Rudy takes full
advantage of his chance to play with "dream" linemates,
to lead his team to a hard-fought 20-17 comeback win in Sunday's
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Rudy scores with
by Jay Suburb
Rudy's dream almost turned into a nightmare. But the fleet
forward and his linemates, Elvis and Unabomber, were able to overcome
their defensive lapses to lead their team to a dramatic 20-17 comeback
win in Sunday's game.
As he was making his way to his first game in three weeks,
Rudy says he imagined the kind of offensive havoc he could create should
he find himself teamed with the feisty Elvis and the big-shooting Unabomber.
"On my way here, I knew I wanted to play with these
two guys," says Rudy of his linemates. "It was sort of my
dream game, to play with Elvis up front, and to have a really strong
shot at the point."
And when the stick pull made the dream possible, it was
almost too good to be true.
The linemates seized their opportunity from their first
shift by pressing the play in the offensive zone, attacking the boards,
throwing passes back to the point, charging the net to pounce on rebounds.
"We were always thinking of the third guy rather
than just two forwards trying to pass across the crease," says
Rudy. "We tried to get passes back to the point for a really good
shot, and then try to pick up some rebounds around the net."
"The Rudy, Elvis and Unabomber line just owned the
play out there," says New Guy, who was a surprise starter between
the pipes when Lobsterboy was a healthy scratch. "They were cycling
it around, getting the big shot from Unabomber at the point or from
in close, pretty much anywhere he wanted."
But, as the trio triumphed in the offensive zone, their
inattention to defense cost them. As they passed the ball around with
aplomb, the always-dangerous Lak Attack waited to pounce, the Kid and
Gump loitered at center court, ready to exploit any error. And there
"We were a little hot and cold," says Rudy,
as his line continually found themselves caught upcourt, slow-moving
spectators to two-man breakaways on their beleaguered backstop, Pig
Farming Goalie. "We weren't playing very well defensively; that
got us into trouble with the goalie."
"For all offense that Rudy, Unabomber and Elvis bring,
they had no defense today," says Pig Farming Goalie, who's frustration
with his side's defensive foibles escalated as they spotted their opportunistic
opponents a three-goal advantage. "It was pretty frustrating because
I think I only let in a couple of bad goals. They don't seem to learn,
they don't stick on guy, they don't take out opponent's stick in front
Down by a couple of goals heading into the final period,
Rudy and his mates knew they had to take care of business in their own
end if they were to turn the game around.
"We knew we had to tighten up defensively,"
says Rudy. "We told each other we were sick of getting in trouble
with the goalie. We knew we had to make sure plays and not be so lazy
on the checks."
The gut check worked. The two-goal deficit turned into
a three goal advantage.
"We got momentum," says Pig Farming Goalie of
his side's late-game turnaround. "Game sort of tightened up. We
feel a lot more confident defensively."
The Stick Pull
|New Guy (G)
||Pig Farming Goalie (G)
Slick (legal problems), Wink (unsanctioned activity), Colonel
(unsanctioned injury), Giebelhaus (exploitative employer), Ottoman
(unsanctioned sex), Lobsterboy (healthy), Beetle Boy (exploitative
With the Rudy, Elvis and Unabomber line driving the offense, it was
left to the team's second unit, Paul One, Billy Idol and the Living Legend
to take care of business in the defensive zone.
"I think that both lines were contributing," said Paul One,
of his trio's role. "We played a little bit better defense in the
end, and we were really fighting for the ball in the offensive zone."
"Line of Paul One, Billy Idol and Living Legend was excellent defensive
line, always good steady line," said Pig Farming Goalie.
Not that the second unit didn't also contribute offensively. Especially
late in the game, when Paul One connected on a couple of opportunities.
And it was the Living Legend who scored the winner, on a backhand from
his off wing to the top corner.
"Those backhands are tricky," said a despondent New Guy. "They're
really hard to read, you don't know where it's going. But it was sort
of indicative of how the whole game went; the Legend was able to come
around the side and get a pretty good scoring chance out of nothing."
After struggling in recent weeks, Unabomber re-ignited his blazing
slapshot on Sunday, driving the evil orange plastic ball into the wire
mesh at the back of the net four times. For a shell-shocked New Guy, seeing
the bearded bomber wind up from the point was road hockey's version of
Shock and Awe.
"That shot is the most lethal in the game," said the neophyte
netminder. "It's hard, it's heavy, and it curves. You just try to
come out, get set, and hope he pounds it into your pads."
"I wouldn't want to be a goalie facing that shot," said Paul
One. "He hit a post once, and I saw the whole net move."
New Guy was a surprise starter. And nobody was more surprised than
he. Not because he hadn't expected to have an opportunity to start; he
had previously announced his availability to strap on the pads if needed.
But he hadn't expected to be stepping in for Lobsterboy.
It was his first start in more than a month, but he showed little signs
of rust or trepidation as he made a number of key saves early in the game
to allow his side to build a quick lead.
"I got lucky at the beginning, they were hitting me with some shots,"
said the sometime shotstopper, who's had a history of giving up soft goals
in the early-going. "You've definitely got to get used to the flow
of the game. I've been sharpening up my reflexes and the positioning."
"New Guy was stoning us quite a bit," said Rudy. "We were
really frustrated at the beginning of the game. We were playing really
well, but we just couldn't beat him."