February 27, 2005

Cowboy ropes win

Cowboy Bill finally found his shot, just when his team needed him the most.

The bearded blaster banked a rapier slapshot off the post and over the outstretched arm of a prone Pig Farming Goalie, to give his team an 18-16 lead late in Sunday's game, the first of three straight goals that snuffed out a courageous comeback by their feisty opponents and sealed a 20-16 win.

"It was just one of those shots that actually hit the net where I was aiming," says Cowboy Bill, who earlier had missed a wide open net and struggled all day to gain the court space he needed to unleash his fearsome shot. "It made up for a bunch of plays we didn't convert earlier."

More importantly, it was the nail in the coffin for an overmatched opposition that had gamely battled back from three and four-goal defecits all day to close to within a goal. And it took the air out of Pig Farming Goalie, who had stood on his head, turning aside odd-man rushes and clean-cut breakaways to give his team a fighting chance.

"When you try so hard to make saves and then nothing happen on our end, how many can you make," shrugs the embattled ballstopper of his second loss in as many weeks. "They were relentless. Towards end of game, I couldn't stay focused."

But with his defense struggling, and Kid and Colonel wheeling and dealing, the result may have been inevitable.

"They were giving us time and space and we were able to take advantage of that," says New Guy, who made his first start of the season. "We were all over them in the offensive zone."

"We just seemed to be lazy all over the court," says Paul One. "We just didn't seem to be able to get into the flow, the guys weren't working well together and they seemed to have a lot more jump than we did."

Indeed, only stellar goaltending by Pig Farming Goalie kept the score close.

"We had to work for every goal he let in," says Cowoby Bill.

"He really kept them in the game," says New Guy. "You've got to keep jamming away, you've got to hope for some ugly goals, and once we got those... the game just came to us."

While defenders ran away, leaving the point man time to wind up for sizzling slapshots and unchecked forwards buzzing the crease for loose rebounds.

"They beat us to the ball, we weren't following up on rebounds," says Paul One. "We didn't give P much help at all."

"We were in our groove," says Cowboy Bill. "They should have been working harder."

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February 20, 2005

Hard work earns win

Ottoman knew winning Sunday's game wouldn't be easy. So as his mates worked hard along the boards and in the corners, he swept danger from the crease to earn a 20-10 win.

"When you see the guys working that hard, it gets you amped up," says the sizeable shotstopper, who fell just short of earning his first road hockey shutout of the season. "Everyone was working well together."

Indeed, with little to choose between the sides for half the game, it was hard work that made the difference. The team most wiling to jump on the loose ball or charge back to pounce on a wayward rebound was rewarded with scoring opportunities.

"We were really hustling out there," says Beetle Boy, as his side outscored their opponents 10-1 in the game's final two periods, to win going away. "When you work really hard you end up getting a lot of bounces and good things happen."

That was bad news for overmatched defenders, as time and again Kid and Lak Attack were able to sweep in from the sides as Beetle Boy and Wheels mopped up from the top of the crease.

"When you have Lak and the Kid out there, the other guys key in on them and that does free up some time and space for the other guys," says Ottoman.

"They pretty much know what to do and they provide a really good spark to the offense," says Beetle Boy, of his speedy linemates, who set him up for five goals.

It was a relentless attack, says Pig Farming Goalie, as he was overwhelmed in his first start in almost two months. "They had excellent breakouts, passing for two-on-ones, bing-bam-boom, it was just a matter of time."

With time winding down, the underdogs got frustrated, hastening their demise.

"We had no passing and our shots on net were bad," says PFG.

"I don't know if we just saw PFG and we thought he was going to save us, or if we were too afraid of Kid and Lak," says Wink. "We were just fat and lazy, it was embarrassing."

"You could tell it was getting to them," says Ottoman. "They were yelling at each other, they were trying to line match, they were trying to come up with anything they could, and it was just getting them really frustrated."

"They just started trying to do anything and when it didn't work, it demoralized them," says Beetle Boy. "By playing hard and working hard, we were able to get the upper hand mentally and physically."

And on the scoreboard.

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February 13, 2005

Soft goals make for hard loss

The hardest-fought game of the season was decided by some of the softest shots.

Elvis chopped a knuckler off the heel of his stick past a handcuffed Lak Attack to seal his team's 21-19 overtime win. Only moments earlier, the Living Legend had set the stage for the dramatic finish when his sweeping check of Bird caught the baffled backstop by surprise, tying the game at 19.

With little to choose between the teams in Sunday's game, luck was decisive.

"A lot of our goals were just long, half-screened shots," says Cowboy Bill, who scored a pair of late goals to lead his team back from their biggest defecit of the game 17-14.

