Pirates ‘Cruz’ to shootout win

Chris Clegg
South Peace News

While it was the goaltenders who stole the show in the battle of the NPHL’s Beasts of the East Dec. 10, it was a forward who proved to be the hero.
Cruz Cote scored the only goal of the shootout to give the hometown Falher Pirates a hard-fought 4-3 win over the Manning Comets. Cruz scored on his attempt while Pat Rowan, Dallas Brochu, Joseph Sylvain and Trevor Tokarz failed.
But it didn’t matter. Falher goaltender Ryan Noble stoned all five Manning shooters to win the game including Wyatt Noskey, Brendan Baumgartner, Raine D’or, Ty Deleeuw and Michael Gillan.
It spoiled a heroic effort by Manning goaltender Braden Gamble. The Pirates outshot the Comets 60-26. Gamble was outstanding stopping 57 shots to give the Comets any hope of escaping town with a point, let alone a win.
The win pulled the 6-4-0-0 Pirates to within four points of the first place 7-1-1-1 Comets in the East Division at the halfway point of the season. It might be a big early to look ahead, but the Comets hold the season series edge and tiebreaker with a win and shootout loss, unless by season’s end the Pirates have more wins. Had the Comets won it might have all but locked up first.
The teams play two more times, in Falher Jan. 14 and at Manning Jan. 28.
Three times the Pirates trailed in the game, only to come back. Gillen’s power play goal was the only scoring in the first period.
In the second period, Darren Kramer tied the game, but it took the Comets only 38 seconds to regain the lead on Deklin Whillans’ goal. Neil Maisonneuve tied the game on a power play just past the midway point but once again the Comets rallied. Tyler Dillman gave the Comets as 3-2 lead with 5:25 left.
In the third period, Kramer tied the game 3-3 only 37 seconds in. Darren Brochu and Pat Rowan assisted, the second helper for both players on the night.
The Pirates outshot the Comets 20-7 in the period, and 5-3 in overtime, but couldn’t score.
Each team continued its stellar penalty kill. Each team was 1-for-5 with the man advantage. Falher’s league best penalty kill is 4-for-52 or 92.31 per cent, compared to Manning’s 5-for-52, or 90.38 per cent. Manning’s power play is slightly better at 17.07 per cent compared to Falher’s 16 per cent.
The Pirates end 2022 with a road game at Valleyview Dec. 17. Next home game is Jan. 7 when they host the Grimshaw Huskies, who sit tied for last with a 3-8 record with the Valleyview Jets, the latter having played two less games.

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