November 30, 2005

?

So what happened last week? Anything at all?

Posted by at 06:30 PM | Comments (0)

November 22, 2005

Fog Day Afternoon

On a day where fog surrounded most of the lower mainland, Gump may have wished for a bit more to surround his own net. Despite a frequently heroic performance, the beleagured goalie could not hold off the opposing team, who freewheeled and took clear shots on net all day, winning handily 20-10.

"At least we broke the shut-out." Gump laughed after the game.

For the fourth time in as many weeks, the score was decidedly lopsided. After three weeks of identical 20-9 shutouts, this week's score seems to indicate another blowout. In fact, though, the game was anything but.

A controversial trade before the face-off resulted in Bird switching teams with Lak. The late arrival of Elvis gave Lak's team a speed advantage, but it was balanced by the equally late arrival of Hoss and his steady playmaking. And while there was post-game second guessing of the initial trade, many players from both teams decided it was for the best.

"I look up and see Lak and Kid on same team, I think, Holy Borscht, it going to be long day," PFG stated. "Trade was good. Gave both teams chance to win."

The close play of the game was demonstrated by the weight of the scoring. While Lak's team was able to use their speed and passing to leap to a 10-2 lead, down the stretch in the second half, they were only able to squeak out a 10-8 victory--a considerably closer margin.

The first half of the game was quick, and wide open, but it was clear that Team Lak had superior control. Passing was specific and unhurried, and defense solid. The constant pressure Team Lak was able to sustain with their speed was the difference, both in going to the net and returning to cover the rush. PFG was also sharp in the shots he did face, leaving few rebounds for the opposition.

All that changed in the second half, however. The habitually taciturn Lak summed up their second half difficulties with one word.

"Gump."

Again the jovial goaltender has demonstrated why he is one of the best in Sunday morning roadhockey. Three times alone, late in the game, he stoned Lak on breakaways, denying the speedy sniper chances to finish the game. The apogee of his acrobatics were probably best displayed in the middle half of the game, when, from an impossibly prone position, Gump lunged his pad into the air to block a guaranteed goal.

It was a save that had even the opposition cheering.

"What can you say? The guy's a stud," remarked Wink. "When he makes saves like that to keep his team in the game, all you can do is applaud."

"I was proud of him" PFG exposulated, grinning. "As goalie, sure, you want the win. But you're always happy when other goalie plays well, especially under tough circumstances. We've both been there. We know what the other guy is going through."

"That save was ridiculous," Unabomer stated with no uncertain awe. "He got his pad to where his blocker normally is. Incredible."

And indeed, his heroics seemed to wake up his team in the second half. The balance of play swung in their direction, and it was PFG who began facing a barrage of orange balls. The determination was lead by Colonel, in his first game of the year.

"One goal, that's all I wanted. One goal. So, not being very mobile right now, I planted myself in front of their net, and put up screens." His determination paid off when he was able to pounce on a PFG pad save, banging in the rebound before the agrarian goaltender could react.

And the closer they got to the magic shutout number, the harder they pressed. They substituted luck for hard working goals, taking advantage of a tiring opposition. With the score 19-9, directly after Gump's trio of saves on Lak, the ball was forward to a wide open Kid, who deftly slipped it past PFG to break the shutout.

That was all they'd get in the end, however. PFG was too strong, and his team's lead too big.

"Both goalies played extremely well, and both sides were getting quality chances," Elvis commented "but we got the bounces. We were good, but we were lucky, too."





The game might have been a blowout if Elvis was able to share more that luck his teammates had. For much of the game, Elvis could only shake his head as his shots at wide open nets careened wide.

"I don't know, I must have been snake-bit today," Elvis shrugged. And his teammates were not shy to point it out to the tireless winger.

"Yeah, I was getting a pretty good ribbing from the guys. Even PFG. You know it's bad when the goalie starts to pokes fun."

On the plus side, Elvis traded some of the unexplained whiffs for some extremely low percentage goals. One, in particular, Elvis roofed off of the post and crossbar from an impossibly close angle. Elvis was typically philosophical of his luck. "You take what you can get."

Although he suffered his second loss of the season, Gump found himself in a particularly celebratory mood post-game. And not because of his stellar performance.

"I bought a condo!" he announced shortly after the game had ended. After checking his messages, Gump discovered this his early morning bid on a home had been successful. "Takes the sting of the loss away, that's for sure."

New arrivals this week helped to bolster the inconsistent roster, as Colonel, Hoss and Wendel all first season appearances. Colonel, hobbled by a bum knee, and Wendel, hobbled by a new bum in the family, were happy to shake off the summer rust.

"The new kid has made it tough to get out, but I'm glad I did. I got tired of reading about the game online at my job all day when i should have been working. Whoops, I mean, I was working. Sorry, gotta go."

One roadster has already announced his absence from this coming sunday, however. PFG has had to bow out to a previous commitment, putting more onus on Lobsterboy to fill in the pipes this week.

"The goaltending has been pretty good so far, and is only getting better. Lobsterboy better not let us down." PFG remarked.

Posted by at 11:29 PM | Comments (15)

November 15, 2005

Lobster thrives as team dives

Lobsterboy had just lost his first start of the season, 20-12, but his smile could have swallowed a sea.

The creaseminding crustacean survived an orange barrage that would have broken the Air Force's bomb budget, including a nuclear blast from the point by Unabomber that blew his protective mask clear off his head, so losing the game didn't seem quite so important anymore. Just playing the game was paramount.

"It's a great way to start the season," said Lobsterboy, whose starting stint between the pipes on Sunday was his first since the pre-season opener. "This was a wide open game, it was a lot of fun today."

