International Grav-Ball Association

I.G.B.A. 1997 News

Mafia Win First Title!

Sludge lose Championship, Meatman

The Chicago Mafia finished their amazing 5-0 run through the 1997 playoffs by beating the Cleveland Sludge by a 4-2 score. The Mafia were powered by two goals each from Giuseppe Carducci and Goggles Paisano.

In the process of losing the game, the Sludge also lost their fullback and Captain, The Meatman, to the Hall Of Honor.

The game started off on a bad note for the Sludge. They had started reserve forward Jim (Don't Give Me Anything To Drink) Jones, who won the faceoff. The Sludge threw him down the Volume, with the intention of attacking Mafia fullback Maurice Pirandello. However, Pirandello was able to incapacitate Jones in mid-air before he was able to resist.

Then, Heartless Huey made one of his many significant contributions to the game. After Jones was incapacitated, Huey attacked Pirandello. Two ATU's later, when Sludge halfback Rifdachilio Hognaleeman took out Mafia forward Torquato "Torch" Parini, Huey was able to stun the lovely and talented Mafia goalie, Josephine "Big Mama" Malone. The Mafia were able to spirit the ball away into the corner, and hold onto it until Malone regained consciousness. However, this led to a very subdued first period, in which the Mafia did not even cross the red line until the 27th ATU, and a total of only 3 shot attempts were made.

One event in the first period did have a lasting impact. The Mafia were attempting to get one last shot attempt before the final horn. As forward Dominik "Captain Flash" Besyzan was trying to get into position to receive a pass, he was blindsided by a Grandpa Stroehmann elbow, and woke up in the head trauma unit of the Mafia Medical Center. Stroehmann received a penalty for his efforts.

The Mafia worked the power play brilliantly. James Jumpetti passed the ball forward to halfback and Championship Series MVP Giuseppe "Zip Gun Gus" Carducci. Carducci had moved past a Sludge defender, who had failed in an attempt to attack him and gotten out of position. This gave Jumpetti an enormous lane for his pass. Carducci broke right through the middle, and put the ball past an obviously displeased Sludge goalie Harold Samolej.

11 ATU's later, the Mafia seemed to put a clamp on the series. Fullback Maurice Pirandello moved the ball forward to Carducci. Carducci moved right up to the Sludge goal, popped The Meatman with the ball, then calmly shot it behind goalie Harold Samolej for the 2-0 lead. Machine-gun fire filled the air as the Mafia faithful began to celebrate.

The Sludge were later devastated to learn that The Meatman's injuries would require 3 bionic parts, putting him over the career limit of 5 and into the I.G.B.A. Hall Of Honor.

The Sludge showed a little bit of resolve. Forward Peter Kosikonikov, forced into playing fullback due to the Mafia's annihilation of the Sludge back line, was able to get the Sludge's first marker with only 7 ATU's left in the 2nd period. This goal will be seen on I.G.B.A. Films highlights for years to come, as it must be the most bizarre occurrence since the days of Sammy Slammy.

Heartless Huey was in the Mafia end, the result of Goggles Paisano's successful attack on Grandpa Stroehmann. George Smith had positioned halfback Carducci carefully between Huey and Mafia goalie Josephine Malone, just in case there was another incapacitation. Suddenly, Carducci decide to try a run up-Volume against the depleted Sludge defense. So, he took the ball from Malone, and had her throw him forward. Carducci was unable to stop his flight, and was incapacitated when he struck the wall. This caused Huey to attack (and incapacitate) Malone, leaving the Mafia goal open and the ball free.

Sludge halfback Rifdachilio Hognaleeman collected the ball, and moved forward to seize this glorious opportunity. Unfortunately for him, he moved within range of Mafia fullback Alphonso Incarcadina, who was able to attack him and steal the ball. The Sludge were desperate to get the ball back, and even resorted to sending goalie Samolej forward to attack Incarcadina, but to no avail. Finally, halfback Drano was able to assault Incarcadina, incapacitate him and steal the ball. Luckily for the Sludge, Samolej was there to pick up the ball when Drano was beamed to the penalty box.

