December 19, 2004

Pig Farmer answers crease call

Given the green light by a new surgeon to strap on the pads, Pig Farming Goalie wasn't about to let a few red lights keep him from making his return to the crease triumphant. Playing his first game between the pipes since he reinjured his knackered knee last April, the sow-slopping shotstopper settled down from some early jitters to backstop his team to a 20-12 win.

For nearly one period, it looked like Pig Farming Goalie should have stayed a Forward, as he spotted his opponents an easy 4-2 lead, including a rope from the far end of the court that beat him low to the glove side. Confused and confounded, his mates struggled to complete their passes or convert their scarce chances. It seemed a recipe for frustration; twice PFG slammed his stick to the court and yelled out in aggravation.

But then opportunity came calling, and Cowboy Bill answered. Ever the garbageman, the facially-fuzzed forward knocked three straight rebounds past his roomie rival, Gump, to turn the tide. Pig Farming Goalie then dammed the crease the rest of the way.

"Why worry about five goals when there's 20 to get," says Pig Farming Goalie of the renewed confidence he gained as his team forged ahead for the first time. "I don't want to let teammates down, my goal was just to keep team in it so they can get momentum."

Sparked by their newfound offense, and a shakeup to their lines that seemed to create new chemistry at both ends of the court, PFG and his mates never trailed again.

"We started the game running around a little bit like chickens with our heads cut off," says Cowboy Bill of his side's early struggles. "We just started to organize ourselves, I think we started to figure out where everybody else was supposed to be on the court."

"We had to change up the mix to throw the other team back on their heels a bit," says Bulldog, who scored the winning goal after he was moved to a line with Elvis and the prolific Cowboy Bill. "This is a game of chances and we had to seize our opportunities."

"Our team just started to lose focus, and at the same time the other team really started to put it together," says Wendel of his side's second-period collapse.

"I thnk we just ran out of gas," says notorious gameshow host gone bad, Wink. "We had a few bad shifts when we just kinda collapsed, we just didn't work, we got too caught up, we got too pretty, we got lazy for little spurts."

With his team finally on track in the offensive zone, Pig Farming Goalie took care of business at his end of the court. Time and again he denied Lak Attack swooping in from the wing, fearlessly throwing himself across the crease to smother dangerous rebounds.

"You have to go to sort of zen of goaltending," says the agrarian goaltender.

"PFG just kept getting stronger, and we just couldn't beat him," says Wink. "He gets in the right spot at the right time, he always gets squared, and you really have to get him to move his feet, but we just stopped making the moves."

"He really rolled into form as the game went on, and that allowed us to open up a little bit," says Cowboy Bill. "Our offense really came alive."

Pig Farming Goalie got the go-ahead to return to the crease when he consulted a new surgeon for a second opinion about his injured knee, which has kept him out of the lineup for long stretches for the past two seasons. Armed with a positive assessment, and a brace, the back-40 backstopper strapped on the big leg pads confident his jumbled joint could hold up, but not so assured about his own ability.
"Honestly, I felt a little bit scrambled," said PFG about his early tentativeness. "It was tough to get rhythm going. Every bad goal that went in made it feel like all goals that went in were bad goals. It was tough to get into right mental space."
But the rest of the roadsters had little doubt the lapsed shotstopper was up to the task.
"You wanna support him as much as you can," said Bulldog. "We tried to be there defensively for him and he came through for us."
"He's just so technically strong," said Wink. "If you score a goal on him, it's a real goal. He doesn't make mistakes and you rarely see a bad goal go in on him."
But PFG's return to the crease was shortlived, as he'll miss most of January to service the onerous demands of his exploitative employer.

PFG's return to the crease overshadowed another comeback, as Bulldog returned to the courts for the first time in a year. And his rust showed.
Starting on a line with Kid and the Living Legend, he struggled to find his touch in the offensive zone and seemed lost on the backcheck.
"When you're away from the courts, you tend to forget people's nuances and where they're going to be," said the feisty forward, who was making a special holiday-season start while visiting from his new home in a faraway city. "It takes a while to come back. It's all about timing, it's all about conditioning."

The Living Legend, who was a doubtful starter as he battled the lingering effects of a viral infection, followed up a four-goal performance in the day's main event with eight of his side's ten goals in the follow-up minigame.
"I was in shock and awe," said Lak Attack of his veteran linemate's unlikely scoring heroics, which staked his side to a 10-9 win.
"I think I'm gonna wake up any moment and realize it was all a dream," said Elvis.
"I knew this game didn't count, so I'm just out there doing my thing," said the Legend, who spent most of the game loafing around center court awaiting the headman pass, and then bounced the gamewinner off his belly.

The court is dark next week, as the roadsters enjoy the Christmas holiday with their families. Action resumes the following Sunday, Jan. 2. The annual Shrimp Ring Bowl is scheduled for Jan. 9.

Posted by jaysuburb at 04:49 PM | Comments (3)

December 12, 2004

Ottoman stones opponents

Ottoman missed the first nine weeks of the season recovering from a bout with kidney stones. Sunday, he stoned his opponents, backstopping his team to a decisive 20-13 win in his first start of the season.

