will Hanley and Scott Dinella, Line 2 – Mike Nill centered Dave Keelen and Joe Cirincione, Line 3 – Mike Pavlou centered Chris Johnson and Keith Meyers. Tending the blue line were CIRIUS’s defensemen consisting of Eric Fischer, George Fischer, Rob Susca, and Ryan Nolan. In goal, Andrew Rammairone made his 17th consecutive start of the season.
Within a tense playoff atmosphere, the puck dropped and the game began. Within the first several minutes, the Slashers scored twice and CIRIUS quickly found themselves on the wrong side of a 2-0 game. Bearing down, CIRIUS knew the next goal was crucial. The team dug in and picked up their pace of play. CIRIUS notched their first goal of the game to get themselves on the board. It was soon followed by two others and the team had captured the lead.
About as quickly as it came, CIRIUS let up two goals to give the lead back to the Slashers. Late in the second period, CIRIUS managed to tie the game on another gritty effort to get the puck into the back of the opposing net. Their hopes of reaching their second championship finals were entirely dependent on a single fifteen minute period. During the intermission, goalie Andrew Rammairone gave the team a much needed word of encouragement. The message was clear, “leave it all on the ice”.
The squad listened to their goaltender and quickly went to work. The game turned from a 4-4 tie to a 7-4 CIRIUS Fitness lead. As the team settled in to hold their three goal lead in the third and final period, the Slashers picked up their fifth goal. The opponent’s marker posed risk to the team’s lead until their eighth goal of the game to go back up by three. CIRIUS began to play against the clock and worked shift after shift to break down the time remaining in the game. A final act of desperation and the Slashers pulled their goalie. Will Hanley sealed the win for CIRIUS Fitness after burying the ninth goal for the team.
Some of the notable stat lines and highlights:
- Chris Johnson on the third offensive line netted a hat-trick. He opened the scoring for the team on a beautiful short side snipe from just below the hash marks.
- Dave Keelen’s slick pass across the crease set up a streaking Rob Susca for an unbelievable goal at one of the most crucial times in the game. It was his first of two assists.
- Mike Nill’s speed was his best weapon throughout the game as he scored two goals of his own.
- Keith Meyers’ return to the ice made a big impact as his line combined for four of the nine goals, with Meyers directly assisting on two of those four goals.
- Andrew Rammairone’s outstanding effort kept CIRIUS in the game through the first two periods. He made a series of remarkable saves in the third period which allowed CIRIUS to pull away and eventually capture the win.
It was an exciting finish on the biggest stage of the season. With the victory, CIRIUS Fitness advances to the Championship Finals where they will play their biggest rivals in a three game series. Game 1 against the Shaughnessy Shooters will take place on Thursday evening (5/14) at 10:30 PM.
It is safe to say that 2015 was favorable for CIRIUS as a few changes to the lineup and a new starting goaltender amounted to a great deal of success on the ice. CIRIUS Fitness concluded their regular season last Sunday evening with a 2-1 OT loss against the Slashers. With their fifteenth game wrapping up a successful season, CIRIUS claimed the 4th seed with a record of 9-6.
On Wednesday evening, CIRIUS Fitness Ice Hockey congregated within Jersey Shore Ice Arena for their first round playoff game. The team would face off against the Generals, a team that had defeated them earlier this year. During pregame strategy talks, the team knew they would have to play a full game of hard-nosed hockey in order to get the win to move them further into the playoffs.
Jay Moye filled in for the Generals for the second time in just as many meetings against CIRIUS. In true playoff fashion, both teams traded scoring chances while Andrew Rammairone and the very familiar opposing goaltender continued to make sensational stops at either end of the ice. Both the first and second periods came and went without either team posting a tally onto the scoreboard.
Heading into the third period, CIRIUS Fitness continued to grind away while hoping to capitalize on a scoring chance. Mike Nill opened the scoring midway through the third after a hard-fought shift in the Generals zone. Unfortunately, while Nill’s goal captured the momentum late in the game, CIRIUS’s lead was short-lived. The General scored on a slap shot from the top of the circle only a few minutes later which knotted the game at 1.
Regulation ended and the first round playoff matchup headed into Overtime. The OT period continued to tick away while CIRIUS kept flying around the ice hoping to catch a fast break or a favorable bounce on the puck. The game entered the final minute of OT and still did not have a winner…
During a strong offensive shift, CIRIUS managed to keep the pressure on the Generals in their own zone. After a shot on goal, the Generals grabbed the rebound. Before their defenseman could clear the zone, George Noble stole the puck away, spun around, and zipped a backhand shot on net. A rebound kicked out and Mike Pavlou pushed through in an attempt to slam it into the back of the net. While being completely harassed by the opposing defenders, he managed to get multiple looks at the puck. With less than fifteen seconds remaining in OT, Mike Pavlou cashed in and scored the game-winning overtime goal!
