January 27, 2013

Winning patiently

Patience is a virtue. Especially in the half court game.

Sunday, Bam Bam and his mates didn't give in to panic when they saw their lead evaporate late and were rewarded with two straight goals to wrest a 10-9 win from the jaws of defeat.

"We knew if we just kept playing our game, the bounces would come back our way," said the feisty forward, whose side had the upper hand for most of the game until three straight goals put them down late, 9-8. "You've got to stick to your game plan, pass it, cycle it and take lots of shots."

That's easier said than done when an unexpected change of possession often results in an odd-man rush.

"Mistakes are really costly in the half-court game," said Yak, whose own unfortunate positioning cost his side a goal after a cross-court chop bounced off his shoulder and past a confused Lak Attack. "You can't really panic. You just have to decide you're going to work harder."

But with no spare players and a furious pace, errors were inevitable.

"The entire day was about angling, conserving your energy," said Holt. "You've got to be in the smart position and make the smart play."

In the end, the result may have come down to desire.

"We just pushed a bit harder," said Bam Bam. "It's all about hustle."

"They wanted it more," said Holt. "It was such a close game, it just takes that little bit more desire and they took it home."

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January 20, 2013

Hurt blockers

Colonel withstood a furious late comeback and six goals by the Living Legend to lead his team to a hard-fought 15-12 win in Sunday's game.

The win was the erstwhile backup's second of the season against two losses, which is far more than he ever expected to play between the pipes. That's because the game's last line of defence has been the first in line at the medical clinic, with both regular rearguards, Chico and Twizzler, sidelined by knee injuries.

Historically the goaltender's position has been particularly hard on players' health. Turk, Gump and Pig Farming Goalie all had their careers interrupted and even shortened by injuries to their knees. The latter pair even endured surgery.

"You've got to move a lot side to side and that's a big challenge," says Lak Attack, who, ironically, has become the default backup this season because he's recovering from injury. "Goalie is one of those positions where I think your body really has to be ready to go, you have to be limber."

"It's up and down and side to side," says Colonel. "You've got to go down a lot of times, it's hard on your knees and you're bound to strain a groin too."

"If you're not sure about your footing, your knees, ankles and hips are vulnerable," says Beckenbauer. "If you make one wrong move any of those joints can go."

Sunday's game was especially treacherous as a moonscape of ice and snow fused to the concrete court made footing at one precarious and shots and passes unpredictable. At the opposite end, the glare from the low winter sun off the slicked surface made visibility almost impossible.

"If you can't see the ball, you can't move to stop it," says Colonel. "You're vulnerable and you can't protect yourself."

The injuries to the regular goalkeepers, and the ever-present possibility of injury to the selfless substitutes has been wearying on many of the roadsters.

"It means the players have to step up week in and week out," says Colonel. "As conditions get better people won't want to be in net quite as much."

That could be a problem as the season progresses towards the Stanley Stick championship series in April.

"It's always a bit of a question mark," says Beckenbauer.

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January 13, 2013

Comeback slips away

Lak Attack's team battled to get within a goal, 12-11, but then they gave up the next three goals to let Sunday's game slip away. Literally.

A cold snap frosted the concrete court, creating precarious footing for the speedsters and heartstopping moments for the goalies.

"It's one of the elements of playing outdoors," said Lak Attack, whose difficulty gaining traction in his crease may have contributed to his yawning five hole that cost his side a handful of goals. "It definitely changes the game."

Especially for speedsters like Scooby and Bam Bam.

"You can't make those turning-on-a-dime plays as much as you'd like," said Scooby, one of the league's more sure-footed forwards. "You can't come out of the wheelhouse in the slot like I'm used to."

"I like to go into the corners and I've got to fight to keep my balance going in," said Bam Bam.

Adding to their trepidation were the hidden patches of ice beneath the glistening white frost that sent a few players tumbling to the concrete.

"You've just got to watch your footing," said Bam Bam. "You've got to make crisp passes, make sure you're strong on the ball."

"You have to be more cautious," said Scooby. "You don't want to fall on your ass."

The cold also wreaked havoc on the ball, changing its heft and hardness. That made it tough on Lak Attack and his opposite counterpart, Colonel.

"You have to be aware that shots can be a bit harder and you're going to feel them a bit more," said Lak Attack. "There's going to be a bit more of a bounce."

The hard, lively ball also creates opportunities, as defenders get out of the way to spare pained shins and shattered toes.

"Guys are a bit less willing to block shots," said Scooby. "You want to let them rip from anywhere."

The key, said Bam Bam, was adapting.

"You've got to be able to go with the bounces," said Bam Bam. "You've got to be smart, play within yourself and take it as it is."

Posted by jaysuburb at 07:28 PM | Comments (3)

January 06, 2013

Shell-abration

The extra spring in the roadsters' steps Sunday morning may not have come just from the pre-game shrimp feast.

Only hours before the season's second half officially got under way, the NHL and its players announced they'd finally resolved their labor difficulties that had already scuttled more than half of their schedule. And while the bright lights and big arenas of the pro game may be a long way from the concrete band box, slicked and flooded by more winter rain, some of the roadsters conceded the hockey impetus had suffered without a regular dose of the game the way it should be played to fuel their desire.

"I know when I see great plays it's inspiring," said Holt. "You want to try things out."

"Some of the awesome plays you see, the dekes, the moves, the highlight reel plays you see on TV, you want to mimic them on the court," said Lak Attack.

"It's a good culture to have some hockey back no matter where it is," said the Colonel.

"It gets guys excited," said Weeble. "A good game on the TV the night before gets them excited to get out and play the next morning."

The extra boost from the return of the pro game comes not a moment too soon, as the roadsters embark on the stretch drive after a lacklustre first half that was encumbered by lackadaisical attendance, goaltending crises and unsatisfactory half-court games.

With the Stanley Stick only four months away, it's time for the roadsters to get serious said Lak Attack.

"Everyone wants to find their legs, get their timing and get ready to peak at the right time," said the veteran centreman who continued his fine play as a substitute goalie on Sunday.

"Now is when you have a chance to create some chemistry, get familiar with all the players you play with," said Bam Bam.

Others, though, were more pragmatic.

"Today's driving force to come out was definitely that shrimp," said Weeble.

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