It wasn't pretty, but Ronin hung on to beat Cops/Crooks to retain the AHL REC B CUP for a third straight season. Ronin's core, formed from Euro-Trash, had won the previous 2 Championships. Ronin is a hodge-podge of international, well educated, hard working, journeymen and one hot girl. Net minder Geoff Lubin turned away a barrage of shots in the frantic third period to secure the 3-2 victory.
Dan Sartain squibbed one in with .02 seconds left in the second period to cement the game. The Cops picked up a couple young "ringers" who competed strongly. "Chin Strap" Matt, Jason Flom, Bardsley and three shifty Mother Puckers along with Pepper, Joe and the Vets waged quite a battle.
The Ronin D was formidable all season, starring Ryan Johnson#18, Rudy Koopsen#31, Donnie Buck#56, Richie Pearlstone#48 and the "Lidstrom-esqe" Brian#20, an off-season free-agent pickup. The "Production Line" of Kate #69, Andy#9 and Dan#24 were buzzing all night long, netting two of the tallies. "Fast Freddy" Rech#27, "Big Game" Jason#22, Chris#37 and Gerry#10 kept the fore check hot. Injured vets Dan Lauer and Kurt F. handled the doors.
It was a tremendous 17-1 season for the expansion Ronin. After parting ways with their former coach, the Euro team splintered. Former Trash players, on their new teams, played especially tough against Ronin all season. Allegations of "stacking the deck" fell on deaf ears once the squad bonded following a "near brawl" in their locker room, early season. Their only loss occurred on opening night when the Cops/Crooks "rented" former NHL Defenseman Stevie Costalas to fill in. He kept Ronin scoreless. 17 in a row, not bad.