clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Media Game Recap: Team DeCock roars back to steal Connors Cup win

Rumors of newspapers’ demise are greatly exaggerated if the results of the annual Jim Connors Media Cup are to be believed.

Jamie Kellner

RALEIGH — The obituaries of local newspapers are seemingly being written on a daily basis, but if the results of the Carolina Hurricanes’ annual Jim Connors Media Cup are any indication, any entity that employs Luke DeCock should only be discounted at one’s peril.

The 2019 edition of the Connors Cup saw Team DeCock storm back in the final minutes, coming from behind to top Team Armstrong 6-4 in a game hotly anticipated by combatants on both sides and by a raucous crowd of about fifteen people, most of whom were arena workers perturbed at the fact that the gaggle of media was delaying them from setting up tables on the arena floor for an event later in the night.

Hurricanes media relations manager Pace Sagester led all scorers with three points, including the game-winning goal, and Team DeCock goaltender Shane Willis sparkled in net, making infinity plus one saves according to the official scoresheet.

Things started well for the side captained by the ABC11 sports director, going up 2-0 in the first period on the strength of goals by CanesVision’s Zac Miklusak and captain Mark Armstrong. But just before the intermission, Canes media relations coordinator Mike Brown pulled Team DeCock back to within one, and it took very little time into the second period for WRAL’s Jared Fialko to tip home a point shot from 99.9 The Fan’s Dennis Cox.

In the second period Willis’ goaltending counterpart, television’s Mike Maniscalco, was whistled for bear-hugging The Fan’s Joe Ovies, drawing the ire of the Team Armstrong bench which was incensed by several earlier non-calls from referee Emile Hartman. Maniscalco made the save on Ovies, but from there Willis took over, stealing the spotlight from his more famous pregame co-host by repeatedly robbing media relations VP Mike Sundheim, who cursed his luck more than once and committed to drowning his sorrows in the parking lot following the game.

Team DeCock’s captain, the News and Observer sports columnist, committed a holding the stick penalty midway through the third period, and the web’s Michael Smith converted a nice penalty shot to put Team Armstrong back up with six minutes remaining. All that was needed was for Maniscalco to shut the door the way he had earlier in the game.

He couldn’t do it.

Three unanswered goals in the span of 2:13, started by Cup invitee Brice Connors and capped off by pair of Sagester markers, the last an empty-netter with 17 seconds remaining, turned the tables and handed DeCock his third Connors Cup in history. Maniscalco, uncharacteristically curt following the game, had little to say to this reporter following the collapse that denied Armstrong the Cup in his first season as a team captain.

Canes Country was represented on Team Armstrong by senior writers Brett Finger and Andrew Ahr, neither of whom contributed much of anything to the scoresheet. Following the game, Finger admitted that Team DeCock wanted it more, while Ahr stated his desire to force a trade to the St. Louis Blues.

Following the game, competitors on both sides celebrated and/or commiserated over cups of Storm Brew beer, which to no one’s surprise was nearly tapped out by the time the media had finished with it.

Scoring Summary

  1. Armstrong - Miklusak 1 (unassisted) 3:57 1st
  2. Armstrong - Armstrong 1 (Maniscalco) 13:20 1st
  3. DeCock - Brown 1 (Sagester) 14:24 1st
  4. DeCock - Fialko 1 (Cox, Mazur) :40 2nd
  5. Armstrong - Smith 1 (unassisted) 1:48 2nd
  6. DeCock - Cox 1 (unassisted) 13:55 2nd
  7. Armstrong - Smith 2 (unassisted) (PS) 8:20 3rd
  8. DeCock - Connors 1 (Lavalette) 12:30 3rd
  9. DeCock - Sagester 1 (Brown) 13:10 3rd
  10. DeCock - Sagester 2 (Willis) (EN) 14:43 3rd
Jamie Kellner