Pavlou’s incredible determination with almost no time remaining in the game sent CIRIUS Fitness Ice Hockey on to the next round of the playoffs. While Pavlou was the hero in this one, the entire team’s effort was needed in a game that tested their will throughout.
CIRIUS Fitness will need to carry this momentum forward in their next playoff battle. CIRIUS will return to the Jersey Shore Ice Arena on Monday night at 8:00 PM (May 11th) to take on the Slashers.
On Wednesday April 1st, CIRIUS Fitness Ice Hockey arrived at Jersey Shore Ice Arena prepared to play against the Shaughnessy Shooters, a team they had not seen in action for about two full seasons. CIRIUS was 7-3 coming into Game 11 and sat one position behind their opponent within the standings; therefore, this game was a great opportunity for CIRIUS to gain some ground on the two teams in front of them.
Historically, CIRIUS and Shaughnessy have played several close, low-scoring games usually decided by stronger defense and solid goal-tending. Wednesday night would be more of the same. Skating as forwards, George Noble, Joe Cirincione, Mike Nill, Scott Dinella, Dave Keelen, Mike Pavlou, and Chris Johnson rolled through their shifts on the ice. Eric Fischer, George Fischer, Ryan Nolan, Will Hanley, and Rob Susca manned up the blue line. Andrew Rammairone started in goal for the eleventh straight game.
Rammairone started the game well stopping a barrage of pucks in the first period. As the defense helped clear the front of the net, Rammairone kept making some critical saves to keep Shaughnessy off the scoreboard. The CIRIUS offense chimed to to put two goals up as the horn sounded for the first intermission.
The second period continued with more tight battles between the two teams while traded scoring chances. CIRIUS put up its third marker when George Noble sent a slick pass across to Chris Johnson who was moving across the front of the goal. On an off-angle backhand shot, Johnson sent the puck into the corner of the net, giving CIRIUS the 3-0 lead.
During the second intermission, the team stressed the importance of playing tight defense in the third period. In addition, the team expected the game to get increasingly physical as the clock wound down. CIRIUS hit the ice for the final period and stuck to the game plan. The offense blasted away shots at the opposing netminder while the defense continued to battle in their own zone.
Rammairone shined throughout the third period. He turned away a series of shots and made a few pretty glove saves to keep the momentum with CIRIUS. With just under two minutes remaining, Shaughnessy pulled their goalie to get a sixth skater on the ice. Rammairone was put to the test as Shaughnessy kept the puck in zone while firing countless shots on goal. He stood tall and kept the puck out of the back of the net. George Noble ended up sealing the victory with a hard-nosed play to break through two defenders and score the empty-net goal.
With the 4-0 victory, Andrew Rammairone is now 8-3 as the CIRIUS Fitness starting goaltender. It's his first shutout wearing a CIRIUS sweater and it comes along with a 73% winning percentage through the first 11 games of the season.
CIRIUS looks to keep this momentum building as they head into their final four games of the regular season.
Game 12 - 4/10 @ 10:30pm
Game 13 - 4/21 @ 10:15pm
Game 14 - 4/26 @ 8:15pm
Game 15 - 5/3 @ 9:45pm
CIRIUS Fitness hit the ice for Game 8 on Monday evening. The team's incredible scoring run has averaged 9.5 goals per game over the past four games.
Game 8 resulted in another big win for CIRIUS Fitness Ice Hockey. The offense rolled to the tune of ten goals. Andrew Rammairone and the defensive corps held the opposition to a mere three goals.
A dominating performance by Brendan Keelen led to another five goals for the captain. Keelen now has 13 goals while only appearing in three games. He managed to score a hat trick in this game with backhand, top shelf strikes...and added two more on the forehand. Not to be outdone, Chris Johnson picked up his third multi-goal game, and his second hat trick of the season. Mike Nill contributed with two more goals, after he had posted twelve points in the previous three games.
The defense was strong during this game and it resulted in CIRIUS Fitness' second lowest goals against of the season, and their best since Game 1. Andrew Rammairone, since joining the team in January, has now started all eight games of the season and holds a .750 win percentage.
CIRIUS has now put the puck into the net 64 times in only eight games.
Their goal differential on the season is a +26.
There is a lot of regular season hockey left to play. CIRIUS will skate again for Game 9 on Monday, March 16th at 8:30pm.
