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5/21 2001 Game Result
had been waiting all season to play against their league-famous
goalie who had jumped ship to "Boico Engineering"
during the off-season and hoped to give Joey a "Knight"
he'd NEVER FORGET!
The Knights started the "head games" early on - even before the game - using the high-volume "JOEYYYYYYYYYYYYY' call from assistant coach McDonald who had sworn revenge and retribution on Joey since the season had begun.
As the two teams prepared to battle, posters began to show up mysteriously all around the arena! Posters claiming JOEY!!!!! Posters with Photo's of JOEY with a puck embedded in his forehead, posters claiming "JOEY MUST Go Down!" .... the crowd buzzed in anticipation!!
Unknown to their on-time-inner goalie, while the clock ticked down the seconds to the start the game, the Knights huddled secretly in locker room #9 donning their now-famous JOEY-KNight-Jersey's - their old navy-blue jersey's with a variety of "Joey-Emblems" on their chests! Some had a smiling JOEY! Others had Joey with no front teeth, others had the Joey-puck-embedded-profile and one .. Steve Benninger's, had a smiling Joey with a red circle and a line through it ... The Knights were ready for JOEY!
The Boico-Knight match-up was surprisingly even during the first period ... despite a celebrated Pavelich-Benninger 1-2 punch on the first line, Joey was able to keep the game scoreless through the first period.
10 minutes later, the Knights found themselves more than half-way through the second period (and the game!) still scoreless! At this point, JOEY confessed later, he was actually starting to entertain ideas like : "hey - one fluke goal and we've got a shot at winning this!" ... and that nightmare was nearly realized as Gerry Krause got called for a cheap tripping penalty (the first penalty of the night) putting Boico on a 5-4 power-play. It didn't look good for the Friday Knights and some actually thought that they could see some of JOEY's pearly-white's gleaming out from under his mask as the Boico power-play began.
Ironically - that power-play was the beginning of the end for JOEY and the Boico-Boys ... playing down 4 on 5 gave Steve Benninger and Marty Pavelich just the added incentive (and maneuvering room!) that they needed and a the Knights suddenly moved to the next level! Despite the manpower advantage, Boico couldn't seem to control the puck and it was all Marty and Steve for the length of the power play. The two teamed up to wipe the smile off of JOEY's face and pretty soon he was sliding, kicking, blocking, moving, dancing and even standing on his head as if it were an old re-play from the fall-season Friday evenings at the Detroit skate club. And as it always is on those Fall-and-Winter late-night Friday evenings at DSC, it was a pretty evenly matched battle ... JOEY took his game up to the next level to keep Steve and Marty's vicious attack at bay. It looked like a classic stalemate until Marty hit EVERYONE (including JOEY!) with the big surprise of the KNight!
\Tommy Partain - cool under the pressure of the power-play saw Marty breaking for open ice and hit him with a crisp pass - right on the money. Marty made two patented "Pavelich-Pivots" to get around a Boico defender and an embarrassed Boico winger. This left Marty with a clear shot at JOEY (his 2nd or third of the powerplay, but this time he had some room to "play"). Marty picked a small sliver of white-space between JOEY's crouching frame and the post and started winding up for his goalie-decapitating slapper. JOEY tensed for the delivery - and being no stranger to Marty's cannon-shots was respectful but not afraid. And being the miserly goalie that he is - JOEY eased forward cutting Marty's angle to slim proportions. The entire arena froze in anticipation of the mighty blast.
Marty still "fully wound" started his downstroke and JOEY eased forward just an inch or two more ... it looked like another "who'll beat-who" drama played out so many times before on Friday nights in the past few years ... it could've gone either way - EXCEPT FOR THE SURPRISE! Marty stopped his mighty drive just a few inches from contact and tapped the puck harmlessly sideways - surprisingly NOT goalward, but on a lazy dribbling path towards the opposite boards. The arena remained frozen in time - could the unflappable IHL veteran have "choked" on this golden opportunity??!?!? Had JOEY prevailed without so much as the crack of the puck on his pads?!?!? What had Marty done?!??
Pavelich had seen the play developing the way Michelangelo sees David in a block of marble, the way DaVinci sees MonaLisa on a blank canvass, the way Pete McDonald sees a reverberating "JOEY!!!!" in a quiet lockeroom ....
Streaking in from the blue line at a speed Marty had anticipated was the Steve Benninger freight-train and it was at top-speed and bearing in on JOEY and the completely open right-hand side of the net ... Stevie one-timed the perfectly placed slapper-turned-pass change of pace that Pavelich had delivered up and sent the puck rising into the far reaches of the net behind JOEY and instantly "un-froze" the silent eternity that had been the last second and a half since Marty's wind-up.
