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Professional Hockey League; A Fictional History: 2007 Off-Season

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2007 Playoffs

 

Round One

 

Eastern Conference

 

Boston (1) vs Quebec (8)

Quebec makes history in the worst way, becoming the first team in PHL history to go an entire best-of-seven series without scoring a goal, while Boston’s Mark Davis is the first goaltender to earn four straight shutouts to sweep a series.

 

Philadelphia (2) vs Houston (7)

Philadelphia starts the series strong with a 3-1 win, but Petr Kaleek comes up big in game two, earning a shutout as Houston ties the series. The Redshirts cannot solve Kaleek in another 2-0 loss as Houston takes the lead. Jared Baxter scores twice in game four, but it’s not enough as The Roughnecks score three times in the last seven minutes to win the game and take a 3-1 series lead. Baxter scores again in a game five Redshirts win, but Derek Ewin’s two-goal performance in game six gives the Roughnecks the upset win. After the loss, Baxter, who had scored another goal in game six, expressed his frustration. “I can carry us but I can’t win the (bleeping) game by myself every time!” For the Roughnecks, it was a big moment for a franchise that hadn’t won a playoff round since 1989 when it was still playing in Halifax.

 

Long Island (3) vs Carolina (6)

Despite playing well throughout the series, the Raiders’ inability to win on the road catches up to them. Chris McNally is solid in net, Ilya Rusakivich and Ryan Shelton each have five points as the Concordes win in six games.

 

Toronto (4) vs Atlanta (5)

The Racers never get into the series as the scrappy Copperheads stifle Toronto’s firepower. In addition to scoring three goals in the series, Jason Ferland gets in Joe Murdock’s face all series. The 8-0 loss in game five was one of the most embarrassing moments in team history. Head coach Rex  Hull blasted his team after the loss, telling the media the effort was “completely unacceptable”.  Atlanta completes the upset and advances.

 

 

Western Conference

 

Milwaukee (1) vs Portland (8)

The Cascades’ playoff debut was predictably brief. Despite a surprising win in game one, the Choppers just proved to be just too much, winning the next two. A Kris Lukowich overtime goal in game four tied the series, but Milwaukee responded with a 4-0 shutout win in game five, then took the series in game six two nights later.

 

Dallas (2) vs Los Angeles (7)

For the second year in a row, the Wizards and Desperados meet in the first round and for the second year in a row, the series reaches a deciding game in Dallas. The Desperados had a chance to win in game six, but an overtime goal from Oleg Gusarov forced it to game seven. The Wizards come out strong in game seven and never let up, pulling off the upset with a 4-1 win.

 

Edmonton (3) vs Vancouver (6)

Both teams come out hitting right from the opening faceoff, as the Bighorns take a 3-1 series lead after the first four games. Edmonton needed a boost from their young superstar and they get it in game five. After putting up only one point in the first four games, Kris Nazarenko proves to be the overtime hero, beating Philippe Gagnon to save the Northern Lights’ season. Nazarenko scores early in game six and then assists on a goal from Brandon Kelso that holds up to be the winner. Tempers flare at the end, as a few fights break out, including a big one between tough veterans Tory Partridge and Brendan Carnes. Edmonton comes out strong in game seven, earning a 1-0 lead early. The lead holds until the final moments of the third period, when the Bighorns pull Gagnon. The Bighorns push hard but a penalty to Devan Wolf means means a 5-on-5 even with an extra Vancouver skater. Bruce Evans has the empty netter for the Northern Lights. Edmonton moves on to round two but at a price, as Kris Nazarenko sustained a shoulder injury in the second period and did not return.

 

Chicago (4) vs Oakland (5)

The Nuggets get off to a bad start as goaltender Travis Sweet suffers from food poisoning just prior to game one. The Nuggets still manage to split the first two games after winning game one. Sweet returns when the series heads to Oakland and his performance is phenomenal, as he allows only one goal in the next three games. Oakland upsets Chicago and moves on to round two.

 

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Round Two

 

Boston vs Houston

The home team wins each game early on as the teams split the first four 2-2. Jason Crowley misses the first four games to rest a sore back but returns for game five and proves to be the hero, scoring the overtime winner. Game six also goes to OT, and this time its captain Brendan Marlo that scores to send the ‘Dogs to the Eastern Conference Finals.

 

Milwaukee vs Los Angeles

The heavily favoured Choppers start off their second-round matchup looking good, taking game one 2-0. However, the wheels come off in game two, as a 1-0 lead evaporates in the third period as the Wizards score three quick goals to take the game 3-1. Game three in LA goes horribly for the Choppers as Matt Darwin is pulled after allowing four goals in the first ten minutes. Milwaukee scored twice in the second and third periods but it’s too little too late, as the Wizards take a 2-1 series lead. Darwin is given another chance in game four, which goes to overtime. Seconds into overtime, Isaac Hart scores, giving the Wizards a commanding 3-1 series lead. Milwaukee recovers in game five, winning a high-scoring affair 4-3. In game six, the Choppers hope to force a deciding game back home, and get off to a solid start, nursing a 2-1 lead entering the third. Hart scores to tie it about halfway through the third period, then Luca Schober scores to give the Wizards the lead. Milwaukee makes a strong push at the end, but the Wizards hang on for the biggest upset of the playoffs.

