March 27, 2011

Legend explodes for eight

There's still life in the Legend.

The ageless veteran, who's struggled at times this season as he's searched for his waning youth and a good stick, scored eight times to lead his side of young speedsters to a 20-9 win in Sunday's game.

With Scooby and his original gang, Scrappy and Doo, driving a furious pace in the game's opening period, the Legend sauntered into position to take advantage of the scoring opportunities created by their dynamic cycling.

"It's great to stand back and watch a team cycle and cycle, chip away and get opportunity after opportunity," said Chico, who registered the road hockey shutout.

"There was a lot of speed out there initially today," said a despondent Colonel after the game. "I think everybody on that side benefitted from that."

No one more than the Legend. Twice he cashed in, giving his side a 5-1 advantage at the first break. The momentum carried into the second period, when he scored on an unlikely spinerama move and on a nifty deke after dodging Twizzler's lunging pokecheck.

"Those are the kind of goals that get everybody amped up," said Chico.

"The Legend was moving pretty good today," said the Colonel. "He had some good speed, he was really moving around the court well today. That gelled very nicely with his speedy teammates."

But at the half their lead had diminished to a pair of goals, 10-8, as bounces started to find their way to the Colonel and his mates, who took advantage of defensive lapses and inattention to wrest control.

"We knew we had to play harder, move our feet more," said the Colonel. "There were about a million things we had to do better."

"We stopped backchecking we stopped keeping a man back, and I think that gave them some odd man opportunities to finish," said Chico of his side's mid-game swoon.

"The main thing was we didn't really have a natural defenseman on our team," said Scooby.

But three straight goals by the Legend veered the game again, igniting a 10-1 run to the finish.

"The young guys have lost a couple of games when they've had a big lead, but I think they saw today what happens when you've got some veteran leadership," said Chico.

"The Legend was pretty much our whole team today," said Scooby.





This year's Stanley Stick will begin April 24 and conclude the following week, May 1.

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March 20, 2011

No Lak of courage with lack of pads

Lak Attack was just a rookie roadster when legendary goaltending stalwart Wawrow was throwing himself in front of shots without the protection of thick leg pads.

Sunday, he gained a whole new respect for the retired rearguard's courage and determination when he climbed between the pipes with only a hodgepodge of plastic shin and knee guards to protect his lower limbs.

A rash of late-season injuries, the unexpected absence of Twizzler and the ongoing truancy of Doo, the caretaker of the emergency back-up goalie pads put Sunday's game at risk. There was enough players, just not enough gear.

That's when Lak Attack showed his veteran leadership by strapping on what gear there was to ensure the game would go on on a perfect first day of spring.

"It's an easy decision when Doo is whipped," said the lean-legged veteran, referring to reports that Doo's absence is the result of newfound female companionship. "It's old school, going back to the Wawrow days. It's a challenge, but it brings us back to the roots of the game."

Of course, the Lumberjacks and Whirling Dervishes of that era didn't possess the kind of withering slapshot regularly ripped by the Colonel and Unabomber, both of whom warmed up with fire in their eyes at the prospect of more expansive net space to shoot at.

Fortunately the stick pull placed both sharpshooters on Lak Attack's side of the court, and the slapshots unleashed by Scrappy and Living Legend barely break wind, let alone legs.

"The fear factor doesn't come from the hardness of their shots," said Lak Attack. "It's actually from letting in a weak one down low."

What shots his side couldn't unload with intensity, it tried to make up with volume. At least that was the plan, said Scrappy.

"The game plan was going to be to get as many shots as we could," said the speedy winger. "We didn't come out guns a-blazing."

That gave Lak Attack the chance he needed to develop his game plan.

"I tried to go down on my knees to make sure I could cover as much of the net as possible," said the gangly goaltender. "(Not having pads) allowed for a little more quickness down around my feet."

