December 19, 2010

No rest for Chico

Chico was the hero in his team's 10-9 sudden death win on Sunday. He was also the goat in his side's 10-9 loss.

That's because the rookie rearguard was the only goalie in a rare game of half-court hockey. The modified match was necessitated by a shortage of players and the unexpected scratches of veteran netminders Twizzler and Gump.

It was the first time this season the goalie had to face shots from both teams, a circumstance that became all too common during last season's persistent goalkeeper crisis. For Chico, it was a unique challenge to hone his game.

"You've got to stay focused and try to keep it in your head who's got possession and who can take a shot and who can't," said the busy backstop. "You don't have much chance to catch your breath."

Although it did look like he'd have a short day when the speedy run-and-gun offense of Lak Attack and Doo, with flat-footed support from the Living Legend, jumped out to a 6-0 lead. But a couple of lucky goals going the other way, including a pinball bounce off Doo's stick breathed life into the underdogs' desire.

"We got a couple of quick goals that happened to bounce in and suddenly we're back in the game, so you start working a little harder," said the Colonel. "Get a couple more bounces and then you really feel like playing."

Which is exactly what happened, as Bam Bam crashed the boards and Scooby found some scoring touch. That seemed to disspirit their fleet-footed opponents, who lost their will to run and work hard as their advantage diminished.

"You really want to play just as hard for both sides, but there are times when you see one team battle and battle and you think to yourself you really want to shut the door on them," said Chico.

Hustling into the back court to retain possession of the evil orange plastic ball, the Colonel and his mates kept pressing, eventually taking their first lead of the game, 9-8.

"The half court game has way more running than you'd think it would have," said the Colonel. "It's a possession game, and you've got to try to keep the ball."

A momentary lapse allowed Doo to tie the game, but not to extinguish the underdogs' momentum, who capped their comeback with a sudden death gamewinner.

"There's a lot of talent out there," said Chico. "The speed and instensity the guys have, nobody gives up."

Posted by jaysuburb at 07:06 PM | Comments (7)

December 12, 2010

Sudden Doo or die

Bodies littered the court. Too tired to celebrate his winning goal, Doo ambled amidst them, exhaustion etched into his face. In almost three hours of road hockey, he'd helped his team bolt to a dominating 11-4 lead, squander it and push the game to double overtime and finally sudden death.

It was a full day, to say the least.

"This game was unbelievably difficult," said Doo.

"That was a war of attrition," said his teammate, Gump. "It was two pretty tight teams all the way."

Although it didn't start that way.

Despite playing without the benefit of a spare player to shift off tired teammates, Doo's side took control of the game and took full advantage of their scoring opportunities, including one that Doo was able to chip off Chico's helmet from behind the net. Up by seven goals, it seemed like they'd make quick work of their embattled opponents.

But as Kid and Scooby found their scoring touch, and Bam Bam bashed the boards, the game's momentum shifted. Rotating defenders into and out of the offensive zone, they whittled away the margin, eventually taking their first lead 15-14.

"We were down and we could have got pretty negative on ourselves and lost by a big score, but we didn't let that happen," said Scooby.

"I could really feel the momentum shift," said Doo. "We were struggling through the middle of the game when we started to really feel the lack of a sub."

Now trailing and playing without their defensive linchpin, Lak Attack, who had to leave early, Gump started to dominate the boards as Doo tried to create opportunities with aggressive forechecking.

"I'm the energy guy," said Gump. "We just had to wait for things to come back our way."

They did. Two goals put them back in front 17-16. But they couldn't put the winner past Chico before Scooby tied it again, sending the game to sudden death.

While Doo's goal on a rebound past a sprawling Chico ended the game, the losers certainly didn't feel that way, said Scooby.

"I take a lot of positives away from this game," said the lanky winger. "I'd rather be losing in overtime than getting blown out."

"That was tough, but the win was a relief for everybody," said Gump.

Posted by jaysuburb at 08:14 PM | Comments (4)

December 05, 2010

Mystery Machine well-tuned in 20-5 romp

The Mystery Machine may have a new member.

The Living Legend teamed up with cartoon riddle-busters Scooby and Doo for four lightning goals that sparked their side to a dominating 20-5 win in Sunday's game.

Energized by his linemates' speed and dynamic playmaking, the venerable veteran four times tipped home nifty cross-crease passes into the empty net, including one on a give-and-go that capped his own thrilling end-to-end rush.

"I think the Legend should join the Scooby gang," said its leader. "Our transition game was amazing today. We had some great passing today from Doo and the Living Legend."

"We had really good communication today," said Doo, who had a triumphant return to action after missing the last two games. "Nobody was hesitating when they were shooting and that meant we had a lot of bang bang plays."

Much to the dismay of Chico, who had little defensive support in his end as time and again he was forced to face odd-man and even no-man rushes.

"We didn't have the horses to keep up," said the rookie rearguard who was eager to make amends after his controversial departure late in last Sunday's game when he took a chop in the legs from the Colonel. "They were all over us today, they stayed fresh and we couldn't wear them down."

Nor could they keep pace in the offensive zone as they repeatedly struggled to finish before a defender poked the ball away.

"Speed goes both ways, so when you've got a team with a lot of speed like we had today, we were able to go hard in the offensive zone and get back into the defensive zone," said Doo.

Indeed, Twizzler was rarely tested between the pipes, and the five goals that did get past him could have been even fewer if his mind hadn't started wandering late in the game.

A flurry of three straight goals did cause a bit of consternation as the underdogs tried to build on their glimmer of hope that as has happened on so many previous Sundays a big lead could be diminished with hard work and few lucky breaks. But with the young speed demons and their aging linemate unfazed and pushing for the win, they had to retreat.

"We started to get some goals, but then we started worrying about the odd man rush," said Chico. "We had to play more of a dump-and-chase kind of game, but we just didn't have it today."

Posted by jaysuburb at 07:36 PM | Comments (1)