 

Long Island vs Atlanta

The Copperheads’ magical run continues, as veteran goalie Ben Kerrigan becomes the first goalie ever to open a series with consecutive road shutouts. The Concordes bounce back with a win in game three, but lose a heartbreaker in overtime in game four. Back home for game five, the Concordes once again struggle to solve Kerrigan and Atlanta moves on with a 3-2 win.

 

Edmonton vs Oakland

Kris Nazarenko misses the first two games of the series with a dislocated shoulder. Edmonton is forced to settle for the split heading to Oakland. In game three, Nazarenko attempts to play but leaves after two shifts. The Nuggets win 4-1. Nazarenko is out for game four and veteran Teppo Saari scores two points in a 2-0 Oakland win. With his team in trouble, Nazarenko returns once again to the Edmonton lineup and scores twice in a 3-1 win. Game six would be one of the best performances of Travis Sweet’s young career, as Sweet stops 51 shots in a 3-0 win to send Oakland to the Western Conference Final.

 

                                               dZR1dU7.jpg

 

Conference Finals

 

Boston vs Atlanta

Boston comes out strong early with a 2-0 win, but Atlanta bounces back with a 3-2 win in game two. In Atlanta, Boston regains the series lead, then a hat-trick from Jason Ferland leads to a 5-3 win for the Copperheads. Now a best-of-three, the series shifts back to Boston where Bulldogs are determined not to blow the series, knowing a loss at home could be disastrous. Mark Davis comes up big and Mikael Larsson scores a late third-period goal to give the Bulldogs the win and a chance to wrap up the series in Atlanta. In game six, Ben Kerrigan is spectacular once again in the Copperheads’ net, while Ferland continues his strong play with two points. The Copperheads win 3-1 and force game seven in Boston. After a playoff year full of big upsets, the Bulldogs held their ground in game seven. Mark Davis stops 40 shots for his seventh shutout of the playoffs while Brendan Marlo scores twice and Boston returns to the Lewis Cup Finals.

 

Oakland vs Los Angeles

In the 2007 Western Conference Finals, the “Battle of California” would decide who goes to the Lewis Cup. Oakland and LA battled hard in game one with the Nuggets jumping ahead in the final moments of the game before sealing it with an empty-netter. A 32-save shutout from Travis Sweet gives Oakland a 2-0 lead heading to LA. The Wizards find their way into the series with a 3-1 win at home in game 3, then almost tie the series in game 4 when leading the game with 50 seconds left. With Sweet pulled, Justin Ramsey scores to tie the game and send it to overtime. Two overtime periods would solve nothing, but early in the third extra frame, Jordan Rifkin beats LA goaltender Matt Stover to give Oakland a 3-1 series lead. The loss would be devastating for the Wizards, who would lose game five 4-1. Oakland wins the series and advances to the Lewis Cup Final for the first time since 1980.

 

                                 XyLiusI.png

 

                                                 yklCLme.png

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Wow. Atlanta completely blew me out my expectations out of the water (as did Houston). I was hoping for an all south division finals just to laugh in the face of my "south so bad" jokes.

 

Also, Travis Sweet is too good right now.

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So, my Chops choked in losing to LA...also, I REALLY miss the fleur-de-goalie on Quebec's center ice.

That said, go Nuggets!

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Crowley: *Wins Conference Finals with Boston*

Dallas:

dc7f84ff79bff2aeef795c17a304b13d.jpg

😭Lik if yu crry evry time😭

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2 hours ago, ItsSlothy said:

Crowley: *Wins Conference Finals with Boston*

Dallas:

dc7f84ff79bff2aeef795c17a304b13d.jpg

😭Lik if yu crry evry time😭

It would make the same sense if he made the finals in Dallas. He was with the Lumberjack of Minnesota for his whole career, not the Desperadoes. 

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2007 Lewis Cup Finals

 

 

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Jason Crowley turned 40 years old on May 30, 2007. To celebrate, he played in game one of the Lewis Cup Finals for the fourth time in his career. Everyone knew the matchup between Boston and Oakland would be tight and game one proved as much, with the Bulldogs edging out the Nuggets 2-1. In game two, Travis Sweet was in top form for the Nuggets, stopping 38 shots for a shutout while Jordan Rifkin scored the game’s only goal in a 1-0 Nuggets win that tied the series. The game was controversial, however, as Boston appeared to tie the game late, but the goal was disallowed due to goaltender interference. The replay showed that Jeffery Simpkins was clearly pushed into Sweet by Oakland defenseman Evan Butler, but the call stood, leaving Bulldogs’ coach Maxime St-Beaudoin in a rage. “You play your best and this is how it ends? What a (expletive) joke!” an Irate St-Beaudoin told the media afterwards.

