February 27, 2011

PFG's comeback a snowy success

It's been a long road back for Pig Farming Goalie. He just didn't expect it to be covered with four inches of snow.

The veteran shotstopper made his first start between the pipes Sunday since knee surgery and more than a year of rehab. And while many of the faces bearing down on him in the crease may have been new, it was just like old times, as he made some key saves early to allow his team to build a 9-1 lead en route to a 15-9 win.

The comeback almost didn't happen though, buried by a late-season snowstorm that kept a number of regulars from venturing out onto the slippery, snowy streets. It would have been just another setback in a year fraught with difficulty for the creaseminding agrarian.

"It's been pretty demoralizing," said Pig Farming Goalie of his extended absence. "You can go to the gym and do rehab and stuff, but there's a reason they call it work because it's not much fun."

But as the Scooby gang and their new recruits arrived en masse, a work crew deployed shovels to get the court game-ready.

"It's hard work and determination," said Franz Beckenbauer, taking a break from shoveling to ensure he'd be able to start his third career game. "That's what hockey is all about."

"It's a challenge, no doubt," said Scrappy of the heavy, wet snow that blanketed the court four inches deep. "The roadsters are up for it."

"On days like this you can't expect too much," said Doo.

As the snowy carpet gave way to frozen concrete, the smile spread across Pig Farming Goalie's face. His expectations had already been surpassed; he'd reached the light at the end of a very long and difficult tunnel.

"It's been tough to stay motivated, especially when you don't see any progress," said PFG. "It's been a long time off for me."

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February 20, 2011

Veteran move salvages win

In a game featuring no fewer than five rookies, it was a clever move by a veteran that was the difference in Sunday's 22-21 squeaker in sudden death overtime.

Colonel tied up his opponent in the center court face-off circle, then stepped around him, walked in and squeezed a roller beneath Twizzler's pads to score the winner.

"That was a gutsy veteran move there," said freshman forward Bam Bam. "The wily vetereans not only have skill, but they've got brains, they know how to work the ball around the court."

The Colonel's solo salvo also salvaged what almost became an epic collapse.
After spotting their opponents a quick 2-0 lead, the Colonel and Kid teamed up with some nifty give and go passing plays to build a 14-7 advantage.

"We were really supporting our goalie," said Doo of his side's early swoon. "I think we were trying to get too much offense and we sort of hung Twizzler out to dry."

But the late arrival of Velma seemed to disrupt the leaders' line chemistry, as they started rolling players instead of maintain set combinations.

"All of a sudden you've got this barrage of players and it takes a while for the new guys to click," said Bam Bam, who seemed to find his stride late in the game when he was teamed with Kid and Colonel.

In fact, both teams had to contend with a wealth of player riches, as the sunny, cold conditions attracted a season-high turnout as well as a pair of brand new players, Oilcan and Sideshow Bob.

"When you've got five or six other guys to play with, you don't really get into a groove," said Doo. "It definitely took some adjusting."

It was a good problem to have, especially when the leaders temporarily lost a pair of players to injury as Kid was felled by a shot to his unprotected groin, and the Living Legend caught a deflection in the eye. Later, they lost newcomer Sideshow Bob when he turned his ankle after slipping on some sludge along the end board. But the casualties also helped shift the play's momentum, as the underdogs exploited the ensuing trepidation to push deep into the offensive zone.

"It got a little easier as things slowed down a bit," said Doo, as his side battled back to take a late lead 20-19.

"We were up by a lot and we just got complacent," said Bam Bam. "We weren't chasing the ball down, we weren't coming back to help Chico. The chemistry wasn't really there."

Until their backs were against the wall.

The Legend came off the bench to give his side a 21-20 lead, poking home a Kid rebound, setting the stage for Colonel's winning move.

"It seemed like we were battling back all game, and to have that lead and lose, it's a heartbreaker," said Doo.

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February 13, 2011

Scooby and gang skin win

Scooby left part of his knees on the rough concrete hockey court and Doo scored the winner on a slow roller that bounced off his legs as the Mystery Machine avenged last week's humiliating loss to a team of wily veterans with a 20-14 win Sunday.

With their leader back in the lineup and his gang together again by the luck of the stick draw, Scooby, Doo and Scrappy hit the court running and gunning. Lak Attack and Beetle Boy, making his first appearance in four months, provided capable support and steadying defense that allowed them to open a 12-4 lead at one point.

