October 26, 2014

Bam Bam's early exit deflates mates

Bam Bam is a battler.

But when a deflection of the evil orange plastic ball into his eye forced his early departure from Sunday's game, the fighting spirit also seemed to leave his team en route to a 15-12 defeat.

Playing from behind from the game's earliest moments, Bam Bam and his mates struggled to find their chemistry. And when passing plays did click, shots were rebuffed by Joker who was at the top of his game between the pipes.

Still, Bam Bam's plucky defence and commitment to go into battle along the boards kept his side within a lucky break or two of swinging the game their way.

Until one of those board battles deep in his team's own zone sent the ball up into Bam Bam's face and the feisty forward dropped to the concrete holding his hands up to his left eye.

While there was no damage immediately apparent, Bam Bam left the game.
HIs side's opportunistic opponents seized their advantage.

"It was definitely an opportunity for us to capitalize," said Beckenbauer. "When they're down a man it gives you a chance to run them down into the ground."

It wasn't quite that easy, said Yak. But his side did start breaking down defensively more often without their teammate's back end leadership.

"We started to get a little loose on defence that they really capitalized on it," said Yak. "I think we lost our mental toughness."

Only Twizzler's goaltending heroics kept the score within reach.

And when opportunities finally did start coming their way, their opponents were forced to play with more urgency.

"I don't know if it was nerves or just grim determination to make sure we ended it," said Beckenbauer.

Yak said the final score was an accurate reflection of the game's ebbs and flows. His side just hadn't done enough to wrest victory.

"They worked a little harder," he said. "They kept on the ball a little harder, and they jumped on their checks a little faster."

Posted by jaysuburb at 01:56 PM | Comments (6)

October 19, 2014

Goalie change sparks comeback

It may not have been the turning point that changed the outcome of Sunday's game.

But the swap of goalies to replace starter Lak Attack with Joker certainly veered the game to a close, competitive battle that came just a little short with a 15-11 loss.

Prior to the change, Sunday's game had been anything but close.

As Holt and Beckenbauer preened for the TV camera on the sideline, their side couldn't get any traction on the court. They fell behind 6-1 and seemed destined for a rout.

They couldn't run. They couldn't score. They were feeble on defence.

Then Joker hurt his hand and sought refuge between the pipes. He switched sides and put on the pads for his new mates, ousting the veteran backup Lak Attack from the crease.

The move paid off instantly.

"Whenever you swap goalies it feels like a new game," said Yak. "I think we were already mentally beaten at that point."

Joker made some big saves. Lak Attack brought new life to the legs of his teammates.

"Lak is an excellent player out, so any team that has him on their side is going to benefit from that," said Colonel.

"He's definitely a very efficient and skilled player when he's out," said Bam Bam of Lak's attack. "You add a guy like that to the mix and you're going to change the dynamic."

"More than anything, Lak brings hope," said Yak.

Lak's example seemed to spark Holt the most.

Freed from his TV obligations, the gifted goal scorer found his touch. He scored four of his side's next six goals. The comeback was on.

"You try hard and you start to build momentum," said Yak.

That momentum pushed their opponents back on their heels.

"Once we got the big lead, maybe we got a bit complacent," said Bam Bam.

"When you're up by a lot and a team starts to chip away, you start to feel their momentum and enthusiasm growing," said Colonel. "They start to believe in themselves."

So much so, they were able to take their first lead, 11-10, early in the third period.

But it turned out to be their only lead.

A couple of seeing-eye shots by young sniper Doo deflated the comeback. They also restored the faith of his teammates.

"It takes a great deal of mental fortitude to focus, reestablish yourself and come back," said Colonel. "We got the bounces and we were able to take over."

"When a guy has a hot stick like that, you just let him do his thing," said Bam Bam.

Posted by jaysuburb at 08:36 PM | Comments (5)

October 13, 2014

Compressed training camp shows speed, competitiveness

It usually takes the roadsters a game or two to run out the off-season kinks.
Sunday, they did it in one morning.

After a lacklustre, dispiriting training camp opener the teams regrouped to put on a run-and-gun show of precise passing, fancy footwork, rapier goals and solid goaltending that would have pride of place late in the schedule.

When the concrete dust settled, Lak Attack and his mates hung on for a 10-8 nailbiter.

"The second game was a really good pace," said the versatile veteran who was solid in his first goaltending start. "You saw a lot of nice plays. There's a lot more parity."

Doo said more players are taking off-season conditioning seriously, ensuring they're able to hit the court running come training camp.

"If you stayed in shape over the summer, then you're pretty good," said the young sniper. "I thought everybody's legs were going really well."

That bodes well for the coming season, which officially opens next week.

"You can see what to expect," said Lak Attack. "The guys are in shape. You've got speed, a lot of skill."

"The skill level is high out there," said Doo. "I think everybody got adjusted really quickly."

"A lot of guys are ready to play," said Yak.

Lot begin the operative word.

Sunday's pre-season game was one of the best attended in years. Motivation was high.

More importantly, the league's annual struggle to find committed, consistent goaltending seems to have eased.

Joker's back and ready to fight off any signs of a sophomore jinx while defending the Stanley Stick championship he won in his rookie season.
Lak Attack is ready to step in when needed.

And a new recruit, Eight Ball, showed up with leg pads, body armour and a positive attitude about playing net.

Add them to veteran stalwarts Twizzler and Chico, both of whom missed training camp but indicated they'll be ready to go for the regular season, and, for the first time there seems to be a wealth of riches between the pipes.

That's allowing the rest of the players the rare luxury to focus on their game, rather on whether there will actually be a game.

"You have to prepare yourself," said Lak Attack. "You're going to see a good pace through the season."

Which made a quick start in training camp that much more important.

"It's a good indication that there's not going to be a lot of time out there," said Yak.

"I think a lot of guys needed to measure themselves against the other guys," said Doo. "They needed to learn tendencies again. Those are the things you can't work on over the summer."

"You've got to be ready every second," said Lak Attack.

Posted by jaysuburb at 02:18 PM | Comments (2)

October 01, 2014

Season opens Oct. 12

It's time for the roadsters to put away the craft beer. Or maybe start drinking more of it.
Training camp is just over a week away. And the regular season begins anew a week later.
If the summer scrimmage is a harbinger of the season to come, it looks to be a promising campaign. A record number of roadsters reported for the annual evening tilt.
Unlike previous scrimmages, the game also featured some genuine action and quality goaltending, both of which have been occasionally lacking the past few seasons.
This will be Sunday Morning Road Hockey's 23rd season.

Posted by jaysuburb at 09:43 PM | Comments (14)