April 24, 2005

Season heats up

With one game left before the start of the Stanley Stick championship series, the season is heating up. Literally.

Pig Farming Goalie made some key saves late in the game to spark his team to a tough 20-17 win in the first warm weather game of the Spring. Meanwhile, at the other end, Lobsterboy wilted from the tepid temperatures and the offensive opportunism of his resurgent rivals.

"The weather was a huge factor," says agrarian goaltender, who concedes his biggest challenge in the heat may have been maintaining his mental cool. "I just start to shrug off those goals I had no chance. What can you do? You just let it go and focus on those shots you can stop."

And that's just what he did, lunging across the crease to snatch a sure score away from Paul One and smothering blistering point shots with his big glove hand.

"I think we rallied behind our goalie," says Gump, who was given a rare reprieve from his usual creaseminding commitment. "The team came together when PFG made a couple of huge saves. He was working hard and we figured we needed to win it for him."

But not before they almost let it slip away. After the Colonel finally turned on his offensive jets, scoring three straight goals to give his side their first substantial lead of the day, their momentum stalled, allowing their feisty foes right back into the thick of the battle with four quick goals of their own to close the margin back down to one.

"The Colonel scored his hattrick, then he came off talking out how it was an insurmountable lead and that fired up our next line," says Beetle Boy.

"We were in the groove, we were in the zone," says Wendel, playing his first game since issuing his controversial challenge to his fellow roadsters to improve their attendance. "It was just magical, and I just don't know how it slipped away from us."

Bad luck might have had something to do with it, as the Living Legend banked a long, languid shot off Wendel's ankle late in the game, after Beetle Boy and Billy Idol had also tipped shots past their own goalie earlier.

"The fluke goals didn't help," says Wendel. "You see the ball going off my leg or go in off crazy angles and it's like oh, now what have we got to do to win this game? After your hard work and your good goals, it's hard to see the other side get a couple of cheap, lousy goals."

"They got some lucky goals, and we were done," says Lobsterboy.

"You got to get the bounces," says Gump.

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April 17, 2005

Idol wins game, while Elvis scores

While his co-commuter, Elvis, was indisposed by scoring of a different sort, Billy Idol disposed of his opponents by scoring six goals, including a natural hattrick and the gamewinner, to lead his team to an easy 20-10 win in Sunday's game.

Making a rare solo appearance, Billy Idol was a one-man wrecking crew, destroying defenders with his hard charges to the net and deft deflections past a dizzied Lobsterboy. A natural hattrick, midway through the game, proved most destructive, snuffing out a smoldering comeback that had allowed his side's opponents to creep back within two goals.

"They were pressing, and if they had gotten a couple of goals at that point, it might have been a different result," says Paul One. "There was more than a few times when they sort of left Billy alone, and they paid the price for it."

"He broke our back," says Lobsterboy of his foe's timely trick.

"He shoots the ball real well," says Wink, who was an unwitting victim of one of Billy Idol's blasts, when the feisty forward banked the gamewinner off his foot. "He works hard and his hard work came to fruition today. He's one of the guys who's always getting better."

But not without a little help, says Billy Idol. "It's playing with guys like Lak Attack and Nibs that really makes a big difference. They really know how to play, pass and shoot. So as long as you stay open, you're pretty much guaranteed to get some goals."

A little luck also helps, says Paul One. "We definitely had ball luck on our side. We had stuff coming out of the corners, hitting people in the back and going in."

The lucky bounces and fortunate deflections sent their opponents spinning into frustration.

"We were handcuffed by everything," says Lobsterboy. "Nothing worked for us."

Least of all their offense, which time and again broke down into chaos and confusion.

"We were getting three-on-ones and three-on-twos and we weren't getting shots," says Wink. "We were too selfish offensively, we didn't do enough good things when we had the ball."

"It was just ugly," says Lobsterboy.

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April 10, 2005

Wink one-hands way to win

As road hockey's most notorious gameshow host, Wink uses his size and strength to stop opposing forwards in their tracks. Sunday, he used uncharacteristic finesse to quash the opposition's comeback and spark his team to a 15-12 win.

With his side's commanding four-goal lead whittled to two, 13-11, the fellow founding father charged up the court to take a pass at the edge of the crease; holding off the Living Legend with one hand, he used the other to gather in the evil orange plastic ball and then sweep it under a stunned Pig Farming Goalie.

It was, says Bird, a decisive moment. "It killed the other team. They were starting to get back into it and once we got that one, we knew we only needed one more. Everyone knows about Wink's point shot, but that finesse is something you don't see from him very often."

"I think we were mentally defeated at that point," concedes Elvis, who got it back with one of his own a few moments later; but it was too little too late. "We had that false sense of security because the Legend was covering him, so you just assumed it would all be taken care of and Wink couldn't have got that shot off. "

But, says Wink, the die for his team's victory had already been cast. Using quick transitions from defense to offense, they exploited their team's speed advantage to create odd-man rushes all game.

"I think we had the fast break going," says the big-shooting defenseman. "The goalie saved the ball, put it down and we passed it up; I think we caught them a few times."

Well, a few too many times for Pig Farming Goalie's liking. "Our defense stand still a little bit too much. They had good passing, it's tough to defend."

And when the play turned the other way, his mates didn't have the polish to generate much of an offensive threat of their own.

"It just didn't seem to click," says Elvis. "There was a lot of sloppy passes, a lot of bad passes through the middle that cost us."

"Towards end, team kinda fag out on me," says Pig Farming Goalie.

"I think we just had a little more legs, a little more desire," says Wink. "We tried to really make things happen."





Sunday's dry court was a welcome sight after last week's game was cancelled by a cold rain that kept all but one brave roadster huddling in their suburban hovels. But when Bird made the long drive despite the deluge, he was shocked by the lack of fortitude by his fellow players. Afterall, the game had always gone on before.
"It's disappointing," said the committed centerman. "Even in my early years here, when it was raining we wouldn't have a lot of guys but we'd still get a game in."
But two rain cancellations in three weeks, and an earlier game lost to a snow and ice storm, may signal a shift in the roadsters' sensibilities. Or maybe a return to their senses.
"I think guys are getting old, guys are getting tired," said Wink. "The Old Guard used to keep it going, and now the Old Guard is looking for the younger guys to make it happen."
"It's just a general lack of dedication from some key people," said Elvis.
But Pig Farming Goalie isn't pushing any panic buttons. "In February we had lots of good weather and maybe it's just trade off for what February weather is usually like."

Despite the lack of a game, a busy week of chatter amongst the roadsters culminated with a challenge by Wendel to his fellow players to step up this week no matter the weather. So, those players were shocked when Wendel himself was a no-show on Sunday.
"If he's gonna flap gum, he should show up," said PFG.
"You can't go ahead and challenge people like that and then just not show up," said Bird. "You've gotta keep your mouth shut if you're going to be inconsistent like that."
"That's probably the weakest thing I've seen all year," said Elvis. "I think the Wendy nickname is very well deserved in this case."


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