March 28, 2004

Last shift letdown

Wink and his powerful linemates, Colonel and Lak Attack, picked the wrong time of the game to run out of gas.

After leading their team back from defecits throughout Sunday's game, including a four-goal hole early, they fired blanks on their last shift, allowing Rudy and his speedy wingers to score three straight goals and a hard-fought 20-18 win.

"We had three pretty good guys out there, and we just couldn't finish," says the humbled gameshow host. "I really felt that after we got the lead, with the guys we were sending out there, we were gonna win it, we're just gonna go out there and be freakin' heroes."

They had taken to the court with only their second lead of the game, 18-17, after Wendel and the Living Legend, who had been struggling most of the day, combined for two quick goals, the go-ahead marker on a seeing-eye backhand over Gump's shoulder

"Towards the end, we got better at playing a good aggressive forechecking game, and both lines were doing a good job at making things happen," says Wendel. "We thought we finally had the game under control and with our power line out there, we had momentum on our side."

But their opponents responded with a speedy trio of their own. Elvis battled the boards while Rudy and the Kid cycled to the crease, creating cracks in the defensive coverage and scoring chances on a beleaguered Lobsterboy.

"We just wanted to end it," says Elvis. "A lot of it was just good play by Rudy and the Kid, a lot of movement and good passing and just trying to get Lobsterboy moving around a little bit."

"We were just trying to chip it out and put it on net, get to the rebounds on Lobster," says Rudy, who scored the gamewinner past the diving crustacean.

"They were quick, and we just ran out of gas," says Wink of his line's last-shift letdown.

But the seeds for their swoon may have been sown much earlier in the game. With the second unit struggling, it was up to the first line to lead the charge back from a 5-1 defecit at the end of the first period. Wink and Lak Attack scraped, while the Colonel scrapped, first with Beetle Boy and then with Rudy, to take a 7-5 lead.

"I think our line played really well all game," says Wink. "We had lots of chances, we worked really well as a group."

"We were on our heels a lot of the time against Wink, Lak and Colonel," says Rudy. "They had a tough line to match up against, they really pushed hard through the middle of the game."

Maybe too hard, says Wendel. And when they needed to draw on their reserves to put an end to the longest game of the season, the tank was empty.

"Sometimes it's tough to get that final push in," says the diminutive winger. "You spend so much energy just trying to get back into it, and then you still need more energy to finally win the game."

"We were behind... but we always fought back," says Lobsterboy, who lost for the second time in as many weeks. "It looked like we were a heartbeat away from winning, but just a couple of bad plays and it's game over. It was a heartbreaker. We should have won, but we lost it."

Posted by jaysuburb at 06:55 PM | Comments (28)

March 21, 2004

Gunned down

When the run doesn't work, go to the gun.

The Colonel's teammates couldn't outrun their freewheeling opponents through the first half of Sunday's game, despite a man advantage that gave them the only substitute, so he took command with rapier shots from beyond the blueline. Three in a row went in, seeing-eye blasts over Lobsterboy's flailing shoulder, launching his side to a 12-goal barrage in the second half en route to a 20-14 comeback win.

"As long as you've got somebody who can shoot back there, it's always a threat," says the Colonel, who also tallied the game winner on another top-shelf long shot.

"We just had to get back to basics, set up the long shots and see what kind of rebounds we could get," says Bird. His knack for hovering unchecked at the edge of the crease netted him a handful of goals as he pounced on loose balls that eluded Lobsterboy's equipment.

"Three or four lousy goals on my part really broke our back," says the shelled shotstopper, who played between the pipes for the first time in almost two months. "I was slower, my reflexes were off."

But his team was fast. Despite playing without the benefit of a substitute player to give the starters a rest, Elvis and the Kid charged up the court, driving hard to the net, forechecking relentlessly, while Billy Idol roamed the defensive zone. Their aggression seemed to confuse their opponents as their breakout plays collapsed in disarray and passes rolled harmlessly into the corners.

"They had some good players who can move, they don't get tired all that much," says the Colonel, as his side found themselves down 10-8 at the halftime break.

"We kinda thought we'd win easily, but we weren't," says Bird, who expressed disappointment at the poor turnout on the first warm spring day of the season. "They were outhustling us and they had no sub, it was embarrassing."

That's when they decided to exploit their long game. Colonel and Nibs blasted bombs, while Bird and the Living Legend roamed for rebounds.