Frustrated, Scrappy and his mates tried a different tack, by throwing the evil orange plastic ball around the court with bedazzling passing plays. But more often than not they petered out before they were able to get Lak Attack out of position.

"We were trying to get a bit too pretty with some of our passing plays," said Scrappy. "We didn't have an outright shooter on this team."

And that cost his side once the Colonel and Unabomber found the range with their booming shots, as a trio of rips late in the game clinched a 15-12 victory.

"We had some great hands and some great shots," said Lak Attack. "I think we had a good mix of guys."

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March 13, 2011

Chico marks his man

Chico kicked out his leg to make the toe save.

Except Sunday the rookie rearguard wasn't wearing his big leg pads, and he was battling for a rebound in front of his beleaguered counterpart, Twizzler.

Instinct is a bitch.

The deadly combination of a rainy, cold day and the onset of Daylight Savings Time meant a meagre turnout to Sunday's game, and necessitated Chico's unfamiliar role, as the handful of hearty roadsters who did turn out teamed up for a spirited game of half-court hockey.

It was also a stark lesson in road hockey reality for the stalwart shotstopper.

"It's high speed, it's really fast, and you've got to have a really great set of lungs," said Chico, who struggled with is fitness after an energetic start. "I know I went too hard the first four or five shifts, I burned a lot of energy and then I paid for it."

His lack of experience outside the comfortable confines of the goal crease also cost him more than few scrapes and bruises as he repeatedly lost his footing on the rain-slicked concrete, twice tumbling hard into the boards.

"In conditions like this, you have to watch your footing," said Franz Beckenbauer, who also experienced the lite version of Sunday Morning Road Hockey for the first time. "If you fall down, that's half your team gone."

Indeed, time and again teams were caught out by tumbles or tardy teammates coasting on the backcheck. The game may be played on the half court, but it's hardly played at half speed.

"There's lots of space out there," said Beckenbauer.

"It gives you a heck of a lot respect for the running those boys do," said Chico. "I got schooled a few times out there by moves."

None more often than Velma, who showed some adept stick control and trick between-the-legs passing capabilities with the newfound space in which he would initiate his plays.

"It's an angles game when you're playing out," said Chico.

It's also a game in which players have to measure their effort, being careful not to expend too much energy so they've got reserves in the tank for the rapid transition game.

"You definitely try to take it easy on defense by just asserting yourself physically, hold players up in the corner and tire them out that way," said Franz Beckenbauer.

Something Chico experienced the hard way.

"All I gotta say is I"m no forward and no defender."

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March 06, 2011

Scooby gang speeds to victory

Speed kills.

Sunday, Scrappy and his fleet-footed young teammates used theirs to bury their veteran opponents early and often. They built a 10-1 advantage and rode out a man disadvantage to prevail 20-13.

With one key player hobbled by injury, Scrappy knew his side would have to dictate the tempo of the game early to build their edge.

"You have to get the hop early while you've got the legs, so you just try to get that early lead," said the young speedster.

Swooping around flat-footed defenders to create odd man rushes in tight, they dominated the first half of the game.

"We were just trying to win the races, dump it in deep then get possession in their end," said Scrappy.

A beleaguered Gump, making his first start in net in more than three months, was shell-shocked.

"It took a while to get used to wearing pads again," said the revived rearguard who was playing with a cobbled-together assembly of equipment after Twizzler was an unexpected scratch.

That early charge proved critical as Bam Bam left the game and the veterans' lineup was bolstered by the late addition of power forward Franz Beckenbauer.

"He gave us a big forecheck presence and that opened up a lot of big shots for us," said Gump of his tardy teammate.

"He was a huge factor that helped us start our mini comeback," said Beetle Boy, whose side outscored the speedsters 12-10 in the second half.

But it wasn't enough, as a freak bounce off the end boards, over the top of the net through Gump's pads and directly onto Scooby's stick ended it.

"We knew we had to finish them off, otherwise it could have turned ugly," said Scrappy.

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