On Thursday night, CIRIUS hit the ice against Stihl, one of their rivals from the winter season. After a solid 2-0 start during which the team scored fourteen times, the guys hoped to carry their positive momentum forward into Game 3.
The lines were shaken up quite a bit to start as Brendan Keelen made his summer debut playing with his father, Dave, and Mike Nill. Mike Pavlou took a familiar spot between Ryan Susca and Keith Meyers. Will Hanley and Joe Cirincione joined Eric Fischer and Rob Susca on the blue line. As usual, Jay Moye tended the goal.
Early in the first period, CIRIUS looked very lax as Stihl pummeled the net with shots. Jay Moye was sensational as he made a series of incredible acrobatic saves to keep the opponent off the scoreboard. Moye continued to play well between the pipes as his teammates got themselves focused and ready to go.
The chemistry on the Keelen-Keelen-Nill line was phenomenal as they combined for 11 points in this game. Nill knifed the puck away from the opposing defenseman circled the puck around and ripped a shot into the back of the net for CIRIUS' first strike of the game. The team's second goal was scored by Dave Keelen off a beautiful set up by his son, Brendan. Mike Pavlou led his line to the third goal which was set up by his wingers Ryan Susca and Keith Meyers.
Roughly halfway through the game, it was tied at three goals a piece. Brendan Keelen and Mike Nill took over offensively and scored the next three goals to give CIRIUS a commanding 6-3 lead in the third period. About as quickly as they got it, the lead began to trickle away from them. The team gave up two straight goals leaving their lead cut to one.
A loose puck in front of the CIRIUS net and a late whistle caused a commotion in front of netminder Jay Moye. The assuming scrum resulted in Ryan Susca's ejection, along with a member of the opposing team. Down to nine skaters, CIRIUS gave up a sixth goal which tied the game.
Joe Cirincione moved to forward to fill Ryan's place with a couple minutes remaining. After ringing a shot off the crossbar in the final minutes and failing to score during an onslaught in the final seconds, CIRIUS was heading to OT.
The five minutes of OT were intense but resulted in few chances for either team. The horn sounded and the game was still tied at six. Only a shootout would determine the winner on Thursday night.
Nill, Cirincione, and Brendan Keelen were the first three shooters. With CIRIUS shooting first, Nill barely missed on the opening shot but Cirincione scored on a low blocker side snapshot to give the team to the chance to win. Keelen missed and the opposing player scored against Jay Moye to keep themselves alive. The shootout then continued for seven more rounds going back and forth. Each player on the ice had the opportunity to shoot at least once. Eric Fischer scored on a high shot but was again matched by the opponent.
Finally, in the tenth round and on Keelen's second try, Brendan found the back of the net on a deke ending in a high glove side shot. Jay Moye handled his business on the other end and CIRIUS was able to skate off the ice with the win.
An intense game which could have been won in regulation turned into a nail-biting ten round shootout victory. A win is a win and CIRIUS now has three of them in just as many games to open the summer season.
They will have the next week off but will return with four games in nine days starting on June 23rd in Wall, New Jersey.
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