January 30, 2006

Rookies create Buzz

An influx of new players created a buzz at the road hockey courts on Sunday. It was one of those players who buzzed the loudest, leading his team to a dramatic comeback victory, 20-17.

With his team down 13-8 and struggling to solve the mysterious goaltending style of Paul One, who was making his first start between the pipes in Sunday Morning Road Hockey's modern era, Buzz stung for six straight goals to launch his mates in front to stay.

"I think our constant grit and determination paid off," says Elvis, who persevered on a line with the rookie pest. "Not knowing how anybody plays, obviously it took a few shifts to get used to everyone, who to look out for and who to take advantage of."

And with Paul One making his first goaltending start in the modern era after Lobsterboy was an unexpected late scratch, there seemed to be plenty to take advantage of.

"You know he's pretty green out there, and you're thinking this is going to be an easy game," says Cowboy Bill, who's line struggled to solve the neophyte netminder.

It was anything but. With a trio of energetic rookies forcing the play to the far end of the court, Paul One had plenty of time to ease into his newfound duties.

"I think I was getting one shot for every five shots that was going the other way," says the versatile veteran who returned to the courts after taking a couple of weeks off to enjoy his new son. "When you see the way that we were controlling the play, it gives you a lot of confidence for sure."

There flame may have burned brightly, but it burned quickly as it was blown out by Buzz and his veteran linemates once they found their legs.

"All the new players used up all their gas early, while the regular veteran guys knew it was going to be long one," says Elvis. "You just keep doing what you're doing."

"We've been playing with the same guys for years, and you know exactly where they're going to be," says Cowboy Bill. "When you add four or five new guys to the mix, you don't know where they're going to show up, where they're going to run to, how much hustle they have."

Just as some of the newbies faltered, Buzz took wing and single-handedly seized control of the game for his mates, who then shut the door defensively to protect their lead from a late resurgence by their overmatched opponents.

"It was a good team effort," says Elvis. "It felt pretty good to come back like that."

Bowed, but not beaten, Paul One still managed to find some encouragement.

"This was kind of a telling day as to what the future of road hockey holds," says the senior shotstopper, who's suffered the indignities of marginal turnouts for much of the season. "I think it looks pretty good."

Posted by jaysuburb at 09:00 PM | Comments (17)

January 16, 2006

Shrimp Ring shame

Ottoman saved the Shrimp Ring Bowl, but he couldn't save the game for his team.

With seven roadsters standing around Sunday morning wondering what to do, and the festive shrimp ring sitting ignored on the sidelines, only the last-minute arrival of the veteran goaltender ensured the traditional celebration of the schedule's midway point could actually be played. But a pall had been cast over the hilight of Sunday Morning Road Hockey's social calendar.

"I think this would be disappointing on any day," said Bird, who looks forward to the arrival of the seafood circle despite being allergic to the tasty pink crustaceans. "But to have this major event like the Shrimp Ring Bowl and nobody shows up, it's extremely disappointing."

"I think it's a shame guys didn't make a better effort," says Wink, a fellow founding father who's never missed a Shrimp Ring Bowl. "It's a new year and I thought that would symbolize a new commitment to the game, and apparently it's not there."

But perhaps no roadster was more disappointed than Unabomber, who was looking forward to playing his first Shrimp Ring Bowl after being forced to miss his previous opportunities to participate in the big game because of injury.

"It's really disheartening," says the bearded blaster. "This game has always been about commitment and, clearly, it's just not there anymore."

And that's got some veteran players worried.

"I think we've been seeing the attendance go down steadily this year, and it's so shocking and alarming to see how poor it is," says Bird.

"I was expecting much much more," says Unabomber.

But, says Wink, the game has been down before and always bounced back stronger than ever.

"We've survived this before and we'll survive this again. We'll get new guys and the guys who aren't here when they show up, they'll bitch about it, but they should just shut the hell up."

Ottoman's last-minute arrival saved the game, and set up a rematch of last Sunday's duel against upstart shotstopper, Nibs. And while the neophyte netminder was soundly drubbed last week, he was able to backstop his veteran team to a 9-8 shootout win on Sunday.

The shootout was necessitated when speedy winger Lak Attack aggravated a back injury that has hobbled him most of the season and limited his effectiveness through most of Sunday's game. With no subs available to step into his spot in the lineup, it was decided to end the game with the shootout.

The seeds for the woeful attendance of the past two games may have been planted about nine months ago, as a number of roadsters have recently, or are in the process, of increasing their familial rosters, including Wendel, Paul One and the Colonel.

Posted by jaysuburb at 09:40 PM | Comments (5)

January 09, 2006

Ottoman overcomes, team conquers

Ottoman finally found his timing and his teammates finally found the net, surging from behind to win Sunday's game 20-18.

The veteran goaltender had to overcome a shaky start during which he whiffed the first four shots directed his way, including a harmless lob by the Living Legend that breezed past his limp trapper. Down 7-2 even before the roadsters could work up a proper sweat in their first game after a two week holiday hiatus, Ottoman's reflexes returned and his mates began to climb back into the game.

"The timing was starting to come back, that was the main thing," says the upholstered shotstopper. "I think the good thing was it was after the Christmas break, so everyone else was just kinda getting back into the swing of things, so that made it a bit easier."

Buoyed with newfound confidence as their goalie started to kick out the saves, Ottoman's mates started filling the net at the other end, rifling blasts from the point past a startled and unusually gunshy Nibs, who was pressing between the pipes when Lobsterboy was an unexpected scratch. Seven straight goals gave them the lead for the first time, an advantage they'd never relinquish.

"Ottoman really kept us in the game, he kept it from getting out of hand," says Wink, who returned to action after an extended absence to service the onerous demands of his exploitative employer. "We just had to overcome their early surge."

They did that by firing the evil orange plastic ball often and with devastating accuracy, sometimes sending Nibs cowering to the far post.

"We gave them shooting lanes and those guys can fire it pretty hard," says Paul One. "Nibs did what he could, but when they've got lots of time to fire the ball and lots of room, they'll be able to score goals from back there."

Meanwhile, Ottoman became a wall, repelling opposing shooters time and again, frustrating the Kid on breakaways, covering rebounds from a crease-crashing Elvis.

"That's his game," says Paul One of his netminding nemesis. "He looked a little shaky in the beginning, but we know that's the way he normally starts out and then he brings it in at the end. That's exactly what he did today."

"We knew their lack of heart and desire was going to effect them in the end," says Wink. "We just outworked them, ouhustled them. The more talented team didn't win, the smarter, more disciplined team did."

"The guys were working hard and then they found their shots," says Ottoman.

Posted by jaysuburb at 08:55 PM | Comments (7)

January 06, 2006

Season set to resume on Sunday

The roadsters will get their first chance to work off their holiday season indulgences with the first game of the new year on Sunday. With both Christmas and New Year's days falling on Sundays, the two-week hiatus was the longest period of road hockey inactivity in Sunday Morning history.

The new year will also herald a newfound adherence to the 10:30 start time, first proposed by Paul One as a way to speed up the game; players who report to the courts after the stick pull at 10:30 will not be guaranteed a playing spot.

Sunday's game will also be a warm-up for the annual Shrimp Ring Bowl, scheduled for next week.

Posted by jaysuburb at 04:49 PM | Comments (5)