April 26, 2015

Stanley Stick champions hang on not to lose

Doo and his mates barely had the energy to pop the champagne bottle when they won the Stanley Stick on Sunday. Or rather, didn't lose it.

The champions were forced to a decisive mini-game by their persistent opponents who refused to give in even as they lost their starting goalie, Joker, and then one of their key offensive battlers, Nouvelle Guy. With a patchwork lineup that included a hobbled Yak in street clothes planted in the offensive zone, and Radar reprising his goaltending heroics from the opener, the underdogs overcame a 15-12 deficit at the last break to force the extra game with a 20-18 win.

But that effort took a toll.

Looking to exploit Radar's inexperience and the odd-man rushes they enjoyed because of Yak's inability to run on his wounded knee, the champions buzzed to a quick 5-0 advantage.

But the underdogs weren't about to give up easily, as they replied with three quick goals of their own to close within two and cause more than a few anxious glowers from the other side of the court.

"I think we let up and we were angry with ourselves," said Doo. "But we really wanted it. We had that killer instinct."

Indeed, they went on to outscore their overmatched and exhausted opponents 5-1 to claim the Stanley Stick trophy. But after more than four hours of play, they were barely able to hoist it.

"We had to grind today," said Doo. "We didn't want to lose it."

Although they almost did.

Joker returned from his mysterious absence to strap on the pads for the underdogs, but the rust of his three-week layoff quickly became apparent as three of the first four shots he faced squibbed past him in most unlikely ways, soft shots between his pads, lobs to the far corners.

The veteran netminder fought to regain his composure and slowly his team was able to fight its way back into the game. They tied it at 12 before giving up three straight, and Joker said he had to leave for another commitment. The comeback train seemed ready to come off the rails once and for all.

Their chances to force a mini-game took another hit when Nouvelle Guy also had to depart early, leaving the underdogs to look to Yak, who'd dropped by to watch, to pick up a stick and try to keep his side in the game.

He did that and more.

Planted permanently in the offensive zone, he was able to take advantage of the opposition's tiring legs to take stretch passes hard to the net, or protect the ball until his teammates were able to join him.

"We put together a game plan that was opportunistic," said Colonel. "We gave up some chances in the hope of springing a guy up the court, and it worked."

Meanwhile, Radar was standing on his head in a defensive capacity. Or rather sucking up every shot into his chest protector, frustrating opposition snipers and boosting his mates' confidence.

"He just gobbled up the ball and slowed down the play for us," said Lak Attack. "That allowed us to structure our game a little bit."

The underdogs fought back to take their first lead, 18-17, then scored two unanswered goals after their opponents had tied it up again at 18.

"It's amazing what can happen when a team starts to believe in each other," said Colonel.

But the miracle ultimately fell short.

Doo and Bam Bam wrested control early in the mini-game, peppering shots at Radar, hoping to create rebounds or find corners.

"We had that killer instinct," said Doo.

The underdogs' comeback stalled at 5-3. They were spent.

"When you put a lot into the end of a game like that, you can carry some of it over, but you're also tired," said Colonel.

"We kept grinding," said Lak Attack. "We knew we were in tough for the mini. It's just too hard to sustain when you're short a guy."

Doo's 10 goals in the first game and another six in the mini earned him the Conn Stick Award as the series MVP.
The roadsters were all so exhausted at the end of the Sunday's marathon finale, which lasted more than four hours, they didn't have the energy to go for their traditional season-ending gathering at a local pub. Look for an announcement here for just such a gathering in the near future.

Posted by jaysuburb at April 26, 2015 08:45 PM

Seeing as nobody is much interested in FIFA15 coins, I'm closing comments to kill the spammers. Stay tuned for updates re a celebratory beer night at Steel & Oak and, of course, the Summer Game. BTW, is anybody interested in a celebratory beer night at Steel & Oak?

Posted by: Jay Suburb at May 21, 2015 07:45 PM

I'm pretty disappointed that there's no photo of my in my jeans lighting up Twizzler... ;)

Posted by: Yakker at May 21, 2015 05:22 PM

Hey Legend,

That wicked article you wrote is showing a 404 error... We just sent a bunch of traffic to it... is there another place where we can still access it online?

Have a wonderful summer... Is it time for a summer game yet?

Posted by: Holt at May 15, 2015 10:28 AM

Player of the Year: Hired Gun Dixon Tam.

Posted by: Road Warrior at May 8, 2015 09:53 AM

Thanks guys for another great season of hockey. Glad the team finished the comeback to take the second game at least (was 18-17 for us when I left)...Next time I'll allocate the whole day...not just 3 1/2 hours of straight hockey! Good times.
If any want to play over the summer I would be game. gnjleroux@shaw.ca if you want to email.

Posted by: Nouv Guy at April 30, 2015 09:31 PM

Well deserved MVP? Victory? Damn you DOO!

This was a Stanley Stick like no other-had a blast and look forward to next season!

Good summer to all!

Posted by: lakattack at April 27, 2015 06:12 PM

Congrats to the victors - well deserved.

Posted by: The Colonel at April 26, 2015 09:46 PM

Are we still doing the Wink award for dedication? I nominate Lak for his pinch goaltending all year.

Posted by: Doo at April 26, 2015 09:21 PM