April 24, 2011

Series advantage slips away

As Colonel berated his mates in frustration, Velma couldn't help but feel an opportunity to take charge of the Stanley Stick championship series had slipped away from his team. Literally.

His five goals had helped his squad close to within a pair of goals, 15-13. But a light shower had slicked the concrete court. Velma never scored again, and his team succumbed 20-16.

"The game really seemed to turn for us when the court got wet," said the feisty forward who seemed unstoppable in the game's early moments. "You can' t stop on a dime anymore and you have to plan your moves ahead."

That hesitation was all their speedy opponents needed to pounce on opportunities. Three straight goals, one of the disallowed for goaltender interference, snuffed any hope of a comeback.

"We just came back and scored to stop their momentum," said Scooby of his side's knack for timely goals to turn the game back to their advantage. "We just capitalized on those chances."

In fact, his side, a potent combination of young speedsters and wily veterans, never trailed. But the final result was far from a runaway, something Unabomber said they were conscious of whenever they managed to stretch their advantage.

"I think time has shown anyone can win or lose, it's all who wants it the most in the end," said the hard-shooting defender, who felled Beetle Boy with one of rapier blasts late in the game. "At the end we proved we wanted it more."

No one more so than Scooby, who time and again stormed around flat-footed defenders as he charged out of the corner and across the crease to create scoring opportunities. And those plays wouldn't have happened without aggressive forechecking.

"Once we had possession of the ball, we were able to get it to guys to get away those shots before the goalie gets set in his butterfly," said Scooby.

"It's a deadly combo when you have Scooby and Lak and Kid up front," said Velma.

And when the offense did falter, Chico stood tall in his first Stanley Stick start.

"Once that first shot hits you, you settle down," said the rookie rearguard. "The intensity is unbelieveable, everyone is amped up."

With his team down a game, Velma says his team is ready for the challenge of winning next week's rematch to set up a decisive mini game.
"Some of our team is going to use the hack and slash and maim, and some of team is going to propel the goals."
But their opponents aren't taking anything for granted.
"We know the Colonel is going to have them regroup and they'll come out very hard with a new game plan," said Unabomber. "We fully expect it to be an all-out battle again, and we're going to have to bring our A game."

Posted by jaysuburb at 04:24 PM | Comments (24)

April 17, 2011

Dog tired

Belligerent and bellicose at the best of times, Colonel was nearly apoplectic Sunday following his team's lackadaisical 20-7 loss. It's not the way he wanted to end the regular season. It's not the way he wanted to prepare for next week's start of the Stanley Stick championship series.

After taking his frustration out on the media looking for scathing post-game comment, the feisty veteran expressed his disgust and disappointment at his team's all-around effort, or rather the lack of it.

Linemate Scooby had little reason to disagree.

"We didn't have a lot of energy and we didn't get great goaltending," said the speedy centerman who managed to bring some jump to most of his shifts.

The latter was especially disheartening, as Twizzler struggled all day to get a handle of quick-release long shots that frequently eluded his flapping glove hand.

"It wasn't the best goaltending show," said Scooby.

And nobody cashed in more than Franz Beckenbauer, who had his best, most productive game in weeks, including a dramatic goal on a penalty shot late in the game that stuck a dagger in any hopes their opponents were harboring about a possible comeback.

"It's all about the effort," said the Teutonic rookie. "You see how the goalies play and then you make adjustments. I think I proved a few things to people today."

That confidence will serve him well going into his first Stanley Stick championships series.

"It's pretty crucial," said Beckenbauer. "I feel ready for next week, ready to get started."

Scooby and his mates are also confident they'll be able to put their weak effort behind them in time for the charged atmosphere of the Stick.

"If anything, it motivates you to play better," said Scooby. "If you take something from this game, it's that you can't play like this in the Stick."

Posted by jaysuburb at 03:21 PM | Comments (9)

April 10, 2011

Raining offense

In every lead up to the Stanley Stick a little rain must fall.