The Friday Knight bench erupted and as the sticks beat out a celebratory rhythm on the boards and walls of the Troy Ice Center Rink #2, the unmistakable fog-horn voice of Assistant Coach Pete McDonald bellowed out a "JOEY!!!! THE FLOODGATES ARE OPENED!" that rang thru the arena. Marty had done with a small tap of his lumber what all his forceful slap-shots and the Knights good efforts hadn't been able to do for more than half the game : put one past the great JOEY! Thank the spirit of the GREAT ONE that Steve Benninger was there to finish what Marty had started! The only question now was "how many would the Knights get - and would Coach McDonald be able to fulfill his season-long threat of sneaking on thru JOEY's 5-hole?"
Within 5 minutes (the end of the second period and the first few seconds of the third period) those questions were answered - John Dharte tipped in a Glen Boice slapper to put the Knights up 2-0 with a minute left in the second period and Terry Toland made it 3-0 by slapping in a second-of-the-game Pavelich-Partain perfect set-up.
But what of big-mouth Pete's bold promise to smoke one past JOE? There was only 2 minutes left in the game when the Production Line took the ice (the bench groaned because they KNEW these normally short-shifters just might stay out there until they got one past JOEY! ....). Macaskill, Rochon and McDonald worked hard but just couldn't put enough pressure on JOEY to get him to cave ... so with about 1:40 left to go - and no apparently no way to get through the stone wall ... Pete McDonald was faced with eating his words ... when suddenly he found a loose puck and looked up to see JOEY in position and ready to shut him down yet one more time. Pete readied his stick for one last patented McDonald-wrister when something quite miraculous occurred ...
Was it a mental lapse on Pete's part? Had his heart, like the Grinch's on Christmas Day in Whoville, suddenly grown three times in size? Had the shock of seeing his idol Marty give up a slap-shot opportunity for the good of the team effort made him suddenly team-wary? Or did he see that there was again NO WAY to get the puck past JOEY???? Whatever the case - it will be debated in Hooters and the Wagon Wheel and the Moose preserve for years to come - but regardless of why - Pete ate his words that moment and slid the puck, as his idol Marty had done a period earlier, to a piece of empty ice that a line-mate was rapidly approaching. Mike Macaskill - almost fainted as he saw the beautiful pass coming from the normally greedy-gut McDonald who desperately had needed to get a goal of his own. Had Pete flipped?!? Mike almost ALMOST wasn't ready for what he was hand-delivered - but he snapped out of it just it time to ram the puck past JOEY. The Production Line had scored, the Knights had gone to a 4-0 victory and Pete McDonald had surprised us all (including JOEY!) by passing up his chance to score and passing the puck to an open Mike Macaskill.
The celebration overflowed into the locker room, into the parking lot and into "Joe Cools Bar & Grill", and into the wee hours of the next morning as JOEY joined his abandoned teammates and even bought the beer (of course - JOEY drank the bitter-sweet thirst-quenching libation of "Loser-Beer") and everyone asked the question : "What would've happened if Marty had finished up with that slapper that he started late in the 2nd period?"
Some say - Marty was DUE to hit the sweet spot and beat JOEY clean - others say that JOEY would've won the battle of the blast - no one will ever know .... What we do know is that Marty's pass sealed the victory for the Knights and may have even changed Pete McDonald forever .... As coach Scotty Bowman Thomas and Assistant Coach Pete Dave Lewis McDonald piled into the car for the sweet ride home - Pete gave Steve the high five and said wistfully with maybe a hint of a tear in his eye : "... I can't believe I passed that puck to Macaskill - I'll NEVER hear the end of not scoring on JOEY " ...
.... and he WON'T !
Click Here to see the post game pictures !
If I hadn't pulled my groin muscle on my first shot of the game (which was fired at JOEY's head and nearly went in), I would have put in at least three. Once that unfortunate incident occurred, I knew I had to plan on playing like a mere mortal. I dug deep at the end of the game and was just about ready to put that puck past JOEY when I decided to solidify my reputation once and for all. The reputation as an unselfish playmaker can no longer be debated. I saw the play unfolding with Gretzky like vision. JOEY never had a chance. 5 Years of hearing Marty yell "PASS THE PUCK" has finally sunken in.
My favorite play of the game was PHIL stoning the BOICO hack on an all out breakaway. Because of the pain I was in, my loud mouth was not quite up to par. However, I'm pretty sure JOEY heard me when I bellowed "See JOEY, that's how it's done".
In case anyone was
wondering why Benninger's jersey had the circle and red
line through JOEY's head, it had to do with JOEY's
behavior towards his cousin in Toronto. JOEY was a
guest at that tournement and took advantage of his
celebrity status that won't be discussed on this family
oriented web page. By the way, How about the
way Steve ran JOEY. That was payback time. This is
the picture our official photographer took of Steve on
top of JOEY: