October 26, 2014
Bam Bam's early exit deflates mates
Bam Bam is a battler.
But when a deflection of the evil orange plastic ball into his eye forced his early departure from Sunday's game, the fighting spirit also seemed to leave his team en route to a 15-12 defeat.
Playing from behind from the game's earliest moments, Bam Bam and his mates struggled to find their chemistry. And when passing plays did click, shots were rebuffed by Joker who was at the top of his game between the pipes.
Still, Bam Bam's plucky defence and commitment to go into battle along the boards kept his side within a lucky break or two of swinging the game their way.
Until one of those board battles deep in his team's own zone sent the ball up into Bam Bam's face and the feisty forward dropped to the concrete holding his hands up to his left eye.
While there was no damage immediately apparent, Bam Bam left the game.
HIs side's opportunistic opponents seized their advantage.
"It was definitely an opportunity for us to capitalize," said Beckenbauer. "When they're down a man it gives you a chance to run them down into the ground."
It wasn't quite that easy, said Yak. But his side did start breaking down defensively more often without their teammate's back end leadership.
"We started to get a little loose on defence that they really capitalized on it," said Yak. "I think we lost our mental toughness."
Only Twizzler's goaltending heroics kept the score within reach.
And when opportunities finally did start coming their way, their opponents were forced to play with more urgency.
"I don't know if it was nerves or just grim determination to make sure we ended it," said Beckenbauer.
Yak said the final score was an accurate reflection of the game's ebbs and flows. His side just hadn't done enough to wrest victory.
"They worked a little harder," he said. "They kept on the ball a little harder, and they jumped on their checks a little faster."
October 19, 2014
Goalie change sparks comeback
It may not have been the turning point that changed the outcome of Sunday's game.
But the swap of goalies to replace starter Lak Attack with Joker certainly veered the game to a close, competitive battle that came just a little short with a 15-11 loss.
Prior to the change, Sunday's game had been anything but close.
As Holt and Beckenbauer preened for the TV camera on the sideline, their side couldn't get any traction on the court. They fell behind 6-1 and seemed destined for a rout.
They couldn't run. They couldn't score. They were feeble on defence.
Then Joker hurt his hand and sought refuge between the pipes. He switched sides and put on the pads for his new mates, ousting the veteran backup Lak Attack from the crease.
The move paid off instantly.
"Whenever you swap goalies it feels like a new game," said Yak. "I think we were already mentally beaten at that point."
Joker made some big saves. Lak Attack brought new life to the legs of his teammates.
"Lak is an excellent player out, so any team that has him on their side is going to benefit from that," said Colonel.
"He's definitely a very efficient and skilled player when he's out," said Bam Bam of Lak's attack. "You add a guy like that to the mix and you're going to change the dynamic."
"More than anything, Lak brings hope," said Yak.
Lak's example seemed to spark Holt the most.
Freed from his TV obligations, the gifted goal scorer found his touch. He scored four of his side's next six goals. The comeback was on.
"You try hard and you start to build momentum," said Yak.
That momentum pushed their opponents back on their heels.
"Once we got the big lead, maybe we got a bit complacent," said Bam Bam.
"When you're up by a lot and a team starts to chip away, you start to feel their momentum and enthusiasm growing," said Colonel. "They start to believe in themselves."
So much so, they were able to take their first lead, 11-10, early in the third period.
But it turned out to be their only lead.
A couple of seeing-eye shots by young sniper Doo deflated the comeback. They also restored the faith of his teammates.
"It takes a great deal of mental fortitude to focus, reestablish yourself and come back," said Colonel. "We got the bounces and we were able to take over."
"When a guy has a hot stick like that, you just let him do his thing," said Bam Bam.
October 13, 2014
Compressed training camp shows speed, competitiveness
It usually takes the roadsters a game or two to run out the off-season kinks.
Sunday, they did it in one morning.
After a lacklustre, dispiriting training camp opener the teams regrouped to put on a run-and-gun show of precise passing, fancy footwork, rapier goals and solid goaltending that would have pride of place late in the schedule.
When the concrete dust settled, Lak Attack and his mates hung on for a 10-8 nailbiter.
"The second game was a really good pace," said the versatile veteran who was solid in his first goaltending start. "You saw a lot of nice plays. There's a lot more parity."
Doo said more players are taking off-season conditioning seriously, ensuring they're able to hit the court running come training camp.
"If you stayed in shape over the summer, then you're pretty good," said the young sniper. "I thought everybody's legs were going really well."
That bodes well for the coming season, which officially opens next week.
"You can see what to expect," said Lak Attack. "The guys are in shape. You've got speed, a lot of skill."
"The skill level is high out there," said Doo. "I think everybody got adjusted really quickly."
"A lot of guys are ready to play," said Yak.
Lot begin the operative word.
Sunday's pre-season game was one of the best attended in years. Motivation was high.
More importantly, the league's annual struggle to find committed, consistent goaltending seems to have eased.
Joker's back and ready to fight off any signs of a sophomore jinx while defending the Stanley Stick championship he won in his rookie season.
Lak Attack is ready to step in when needed.
And a new recruit, Eight Ball, showed up with leg pads, body armour and a positive attitude about playing net.
Add them to veteran stalwarts Twizzler and Chico, both of whom missed training camp but indicated they'll be ready to go for the regular season, and, for the first time there seems to be a wealth of riches between the pipes.
That's allowing the rest of the players the rare luxury to focus on their game, rather on whether there will actually be a game.
"You have to prepare yourself," said Lak Attack. "You're going to see a good pace through the season."
Which made a quick start in training camp that much more important.
"It's a good indication that there's not going to be a lot of time out there," said Yak.
"I think a lot of guys needed to measure themselves against the other guys," said Doo. "They needed to learn tendencies again. Those are the things you can't work on over the summer."
"You've got to be ready every second," said Lak Attack.
October 01, 2014
Season opens Oct. 12
It's time for the roadsters to put away the craft beer. Or maybe start drinking more of it.
Training camp is just over a week away. And the regular season begins anew a week later.
If the summer scrimmage is a harbinger of the season to come, it looks to be a promising campaign. A record number of roadsters reported for the annual evening tilt.
Unlike previous scrimmages, the game also featured some genuine action and quality goaltending, both of which have been occasionally lacking the past few seasons.
This will be Sunday Morning Road Hockey's 23rd season.
August 21, 2014
Turning up the heat in midsummer scrimmage
For some of the roadsters, Wednesday's midsummer scrimmage was little more than a chance to renew old acquaintances.
For others, it was an opportunity to spark new rivalries for the upcoming season.
For everyone, it was an early indication of their pre-season fitness and desire to win.
And if the pace and competitive zeal of the casual evening encounter are any indication, the upcoming season could be a barn-burner.
Colonel unleashed his patented rapier shot, scoring from the far end of the court at least once, to lead his team to a 15-10 win in the twilight tilt.
He may have approached the game with a laissez-faire feel, but there's no doubt he wanted to win.
"It's good to get a game like this out of the way early," said the veteran forward, still basking in the glow of last spring's Stanley Stick championship sweep.
"You're not saving yourself for anything," said Yak of Wednesday's feisty encounter. "It's everybody's wake-up call."
Lak Attack, who once again donned the pads, said he was impressed with the competitive nature of play.
"It gets you tuned up," said the versatile veteran. "I think you're going to see a very competitive season from the get-go."
August 11, 2014
Summer scrimmage set
The weather may still be summery, but it's time for roadsters to get their head in the game.
The annual Mid-Summer Scrimmage will be played Wednesday, Aug. 20 at the courts.
The game is a chance for the roadsters to blow the dust off their equipment, reacquaint themselves with the sting of the evil orange plastic ball and, perhaps most importantly, test their off-season fitness.
The game begins at 7 p.m
April 28, 2014
Champions defy disadvantages to sweep
With the road hockey gods seemingly aligned against them, Colonel knew his team would have to strike quickly if it hoped to complete a sweep of the Stanley Stick championship series.
They did just that.
Beckenbauer scored on his side's first shot and the champions never looked back en route to a 20-9 win in Sunday's decisive game.
The apparent bad mojo for the favourites started even before Sunday's game, when scoring sensation, Holt, who led his side in goals in last week's series' opener, announced he'd be unavailable for the finale. The potential for problems was then compounded when veteran sniper Doo, who had missed much of the regular season, was ruled eligible for the championship and gifted to the underdogs.
"We wanted to go out quick and build from there," said Colonel, who won his second straight Stanley Stick. "You don't want to give the other team any momentum."
The strategy worked. The champions scored three times before the underdogs were able to reply.
And while the advantage never got as large as last week's 12-0 chasm that buried the underdogs, playing from behind for a second consecutive week took derailed their gameplan, said Bam Bam
"We wanted to take advantage of a quick start, but they got those first few goals on us and we had to fight back from behind," said the feisty forward. "That takes a toll on you."
