February 29, 2004

Mid-game meltdown

Billy Idol still doesn't know what hit him. But it wasn't the evil orange plastic ball, as the neophyte netminder gave up seven straight goals midway through Sunday's game to cost his team their early lead and ultimately the game, 25-20.

"They got from five goals to 15 pretty damn quick," says Idol, who was a surprise starter after regular rearguards Ottoman and Lobsterboy were unexpected scratches. "There were some bad bounces, deflections. They had big shots today, really good shots that curve. It catches you off-guard."

But the mid-game meltdown wasn't limited to the crease, says notorious gameshow host gone bad, Wink. "We should have made those saves, we should have got on those guys. You look at any facet of our game and there wasn't one guy who played well."

Against a potent offense piloted from the point by the hard shooting Colonel and Cowboy Bill, their opponents were quick to take advantage. And seize the game's momentum.

The collapse started when Wendel converted a nifty three-way passing play from the Colonel and the Living Legend. It snowballed as Cowboy Bill found the five-hole and Paul One owned the top corner.

"It was just one of those games where we got all the bounces," says Wendel, who returned to the court after missing the last two games traveling to a faraway country. "We got some goals that were one-in-a-million shots, they just kept going in. They really made the difference."

"The team showed a lot of heart," says Gump, who was all smiles after the victory as he was able to redeem himself for his truncated performance in last week's game. "We started to get a couple of good bounces. We got that point shot going, and that changed the pace of the game."

"We were able to jump on some chances," says Paul One. "We started to get some confidence and we were beating guys to the ball. The other team just seemed to let down a little bit."

That's putting it mildly, says Wink, who was disconsolate in defeat. "We got beat on bad goals, we got beat on good goals, we got beat on bad backchecking, we got beat on not converting our chances. We got beat on a lot of things today. It all comes down to work and effort and we didn't have either of those things."

Even a late surge that narrowed the gap to four goals and unnerved the leaders wasn't enough to salvage the difficult day.

"Everyone was starting to get tense," says Gump. "Anytime you have a big lead and see it start to slip away, it gets the team a little tight."

"I think we were coasting a bit," says Wendel, who snapped his side from its somnambulent swoon when he fed a pinpoint pass to the Colonel for the gamewinner. "Once we got past 20, we started to think okay, we're almost there. The other team was turning up the pressure a little bit, they were fighting to get back into the game."

But it was too little, too late.

"I think we gutted it out," says Wink. "There was no way we should have give up as many goals as we did."

Posted by jaysuburb at 04:45 PM | Comments (23)

Where's Lak?

Where's Lak?

Posted by at 03:40 PM | Comments (1)

February 22, 2004

Early Bird leads the way

The early Bird got the win.

The diminutive forward sparked his team to a quick 6-0 lead, chasing Gump from the net and giving his side the cushion they'd need to survive a 20-16 win in Sunday's game.

Playing on a line with the always dangerous Kid, and newfound sniper, Cowboy Bill, who was coming off a career-high seven-goal outburst in last week's game, Bird was allowed to roam in from the wing almost unchecked, positioning himself at the top of the crease to knock in rebounds or stick his blade into goalmouth scrambles.

"When two guys go to the Kid, I'm left open almost all the time," says Bird, who always seems to flourish when paired with his petite partner. "I've got to bury the chances I get."

He did just that, scoring three times, and setting up the Kid for another, before the game was three shifts old. Disorganized and disconsolate, their opponents seemed destined for an early demise.

"You get off to a good start like that, it kinda kills the team for a bit," says Bird.

"We were pretty tentative at beginning," says Pig Farming Forward, who made his second start of the season as a runner. "We're not playing good defense at all, left lots of guys wide open."

"We had several bad bounces in the first half that really put us way behind," says Rudy, who hasn't played for a winning side in almost two months. "It has a big effect, we're already down."

Desperate to concoct a competitive combination, the unexpected underdogs pulled their veteran shotstopper, Gump, who was doing anything but.

"The team wanted me to come out, they wanted me to play out," says the chastened creaseminder. "We just weren't getting the bounces."