CIRIUS Fitness Ice Hockey had been on quite a roll offensively over their previous four games before hitting the ice again this past Wednesday evening. They had gone 2-2 over four games while five players had scored hat tricks over that period of time. George Noble struck three times in a 7-5 loss in Game 3. Chris Johnson buried four goals in Game 4's victory. Joe Cirincione scored three times in an overtime loss in Game 5. Game 6 was a 9-5 victory where Mike Nill scored five times, and Mike Pavlou scored three of his own. Needless to say, players had been scoring goals and the team was sitting in second place with a 4-2 overall record in 2015.
On Wednesday night, CIRIUS Fitness would revisit its opponent from Game 6...and the scoring continued. CIRIUS rolled seven forwards (Brendan Keelen, Mike Nill, Dave Keelen, Joe Cirincione, George Noble, Keith Meyers, and Scott Dinella) with five rotating defenseman (Eric Fischer, George Fischer, Ryan Nolan, Rob Susca, and Chris Johnson). Andrew Rammairone made his seventh straight start in goal. After a single period of play, CIRIUS Fitness led the game 7-3. The team was firing on all cylinders and their captain, Brendan Keelen, had already put the puck in the back of the net four times.
The next two periods more of the same, but with a better defensive stronghold in their own zone. CIRIUS Fitness buried six more goals while only giving up one in the final thirty minutes of play. Point totals skyrocketed as Brendan Keelen scored a total of six goals. Joe Cirincione scored a hat trick, and both Chris Johnson and George Noble had a pair of markers.
The play of the game was made by Ryan Nolan. He twisted through the opposing defense moving methodically down the ice. As he beat the final defender, he took the puck toward the left side of the net and made a last minute pass across the front of the crease to a teammate who scored on an empty net. Nolan's assist was one of three during the game. CIRIUS Fitness, after a final score of 13-4, picked up their fifth win of the year.
The next three games will come one week apart from each other, keeping the team on the ice regularly throughout the rest of the month. Keep a close eye here for more updates.
After the previously scheduled Game 2 was snowed out, CIRIUS was forced to wait two weeks before hitting the ice again. On Sunday evening, CIRIUS Fitness Ice Hockey returned to Jersey Shore Ice Arena to played their second game of the season. Rolling with a roster of eleven skaters, the team opted to break up into seven forwards and four defenseman. George Noble, Mike Pavlou, Dave Keelen, Joe Cirincione, and Chris Johnson rounded out the initial five forwards. Scott Dinella suited up for his first game with the team, since being added to the roster after Game 1. Also, the team's captain, Brendan Keelen, made his long-awaited return to the ice to bring the total to seven up front. The defense consisted of a rotation of Will Hanley, Eric Fischer, George Fischer, and Ryan Nolan. The starting netminder, Andrew Rammairone, posted an impressive 2.00 GAA in Game 1, and was looking to carry that momentum forward to pick up another win in Game 2.
The first period came and went for CIRIUS as they were finding their legs after the two week break. The team was grinding in the offensive zone and generating chances around the opposing goaltender. At its conclusion, the team found themselves down 2-0 but they were confident that goals would come if they continued to follow their game plan.. The second period was more positive. CIRIUS Fitness Ice Hockey scored four straight goals to take the lead 4-2. George Noble chalked up a tally for the team when he found himself 1-on-1 against the last opposing defender. He made a smooth move to get around the defense before approaching the goalie. Noble showed tremendous patience by holding on to the puck while gliding along the crease waiting for the goalie to commit; once he went down, Noble stashed the puck between the goalie's left skate and the post. Dave Keelen, showing grit and determination, powered the puck away from a defender along the boards in the offensive zone and kicked it out toward the blue line to Ryan Nolan. Ryan let a shot go which was perfectly deflected by Brendan Keelen for another strike.
The other two second period goals were notched by Will Hanley and Brendan Keelen. Hanley was in a similar position along the blue to Ryan Nolan moments earlier. This time, Hanley blasted a puck through several screens in front and rippled the back of the net. Keelen scored his second goal after a terrific fake shot. Keelen skated into the offensive zone on the right wing side and raised his stick as if to rip a slap shot. The goaltender bit hard and dropped low to defend but, by doing so, opened up the right side of the net. The devious Keelen slowed and his wrist shot sent the puck into the net for CIRIUS' fourth goal of the period.
Heading into the third and final period of Game 2, CIRIUS and the opponent battled back and forth. CIRIUS gave up a goal which slimmed their lead to a single score. They responded well though and kept up their intensity. The team was rewarded with what became the game winning goal by George Noble. As Mike Pavlou and Chris Johnson worked the puck around the back of the net, Johnson fed Noble directly in the slot. Noble's first shot attempt was blocked but he readjusted, picked up his own rebound, and dropped to a knee as he slammed the puck past the goalie and into the back of the net. The opposing team managed to fight back and score their fourth goal; however, an empty net score by Joe Cirincione sealed the deal for CIRIUS.