Sunday, seven hardy roadsters weren't about to let their preparation for road hockey's championship tournament, which begins in two weeks, be deterred by cold, wet weather. Playing with modified lineups in which the Colonel was the swingman, giving the teams alternating power plays, the game served as an exhibition for precise passing and positional play. Although the execution was sometimes lacking.

"Both sides had the opportunity to work on their defensive positioning," said Lak Attack, whose veteran combination with the Living Legend couldn't hold off the young legs of Scooby and Doo in a 15-13 loss. "It gives you an idea of where to be and how to play and the tendencies of other players."

With the man advantage, those tendencies were elaborate passing plays.

That created a special challenge for the goaltenders. Accustomed to withstanding the bang-bang scoring chances of the three-on-three game, they found themselves following the evil orange plastic ball back and forth across the court as forwards passed for the perfect scoring opportunity.

"I think lateral movement is just crucial in a game like this," said Chico. "The team with the man advantage brought the ball up methodically, set up the triangle and they moved the ball well back and forth across the goalmouth, so you're going side to side a lot."

That was all part of the game plan, said Lak Attack. Hanging onto the ball was key to creating those scoring chances.

"It's all about possession, and today was a good example of how the team with the ball has the advantage," said the veteran forward, who scored two of his goals shorthanded. "They're able to move it around, spread out the defense and then make some nice plays."

The goalies responded by keeping close track of their own positioning, ensuring they were in the right place at the right time when the shot did finally come at the net.

"You're trying to be positionally sound because you know a shot is coming," said the rookie rearguard. "You want to be in the right position to get in front of it."

Despite its lack of resemblance to the charged, competitive atmosphere of the Stanley Stick finale, Sunday's game will stand the players who did show up in good stead, said Lak Attack.

"It's still a game-like atmosphere. It's a good game to work on your skills, your passing and some footwork."

Posted by jaysuburb at 08:40 PM | Comments (7)

April 03, 2011

Patience pays off

Good things come to those who wait.

Sunday, Scrappy and his mates couldn't seem to get a break in the first half, scoring opportunities petered out, passes went awry, Twizzler seemed invincible between the pipes. But with a dynamic lineup of speedy youngsters and cagey veterans, he knew it would be only a matter of time the game's momentum would swing their way.

They just had to keep it close.

Which is exactly what they did, as a four-goal outburst midway through Sunday's game turned the score and the momentum en route to a 20-17 win. Two of the goals were by last week's scoring sensation, the Living Legend, and the run was capped by Scrappy's seeing eye shot that eluded Twizzler's leg pad and seemed to suck some life from his team.

"That was huge for us," said Scrappy of his side's mid-game swing. "We got some two-on-ones and two-on-nothings out of it, we managed to make some good passes and got a few in a row."

With little to choose between the two evenly-matched sides, that mid-game momentum shift was crucial. After leading through the first half by as many as four goals, the Colonel and his mates suddenly went stone cold, missing their defensive assignments, losing battles in the corner and the face off circle, coughing up goals.

"I think it was a good example of a hard-fought game and the bounces started to change," said the Colonel of his side's reversal of fortune. "When a team is moving just a little faster than the other team, a lot of good things start to happen."

Especially when the other's team's goalie finds his legs after a long layoff.

"I thought a key difference was PFG really settled down," said the Colonel of Sunday's backup backstopper who was pressed into service with the scratch of regular starter Chico.

The agrarian goaltender knew his team needed that steadying influence at the back end of the court to maintain their ability to press in the offensive zone.

"It's a long game," said Pig Farming Goalie. "You have to be patient. Momentum is such a hard characteristic of the game to get a handle on, and at that moment we took the momentum and we didn't stop."

With Lak Attack dodging and weaving his way through defenders, that often left Franz Beckenbauer, Scooby and Scrappy with court space to execute the finish.

"If you buckled down, good things will happen," said Scrappy. "We just had to buckle down and get back to playing good hockey because we'd dug ourselves a pretty big hole."

Posted by jaysuburb at 09:24 PM | Comments (14)