Their opponents, faced with the rare luxury of shifting two full lines in one of the best attended games of the season, struggled to find the right mix of players.

"Sometimes you hit right on it no problem, and other times things just don't click the way you thought they might," said Colonel, who started the game playing with Bam Bam and Unabomber, then teamed briefly with the Living Legend.

The constant rotation of players presented a new challenge to Chico, who had to adjust to a multitude of unfamiliar players.

"When you've got two lines you've got two completely different styles of play," said the rookie rearguard, who won his second game in his last three starts. "You've got to keep an eye who's on the court."

The presence of those fresh legs kept the tempo high as players battled to the bitter end of each shift. Scooby went down at mid-court, scraping blood and skin from his knees. So did newcomer Franz Beckenbauer, who may have rued his decision to remove his swish Teutonic adidas track suit. And Twizzler was rocked repeatedly, including a shot off his mask and a blow to his head during a crease clash that put him down for several moments.

"When the guys aren't tired they're just a lot leaner, a lot cripser, the passes are faster, the game is faster," said Chico. "As a goaltender you've got to stay alert."

That alertness may have strayed a bit during the middle part of the game, as the underdogs finally found their stride. Bam Bam and Velma hustled at both ends of the court, Franz Beckenbauer and the Living Legend scored opportune goals, and the Colonel and Unabomber found their range with withering shots from long range to close the gap to 18-14.

"Once they got their lines going, it turned into quite a scrap out there," said Chico.

But the young Scooby gang was resilient, as they were able to get their sticks on deflections and run circles around flat-footed defenders to reach rebounds.

"The hand-eye coordination from Scrappy and Scooby was just unbelieveable," said Chico. "It showed a lot of promise and we were able to go on a run from there."

Doo's roller to win the game was a bit of a fluke, but the relief by his teammates at securing the victory was palpable. The vanquished were devastated.

"We had a chance to clear it out, and I didn't do that," said a saddened Colonel. "I thought we made a great comeback, but it just fell short."

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February 06, 2011

Scooby gang toothless against vets

The Scooby gang had no bite as they were neutered 20-13 Sunday by a side almost old enough to be their fathers.

In fact, it was that experience that gave the wily veterans the edge they needed to overcome their fleet-footed, athletic foes. Led by the nifty playmaking of Kid and Lak Attack, and the cannon shot of the Colonel, capably supported by the Living Legend and some stellar netminding by Twizzler, the aging roadsters played give-and-go offense to stake an early 8-5 lead.

"There was motivation on our side," said the Colonel. "You've got a young squad of up-and-comers that you're playing against and they were all smiles at the beginning of the game. But when you've played this game a lot, you know what works, you know how to play in a court like this. I think we were able to draw on that today."

Particularly as they hit a lull in the middle part of the game. letting their junior rivals back into the game with a 10-9 lead at half-time. Instead of panicking, the veterans calmly tried to reestablish control. But it was a moment of temper that ultimately gave them the edge.

Battling hard along the end boards, Bam Bam's elbow shot upwards, catching the Colonel just below is right eye and giving him an instantaneous swollen purple mouse. Enraged, the feisty forward stormed off the court to assess the damage and vowed vengeance.

Moments later, he charged back onto the court, bloodlust in his eyes, a target on the back of every young opponent. The fear factor seemed to work, giving the junior players just enough pause as they chased down the evil orange plastic ball or battled along the boards to allow the veterans to wrest the advantage back their way.

"The Colonel did a smart thing," said Chico, who was unable to extend his winning luck to a second straight game. "He came back on the court with a lot of physicality, a lot of aggression, for about 30 seconds, and then he didn't need to do that for the rest of the game. He had showed he was capable of doing it and that made everybody think twice. That's the sign of a veteran."

"It wasn't so much that our side played differently after that," said the Colonel of his dervish-like return to the court. "I think their side played a little more timidly."

The veterans stormed back in front 18-11, then measured their effort on the wet, slicked concrete to hang on for the victory.

"When you've got a little more experience, I think you let the ebb and flow of the game come and go, and you don't let a moment or two that you think is deflating really get to you," said Chico. "We got away from the things we would have liked to do as a young, aggressive team, and the experience of the other team really showed."

"I definitely think it shows them they've still got stuff to learn," said the Colonel. "The mentor still has a trick or two up his sleeves."

Posted by jaysuburb at 05:57 PM | Comments (2)