The team is now 2-0 on the season after scoring 11 goals in their first two games. Andrew Rammairone has been rock solid in the net posting a 3.00 GAA through his first two starts with CIRIUS Fitness.
They have a quick turnaround and several upcoming games within a short period of time. They hope to keep this momentum going when the puck drops for Game 3 at 10:00pm on Wednesday night, February 11th.
On Thursday evening, CIRIUS Fitness Ice Hockey skated together for the first time after over a month-long offseason. A 10:00pm puck drop and a date with a familiar opponent, the Motley Crue, was the start to a new year of opportunity for the team. Will Hanley, Joe Cirincione, Mike Nill, Mike Pavlou, and Chris Johnson rotated through as the five available forwards. Meanwhile, Eric Fischer, George Fischer, Ryan Nolan, and Rob Susca tended the blue line in pairs. Andrew Rammairone would get the start in goal for the first time with CIRIUS Fitness.
CIRIUS got off to a good start keeping the majority of the action down in the opponent's end of the ice. About halfway through the opening period, CIRIUS would strike for the first time in 2015. Joe Cirincione skated into the offensive zone, held up, and moved across toward the center of the ice. As Chris Johnson crossed in front of him, he let a low shot go which beat the opposing goaltender through the 5-hole. Shortly thereafter, Chris Johnson skated into the offensive zone after picking up a burst of speed. He deked around a defender and then moved through the center of the ice toward the right side. As the goalie committed low, Johnson continued to circle around before ripping a high shot over the goalie and into the back of the net for a 2-0 lead.
Heading into the second period up two goals, CIRIUS knew they had to put more shots on net and keep up the pace. Later, a high shot from the point by Joe Cirincione was tipped down by Mike Nill, sending the puck to the front of the net where Mike Pavlou bashed it in for the third strike of the game. Shortly after that, Mike Pavlou went right back to work and set up Mike Nill for his own goal, and CIRIUS's fourth of the game to up 4-0 at the end of the second period.
The third period would be a test for the short bench. With only four subs, the lead would be threatened by the potential of the team tiring out. 38 seconds into the third period, the opponent cashed in their first goal of the game. Rammairone was rock solid up until this point, stopping any and all shots. A quick lapse in defense and back-check support cost them a goal. The opponent then struck again to cut the initial four goal lead in half. As the third period continued, CIRIUS started to slow a bit but kept up the cautious play. As the final minutes loomed, a questionable holding call against Mike Pavlou put CIRIUS down a man. With the goalie pulled on the other end of the ice, a 6-4 powerplay was a tough task to overcome at the end of a late game. The team called a timeout.
The first minute was brilliantly killed off as Mike Nill and Chris Johnson were flying around icing the puck. Rammairone made several big saves off strong shots from the point while the defense did cleared any rebound thereafter. A line change in the final minute and fresh legs were back on the ice for CIRIUS. Eric Fischer got into a battle on the side boards for a loose puck and managed to chip it up toward the blue line. Joe Cirincione swooped in and batted a backhand to clear the zone which ended up gliding all the way down the ice and into the empty net for the final tally.
5-2 was the final score in CIRIUS Fitness' first victory of the season. It was a great start for the team after suffering through a tough season at the end of 2014. The offense was clicking, the defense was dedicated, and Rammairone was excellent in his first win with the team. Not only did the team play well enough to capture a big win, but one teammate's actions at the end of the game made an especially big statement. In the closing seconds, Eric Fischer took a cheap shot from one of the opposing players, taking an unnecessary strike to the back of the head. Indifferent, Fischer went through the handshake line as did everyone else. As the line broke, Will Hanley let the opposing player know he was unhappy with the cheap shot on his guy at the end of the game. Words turned physical and Hanley successfully took him down to the ice after a few blows were thrown.
As the team left the ice and filed into the locker room, CIRIUS not only had their first win of the year, but Hanley's decision to stand up for his teammate undoubtedly boosted morale and united the team ever further. Not only is CIRIUS Fitness Ice Hockey back in action and ready to play, but the message is clear...take a shot at one of their teammates, and this squad is more than ready to defend itself.
Game 2 will be next Tuesday, 1/27 at 10:45pm.
2015 PLAYER STATS
2 – Chris Johnson
4 - George Fischer
5 – Joe Cirincione “A”
13 – Rob Susca "A"
19 – Brendan Keelen “C”
20 – Keith Meyers
21 – Dave Keelen
27 – Mike Pavlou
31 – Jay Moye - G
35 - Andrew Rammairone - G
42 – Eric Fischer
50 – Will Hanley “A”
52 – Scott Dinella
82 – Ryan Nolan
88 - Mike Nill
98 – George Noble