"We talked about keeping the other team in front of us, and try to get some chances off the transition," says Colonel. "It brings the defense out more and that creates chances down low."

"We knew we had to come out and take a quick lead," says Bird.

After giving up another goal right after the break to fall behind by three, the Colonel found his range.

"I started hitting the net, and Lobsterboy seemed to have a big hole above his right shoulder," says the offensive officer.

"They're just great shots from the Colonel," says Lobsterboy. "The wheels fell off; it was just a matter of time."

"It's tough to watch those go in," says Billy Idol of the careening cannon blasts that buried his side, "but it's even tougher to try and block them."

Posted by jaysuburb at 04:20 PM | Comments (19)

March 14, 2004

Emotion extinguisher

Two quick goals by the Living Legend doused an emotional comeback led by his veteran rival, Wink, and sparked his team to a 25-16 win in Sunday's soggy game.

The Legend's unlikely slapshot that found the low corner of the net on Billy Idol's glove side tied the game at nine, while his follow-up on the same shift was the first of seven straight by his mates that buried their opponents.

"It really was the fact that we got a couple of quick goals," says Rudy, who played his first game in more than a month. "They were really coming on strong, but our shots started to go in."

"I think that was the turning point," says Beetle Boy, who defied his critics by playing his second consecutive game in a rainstorm. "They'd been building some momentum."

That momentum had come largely from Wink, who tried to lift his team from an early malaise by crashing the boards, driving hard to the net and exhorting his mates to follow his lead. For awhile they did, storming back from a three-goal defecit to take their first, and only, lead of the game, 9-8.

"It's a game of emotion," says Bird of his fiery teammate. "I was expecting someone to get punched in the back of the head by Wink; he's that kind of player sometimes."

But that fire in the belly seemed to get extinguished by the Legend's offensive outburst.

"As soon as you think you've got the momentum and then you get a couple of goals scored against you, it deflates you super quickly," says Cowboy Bill.

"Any time the Legend scores at all, it does humiliate the other team considerably," says Elvis.

"Having the Legend score one goal against you, much less two, is the most disspiriting thing that can happen to you in road hockey," says Bird, who's broken open some games on his own with his knack for timely fluke goals. "There's just nothing you can do or say to lift up a team after that kind of atrocity happens."

Indeed, his mates seemed to collapse. Disconsolate and disorganized, one line got caught on the court for seven straight goals.

"I think when you're minus seven on one shift, you should probably take the hint to sub off," says Elvis.

"The guys wanna stay out there because they wanna get some of it back," says Bird. "But if it's not working, you've gotta switch it up."

"We took advantage of their lapses," says Beetle Boy. "We knew they were getting more desperate, they were starting to think more about trying to score goals than trying to play defense."

"While they were taking really long shifts, we just kept rolling through our guys as quickly as we could," says Cowboy Bill. "We took advantage of the chances we had."

Posted by jaysuburb at 04:28 PM | Comments (12)

Wink angry at Bird

Wink, angry at comments made by the Bird, has elected to sit out next week's game as a protest.
"I don't like the Bird anymore," said Wink.

Posted by at 04:27 PM | Comments (2)

March 07, 2004

Marine assault

On a day more suited to a marine invasion than a road hockey game, the Colonel and his troops assaulted the crease and pounced on rebounds to march to an easy 25-11 victory.

With a steady downpour making the concrete court as slick as ice, the victors quickly established their gameplan to pepper shots at the net and then chop home rebounds or loose balls as defenders struggled with their footing.

"Nobody's moving around out there," says the Colonel, who scored three of his career-high 11 goals on his first shift. "If you just keep banging away, and your linemates throw the ball in front to you, you just have to whack away at it. There's not a lot of skill involved."

Or a lot of drama, as the winners pulled away early.

"We got those three or four right off the start, and that just shuts the other team down," says Gump, who backstopped his team to the win for the second consecutive week. "Their defensemen got caught behind so much, and we had too many open chances."

"We got off on the right foot," says the Colonel.

"The other team's defense was nowhere to be found," says Elvis.

That made it especially frustrating for Ottoman, who tried desperately to hold the fort without reinforcements to clear his crease of invaders.

"They get in close like that, the ball squirts out or it's just sitting there, and you get a bunch of sticks right there and it pops in," says the soaked shotstopper. "On a day like today, they can just fire it from everywhere and hope for rebounds or hope it finds the back of the net."

"It just becomes a whack job from there," says the Colonel.

Posted by jaysuburb at 03:02 PM | Comments (24)