In the meantime, the Mafia had been able to replace Malone with The Hooded Fang, to leave the Sludge with yet another missed opportunity. But, Samolej moved the ball forward to Peter Kosikonikov, and he got off a quick shot which fooled Fang and found the goal. The Sludge had managed to turn victory into defeat and back into victory again, and hoped that this would carry them into the 3rd period.

But, the Mafia used their playoff experience to calmly restore the 2 goal lead. With Drano still in the penalty box for his assault on Incarcadina, Goggles Paisano scored a goal at 11 ATU's on a pass from rookie fullback Flemming Rasmussini. Paisano's initial effort was stopped by Samolej, but the rebound went right back to Paisano. He calmly shot the ball into the goal, avoiding Samolej's frantic attempts to stop him.

This goal sent the Mafia faithful into a frenzy, the Sludge faithful to the exits, and Sludge goalie Harold Samolej to the showers, replaced by Luscious Johnny Bondage.

The Mafia controlled most of the rest of the game, but the Sludge managed to make it interesting with 12 ATU's remaining. With the whole team pressing forward, Stewart McClain tried to work a pass to fullback Felco Loppers, who had stationed himself at the corner of the Mafia goal crease. A Mafia defender managed to intercept the pass, but was only able to deflect it. Loppers collected the deflection, turned and fired the ball behind The Hooded Fang, who was caught off-balance.

The Sludge again had a chance, but it did not last long. The Mafia won the faceoff, and forward Anthony "Busy Boy" Bisignano retreated with the ball to hide behind fullback Maurice Pirandello. The Sludge tried to extract the ball from him, to no avail. Surprising everyone, Pirandello passed forward and hit Goggles Paisano, who had eluded the Sludge defense. Paisano beat Bondage, ending the Sludge hopes for this year.

Mafia Take Commanding Lead

A depleted Chicago Mafia club came into the Ohio Extravagence and Aggrandizement Center last night, and defeated the Cleveland Sludge by a 3-1 score.

The Sludge had the better of play through the first two periods, but were unable to beat Mafia goalie Josephine "Big Mama" Malone until 41 ATU's into the 2nd period. Halfback Rifdachilio Hognaleeman took a pass from Hok Tuey and slid it behind Malone for the lead. The Sludge faithful were jubuilantly celebrating.

The Sludge, however, took two penalties in the last 3 ATU's of the second. The Mafia took advantage, and battered Sludge goalie Harold Samolej with shot after shot, but Samolej was equal to them all.

Finally, after one Sludge penalty had expired, and the Mafia had taken an equalizer, former Snow Bunny Adryan "Spikewhisker" Laurenski took the ball from a rebound, and fired at rocket at goal. Samolej was able to get a piece of it, but could do nothing as he watched it trickle past him and into the goal.

That goal was quickly followed by goals from Mahatma "Camel Spit" Kiddishuin and Giuseppi "Zip-Gun Gus" Carducci as the Mafia buried the Sludge for the remainder of the contest.

As in the Laurenski goal, Samolej was able to get a hand on Kiddishuin's effort, but again watched in horror as the ball trickled through him and into the net. The Sludge faithful were visibly deflated after this goal.

The Sludge put up a bit of a fight at the end, but the Mafia managed to gain the ball and bury it in their defensive corner. The Sludge finally extracted it for one final shot with 3 ATU's left, but Mafia fullback Dutch "Godbrother" Maverick managed to save it and deflect the ball to Adryan Laurenski. Maverick was incapacitated on the play, and Heartless Huey obliged the Mafia by taking out Sludge goalie Samolej. Laurenski handed the ball to Carducci and heaved him down the Volume. Carducci stopped, deftly stepped around Huey and the fallen Samolej and into the goal to clinch the victory.