"When the goalies are playing that good, and the defense is playing that tight, it comes down to who gets the fluke goals," says Gump.

And Sunday, it was his team that was able to cash in their chips on an otherwise impenetrable Lak Attack.

"We were only able to score on him on long shots," says Beetle Boy. "In close, he just played unbelieveable."

Especially once he settled down after being surprised by a clearing pass from the far end of the court that skipped past his pad and put his team down 3-1. Undaunted, his teammates rallied, taking their first lead of the game, 5-4, into the second period. Then the defensive specialists took over, goals became precious.

"As the game went on, it got tighter," says Paul One. "It's all about making no mistakes. You don't want the bad goal going against you, you don't wanna be giving it up in your end and causing the three goal run against you."

"We just started getting a little more defensive," says Beetle Boy. "We always had to be cognizant of tight checking, you've gotta play really carefully, you can't be careless out there."

"The game started out a little soft, but then everyone realized how even the teams were and everyone started working really hard," says Cowboy Bill. "It's all about commiting to have someone back on defense, and our team really had some underrated defensive players...who weren't afraid to stay back."

But with no bonafide sniper to fire the offense, they had to claw and chop their way back from three goals defecits three times.

"They battled hard," says Gump of his determined mates. "We got something from everyone today."

"You need to get as many breaks as you can," says Cowboy Bill.

"It was heartbreaking, because I think we played our butts off," says Wink, disconsolate at his team's inability to finish off their determined rivals. "They got a couple of bounces at the end that they shouldn't have got."





In a season plagued with rainy, cold weather, Sunday's game was the first to be played on a dry court and under sunny skies in almost two months. And the players responded, with the longest, most hard-fought game of the season.

"I think this was one of the greatest non-Stanley Stick games I've ever played in," said an exhausted Bird. "The teams were fairly balanced, great goaltending at both ends, great shots."

"It had that Stanley Stick feel," said Paul One, who scored the go-ahead goal. "The game was back and forth, the team that had the best legs ended up winning it in the end."

"This was probably the hardest game so far this year," said Billy Idol. "It keeps everybody working out there, that's for sure."

Sunday's winners had to battle back twice from three-goal deficits, and they also had to persevere through a manpower disadvantage late in the game when Wendel had to leave early and the Living Legend departed to attend to a personal matter. But with so much at stake, the remaining players rallied by shortening their shifts and extending their opponents long enough to allow the Legend to return to score the game-tying goal.

"By then, both teams were pretty exhausted," said Cowboy Bill. "The speed was down a little bit, so you just had to run through those subs as quickly as you could."

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February 06, 2005

Kid conquers frustration

When Kid slipped the winning goal under Gump's pads, sealing a 20-18 comeback victory, he celebrated with a sigh. The pressure was finally off.

For almost half of Sunday's game, the sure-footed scorer couldn't buy a goal. And while his teammates struggled to keep pace with their opportunistic opponents, his own frustration only grew with every shot lifted harmlessly past the post or into the goalie's equipment.

"It was very difficult," says Kid, who finally got the scoring monkey off his back when he netted his team's ninth goal of the game, and then added three more, including the winner. "It's quite a lot of pressure if no one else is scoring."

"We need that offensive contribution from our big goal scorer," says Beetle Boy of his team's early struggles as his linemate looked for his scoring touch.

"You kinda expect Kid to score when he's out there," says Bird.

"Their whole team was looking to him to provide the offense," says Paul One, as his side keyed their defensive effort on the diminutive deker, driving him to the boards and cutting off his free runs through the crease. "You've always got to try to get on Kid pretty quickly to shut him down. He was getting frustrated out there and when he's frustrated, he doesn't always play that well."

Instead, he plays defense. Unable to freewheel in the offensive zone the speedy centerman stuck to his half of the court, quarterbacking plays, setting up teammates, biding his time.

"I was just coming back a lot more, try to control the play from the back end to set up plays," says Kid.

His mates responded, spreading the scoring around to take an early lead, squandered it, than battled back twice from three-goal defecits.

"We just didn't give up," says Beetle Boy. "Even after they scored five or six unanswered goals, we weren't defeated, we just came back, we got a few bounces and we worked hard."

"It was really satisfying we kept battling back," says Bird. "We just had to keep ourselves in it enough so that when (Kid) did pick up the scoring we were able to come back."

With his teammates setting the table, Kid heeded their call to reward their hard work. Driving out from the corner, he weaved his way through the crease and slipped the evil orange plastic ball underneath a falling Gump. The game winner was only his fourth goal of the game.

"I feel like I've got to score eight goals every game," says Kid. "My team put it upon me to score, and I just got lucky."

"Kid started to find his game and we didn't adjust," says Paul One. "He burned us in the end."

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