December 16, 2012

Yak spins to win

It was the spinnerama move that turned Sunday's game around.

With his undermanned team trailing early, Yak made a deft inside-out deke through his own legs and past a befuddled Bam Bam before launching a shot over Twizzler's shoulder. His side was back in the game. Soon, they were in front for good.

"It's always nice to feel like you can make those kinds of plays," said the shifty sophomore.

The goal seemed to lift his mates into believing they could overcome the manpower disadvantage that left them without a spare set of fresh legs to spell tired teammates.

"He took the leadership role there for sure," said Lak Attack. "IWhen you've got a guy like Yak he can draw two or three guys towards him and that opens up other guys, gets them lots of opportunities.

Even Giebelhaus was able to cash in. Though hobbled by wonky knees and a rough night before, the lumbering veteran contributed a handful of goals and made a few key plays in the defensive end.

"When they split up our attention, they pick us apart a little bit," said Beckenbauer. "They kept good pressure on us down low and made us run around."

All day Yak seemed incapable of a misstep, even when he was dumped to the concrete by the Living Legend's flailing stick. Yak scored on the resulting penalty shot, drifting across Twizzler's crease before chipping it under the falling keeper's arm.

"It always nice to get some momentum," said Yak. "It really builds your confidence and it's really hard on the other team."

Especially as that other team seemed content to sit back and wait for the game to return to them as their opponents tired. It never happened.

"We figured it was just a matter of time until they wore down," said Beckenbauer of his side's ill-fated strategy. "They just scored too many goals too fast and they were able to end the game before they had to pay the price for running around."

"You're always your own worst enemy," said Yak of his team's ability to overcome their manpower shortage. "You've just got to take your time, play smart and you'll get your shots."

Sunday's game was the first in weeks for Twizzler, who was recovering from a knee injury. He's been given the clearance to play by his doctor, but at times during Sunday's game he seemed a bit tentative to test its true capabilities.

The roadsters now enjoy a two week break for the holidays. Play resumes Jan. 6 with the annual Shrimp Ring Bowl, the highlight of road hockey's social calendar.

Posted by jaysuburb at 08:50 PM | Comments (9)

December 09, 2012

Bad bounce buries comeback

Road hockey is a game of bounces. A fortuitous one here, an unlucky one there can make all the difference.

Sunday, an unexpected bounce off a piece of debris on the court caught the Colonel going the wrong way and Beckenbauer's surprise goal reignited his team's momentum in a 15-7 victory. After corralling the ball in his own end, the Teutonic centerman fired a low hard shot that skipped off some branches that had blown onto the court in the cold and rainy conditions, curving past a confused Colonel at the far end.

"Sometimes they go your way, and sometimes they don't," said Yak of the unfortunate carom that stalled his side's comeback and propelled them into a spiral to defeat.

After spotting their rivals an early advantage, the underdogs had clawed their way back to within a couple of goals and seemed poised to take advantage of their waning fitness.

They'd done that, said Yak, by firing shots at the net instead of relying on pretty passing plays that would inevitably peter out into lost opportunities in the corners.

"Sometimes you've just got to get back to basics," said Yak. "You can't be making too many fancy passes, you can't be trying to make too many creative plays in your own end."

But even as they righted their game, their opponents remained focused, passing calmly, taking advantage of their opportunities.

"I think the other team did a better job of that," said Yak. "The more frustrated and tired you get, the easier it is to try to dish to somebody else to make the run."

Posted by jaysuburb at 10:17 PM | Comments (4)

December 02, 2012

Chico's loss a big blow

With Chico out indefinitely after he was diagnosed with a torn MCL, it's time for the rest of the roadsters to man up, says Yak.

But some players say the loss of the goaltending stalwart could imperil the existence of the league itself.

Out of the lineup since he tweaked his knee at a charity road hockey marathon the week before the opening of the regular season, Chico got the grim news last week after an MRI. And though he has an appointment with a surgeon in two weeks, there's some question whether he'll be able to play at all this season.

That's a big blow for the roadsters, who seemed flush with shotstoppers heading into the season; Twizzler had proven himself a reliable rearguard and Gump had expressed a renewed commitment after recovering from his own knee injury that had kept him out most of last season.

But Twizzler's missed more games than he's played, and Gump has mysteriously vanished. That's meant cajoling creaseminders is a weekly crapshoot. Last week the Colonel and Scooby were the unlikely goalies. Sunday, Lak Attack and Yak strapped on the big leg pads.

It's not his preferred place, but the sacrifice is necessary to keep the game alive, says Yak.

"All of us have to be willing to step into net," says the speed sophomore. "I think it's good for all of us to get an understanding of the commitment it takes to play net, and hopefully we'll all have a better respect for the position after this."

"You definitely have to pick it up to keep the game going," says Lak Attack, who's saved many games as an emergency backup through his long career. "It's fine to do it once in a while, but it's a different thing to make it a permanent role."

The crease uncertainty is wearing says Holt.

"If you lose your goalies you lose your league pretty quickly," says the seafaring centreman. "It's just not as much fun."

So much so, some roadsters may be staying away because they perceive the games diminished without regular goalies.

"It really does change the game because you never know how well the person who steps into goal is going to play," says Lak Attack. "You're always wondering who's going to strap on the pads."

"It just takes away so many parts of the game that are fun," says Holt.

"It's not as fun when you're not shooting on goalies," says Yak. "Some guys find it a difficult motivator."

But all are determined to weather this latest shotstopper setback and keep the game alive for Chico's expected comeback.

"It's a cool group of guys," says Holt. "Chico's such a big part, he's the guy who gets everybody ready to go."

Posted by jaysuburb at 08:41 PM | Comments (2)