Monday, December 12, 2016

1985 Lewis Cup Finals

As the Pittsburgh Stingers and Seattle Grey Wolves prepared for the 1985 Lewis Cup Finals, rumours continued to swirl about the future of the troubled Dallas Metros franchise. On the morning of game one, a story out of a Milwaukee newspaper appeared to confirm the multimillionaire Jerry Drum had indeed purchased the Metros with the intention of moving them to Wisconsin in the fall. PHL president Alan Garcia insisted on putting rumours aside until the conclusion of the series. “I don’t want to take attention away from this great match-up we have for the Lewis Cup, so out of respect for the Stingers and Grey Wolves organizations I will not comment on the Dallas situation until the series is over” said Garcia.

The finals began in Pittsburgh on May 23. Seattle immediately came flying out of the gate. Pete Holloway had two goals while Paul Walsh and Jason Radford each scored as well to give the Wolves a 4-1 win. In game two, Danny Stevenson finally got on the scoreboard after being held scoreless in game one, helping the Stingers to a 4-3 victory. The series shifted to Seattle for game three, and the Grey Wolves took full advantage of home ice. Jake Fairbanks and Pete Holloway each scored twice in a 4-2 win to give Seattle a 2-1 series lead. Seattle, despite being the undisputed underdog in the series, was proving to be too much for Pittsburgh’s aging defense. The talented trio of Holloway, Fairbanks, and Radford was on fire and that would continue early in game four when Holloway and Radford each scored to give the Wolves a 2-0 lead. Brian Hardy added to the lead early in the second. It appeared Seattle would take a choke hold on the series when Danny Stevenson suddenly exploded for four goals late in the second and early in the third to miraculously give Pittsburgh a 4-3 lead. The Emerald Forum was silent. With the Seattle net empty, Dave Breedon passed the puck to Stevenson, who slid it in the open net for his fifth goal of the game, making him the first player in PHL history to score five goals in a finals game.

Now Pittsburgh seemed to have regained control heading home with the series tied, but the Wolves still refused to quit. After the lead changed three times in game five, the game went into overtime. Both Jakob Martensson and Brian Westin played brilliantly throughout the first overtime and into the second. Eight minutes into the second period, Risto Rautianen finally ended it for Pittsburgh. The Stingers now stood one win away from their first Lewis Cup victory. The Lewis Cup was in the building for game six back at the Forum in Seattle. The game was tight through the first two periods, tied 2-2. As the third period began, Denis Porier scored to give Seattle a 3-2 lead. It appeared the series would reach a game seven when Danny Stevenson showed up once again with a clutch performance. Stevenson scored twice in fifteen seconds to give Pittsburgh the lead. In the dying minutes, Seattle pulled Westin as they tried desperately to tie the game, but it was too late. Kenny Sharp scored the empty net goal to seal the game and the Stingers piled off the bench. Danny Stevenson was named playoff MVP before hoisting the first Lewis Cup in franchise history.

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