Sure it was fun, it your idea of a good time was a non-stop series of two-on-one breakaways, sloppy clearing passes and anemic backchecking that created countless rebounds and scoring chances against the beleaguered backstop.

"We played lousy defense today, it was horrible," said Lobsterboy. "No one was taking their man, there was always a man open, all the passing lanes were always open. It was totally frustrating,"

"There wasn't a whole lot help out front, there wasn't much hustle and nobody seemed too interested in fighting for the ball," said Elvis of his mates' modest effort that subjected his side's shotstopper to the relentless attack of opposing forwards. "I think Lobster played extremely well considering the team that was playing out in front of him."

In fact, even as his team wilted, Lobster seemed to get stronger as the game wore on, and the shots mounted.

"We were just trying to get lots of shots," said Beetle Boy, of his team's strategy to break their rival backstop. "We knew this was Lobster's first game, so we figured he'd be a little rusty so we tried to get as many shots as possible."

And that's just the way Lobsterboy liked it.

"It was a good training game," said the shelled shotstopper. "It's a good wakeup call that this is a tough game."

Posted by jaysuburb at 08:31 PM | Comments (8)

Bell ringer

The return of the Lobster seemed enough motivation to
bring the Sunday Morning Roadsters out of the
woodworks. Sporting his usual revealing European style
equipment, players seemed to have a little more jump
in their step as they zoned in on welting up the
veteran French keeper.

One player in particular decided to catch a few more
winks before the start of the game just to make sure
he had all his strength. "I was just trying to put it
on net," commented a tardy Unabomber, after blasting
his patented slap shot off the head of the Lobsterboy.


The bell ringing didn‚t seem to wake up his team,
however, as the tantalizing tandem of Kid and Bird
were free to roam anywhere on the court leading their
team to a 20-12 victory.

"We seemed to be chasing the ball around all day,"
said Gump. "They had a lot more open shots than we
did, I think Lobster did well to keep us in it."

On separate note, it was good to see the turn out this
week. For the first time in this young road hockey
season, each team had two full lines.

"There were some real rivalries out there today," said
Unabomber after the game. "I think it‚s attributable
to the turnout."

We can only hope that next Sunday‚s game will have the
same attendance. And perhaps, we‚ll finally see the
likes of the missing in action stars, Lak Attack,
Wendel and Wheels.

Posted by Gump at 07:50 PM | Comments (0)

November 07, 2005

Reversal of Fortune

A change of weather this week brought with it more than just dry courts. It brought out a few more players, and a reversal of fortune for both goalies. An identical 20-9 shut out score was the end result, only this week it was PFG, not Gump, on the receiving end of the shellacking.

'We were bad' PFG stated shortly after the last orange ball bounced past him. 'Defense, scoring, passing, checking--we just couldn't keep up. We tried hard, no question. But not a chance."

"For myself, I start to find a grove in middle of game, but their offensive pressure was relentless, and exhausting.'

Besides the score, the only other similarity to last week's game was a repeated concern over the imbalance of the teams.

'We should have done a trade' Gump declared, despite the victory in which he put forth a solid performance. 'It's no fun for anyone when there's a blowout.'

Except perhaps for Kid. Once again he lead the attack for the winning team, scoring multiple goals along side his teammates, the speedy Elvis and the defensively steady Cowboy Bill, with Bird's garbage rebounds nicely complementing Unabomber's blast from the point.

"Kid is frustrating, for sure." PFG remarked of his teammate from last week. "He is able to control play of game well, but is even more devastating when defense backs off him, and give him room to shoot in close. Crap shoot saves, at that point."

Early season conditioning may have played a part too. A number of times in the match the losing squad had trouble keeping up with the flow, finding themselves constantly one step short of the open ball.

Clearly the difference in the game was control and speed. The lucky bounce was definitely in favour of the winning side, but you have to be good to be lucky too. PFG's squad was not often able to mount a strong attack, clearing the ball wildly more often than passing and shooting with control. A late charge in which Wink, Billy Idol, and the Legend were able to reel off a number of quick, well excecuted goals brought their team close to breaking the shut out, but in the end it was way too little, way too late.

"I'd have prefered the rain from last week to the storm of orange balls i got today." PFG quipped. "Next week. We'll get 'em back next week."





PFG had one thing to celebrate this sunday, at least. Sporting a new helmet and an assortment of other recently acquired equipment, PFG seems at last to have assembled a uniform set of gear. After patching his way through a number of seasons with often less than satisfactory equipment, PFG was pleased to find his new gear more or less up to snuff.

"The helmet look and feel good; the pants, a bit too cumbersome, but everything else, glove, blocker, and pads, are all good to go for a few years hopefully."

He was also happy to see a clear sunday for the first time in weeks. "Much better for gear. Give chance to dry out."

Queried about his superstition over a correlation between new gear and a bad performance, PFG simply shrugged.

"What can i say? It seem to happen every time. All i know is that next week, gear isn't new anymore. So, no more blowout."

PFG wasn't the only player happy to see sun instead of rain. The shift in weather helped bring out Elvis and Billy Idol, and with the Legend's return each team enjoyed a couple of subs for the game. However, even though the turnout was an improvement over last week, there was some surprise that the sunny skies didn't draw more players. Still absent from the games so far has been Lobsterboy, Lak Attack, Wendel, Hoss, and Ottoman, with Paul One making only one appearance so far.

The extra subs for this week gave the teams enough energy to play a mini-game after the first game was over. New teams were picked, with Wink and Legend bowing out to other commitments. And with a strong focus on balancing the teams, trades were made to bring about a competitive result. The final score of 10-6 reflected this, with PFG's squad the winners this time around.



Posted by at 12:33 AM | Comments (9)