The under-manned favourites didn't let their disadvantage get them off their game.
"We just kept to our game, kept it simple and boxed them out," said Lak Attack. "We were patient and that was key."
Also critical was the outstanding two-way play of Beckenbauer, who contributed a handful of goals and was a defensive stalwart every shift. That earned him the Conn Stick award as the series' most valuable player.
"It was because of him we got that quick lead," said Lak Attack. "He really stepped it up."
"He's smothering in the defensive end, he was able to hit the corners, he has a hard shot," said Colonel. "He deserved the MVP."
Beckenbauer's germanic gamesmanship also neutralized any boost the underdogs might have received from the injection of Doo into their lineup. While the wiry winger was his side's leading scorer, he wasn't the difference-maker some expected.
"Doo brings a lot of skill and gave them a little more mobility and offensive talent," said Lak Attack.
But Doo wasn't the answer to some of the underdog's problems that plagued them in the series opener.
"The one thing you hope for is you can find some sort of chemistry," said Bam Bam. "We dug in deep and tried to battle as much as we could, but nothing clicked."
April 21, 2014
Rout fails to rouse confidence
His team just won Sunday's Stanley Stick opener 20-5, but Lak Attack wasn't yet putting the champagne on ice.
That's because after nearly three hours of road hockey, the veteran centreman knew his side had been in a battle.
"It felt like it was a 20-18 game," said Lak Attack. "We carried the play, but they made it tough."
Indeed, the line score told only part of the game's story.
With a strong lineup of skilled players and big bodies, Lak Attack and his mates scored the game's first 12 goals before their opponents could answer. The barrage chased starting goalie Chico, who showed some rust from his extended absence from the crease this season as he pursued educational opportunities and familial responsibilities.
The displaced keeper went on to score three of his side's goals, but that contribution wasn't about to sway their fate.
"The score line isn't flattering for our team," said Bam Bam. "But we can take comfort that we did some things right and the bounces went their way."
Despite their insurmountable advantage, Lak Attack said his team wasn't about to take the margin for granted.
"You never know, the other team can always make a big comeback," said the versatile veteran. "We still felt like it was a one-goal game. We just made every shift count."
And they'll need to continue that kind of attention to detail this Sunday in the series' second leg if they're to clinch the silver chalice and avoid a decisive mini-game.
"The next game won't be the same," said Lak Attack. "Next week you'll see a much closer game."
That's the plan, said Bam Bam.
"We just have to be confident to get to the mini game," said the feisty forward. "That's all that matters."
April 14, 2014
Stanley Stick roster released
The list of eligible players for Sunday's Stanley Stick opener has been released. If all the players report, each team will have two complete lines, plus a goaltender. That could be crucial in the often long and gruelling matches that have become a touchstone of the annual year-end tournament that culminates the road hockey season.
The Stanley Stick is the only time in the season when teams carry over from one week to the next.
This year's Stanley Stick roster also features a wealth of goalies, with no fewer than four available to strap on the pads.
April 05, 2014
Yak attack snuffs comeback
Yak's laser shot to the top corner over Twizzler's shoulder was the difference in a tight 15-14 sudden-death victory Sunday.
The rapier blast snuffed a valiant comeback by the day's underdogs, who overcame a manpower disadvantage and a four-goal deficit late in the game to force it to a decisive goal.
"It's scary when you're up four goals and they start creeping back," said Yak of his determined opponents. "They were showing a lot of heart and we were showing a lot of fatigue."
In fact, both teams were weary as a dry court for the first time in weeks gave the roadsters a chance to air out their legs without fear of slipping and tumbling to the hard concrete.
"It's a game-changer when the courts are dry," said Colonel. "It brings out the best in all the players."
But even his side's best couldn't keep swing the game to their favour early on.
After giving up the game's first goal to Living Legend, who returned to action after missing the past two weeks, Colonel and his mates struggled to get on track. Only the precision accuracy and quick release of the new guy's sizzling shots that resulted in a bushel of goals for the late-season call-up kept them in it.
"He's got a good shot," said Yak of the Joker recruit. "It's accurate and low to the corner. He knows where to shoot."
Playing from behind most of the day takes its toll, said Colonel, whose side finally took their first lead of the game at the second break, 10-9. But they couldn't hold it.
Lak Attack said his side let their manpower advantage lull them into complacency.
"I think we just let off the gas pedal too much," said the veteran centerman. "The guys kind of slowed down. We took it for granted and they just chipped away little by little."