 

As the series shifted to Oakland, local fans were annoyed that the media was focused more on the ‘Dogs disallowed goal and less on the stellar play of Travis Sweet. Game three was chippy, with several post-whistle scrums as the tension grew between the two clubs. Rifkin scored for the Nuggets in the second period, followed by Teppo Saari early in the third. Meanwhile, the Bulldogs once again could not solve Sweet. With seven minutes to go in the game, Ryan Lockhart and Jordan Rifkin each took a penalty for the Nuggets, giving Boston a 5-on-3 powerplay. Boston pummeled Sweet with shots and Sweet turned away every one, leading Bulldogs’ captain Brendan Marlo to smash his stick at the bench. Sweet was clearly in Boston’s heads as the 20-year-old held on for his second straight shutout. Oakland now led the series 2-1.

 

St-Beaudoin made some lineup changes in game four, putting his two best forwards, Marlo and Mikael Larsson, together on the top line. The strategy worked, as Marlo found Larsson in the slot and Larsson scored to break the drought just two minutes into the game. While most of the attention all series was on Sweet, it was the other young goalie wearing red and black that stepped up big in game four. Just a year removed from winning the cup as Jussi Sykko’s backup in Toronto, Mark Davis was now making the most of his opportunity as a starter. Davis stopped 33 shots in game four while Crowley scored late to give Boston a narrow 2-1 win and a tied series.

 

The Boston Bulldogs headed home for gave five with their confidence restored. Just as Travis Sweet had been in the Bulldogs’ heads early in the series, now Marlo and Larsson were clearly in Sweet’s head. The duo combined for three goals on five shots early in game five. When Simpkins scored to make in 4-0, Sweet was pulled in favour of former Bulldog Kevin Washer. Washer had been a rookie when he backstopped Boston to their last Lewis Cup in 1993 and now in his final season, he received a standing ovation from the usually hostile Boston crowd as he skated to the net. Washer played well and the Nuggets managed to score twice, but it was too little too late, as Boston ultimately won 5-2 to sit just one win away from a title.

 

In game six, Oakland coach Ken Gilbert decided to stick with Travis Sweet in net. Sweet and Davis put on one of the greatest goaltender exhibitions in Lewis Cup Final history. Sweet stopped 42 shots while Davis stopped 39. The Nuggets scored early on a point shot from Pierre Dubois and the lead held right into the third period. A game seven in Boston seemed inevitable, until Mikael Larsson scored with just under a minute left. Everyone prepared for overtime but right off the faceoff Jason Crowley slapped it towards the goal and beat Sweet to put Boston up 2-1. The building went silent. In a matter of seconds the Nuggets had gone from nursing a lead to force a game seven to now desperately needing a goal to stay alive. Oakland pressed hard for the final 38 seconds but Davis stood tall. As the seconds ticked away the Bulldogs began pouring off the bench and mobbing Davis. For the second straight year the MVP was a goaltender, but this time it would be the losing goaltender as Travis Sweet took home the honour. Greg Nolan came out to present the Lewis Cup for the first time as commissioner. “This is my favorite part of the job so far” he announced before handing it to Brendan Marlo. After skating with the cup, Marlo then handed it to his former Minnesota teammate, Jason Crowley. It was Crowley’s third championship and the first where he had scored the winning goal, the perfect ending to a magnificent career.

 

                  ZSTq8gU.png

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Why did the nuggets wear their ugly mustard gold uniform for EVERY HOME GAME this playoffs?

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Keep your heads up, Oak-Town...next year you've got this.

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Great ending to a great career. Where does Crowley rank in terms of GOAT status? 

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8 hours ago, ItsSlothy said:

Why did the nuggets wear their ugly mustard gold uniform for EVERY HOME GAME this playoffs?

As much as I like Sweet, I found myself rooting against Oakland just because no team deserves a title in a uniform that ugly.

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Considering Nashville's mustard third uniforms were in use around this time OTL, the gold makes sense for a team called the Nuggets. It's still ugly as sin to the point that Vegas Gold would be a significant improvement. 

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10 hours ago, ItsSlothy said:

Why did the nuggets wear their ugly mustard gold uniform for EVERY HOME GAME this playoffs?

The one every game they played in that jersey until the final. And they won the first game they wore it in the finals and both times they lost in it were extremely close games. You could say they played much better in it.

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13 hours ago, JG36 said:

Great ending to a great career. Where does Crowley rank in terms of GOAT status? 

Jason Crowley is the American GOAT for sure. He's not Skippy Cleveland or David Appleby, but he's no doubt a legend.

He did the impossible--made me root for a Boston team to win a championship.

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