October 28, 2012

Scooby stacks side

Even with his side enjoying a man advantage, Scooby's first game since last December proved formidable.

As Chico sat out his second straight game recovering from a knee injury he suffered at Road Hockey to Conquer Cancer, the roadsters again faced-off for a half-court battle.

"Even with the full-court game, it would have been pretty hard," said Scooby. "It's a totally different game."

Using the full measure of their fresher legs, Scooby and his mates cycled the ball and used some nifty playmaking to open a lead. They also got the bounces.

"We got some lucky breaks," said Bam Bam.

"You can't do much about them," said Weeble of the fortunes that didn't seem to go his team's way.

But they were undeterred, battling gamely to steal bursts of momentum that kept them in the fray.

"We see this every week when a team has the man advantage," said Bam Bam. "They seem to do very well and then they have a bit of a lull. We dug ourselves out of it when we got some lucky breaks."

"We got some good cycling going, that was a big part of our game" said Scooby. "It seemed like things were going our way today."

Posted by jaysuburb at 10:11 PM | Comments (2)

October 21, 2012

Half court, not half assed

There's little room for error in the tight confines of the half-court game. Doo and his mates learned that the hard way in Sunday's truncated season opener as their tentative play and missed opportunities cost them a 12-10 overtime loss.

injuries to Lak Attack and Chico, and Holt and Beckenbauer away on extended scouting missions to faraway lands depleted Sunday's lineup, turning the game into a chance for those players who did brave the cold rain to stretch their legs and further hone their timing after last week's pre-season finale was canceled.

"It takes a long time to warm up those hands for the full season," said Doo.

But a half-court game is not a holiday.

With six players crowding the same area of the court, precision and up-tempo play are rewarded with scoring chances.

"You've got to be a little more creative," said Yak, whose side squandered a three goal advantage before prevailing in extra time. "You've just got to play the smaller space better."

That smaller space tends to limit free-wheeling players like Doo.

"You have to work on your down-low plays," said the speedy centerman. "You can't get too fancy."

That basic approach paid off for Sunday's victors, who used some pinpoint passing and a deft touch around the net to build a lead that got as big as three.

"You have to play with a light touch because everybody is in the same part of the court whether they can run or not," said Yak.

"The other team exploited the full court and we didn't," said Doo. "It's important to be aggressive on the ball."

Posted by jaysuburb at 04:58 PM | Comments (2)

October 14, 2012

Playing for a cause

From early October to late April the roadsters gather at the concrete court every Sunday to play off their week's frustrations, get a bit of a workout, trade quips, score a few goals, make a bunch of saves, have fun.

They've been doing it for 21 years.

And while all the faces but one have changed over the years, the spirit of the game hasn't.

It's an escape. A diversion. A world unto itself that exists for a couple of hours on Sunday mornings before everyone returns to their everyday lives.

But occasionally, the challenges of everyday life manage to pierce the protective bubble of Sunday Morning Road Hockey.

Last year the roadsters kicked off their 20th season by taking their game to the road, literally; playing the Wink Classic in front of the home of the former founding father who was still recovering from a year-long battle with cancer. In the spring, sophomore shotstopper Chico played with a heavy heart when the disease claimed a beloved co-worker.

It's probably safe to say every roadster has had a brush with the disease.

So when a call went out for the roadsters to represent at a new fundraising event that would showcase their beloved game, they answered. Sure, it would take them out of their Sunday morning environs, but they were comfortable in the small courts. And the spirit of the event, competition for the sheer joy of it, melded perfectly with the motivation that has kept the Sunday Morning game alive for 21 years.

The roadsters raised $14,450, enough to pick 13th in the special draft of celebrity players awarded to the top 15 fundraising teams.

They selected Paul Reinhart, an offensive-minded defenseman who had a distinguished career with the Calgary Flames and the Vancouver Canucks. A gracious teammate, he feathered passes with aplomb and went to the net when it counted. His two-game contribution helped the roadsters to a 4-1 record in their division, and a top offensive output of 58 goals in five games.

In all, more than 50 teams participated in the event. Even the driving rain that flooded many courts in the morning, and cold wind that shivered many players through the afternoon couldn't diminish the camaraderie of the great game.

Posted by jaysuburb at 12:27 PM | Comments (2)

October 13, 2012

Sunday washout

The forecast for a heavy rain and wind storm, and an anticipated dearth of roadsters means Sunday's preseason game has been cancelled.
The regular season will begin as scheduled next Sunday, Oct. 21.

Posted by jaysuburb at 09:58 PM | Comments (1)

October 07, 2012

Colonel pitches preseason battles

Sunday's preseason opener was supposed to a leg-loosener for the roadsters atrophied by a summer of sloth. Nobody told the Colonel.

The irascible veteran was his mid-season fiery self as he in turn battled Bam Bam and Bing in running conflicts of crashing bodies and challenging words.

"Colonel is that type of player," said Bam Bam, none the worse for wear as his undermanned team hung on for a 10-7 win. "But it's good to have that kind of competition in the preseason. It was a good battle out there."

In fact, the skirmishes along the boards and in the slot between Colonel and Bam Bam may have been the wakeup call the rest of the roadsters needed, reminding them of the effort they'll need to expend when the games start counting.

"It's time to get serious," said Yak. "You've got to get your discipline together."

That includes a renewed commitment to backchecking, an element sadly lacking in Sunday's game.

"You didn't see any hustle out there," said Chico. "The guys just got lazy."

That laziness almost cost his side, as they let Colonel and his veteran side fight back to within a goal, 8-7, before icing it with two straight.

"Our mad disadvantage definitely caught up to us," said Bam Bam. "We got caught a bit because we got tired."

"They're rusty, they're lazy," said Chico. "They're all chipping away like they're hacking through four inches of ice, and then they didn't come back on defence."

The veterans were quick to take advantage of that lapse, scoring three straight to pull within one.

"I think at some point you've got to let the young guys know they just can't get an easy win," said Yak. "At some point you just have to step up the pressure."

Posted by jaysuburb at 08:48 PM | Comments (2)