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News Deck - The Howie Report

After extensive contract negotiations, the Mighty Pirates organization is extremely pleased to welcome back Howie for another season of insightful, amusing, and extremely addictive commentary! Yes, Howie tells it like it is!

You'll find links to each and every Howie Report right here after each game.

The "Howie-Les" Report: Pirates Open Season with Close 3-0 Win Over Cyclones
2014-09-17: Mighty Pirates 3 vs. Cyclones 0

Game Sheet

News Deck - The Howie Report In celebration of their Silver Anniversary year, True North Hockey Canada gave the Pirates (1-0-0) a bye week gift to start the 2014/2015 season. Although it wasn't actually a week, the Bucs did get two extra days to prepare for their season opener against the Cyclones (0-1-0). And, to hold the raucous crowd, the game was held at Maple Leaf Gardens.

Things didn't go as smoothly as Captain Mola had hoped, however. The boys seemed a little older and a little slower in the morning skate. And, not only did his tech team not deliver him a requested game day roster, the Pirates couldn't even get more than five forwards and two defensemen to the bench before the puck dropped. Astonishing! Eventually we got to see how the lines would shape up for this new year. With two trips the the Finals and a Cup to boot over the past two seasons, why would you think Mola would mess with a good thing?

In goal, of course, the Sturgeonator. Besant, Jezioranski, Kwinter, Rosenberg and Sousa defended the back-end, while up front featured the "Grind Line" (M. Sager centring D. Turner and Phillips), the "3M Line" (Mutch in between Mandell and Mola) and the "Commute Line" (Gallivan with Lella and Leggett).

A rather slow start in the warm air of the Gardens, but Mola himself would make an early dash down the left side. He lit up a monstrous blast that was initially saved, but Gallivan saw an opportunity and chipped in the rebound for his 150th career goal — barely — at the end of his two-minute shift. An early 1-0 lead!

While some chants of "Move 'em up! Move 'em up!" echoed around the rink, you could see the cooler heads of many fans organizing and signing a Change.org petition on all their new iPhone 6s asking convener Mark Bradshaw to take a serious look at all five pre-season games before making any decisions. Please don't let us have to re-live the summer!

With all due respect to the Cyclones, the Pirates weren't making a solid case for promotion anyway! Misjudged passing, bad line changes, low-levels of conditioning, and Pirate Brand Hockey® completely lacking in any variety... this was kind of a hard game to watch, especially at such a glorious venue. Even from the sidelines, T. Turner couldn't find any decent photos to send our web team for this recap!

Sturgeon did come up big as we moved into the third period and the Cyclones began to see they actually had a chance to get this game tied up and even won. Phillips was also a stand-out Pirate on this evening. His forechecking was simply amazing. And, as the Pirates were looking for insurance, he nearly set up M. Sager midway through the period.

Then, with 4:12, Mutch took a harmless rush up the right side, but somehow got in clean. He went five-hole with a great snapper, and Pirates breathed a sigh of relief. He then forgave Besant (who gave him the initial pass) for nearly breaking his foot with a slapshot earlier in the game.

Another positive from the game was how the Pirates actually utilized their D-Men on the point. Really. Like, multiple times! Some great pressure late in the game saw Leggett hit Besant with a pass at the blueline, and his bellowing blast went through five pairs of legs and the goalie for his team-leading second point of the season. Final score: Pirates 3, Cyclones 0.

No rest for the good guys, as they hit the ice again on Monday, September 22, 2014 at 9:10pm against the expansion Toronto Benchwarmers (1-0-0).

True North Hockey CanadaGood Guys, Great Game!