March 22, 2015

Empty court stalls season's momentum

Stanley Stick fever seems to have turned into the flu.

With the start of the two-week championship finale exactly a month away, action on the road hockey courts should be at a frenzied pitch as goalies hone their game, snipers sharpen their aim and Colonel ramps up his intensity.

Instead the veteran instigator slumped in his truck, dejected that a lack of players had scuttled Sunday's game.

Sunday Morning Road Hockey seems to have hit an attendance crisis at a critical juncture of the season. Last week five roadsters were forced to play a modified half-court game by the lack of quorum.

It's a discouraging and disconcerting turn to a season that had been progressing so well.

The injection of enthusiastic newcomers like Eight Ball, as well as the continuing commitment from veterans, ensured substitute players crowding the sidelines for many of the early season games. Better yet, the return of of Twizzler swelled the goalie pool to four despite the injury to Chico that has kept him out of action since the pre-season.

But that momentum has faltered.

Instead of careening headlong towards the Stanley Stick, the league is lurching. Even the roguesters were able to get their crew together for a game, while the Sunday Morning court sat barren, joyless, eerily quiet.

And with three players - Beckenbauer, Holt and Scooby - already declaring their intention to miss the season's climactic showdown, the prospects for a rousing, intense finale are fading.

There's still time to right the listing ship.

Conditions should be ideal for the three games remaining in the regular season. Busy roadsters like Lak Attack and Doo should be finished their off-court commitments.

An all-hands show of force for at least two of those games will propel the roadsters into the championship season at the height of their game. And increase the likelihood of a series for the ages.

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March 15, 2015

Adventure duo to be denied Stick

Beckenbauer will not defend his Conn Stick award as the Stanley Stick's most valuable player.

The crafty centreman and his frequent foe, Holt, played their last game of the season Sunday as they depart for an extended adventure to Nepal and the Himalayas. They won't return until after the season concludes with the two-game championship showdown at the end of April.

So it was with mixed emotions they faced off against each other in a half-court effort necessitated by meagre attendance. Holt, playing alongside energy forward Bam Bam, prevailed 7-4 over his traveling companion who was paired with the Living Legend.

After the game, Beckenbauer tried to put a positive spin on their truncated season. Rather than looking upon the long grind of the regular season as a wasted effort with no final result, he regarded the campaign as early preparation for next season.

"It's something you build up for the whole season," said Beckenbauer of the championship series. "As it turns out we'll just be training for next year."

In fact, the duo tried to schedule their travels to accommodate the full road hockey season. But when dozens of climbers perished last spring in the very same part of the world where they're headed, they decided on a more cautious itinerary when the weather is more predictable.

Unfortunately that window falls smack dab during the Stanley Stick.
Still, Holt expects their dedication to the regular season will serve them well at their destination.

"It's a huge motivator," said Holt. "If it wasn't for hockey, I'd just be a fat slob sitting around drinking beer."

Beckenbauer said he expects the lightning reflexes and hand-eye coordination that serve roadsters well in the hockey court will come in handy on a Nepalese piste.

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March 09, 2015

Dates set for Stanley Stick

The Stanley Stick final series will be played April 19 and 26.

Let the griping and whinging begin.

While the advocates for a summer season will complain Sunday Morning Road Hockey's climactic finale is earlier than ever before, it actually coincides with the pattern that has been established over the past several seasons. That's made for some exciting games in almost ideal conditions, not too warm with a good chance for a dry court.

This year's early Easter weekend, when attendance is usually sparse, also means the roadsters will have one additional week to prepare for the championship showdown.

However some regular season stalwarts have already indicated they won't be available to play, no matter how the schedule is massaged. Both Holt and Beckenbauer will be out of the country as the regular season winds down, and Yak has been hobbled by a knee injury that could keep him out of action.

Posted by jaysuburb at 10:50 PM | Comments (5)

March 01, 2015

Doo wins Hanna Barbera duel

Living Legend scored seven times, including the game winner.

Too bad the latter was for the other team.

A wrap-around by Nouvelle Guy deflected off the ageless veteran's toe and past a stunned Lak Attack to give their opponents a 15-12 win.

The game almost ended before it had a chance to really get started when Colonel flailed his left arm to knock off his tormentor checking him closely in the offensive end. The defender, making his Sunday Morning debut, marched off the court after the unexpected violence. Even the Colonel's own goalie rebelled, threatening his departure because of the confrontation.

But apologies were offered all around and cooler heads prevailed.

After the Legend sparked his side to a quick 6-2 lead, five of the goals off his stick, the game became a spirited Hanna Barbera humdinger as time and again Scooby and Doo found themselves warring at close quarters for the advantage. More often than not, the slight speedster emerged with the evil orange plastic ball, and helped his side score seven of the next eight goals.

"That game was all about momentum," said Doo. "Once we were in it we didn't want to let it slip away."

But they almost did.

Up 12-9 and seemingly rolling to the win, Bam Bam got busy in the defensive zone, forcing turnovers that turned into three straight goals that tied the game.

But that effort pretty much emptied the team's tank, said Scooby.

"We definitely lost some steam in the second half of the game," he said. "We were pretty gassed at the end."

Doo scored two quick ones before Nouvelle Guy carried the ball from the corner to the back of the net then bounced the game winner off Legend's toe.

"You just have to step on the gas at the end," said Doo. "We managed to get a few bounces and that came from hard work."

Scooby could only rue would could have been.

"I thought we could have won it," said the lanky veteran. "We didn't quite have the touch and they finished their chances."

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