January 27, 2008

S'no denial

Pig Farming Goalie was aghast. Paul One was pessimistic. Smith was stranded in a snow drift.

But on this strangest of Sundays, when a freak snow storm seemed to save its frosty fury specifically for the road hockey courts, they were all undaunted, resolute in their determination to play on.

Seven of them did, mustering a marathon half-court scrimmage on the hard-pack snow, ice and slicked concrete as big fluffly flakes continued to plummet from the ashen sky.

"This is absurd," said PFG, who, as the day's designated goalie, faced an unrelenting barrage of shots from both teams.

"Apparently there's global warming going somewhere, but not here," said Paul One, who ventured through the storm to make only his second start of the season. "I was a little bit disappointed when I woke up this morning and saw the conditions, but I decided to come anyway, and it only got grimmer the closer I got."

"We shouldn't be playing today, but we are," said Gump, who rode to Smith's rescue when he happened upon his stranded mate en route to the courts. "This is what the love of the game is all about."

And it took a lot of love for the game to keep it going in Sunday's blizzard. It may not have been an artistic triumph, as players slip, slid and tumbled, rarely completing a pass or counting quality shots, but it was a good time.

"This is perfect hockey weather," said Pig Farming Goalie.

"It's more like old time hockey," said Paul One. "It's kinda fun."

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January 20, 2008

Thirst for victory

Pig Farming Goalie earned his Monday morning hangover.

The agrarian goaltender overcame a headache and dehydration, the consequences of his Saturday night excesses, and his mates battled back from a six-goal deficit to win Sunday's Six Pack Challenge, 20-16.

For the veteran shotstopper, the victory over his nemesis, the Colonel, was sweet indeed. Especially as his side seemed down and out as they trailed 10-4 at the game's half time break.

"The game started brutally," said Pig Farming Goalie, as he waited for the Colonel to deliver the spoils of his win, a six pack of Corona beer. "They scored on their first shot and then they scored on a ricochet off the back boards. I was fighting the ball quite a bit in the beginning."

It didn't help that his side's offense couldn't seem to figure out how to get the evil orange plastic ball past Lobsterboy, making his first start of the season. Time and again offensive rushes and cross-court passes ended with shots being launched ineffectively into the comeback creaseminder's equipment.

"It was definitely bleak," said Pig Farming Goalie about his side's struggles.

Then Gump found his scoring touch. Displaced from his usual place between the pipes by the return to the court of Lobsterboy, he'd spent much of the game's first half wandering aimlessly along the boards, unsure of what to do in the offensive zone. But a team meeting during the half time break seemed to set his head straight; he exploded for three straight goals, giving his mates confidence, and hope.

"Gump was instrumental, he was a catalyst for his team," said the Colonel.

As the margin diminished, so did the holes around and between Pig Farming Goalie's equipment. Through the game's second half, he held opposition shooters to six goals, while his mates scored 16.

"My guys in front, they stepped up," said Pig Farming Goalie. "We worked hard after the break. They were able to start getting some good pressure on Lobsterboy, we started getting some lucky goals, and I was able to get some composure in the back."

"Good things happen when you're running hard, and their whole team ran hard," said the Colonel. "They had better legs than we did, especially down the stretch."


Sunday's Six Pack Challenge was the result of a confrontation in last week's game, when Pig Farming Goalie was checked into the boards by the Colonel as they chased down a loose ball. Angry words were exchanged, and, as the incident simmered in the road hockey media, the Colonel issued the challenge.
But it almost didn't happen.
With both players having a history of knee injuries, the slippery, snow-covered court that greeted the roadsters on Sunday almost scuttled the sudsy showdown. The snow was quickly cleared by a shovel brigade while a feeble sun and cold wind made short work of the lingering slippery patches.

The ale grudge match overshadowed the return of Lobsterboy. The veteran goaltender made his first start after missing the season's first half because of the onerous demands of his exploitive employer.
But to opposing shooters, it was as if he'd never been away, as time and again he stifled scoring chances and smothered rebounds.

Nibs left the game when he injured his arm after taking a tumble on a slippery patch. The Living Legend and the Colonel also suffered wipeouts that sent them to the sidelines, but only briefly, as they continued.

Sunday's game was the first real epic of the season, lasting almost three hours from the opening faceoff.

Posted by jaysuburb at 06:34 PM | Comments (19)

January 13, 2008

Sweet vengeance

Victory is the best vengeance.

Pig Farming Goalie recovered from an awkward hit by the Colonel to shout down his nemesis, shut down their scoring and lead his team to a hard-fought 20-16 win in Sunday's game.

With little to choose between two evenly-matched sides, neither was able to open up more than a two-goal lead. Until the flare-up between the two formidable foes.

As Pig Farming Goalie ventured from his crease to clear the evil orange plastic ball from his zone, the Colonel shouldered him, catching him off balance. The belligerent ballstopper teetered awkwardly into the fence. They exchanged angry words, even as the play headed to the opposite end of the court.

But Pig Farming Goalie was nonplussed. He knew he had to keep his head in the game.

"You count to ten, you breathe deeply, you have a bit of water, you make a good save, and that helps," said the barn slopping shotstopper. "After that whole flare up, I was just focussed on making that first good save and not letting them get in there and get any ammunition."

It was the turning point in a game that turned time and again. After taking an early 4-2 lead, PFG and his mates found themselves in an uphill battle from behind a series of two-goal deficits, thanks largely to the uncanny scoring touch of fellow founding father, Living Legend, who netted a season-high five goals and dominated Smith in faceoffs.

"He owned me on the draw," said Smith of his ageless rival. "It's a lot harder when you don't have the ball because you're losing every draw."

"Legend had Lemieux-like hands today," said PFG.

"The line that Legend was quarterbacking got a lot of good progress early in the game, they were scoring goals, everyone was contributing," said Cowboy Bill.

But as fatigue took its toll in the marathon match, line combinations disintegrated. The goalies took control. More importantly, PFG stayed in control, allowing his team to ride a 5-1 run in the final period to victory.

"You don't want to give up that next goal, so you've got to stay focused," said the agrarian goalkeeper.

"I think at the end there, both goalies decided they didn't want to get scored on," said Smith. "We just got a couple of hard-working goals that we buried on second, third and fourth rebounds."

"We worked real hard all game and at the end, it just slipped through our fingers," said Cowboy Bill.

Posted by jaysuburb at 06:13 PM | Comments (14)

January 06, 2008

Shrimp Ring sets table

Sunday's Shrimp Ring Bowl has set the table for the second half of the Sunday Morning Road Hockey season.

Traditionally a celebration of the first game of the new year, the shellfish showdown also marks the beginning of the run-up to the Stanley Stick championship series, only four months away.

"It marks the kickoff of the second half," said Cowboy Bill. "It's just one of these longstanding traditions in the game."

"It's kind of like the all-star break for us," said Paul One, who chose the celebratory match to make his season debut after being shamed for his first half sloth by the road hockey media and many of his fellow players.

"This is what the game is built on," said Lak Attack.

After a rough start in snowy, slippery conditions, the roadsters rose to the occasion. Especially Smith, who scored a career-high 13 goals to lead his team to a hard-fought 20-15 win.


Posted by jaysuburb at 06:15 PM | Comments (7)