Yak said his side started reeling as they let their lead slip away.
"When they score a lot of goals in a row, you start to doubt your own ability to score," said the veteran speedster. "It's important to get one in and get your confidence again."
Which is just what he did.
March 16, 2014
Chico gives his men confidence
Some key saves early in Sunday's game gave Chico confidence in his first goaltending start in months. They also assured his team he could take care of business at the back end while they converted their scoring chances in the offensive zone en route to a 10-5 win.
Facing a team comprised of wily veterans keen to redeem themselves after last week's lacklustre representation of their generation, Chico saw a lot of orange plastic. But at the break, he'd yet to let one get past him as his side held a 5-0 advantage.
"We had a system and we stuck to it," said the comeback creaseminder. "I got a lot of permitter shots, a lot of bouncy stuff, but nothing we couldn't handle."
And whenever his defenders headed up court, they were able to make the best of their scoring opportunities.
"They were in our end the whole time, but we were able to convert," said Holt.
Not willing to go off into the rainclouds quietly, the veterans fought back gamely after the break, closing the score to within two, 7-5. But the effort took a toll, as they wheezed up three straight goals.
"There's a lot of swings to this game," said Chico of his side's ability to regroup. "We knew we just had to stick with what we'd been doing, play the chip, play the transition game and take shots on net."
They did, due in no small part to Chico's steadying play in their own net, said Holt.
"We had total confidence in him," said the slick sophomore. "We didn't ever worry about our goalie at all."
March 09, 2014
Attack fizzles after Lak leaves
Colonel didn't want to use Lak Attack's early departure as an excuse for his side's 10-5 loss in Sunday's game.
But when his side gave up six unanswered goals after holding a 5-4 advantage when the veteran speedster had to excuse himself, there was no avoiding it.
"We really slowed down when we lost Lak," said Colonel.
Not that they were going very fast in the first place.
With both Lak Attack and Living Legend making their way back into action from extended illness, and Colonel paying the fitness price for missing a couple of games, the side of wily veterans were lucky to have a man advantage and a lead half way through the game.
Both disappeared when Lak left.
"Even though they had the extra sub, we thought we had the momentum on our side," said Bam Bam, of his overmatched opponents. "They were a bit gassed."
And more than a little frustrated.
Despite holding a narrow lead at the break, the veterans had to battle hard to get there and that may also have taken a toll. Twizzler, making his first goaltending start in weeks, cast aside his reputation for slow starts by making a number of key saves early in the game. That gave his mates the confidence to press deep into the offensive zone and capitalize on scoring chances to take the early lead.
"We were more attack-minded in the beginning," said Bam Bam.
The veterans battled back gamely and took their first, and only, lead of the game at the break.
"Tizzler was a wall out there today," said Colonel.
With that assessment in their back pocket, Bam Bam and his mates knew it was only a matter of time until they held the upper hand. For good.
"One goal down with our speed and skill, we knew we were going to come back and win it," said Bam Bam.
March 03, 2014
It's not quite snow.
Most roadsters would agree it's worse than rain.
Sunday a handful of hearty players braved a slush storm that left the courts slicked and sloppy.
Survival, said Yak, was foremost in their minds.
"It's just a matter of when you might slip and fall," said the shifty centreman whose trademark quick cuts and fancy footwork were neutralized by the precarious conditions.
"You're always mindful of how hard you're going to go."
The second game to be scuttled in as many weeks by unseasonable weather only weeks from the official start of spring, the roadsters were especially careful not to risk injury as the season enters its critical run-up to the Stanley Stick.
"It does shake your confidence," said Yak. "You don't want to fall. It's tough to go hard."
But mostly, it was tough to battle along the boards, especially behind the nets, where semi-frozen slush and chilled water accumulated inches deep.
"It's always fun to go into that hard," said Yak. "You've got to make sure you're ready for it."
February 16, 2014
Twizzler deals decisive blows
Lak Attack is used to staring down Twizzler from opposite ends of the court. Sunday, the veteran forward turned goalie was turned inside out by the wily goalie turned forward.
Twizzler, who's taken advantage of the arrival of Joker as a regular rearguard to stretch his legs as a forward since his return to the lineup in January scored a handful of goals to lead his team to a 16-11 win.
Two goals in particular seemed to take the wind out of the opposition's sails and shake his facemasked foe's confidence.
"Twizzler kinda changed the game with those long range shots," said Lak Attack. "Once you let one in, the flood gates opened."
