January 27, 2015

Half-court game a full-on challenge

A goalie shortage for the second time in the past three weeks left the roadsters gasping for breath Sunday.

And recalculating their formulas for victory.

Managing the modified half-court game successfully is all about controlling the court, said Holt. That means using the corners to lure defenders out of position and create open lanes to the net.

Defensively the emphasis needs to be on clogging the centre of the court to ensure those lanes stay blocked.

But most importantly, said the sharp shooting centreman, it's about stamina.

"You've got to make sure you're not chasing guys into the corners," said Holt. "You can't get tired, you can't get pissed off and fall for their traps."

That takes discipline, said Yak.

"It's good positioning and knowing when to run and when not to run," said the veteran speedster.

The team that best controls the ball on the transition plays will find success, said Yak.

"You have to put a forecheck on the backboards."

For the goalie in the half-court game, the pressure is relentless.

"You've got to amp up your energy," said Joker. "When you're the goalie you're going to be way more busy than you normally are."

That can take a toll mentally, as a defensive ally one moment is an oncoming sniper the next.

"It's so back and forth," said Joker. "Shots are coming at you from every angle. Everybody has got to do their part."

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January 18, 2015

Drought-busting goal sparks win

An extended goal drought took its toll on both sides in Sunday's game. But it was Lak Attack and his mates who broke through to romp to a 15-9 win.

As both teams struggled to put the evil orange plastic ball past Twizzler and Joker, it quickly became apparent the side best able to weather the dry spell would seize the game's momentum.

"We just continued to be more persistent around the net," said Lak Attack. "It paid off for us."

And while Scooby and his mates quickly answered, their legs and fortitude had abandoned them.

"When you feel you're outworking the other team, that's tough mentally," said the veteran speedster. "It gets to you."

A 4-1 run down the stretch sealed their fate, said Scooby. "We had a lot of chances, but we just couldn't put them in the net."

That's because Twizzler played one of his strongest games, controlling rebounds, smothering loose balls at every opportunity.

"He let us stay patient and we knew we'd get some goals," said Lak Attack.
The frustration amongst opposing shooters was palpable.

"It's hard to come back when they're three away and we're down by four," said Scooby."

Still, Lak Attack and his mates weren't going to take anything for granted.

"I thought we kept control of the pace," said the seasoned veteran. "We just stayed patient and we knew eventually we'd get the goals. It was just a matter of time."

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January 11, 2015

Mirror goals seal OT win

Colonel and Lak Attack scored in overtime on mirror images of the same play to give their side the two goal advantage they needed to win Sunday's game, 17-15.

The wily veterans shielded the evil orange plastic ball with their backs to the net, then whirled and blasted their shots past a surprised Eight Ball, Colonel on a backhand, Lak Attack from his forehand.

The goals were the coup de grace of a three-goal run from the brink of defeat after Yak scored on a controversial penalty shot on Twizzler to give his side the advantage.

The seesaw overtime was really a truncated version of the entire game as both teams squandered then rebuilt leads numerous times.

"Both teams were in it," said Yak. "Both teams worked really hard but you know it's going to one way or the other."

And for a moment it seemed like the game would go in favour of his side. After Colonel threw his stick in a desperate attempt to break up an odd man rush by Nouvelle Guy and Living Legend, Yak was selected to take the penalty shot over the objections from the play's perpetrator.

The diminutive veteran with the knack for executing spinnerama plays kept it simple and straightforward, rifling a shot past the outstretched pad of Twizzler.

"Twizzler usually stonewalls people on those," said Colonel. "Yak made a great shot."

The goal put Yak's side another marker from victory.

But it never came, as the game's length and tempo tinally wore defenders down, mentally and physically.

"It takes the edge off when you're only one away from winning," said Yak. "You're in the lead and you don't feel you're in danger."

But, said Colonel, his side wasn't about to give up.

"It's a game of mental fortitude more than anything," said the senior centreman.

Beckenbauer said his side just ran out of gas.

"I think the wheels fell off," said Beckenbauer. "They just kept pounding away and we didn't have enough gas in the tank."

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January 04, 2015

Intrepid seven play on

The shrimp ring may have cowered in the refrigerator, afraid to confront the hellacious rain and sleet storm lashing the road hockey courts Sunday, but that didn't stop seven robust roadsters from welcoming the new year.

With three players, Yak, Lak Attack and Eight Ball, designated as rotating rovers, switching sides after each scoring play, the team anchored by Joker from his goal crease prevailed in the downpour, 15-13.

But they almost let the win slip down the drain.

Lak Attack and Beckenbauer scored early and often to lead their side to a quick 10-5 lead. But then Eight Ball switched sides and got hot. Time and again he found the top corner beyond Joker's reach.

Curiously, when he was switched back to his original team, he suddenly proved defensively inept.

The Jekyll and Hyde act allowed his part-time mates Holt and Yak to get back into the game. A deflection by the latter off a slap pass by the former tied the score at 11.

But the superior fitness of Lak Attack and Beckenbauer proved too much to overcome. Ironically, it was a mid-air chop by newly-reacquired floater Eight Ball that sealed their victory.

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Shrimp Ring Bowl on ice

The Shrimp Ring Bowl is being put on ice for this week.

Sunday Morning Road Hockey founding father Living Legend said in a prepared statement that the poor weather as well as previously-announced scratches meant the crustacean celebration would be more like a trial of survival.

"There's no doubt this rain/snow/sleet would severely water down the cocktail sauce," said the veteran journeyman.

And while the shrimp ring has been put back into the refrigerator, Sunday's game has not been officially called off, said the Legend. But he's unlikely to be there as he tries to beat a cold that has dogged him all year.

"For those hardy players who still want a work out, and don't mind getting their feet soaked, the courts are open," said the Legend. "But it sure doesn't look like it would be a lot of fun playing in this slop."

The Shrimp Ring celebration of the new year will officially be played next week.

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