With Ottoman now steadying the defense, and a fresh set of legs powering the offense, the setback almost became an upset. Rudy drove hard to the net, Pig Farming Forward battled the boards, Beetle Boy sliced through the slot, and the six-goal margin eroded to a three-goal nailbiter. Even a missed penalty shot by Nibs, who was awarded the opportunity after he was tripped up by Cowboy Bill as he streaked towards a scoring chance, couldn't deter the comeback bid.

"I think we outhustled them through the last half of the game," says Rudy. "We really put on the pressure."

"Our passing was better in later part of game," says Pig Farming Forward, who will miss most of the rest of the regular season as he travels to a faraway country to service the onerous demands of his exploitative employer. "Other team was tired... maybe we have little bit more legs down the stretch."

But the climb from that early hole was just too steep.

"That first six goals is what killed us," says Pig Farming Forward. "If we didn't spot them 6-0 lead, we would have won game."

"We had to keep going 110 percent, keep putting the pressure on," says Rudy. "If we had a couple more minutes, we might have been able to do it."

"We knew we weren't going to be able to blow them out," says Wink, who returned to the lineup after missing last week's game. "It's not how you start, it's how you finish, and we got the last goal."

"I think we knew we had it in hand," says Bird. "I think we knew we had enough of a lead that we could withstand a bit of an attack like that."

Posted by jaysuburb at 03:51 PM | Comments (16)

February 15, 2004

Lak leads attack

Lak is back on the attack.

Playing his first game as a forward in more than a month, the senior sniper sparked his team to a 21-19 overtime win in Sunday's game by quarterbacking the offense, dominating the defense and confusing his opponents.

"Lak is so good on the ball, you can almost leave him alone even with two guys on him," says Billy Idol, whose side had to battle from behind three times before finally taking the lead for good, late in the game. "He gives us a lot of space to be open."

"He can control the play from anywhere," says Ottoman, who got the win after missing almost two months to recover from laser eye surgery. "He sets up in our zone, gets guys in the right position, he can pass it off, or he can run plays. They're keying on him."

That freed up second-line snipers like Cowboy Bill, who blasted seven goals from the high slot as opposing defenders swarmed his lanky linemate.

"That's one of the great advantages of having Lak," says the surprise scoring star, who also netted the game-winner, a high blast that eluded Gump's outstretched trapper. "He lets the rest of us free up. You can just cheat up a little bit and get open for those two-on-ones."

That's his gameplan, says Lak Attack. With his vision of the court sharpened by his month-long sojourn between the pipes, he knew if he could draw the attention of defenders, his linemates would have license to go hard to the net.

"You're just trying to get the others invloved," says the speedy slapshooter. "I'm just trying to make passes, dump it in deep."

Where his hard-working wingers were often able to beat lazy defenders to the evil orange plastic ball, creating scoring opportunities deep in the offensive zone.

"I think we slacked off a little bit, and it definitely cost us in the end," says Paul One of his side's defensive deficencies that cost his team leads of as many as three goals. "You slack off, and it takes a long time to get going again."

Especially when there's a saavy star like Lak Attack ready to take advantage.

"We just kept going, and waited for our opportunities," says the venerable veteran. "When we found them, we buried them."

"We just had to keep working hard," says Cowboy Bill. "We just had to be smart defensively and try to take advantage of all the chances we got."

Posted by jaysuburb at 04:03 PM | Comments (28)

February 08, 2004

Unlikely dribbler unleashes flood

Pig Farming Goalie wasn't supposed to play Sunday, let alone score the decisive goal.

The veteran shotstopper, playing his first game of the season despite his doctor's recommendation to stay off the knee he severly injured in the off-season, trickled a spinning backhander past a befuddled Gump to spark his team to five unanswered goals and a 25-17 win. More importantly, it ended a remarkable drought that had allowed their outgunned opponents to turn a ten-goal rout into a three-goal nailbiter.

"It was very important to get that goal," says the unlikely scorer, who made a rare start as a forward. "I think the hope they had was gone."

Especially for Gump, who had overcome a shaky start to stonewall his opponents and gave his team the confidence they needed to battle their back into the game. But after holding his thumb in the dike to forge his side's comeback, Pig Farming Goalie's dribbler unleashed the floodgates.

"Getting that bad goal just takes its toll," says the beaten backstop, who lost his fourth straight start. "Not only did it kill my confidence, but it killed it for everyone else on the team."