And while a five goal margin is hardly an apocalyptic deluge, Bam Bam said the timing of Twizzler's cannonading markers threw his side for a loop.
"He brought that big shot out today and we hadn't really seen it," said the speedy centreman. "It caught a few of us by surprise."
Until those goals the teams had regularly exchanged leads in a freewheeling, fast-paced back-and-forth game. Twizzler's offensive outburst staked his side to their first three-goal advantage. They never looked back.
"It was up for grabs," said Bam Bam of the hard-fought battle that started on a dry court but ended in a steady, cold shower. "Once those long-range shots go it, you can only ask a goalie to do so much."
And while Twizzler's slappers may have been the game's death blow, the slicking of the court by a late shower pretty much ensured there would be no miracle comeback.
"It had an impact on our guys," said Lak Attack. "They like the dry court so they can get in tight."
February 09, 2014
Coming back from the brink
A slow squibber by Holt that squeezed between Joker's pad and the goal post capped a furious three-goal run and clinched a 10-9 sudden death victory in Sunday's game.
It was a fitting finish for a team that had earlier squandered their own advantage.
"They pushed really hard early to come back, and that turned to our advantage later in the game," said Lak Attack of the game's shift in fortunes.
That's because Bam Bam and his mates may have blown themselves out clawing their way back from an early deficit.
"Whenever you're trying to catch up, you're using more of your energy," said the feisty forward. "Maybe that's why we didn't have more at the end."
Still, they had enough to charge ahead 9-7 in a half-court game to 10 as Bam Bam, Yak and Living Legend finally found the chemistry that had eluded them earlier. But they couldn't get that next goal to finish their opponents off as Joker came up with some key saves.
"If I'm getting better every week, I'm happy," said the rookie rearguard.
Despite teetering on the edge of defeat, Lak Attack knew his team still had a chance to win.
"We had the edge on the endurance part of it," said the senior centreman.
A lucky bounce ignited their comeback and another finished it off.
"When you have two tired teams any lucky bounce really helps you," said Lak Attack.
"It's frustrating," said Bam Bam. "They just wanted it more than we did."
February 02, 2014
Faces of pain
It was the worst of a whack. It was the best of a bad shot.
Two veteran roadsters were felled by injuries early in Sunday's game, changing team dynamics and the mood of the remaining players.
Colonel was chopped down by Beckenbauer's stick as the two foes battled for a face off. After writhing on the cold concrete court for a number of minutes, the senior centreman hobbled to the sidelines favouring his left knee. He didn't return.
Shortly after being traded to balance the sides, Living Legend went down, struck just above his right eye by a rising slap shot off the stick of his former teammate, Holt. His eyebrow swollen into a reddened mound, the founding father also left the game.
The departure of two experienced players in the same game because of injuries sent a chill through their teammates and opponents.
"To see two people go down in the same game, it's concerning," said Lak Attack. "It can be a very scary moment."
"In a sport like this you never know what's going to happen," said Bam Bam. "It's a dangerous sport."
"It reminds you how painful this game can be," said Beckenbauer.
The loss of the Colonel necessitated changes to his side's gameplan, as they were no longer able to take advantage of his big shot from the point to clear lanes.
But when Living Legend left the court, the roadsters had to regroup into a half-court game.
The impact of those injuries served as a sobering reminder to the game's fragility, and players' proximity to pain and suffering in the small court.
"As long as you're aware, that's half the battle," said Lak Attack. "You have to forget about it and continue to play."
"YOu always have to be aware," said Bam Bam. "You never know what's going to happen."
But at least one opportunity saw the sudden demise of players as an advantage he could exploit.
"I know my advantage is fitness," said Beckenbauer. "If there's fewer people running around, it's advantage Beckenbauer."
January 26, 2014
Bam bangs winner
Bam Bam and his mates overcame a late swoon and the departure of their two spare players to pull out a 16-14 squeaker in Sunday's game.
With Yak and Living Legend no longer available to relieve tired legs, Bam Bam charged hard to the net with new urgency to reclaim his side's advantage that they'd just squandered for the first time in the game.
"Whichever team commits hard, you just can't let up," said Yak of his side's fire to finish hard.
A dry court, bright sunshine and a strong contingent of players contributed to one of the most intense games of the season.
"Everybody is running," said Yak, as his side charged to an early 6-1 lead and continued to hold the advantage until late. "There's no reason to let up."
"Everybody's not falling all over the place," said Weeble. "You're not worried about falling on your ass and being completely out of the play."