Game 3 is scheduled for August 16 in Chicago. The Sludge will need a miracle, as they must sweep all three remaining games to win the title. The Sludge have lost 7 games in a row against the Mafia, and are only 2-11-1 all-time. The last Sludge win against the Mafia was the famous 6-1 bombardment in week 8 of the 1989 season. They also took a 5-2 decision in week 4 of 1987, although in that game they faced Mafia goalies Ggian Giordano and Eskerton Caglione, rather than Big Mama herself.

The Mafia will again be faced with injuries, as they will be without Matucci, Maverick, Restivo Besyzan, Santone and Pinkbrick. The Sludge are missing only Rick James. The Mafia will get some help, as Flemming Rasmussini, Anthony Bisignano, Sam Spade, Newton Blade and Alexander Zamboni were called up from their Peoria Street Punks farm team.

The Game's Afoot!

The 1997 I.G.B.A. Championship Series between the Chicago Mafia and the Cleveland Sludge got underway last night in Chicago. The game was supposed to be a home game for the regular season champion Sludge, but a scheduling conflict at the Ohio Extravagence and Aggrandizement Center forced game 1 to be held at St. Augustine's Converted Gymnasium.

Veteran backup forward Arlo Pinkbrick scored a goal after 90 ATU's of overtime to give Chicago the 2-1 win and the 1-0 series lead. Harold "Sammy" Samolej made the initial save on Pinkbrick's breakaway, but the rebound went directly to Mafia fullback Dutch "The Godbrother" Maverick. Maverick handed the ball right back to his speedy forward, who put it behind the outmanned Samolej to end the marathon contest.

The game started out very well, with four penalties and three incapacitations in the first 3 ATU's. However, the game quickly changed into an alternation of slow, cautious play with end-to-end action featuring wide open goals and terrible shooting.

Sludge forward Stewart McClain gave his team the lead early in the 2nd period. The goal was the 17th of his career, which finally put him past Chiefs Hall Of Honor forward Manfred Makitalo as the I.G.B.A.'s most prolific goalscorer. Makitalo had held the record since he scored 11 goals in the 7 game 1984-85 season.

The Mafia tied the game late in the 2nd, as Dominik "Captain Flash" Besyzan came directly from his second home (the penalty box), received the ball, and slammed it past Samolej.

Each team had several chances to clinch the victory during regulation. However, some poor shooting accuracy by both sides left many chances wasted. A total of 5 shots were attempted in the third period, with none on goal. In the overtimes, the Sludge forced saves on only 2 of 12 attempts, while the Mafia made good on 4 of their 8 (2 of those were on the goal-scoring play).

Game 2 is scheduled for July 12 in Chicago. The Sludge will be without the services of backup backup halfback Rick "Sledgehammer" James. The Mafia will see the return of injured forward John "Trenchcoat" Santone, but will be hurting at the fullback positions. Alfonso Incarcadina returns in game 3, but Samuel "Busted Flush" Matucci is out until game 4, and Restivo Besyzan will miss the remainder of the series. Goalscorer and hitman Dominik Besyzan will miss one game.

Mafia return to final!

The Chicago Mafia swept the Oahu Wave with two 2-1 wins in the I.G.B.A. Playoff. They will now make their fourth consecutive appearance in the I.G.B.A Championship Series, as they face the Cleveland Sludge in a Best-of-Five series.

The Mafia won both meetings between the two clubs this past season. However, that won't likely be an indication of how this series will go, as the Mafia lost both games to Oahu in the regular season, and still swept through the Playoffs.

The Sludge will be well-rested after four weeks of no competition. The Mafia have played in that time, but their injury toll was not very high. Still, they will start the series without the services of goleador Alphonso (the Corporate Enforcer) Incarcadina and sharpshooter John "Trenchcoat" Santone.

(c) 1997 I.G.B.A.