The road to the playoffs for Danilchuk Auto and Chiara’s Auto was not an easy one. Both clubs struggled to get acclimated in this seasons highly competitive league play. Danilchuck began the season 5-0, only to fall deep into the cellar as the year went on finishing 7-18-3, an extremely disappointing campaign. When speaking to Captain Marc Lanzilli he stated, “We battled numbers issues all season long, and just couldn’t click as a unit”. Well it appears something may have clicked.
Danilchuk took to the ice Tuesday night March 27, 2012 against Milano’s Deli, one of the leagues highest scoring and dangerous offenses all season long. The game opened up at a furious pace as both teams went up and down the ice, before Milano’s opened up the scoring with a Mike Burri tally to make it 1-0. Moments later, Milano’s took advantage of a broken down breakout and big gun Peter Hanlon was able to pop one past Goaltender Mario Long. The lead was short lived, as Danilchuk went to work when Marc Lanzilli collected a pass from Matt Morrissey and buried one past Goalie Tony Dandrea cuttig the deficit to 1. Lanzilli’s goal lit the fire for Danilchuk, as Mark Moran then went to work putting a blast past Dandrea making it 2-2. Danilchuk then went on to score 2 more goals, one from Glenn Squillaciotti and one from Rob Pendola who collected a beautiful pass through the middle on a tic tac pass from Mark Buttiglieri and Morrissey. The 4-2 lead was short lived as another breakdown, this time in the Danilchuk defensive zone allowed Milano’s to jump right back into the game as Hanlon and Jared Melilo were able to lock it up at 4. Almost immediately Milano’s took back the lead on a flukey goal by Dave Chiaradonna. Another short lived lead, when Danilchuk tied it up at 5-5 on a Bill Corcoran tally. Danilchuk took the lead back on a beautiful goal by Morrissey on a fantastic pass from Corcoran to give Danilchuk the lead in which they never lost. Pendola and Squillaciotti added another goal a piece to make it a 7-5 lead for Danilchuk. Corcoran added an empty netter to seal the deal and advance Danilchuk into the semifinal for a date with the regular season champion, first place team, and defending EBMHL Champion East Boston Yacht Club.
In the nights 2nd Quarterfinal matchup, Chiara’s Auto took on a battle tested Royal Roast Beef, in what turned into the shocker of the evening. Chiara’s Auto has been led all season long by Mike Rodrigues, Paul Monzione, and Sean Smith and played most of the season in the 4th place spot, but when Royal Roast Beef turned it on, on the backs of Darrell Interbartolo, Sebastiano Amara, and Dante Arinella, Chiara’s took a backseat and plunged into the 5th spot. Royal Roast Beef looked to be a team that was primed for a very serious playoff run, but apparently Chiara’s Auto had other plans on this night. Darrell Interbartolo and his troops definitely didn’t expect goaltender Kenny Melillo to show up in the fashion that he did for Chiara’s Auto. Melillo turned in one of the best played games between the pipes we have seen this season. Everything that Royal could throw at Melillo was stopped this evening as Chiara’s Auto shut out the leagues second leading scorer, Interbartolo and his troops 6-0. Scoring for Chiara’s Auto was Paul Monzione with a pair, Sean Smith with a pair while Rodrigues and Jeff Delpidio notched the single tallies. Chiara’s Auto now advances on to face another of the leagues pleasant surprises, Lightning Express. The EBMHL Frozen Four takes place Tuesday night April 3rd, 2012 at Porazzo Rink in East Boston,with Lightning Express vs. Chiara’s Auto at 8:30pm followed by EBYC vs. Danilchuk Auto Body at 9:30pm, with the winners facing off in the EBMHL Championship on the following Tuesday April 10, 2012 at 8:50pm at Revere’s Cronin Rink located on Broadway. It only gets better from here, we hope to see you all at the rink.