The winners may have been helped by the unexpected offensive contribution of Twizzler, who was freed from the constraints of the goal crease when Joker returned after missing the last three weeks with illness. Bringing a big physical presence along the boards and assured hands around the net, Twizzler seemed to confound opposing defenders time and again.
"He's a big body," said Weeble. "You've got to stick to him, not give him too many chances."
"He's a bit of a wild card," said Yak. "You give him the ball and you don't know what to expect."
January 20, 2014
Stanley Stick dates set
This year's Stanley Stick will be contested April 20 and 27.
The annual battle for Sunday Morning Road Hockey supremacy is the only time in the eight month season that teams are carried over from one week to the next. That's led to some classic contests over the years, including the stunning series of 2008 when the underdogs battled their way back from a 19-13 deficit in the finale with a 21-19 win that sent the series to a decisive mini game that they also won, 10-3. The incredible 18-4 run still stands as the greatest comeback in Stanley Stick history.
Last year's Stanley Stick champions were led by stalwart veterans Lak Attack and Colonel, who got his first taste of victory champaign in years.
January 12, 2014
Colonel rewards goalie heroics
Colonel gave his team their first lead at the most important point of Sunday's game. He scored ton a breakaway that backed a hapless Twizzler right into his net to lift his side to a sudden-death 15-14 win.
"I was just hoping he'd fall over outside the net," said the wily veteran of the wiry goaltender who seemed to lose sense of where he was in his crease as he stared down the on-rushing forward. "Had he pokechecked me would have been over."
But he didn't and Colonel was able to lift a shot high into the yawning cage.
The victory was a just reward for the clutch performance by his team's goaltender, Lak Attack, who unexpectedly got the call to strap on the pads after Joker was a surprise no-show. The stalwart back-up made at least three electrifying saves, two with his glove hand and another with his outstretched pad as the Living Legend went to his backhand on a breakaway, to give his side their last gasp chance at pulling out the win.
It was, in some ways, an unlikely triumph, as Colonel and his mates played from behind for much of the game, which was played in a steady, cold rain.
Down by as many as four on two occasions, time and again they managed to chip their way back to even terms only to slip behind. But, said the Colonel, they never gave up.
"As long as the game doesn't feel out of reach, it makes it more intense," he said.
The failure by Bam Bam and his mates to put their opponents away for good was frustrating for the speedy winger who endured trans-Atlantic jet lag to make it to the opening face-off.
"We know the game is all about momentum," said Bam Bam. "With games like these sometimes the bounces go your way and sometimes they don't."
And sometimes they end up in the goalie's glove.
"With a goalie like Lak, you know he's going to come up with the big save," said Bam Bam. "We had a few game winners that could have gone in but he came up with the big glove hand."
Those saves were as much a testimony of his will to win as his lightning reflexes, said Lak Attack.
"I said to myself I have to be better," said Lak Attack. "I had to be quick on the ball. It kinda stopped the bleeding."
More importantly, the saves put his team into a position to win.
"It was gratifying to come together as a team and pull out the win," said Colonel.
January 05, 2014
Goalie's offensive acumen no joke
Joker scored 10 times in his debut as an offensive player to lead his team to a 16-13 win in Sunday's Shrimp Ring Bowl.
The rookie rearguard, relieved of the big leg pads when Chico made himself available for a rare start between the pipes, revealed his offensive prowess by staying on his feet and shooting the ball at every opportunity. That's because defenders and even his own teammates couldn't get traction on the slippery concrete, frosted by an overnight chill that persisted through the morning.
"If Joker hadn't been shooting the ball, it would have been a different game," said Yak, whose own run and gun game was stymied by the ice. "It was a little slippery for sure."
So much so, scoring opportunities were created when defenders found themselves struggling to change direction on turnovers or floundering on their backsides after loosing their footing on an icy patch.
"You had to be able to anticipate when the other team was going to fall on their asses," said Yak.
The conditions were equally challenging for both teams. Beckenbauer skidded onto his keester a number of times.
"It was surprisingly exhausting to run on the ice," said the Teutonic terror. "You have to think about saving yourself."
He and his mates used smart positioning to create turnovers and set up Joker.
"I think we did a good job of spreading out across the court so we never got anybody trapped," said Yak. "We didn't have to turn on a dime, and we shot the ball."
Colonel, meanwhile, employed a strategy of avoiding icy upendings altogether by planting himself in front of the opposite goalie, waiting for the scoring chances to come his way. It might have worked, but for his stone hands and inability to help his mates defend odd-man rushes.