December 18, 2011

Triumph of the wile

School may be out for the Christmas break, but for the third time this season, road hockey's ageing veterans gave their younger opponents and education in perseverance.

Led by the Living Legend's five goals, including a natural hat trick, the senior squad stormed back from an early 3-0 defect to win Sunday's game 15-7.

The string of veteran victories show the game is all about wile and experience, said the Colonel, who returned to action after missing last week's game.

"Younger guys typically have that conditioning more than the older guys, but the older guys tend to be able to pick their spots a bit more," said the senior centerman.

"We may be older, we may be slower, but we're a little bit wiser," said the Living Legend, the league's most senior player.

Storming to a hard-fought 3-0 advantage, the younger upstarts seemed well in control, but as the veterans found their scoring touch, the game's momentum shifted dramatically.

"Once they got one, and then two and then the third one, momentum just kinda swung their way and we weren't able to get it back," said Bam Bam, who's yet to taste victory when playing with his junior teammates.

The veterans owned the middle of the court, using a quick and effective transition game to launch lightning attacks that caught the young defenders off guard and often out of position. The Legend's hat trick put them in front to stay.

"The ball just seemed to have eyes today," said the league's founding father of his goal scoring spree that included an incredible solo effort of the face-off, bouncing the ball twice off defenders legs before ripping a shot past a confounded Twizzler. "Where we beat them though the middle part of this game was in the middle of the court."

"The veterans have experience and they take advantage of the bounces," said Bam Bam. "They don't let anything phase them."

Including the loss of their extra man, after journeyman Giebelhaus had to leave the game after he took a sizzling shot to his eye.

"A game like this is all about managing our energy," said the Legend of his team's adjustment to playing without a substitute for the latter half of the game.

With Chico seemingly invincible in the net, and Lak Attack showing his usual two-way hustle, that allowed the Legend and Colonel to conserve their efforts in the defensive zone and push the play back up court at every opportunity.

"When you've got a goaltender who's playing well then you can take a few liberties and try to get chances going the other way," said the Colonel. "I had a lot of faith in the people who were defending."

For the youngsters, Sunday's outcome was confirmation they still have a lot to learn.

"It's definitely frustrating," said Bam Bam. "You'd think the young guys would have the advantage with our speed and endurance, but Colonel and the boys seemed to have control of the ball the entire game and we were playing catch up most of the way."

"I think the youngsters have got a lot to atone for," said the Legend. "They've got to step up their game."





Sunday's game was the last of the year, as the league takes a two-week break for Christmas and New Year's. The next game is Jan. 8, which will also be the gala Shrimp Ring Bowl.

Though he's only seen limited action this season, Scooby dropped by the courts Sunday to announce he'll be missing the remainder of the campaign to travel in faraway lands. Giebelhaus will also be missing a number of weeks as he also adopts the jetsetter lifestyle.
But there is at least a glimmer of hope Gump may be able to return to action before the end of the season as he underwent successful knee surgery and is on the road to rehabilitation.

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December 11, 2011

Veterans wait out win

They may be old and a step behind, but in a half-court game against their younger opponents Sunday they never trailed en route to a decisive 12-8 win.

It was, said Beetle Boy, a case of experienced players knowing they had to take full advantage of their opportunities.

"We weren't trying to play pretty, we knew we couldn't do that," said the senior fair-weather player, who teamed up with Lak Attack, the Living Legend and occasionally Giebelhaus to open up an 8-3 lead before coasting to the win. "We were shooting like crazy and that made a difference."

It was the kind of barrage that caught Chico off guard a number of times, especially when his inexperienced defenders kept trying to deflect shots away from harm but instead tipped them past their beleaguered backstop.

"We had guys who were trying to do too much by getting in front of the net and trying to tip it away," said the sophomore shotstopper, who returned after missing the past two weeks.
"You've got to play the other team honest."

It was an especially difficult game for Bam Bam, the youngsters' senior player in only his second season at the courts; time and again his frantic efforts to control the defensive end went awry, catching his own teammates out of position to push the transition.

"You play on a court like this enough times, it's not just that you know the strategies, you know which plays work and which ones don't," said Yak. "You make less mistakes and wait for the other guys to choke."

Though down by as many as five goals, the youngsters didn't give up as they tried to run their way back into the game. But the veterans didn't panic. Instead they bided their time until their opponents again started making mistakes, especially in the transition from defence to offence.

"The dump-in is the most important thing in this game," said Beetle Boy. "If you can control that really well, then that's the big difference."

Which is just what Lak Attack did, especially as his teammates tired.

"They were a little bit better at staying coordinated with each other," said Yak.
"We were often too close to another guy on our team or too far apart."

"(The veterans) did a good job of keeping a handle on it," said Chico. "They recognized what they had to do."

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December 04, 2011

Acrimonious ending

It's not the first it's happened, it likely won't be the last.

Sunday's game ended abruptly in acrimony after a heated conflict between the Colonel and the Living Legend prompted Holt Renfrew to walk off the court, fearing the violence could escalate. His team was leading at the time 12-5.

Last season Chico twice left the court after a series of run-ins with the Colonel.

The incidents which led to the premature end of Sunday's game left some of the roadsters at loose ends.

"You don't want to lose, but some people take it too seriously," said Bam Bam, who earned his first career victory as a goalie. "The game was going so well but at certain times certain people let their tempers flare."

"It's not a good thing to have happen," said Beetle Boy. "Emotions get high, but we're just all out there trying to have a fun day."

The progression of passions which led to Holt Renfrew's walkout weren't new, which made the game's demise all the more frustrating.

"This has happened before," said Beetle Boy. "Things that are inadvertent get blow up out of proportion and it gets a little out of hand."

"You're never going to win all the games," said Bam Bam. "Just live with it and come back next time."

Despite the animosity, most roadsters are confident the hurt feelings will heal.

"You've got a good group of guys," said Beetle Boy. "I don't think it will have a longterm effect on the game."

"We just hope it doesn't keep happening," said Bam Bam. "We want everyone to keep coming out, we want more people to come out."





Before the demise of Sunday's game, Bam Bam and his mates had pretty much had their way on the scoreboard. Living Legend led the way, with five goals.
But it was the rookie rearguard's stellar play between the pipes that gave his mates the confidence to press the play deep into the offensive zone.
"He was playing lights out for us, and once we saw that we were comfortable," said Beetle Boy.
Bam Bam's approach to stopping the evil orange plastic ball was pragmatic.
"If I take care of my job we'll be fine," said the neophyte netminder. "As a goalie you never have to deviate far from the original plan which is to stop the ball."
Bam Bam was pressed into shotstopping service when Twizzler was a late scratch. And with Chico already absent, the hunt was on for emergency backups.
Lak Attack filled in admirably but was defenceless against the potent chemistry of his playmaking opponents.
"We just really seemed to click well together," said Beetle Boy."It was really a case that we always seemed to know where each other was."

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