The Tuesday Night League finals recorded a league record 16 fans in attendance, and the battle on the ice did not disappoint. A revamped 2016 Summer Panthers roster came with raised expectations, as the upgrades on offense payed dividends and the dogpound stayed strong on defense.
The game began with a furious pace as Buffalo Bill’s Auto came out of the gate flying in their 4th Tuesday Night League finals appearance. Some solid goaltending and backchecking kept both teams off the board for the first few minutes. The Silent Assassin, who had been silent on the scoreboard of late, made some noise in a big way on a PatMan rush down the ice. He finished off a broken play out front over the goalie’s head to give the Panthers a 1-0 lead. Two shifts later, Philly would continue to break his own playoff goal scoring record, notching his 4th of the postseason on a snipe from the top of the circle, 2-0 Panthers. Drew V also continued the first period onslaught, notching a five hole snipe on a pass from Fast Drew, one of three assists on the night for him. Panther finished out the period on a bit of a defensive stand, as Bill’s Garage kept the barrage of slappers coming.
The second period started out as a bit of a letdown offensively, with Auto taking the play to Newy’s end of the ice for the first half of the period. Once again, as he has during his entire four-year career, Philly picked up puck on a 3 on 2, and buried, giving the Panthers a much needed 4 goal cushion. Auto would keep the pedal to the floor and give the Panthers a real hard time in their own zone.
The third period started out with the Panthers carrying the play, but 3 untimely penalties gave the PK unit all it could handle. Then, as has been the case all playoffs, the Drew-Drew-Matty line showed their offensive prowess with a nice 3 on 2, finished with Matty going top shelf. That was the straw that broke the camels back, as a 5-1 lead took all the wind out of Bill’s Auto, Garage, and Repair. Honorary Panther Russ Noonan took a penalty late in the third breaking up Bon on a 3 on 1, from the bench. Questionable call, but the refs (including former Panther Phil B (RIP)) couldn’t let the game get out of hand.
Ladies and gentlemen, I have been to the Great Wall of China, I have seen the Pyramids of Egypt, I’ve even witnessed a grown man satisfy a camel. But never in all my years have I witnessed something as improbable, as impossible, as what we’ve witnessed here today!
Summer Panthers. 2016 Tuesday Night League Champions!