"Something like that goes in, and it's deflating," says New Guy. "We let in a soft goal, they got some bounces, and then they're on their way to a win."

"I think it greatly affected us," says Wink, who ended up on the losing side for the second straight week. "It was just a bad break. We were getting the breaks and then all of a sudden the breaks were gone. We stopped believing things were going our way."

Indeed, for most of the game's middle stretch, it seemed momentum was on their side. Gump was a wall, time and again robbing the Kid and Bird in close, kicking out long shots by the Colonel and Roach with aplomb. Meanwhile, at the other end, the scorers finally seemed to solve the riddle of Lak Attack, who looked fallible letting in seven straight goals.

"I think we realized we don't have to be perfect to score on Lak," says Wink. "Shoot the ball, go to the net and you make things happen. I think we really had some flow."

"We were coming on strong, making things happen," says Wendel, who returned to the courts after missing last week's game. "We knew we could make things happen, we just had to believe in ourselves."

"We had them, we were coming on and they were going down," says New Guy. "We came back from being down by ten, and that takes a lot of intestinal fortitude."

As the gap narrowed to three goals, the tension on the courts became palpable. Pig Farming Goalie battled the boards with Wendel and carried their feud into the corner. Bird gooned rookie runner Bon Jovi and then was on the receiving end of a vicious hack by New Guy.

"The other team started to get a little overconfident," says New Guy, who quickly paid for his indiscretion with a swipe from his arch-rival, the Colonel. "I think that really fired us up."

"It was rough," says Gump. "We really had a streak going, they were struggling, they weren't getting good quality shots."

"I think maybe we were anxious," says Pig Farming Goalie. "It was difficult, they were making big comeback."

"Tempers got a little frayed," says Billy Idol. "We were lucky to come out with a win on that one."

Posted by jaysuburb at 05:09 PM | Comments (20)

February 01, 2004

One ends two streaks

Paul One ended his personal losing streak at six straight games Sunday, when he scored the winning goal from a scramble in front of Billy Idol. But the 20-13 victory was bittersweet.

Earlier, his own defensive lapses had cost Lak Attack a chance to record his fourth consecutive shutout and allowed their feisty opponents back into the game they had been trailing by as much as 10-2. With even his own teammates catcalling from the sidelines, he knew he had much to atone for.

"I felt the pressure from my teammates to finish it that way," says Paul One, whose skid included three losses in consolation games. "We didn't want to shift off without winning the game. That ball was mine at the end."

Indeed, right from the ceremonial stick pull to choose up the day's teams, One says he was determined to see the demise of his scoreboard misadventures.

"I'm on the edge of my seat for the stick draw. I wanna see where my stick is going to end up, who my goalie is going to be, who's going to be out there with me."

That kind of pressure can bring out the best in a player, especially a veteran, says Wink, who returned to the lineup after missing last week's game.

"Paul One always puts his cup in, and he always plays hard," says the notorious gameshow host gone bad. "It's all about the ebb and flow in road hockey. You have to have confidence in yourself and you have to have a little bit of luck with the stick pull."

"I think getting the game winning goal says anything that needs to be said about Paul One," says Elvis, who assisted on his linemate's winner. "He knows that sometimes he's gonna get some bounces, that things won't go your way for awhile; but he also knows he'll be able to turn it around, to rise against adversity."

That adversity almost turned into a calamity through the game's middle stages, as defensive discord allowed their opponents to score more than 10 goals on Lak Attack for the first time in a month.

"They weren't going out hard, they were leaving their man open, we just didn't play well in the second half," says the newfound netminder, taking the end of his record run in stride. "The morale of the team sort of dropped a bit."

And their opportunistic opponents, lacking team speed but no measure of determination, were keen to take advantage.

"The fact we made it as close as we did is a testament to our will," says Wink.

"We were really buzzing around the net, we had them on their heels," says Rudy.

"We were just coasting there for quite a while," says Elvis, of his side's lapse. "We knew we had to turn it around."

"We were just thinking about winning the game," says Paul One. "If there had been another goal against us, I think the other line would have stormed the court."

Posted by jaysuburb at 04:36 PM | Comments (4)