Another Great Season Comes to An End
ON - It was the Wednesday after the 2018 Keg Cup finals. Steve Zorgel woke up
that morning knowing what his teammates, Coady's Car Care and all who was
in attendance knew as well. He blew it. He gave away the puck behind his own
goal line and Coady's Car Care lead by Matt McNeely would bury the only goal in
a two-game contest and for the second season in a row BML had come away empty
handed. So going into this season, BML had something to prove and it showed in
their overwhelming attendance numbers throughout the season. Anyone who's
followed the AMHL enough understands the importance of lungs and breathing.
This is much easier accomplished when you have 10-11 bodies regularly coming
out on Sunday mornings and Tuesday nights. They were a shoe in all season to
make their appearance in the semi final but as we all know, getting to the Semi
Final is never enough.
They had an uphill climb if we're being honest. They were playing the hottest team in the league going into this years installment of the Semi Final. Playing new arch foe Sam Hopewell and the gang, who were coming into the contest with only having lost only 1 game in their past 9 roughly. They were able to stop the high scoring offense of Coady's Car Care and survive that semi final game (yawn). After that game they were happy but going to the final wasn't the goal. They realized that there was a little more pressure on this final than in other years. If you lose in your third finals in a row, you are automatically thrusted into Buffalo Bills territory and if BML wasn't thinking about that, the rest of the league certainly was.
The first game didn't go that well if you were wearing the Orange. Luke Martin (A BML Alumni) and his Milano Pizzeria squad who had the best record in the season and in the playoff loop wasted no time in making Dillon James (BML's Goalie) wonder if he should head to eBay and sell his pads once and for all. Milano Pizzeria filled the net for 7 goals on route to an easy 7-3 win and a poised position going into Saturday night.
The odds weren't good for BML on Saturday. They were going to have to win that first game just to go into overtime and then would have to come out of that as well to hoist that mug that had never hoisted before. They were also playing a motivated Milano Pizzeria squad who felt they deserved their day with the Keg Cup this summer to. I can't speak for most of the league but as a fan of the AMHL, it felt like there was no doubt that Milano had this in the bag.
It was the night before St. Patty’s but people were celebrating in the upstairs of the arena. The AMHL hadn't seen attendance like this in a couple of years and the pressure was clearly on. The game started fast with chances at both ends of the rink. There was never really a time when a team was dominating, it felt very even. But unlike finals in previous years or even the semi final of this year’s playoffs. Goals came frequently and early. Kyle Killeen & Captain Jordan McCabe both beautifully finished strong rushes to propel BML to an early lead. It didn’t take long for Captain Luke Martin to bring Milano’s back into the game only a couple of minutes later, finishing a very nice pass from Andrew Robotham. A pivotal moment came early into the second game of this battle. In the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day a small fight emerged after a hard fought battle in the corner or in front of the net or both I’d assume (I was looking at my phone and not paying attention) Andrew Robotham of Milano’s and Mike Gauthier of BML participated in this bout which kicked both players out of the game. The game continued and after trading a couple of goals here and there the game stayed 4-2 for BML for much of the second period. Finally, an empty net score secured BML’s chances to bring this thing to overtime bringing the score to 5-2 with only a couple of minutes left. They would add a late 6th goal but it didn’t matter. Everyone had moved on to overtime in the stands at that point and by the looks of it the players on the ice had to.
It’s a tough task for a team to come off a 6-2 loss to switch back into gear and attempt to head back to the dressing room feeling good about themselves. But that’s the task that Milano’s needed to accomplish. The overtime continued to be fast, but you could really tell that players were starting to feel the first 50 minutes of ice time. If I had to give an edge in the first 7 minutes of the overtime, I would have given it to Milano Pizzeria by a slight margin. They pressed hard and had a lot of shots but couldn’t seal a victory. The period would continue until about the 9-minute mark when a pass on an odd man rush from Jordan McCabe went across the crease to a waiting Connor Janssen to finish. There was a small pause to verify that the puck had went in, but it had and when BML realized this they rushed the ice and celebrated. BML’s veterans will skate a little lighter next season with this monkey off their backs. A big congrats goes to BML on winning the 2019 Keg Cup!!
As always, the AMHL would like to thank everyone who participated this season! We would like to remind everyone to please give their jerseys back to their captains ASAP.
Stay tuned for details on the year end party / awards night!
Tuesday March 12 10 PM - BML (3) vs. Milano Pizzeria (7)
Saturday March 16 9 PM - Milano Pizzeria (2) vs. BML (6)
Saturday March 16 10 PM - Milano Pizzeria (0) vs. BML (1)