It was a remarkable debut for the veteran shotstopper, whose low profile during his extended absence fueled speculation that he had, in fact, retired. By the time he strolled off the court on Sunday, having weathered a late-game lull that cost him a road hockey shutout and made the score closer than it should have been, he had his opponents muttering to themselves, wishing the rumors had been true.

"He doesn't leave much space to shoot at," says Beetle Boy of the resurrected rearguard. "It's frustrating because you maybe hold onto the ball too long looking for that hole."

"Ottoman was good right off the bat, and that caught us early," says Billy Idol.

Indeed, other than whiffing a court-long shot by Elvis that caught him out of position, Ottoman proved a formidable barrier from the opening faceoff, giving his team the confidence to counterattack deep into the offensive zone. Nibs, a notoriously inattentive backchecker, freewheeled in the offensive zone with three straight goals that broke the game wide open even before the sides switched ends for the first time.

"Nibs was just awesome out there," says Ottoman.

"Nibs was on fire," says Pig Farming Forward. "He was able to pick corner and that seemed to make the difference early in game and gave us lots of confidence. We had the momentum after first period was over."

They never let up, stretching their lead to as large as ten goals and sending their opponents to the sidelines swearing at each other and cracking their sticks on the concrete.

"We just let the other team beat themselves up," says Pig Farming Forward.

"We let ourselves get into a big hole," says Beetle Boy, who returned to the courts after he missed last week's game. "We just didn't seem to have any continuity. We weren't getting any bounces, it seemed the ball would hit us and go right to their sticks for a breakaway."

With Kid and Bird playing their patented give-and-go with aplomb, and Lak Attack deking and dancing through flatfooted defenders, they rarely missed.

"I had a good team in front of me," says Ottoman. "We never really trailed, so it was a nice game for us."

Ottoman's unexpected arrival at the courts created a goalie crisis of a different sort for the first time this season; too many shotstoppers!

Lobsterboy, suffering the lingering effects of an infection, was only too happy to relinquish his position between the pipes, while Billy Idol jumped at the chance to score his first goal of the season. And while he was ultimately credited with that goal when Cowboy Bill accidently shot the evil orange plastic ball into his own net while trying to clear a pass from the edge of the crease, he wasn't entirely satisfied with his effort.

"Today it was hard to get things going," said Idol. "It's hard to get those sprints back because when you're in goal you get tired, but you don't get winded."

Lobsterboy left the game after a handful of shifts and he'll likely be out of the lineup for an extended stretch as he prepares for the imminent arrival of his latest crawbaby.

Pig Farming Forward returned to the lineup to tenderfoot his way around the slippery court and tenderize the shins of opposing forwards. But his thoughts were with his side's returning rearguard.

"As goalie, I know what it's like to play first game," said the gimped goaltender. "You need to get first few shots in glove before you feel confident."

After the game, PFF announced he'll miss most of January, as he travels out of town to service the onerous demands of his exploitative employer.

Posted by jaysuburb at 03:08 PM | Comments (10)

December 05, 2004

Leap of faith

Paul One and his mates overcame some tough physical play by their overmatched opponents and a shaky start by their neophyte netminder, Nibs, to roll to a 25-17 win in Sunday's game.

Despite falling behind 3-1 early, on a floating backhander by the Living Legend and an unlikely deflection, the veteran forward had faith it would only be a matter of time before his speedy linemates, Lak Attack and Kid, would seize control of the game. They just had to ensure they didn't dig themselves into too deep a hole.

"We had to finish our chances, we were missing empty nets," says One, who only knows too well that lining up alongside Kid and Lak Attack isn't a guarantee of a win after his undermanned side defeated the dynamic duo in Week Four.

"We knew we could win, we just had to stay calm, stay focussed and get the job done," says Wendel. "We had the firepower, we had the skills and we were getting enough of the bounces our way."

When four of those bounces in a row skipped past a beleaguered Billy Idol, the powerhouse favorites were on their way. They never trailed again.

"I don't think they ever really panicked," says Bird of his potent opponents. "They're so skilled and so fast, you have to be better defensively than we were."

Not that there weren't some tense moments. Time and again Paul One and his mates threatened to romp only to allow their feisty foes back into the game.

"They got some timely goals, and when you get a few goals going your way, it kinda re-energizes a team and they can pick up their pace," says One.

"When you're shooting on Nibs, I think you're always in the game," says Bird, as his side tried to take advantage of the substitute shotstopper's inexperience by peppering him with shots from every angle.

But as Nibs settled down, his side's scorers lit the scoreboard up.

"Nibs needed a little time to warm up, but we knew he'd come along," says Wendel.

"I'm not sure we were ever really in it," says Bird.

Sunday Morning Road Hockey will take a holiday hiatus, with no game scheduled for December 26, to allow the roadsters time to spend with their families, or large-screen televisions. Games will resume the following week, January 2. The Shrimp Ring Bowl is scheduled for January 9.

Posted by jaysuburb at 03:08 PM | Comments (22)