January 24, 2016

Youngblood's hat trick sparks comeback win

Youngblood scored three times in his Sunday Morning debut to lead his team to a 12-10 comeback win. He’s only 11 years-old.

The rookie phenom showed hockey sense and fortitude beyond his years as he mixed it up in the corners with grizzled veterans and drove hard to the net to create scoring chances.

“Those young guys just keep pushing and pushing,” said Bam Bam of his fearless teammate. “They’ve got endless energy, they can chase, they can cycle. It doesn’t hurt if they’ve got a good pair of hands.”

Which Youngblood apparently has. HIs goals came on a long shot, a rebound and a bold charge through a seam.

“He’s got a great skill level and he knows the game really well,” said Colonel of his juvenile adversary. “You just can’t leave him alone.”

Time and again the youngster found himself in open court, making plays and creating opportunities. He also wasn’t afraid to mix it up with some of his more notorious opponents, including Colonel and Wink.

“You don’t expect that right away,” said Colonel, who’s team quickly realized they had to overcome their instinct to go easy on their young opponent. “He’s just another player out there and we always have to play tough on everybody.”

“It wasn’t just the goals, it was the hustle, the playmaking,” said Bam Bam, whose side trailed by as many as six goals half way through the game.

But then Beelzebub hurt his arm, depriving his side of their extra player to spell off tired teammates. And Joker found his glove hand.

The garrulous goaltender struggled early in Sunday’s game. His five hole looked more like a chasm. His glove hand failed him.

But his mates kept their faith.

“We know goalies give up bad goals,” said Bam Bam. “But we knew he’d come back. We just needed to give him some support offensively.”

“He was definitely hot in the second half,” said Colonel. “That gave their team a lift.”

Especially after Youngblood scored his first goal, and Bam Bam regained his legs in his first game of the new year.

Having the extra man for the balance of the game allowed the winners to better manage their effort said Bam Bam. That gave him time to get reignite the energy that had been sapped by his extended illness that kept him on the sidelines for the past month.

“I think we did a good job of keeping our shifts short,” said Bam Bam. “The guys played hard, then they came off. Overall I think we worked well today.”

Their opponents could only rue the game that got away from them.

“I think we took them a little too lightly, and that cost us,” said Colonel.

Posted by jaysuburb at 02:54 PM | Comments (460)

January 17, 2016

Wink blasts team to victory

The Winkian blast is back.

Already goalies are cowering in fear.

The veteran founding father, who’s on the comeback trail after missing five seasons with health issues, scored three of his side’s first four goals to spark a 15-8 victory in Sunday’s soggy game.

All of them were rifle blasts that eluded Lak Attack even before the lanky netminder had a chance to react.

“I was putting the ball where I wanted to put it,” said Wink.

That was high past the outstretched glove of Lak Attack, just beyond the reach of his toes, and over his shoulder.

“He can shoot it high, he can shoot it low, he can place it where he wants,” said the beleaguered backup. “It’s a hard shot.”

In fact, at the height of his defensive dominance, Wink’s shot from the point was one of the most feared on the small road hockey court. Time and again he rained them past shellshocked shotstoppers with alarming regularity.

But since returning from his medical hiatus, the veteran defender has been challenged to recapture his timing and goal-scoring glory.

“I felt I’ve shot it well since I came back,” said Wink. “I just wasn’t hitting it this well.”

Finding his sizzling slapshot means defenders will have to adjust, said Lak Attack. “We really have to challenge him.”

Otherwise facing down those cannon drives will take a toll.

“You start to wonder where your positioning is, where your glove is,” said Lak Attack. “You start to speculate and you’re not very confident.”

Drawing defenders his way means more court for his teammates, said Wink.

“I think it gives us a whole other aspect that opens things up for the other two guys down low.”

Up 5-1 at the end of the first period, Wink and his mates never trailed.

But a hat trick by Big D seemed to light a fire under their opponents to make a game of it.

“The guys played really well,” said Lak Attack of their losing effort. “They just didn’t mesh well in the first. They got going in the second and third.”

By then, though, it was too late.

Posted by jaysuburb at 08:32 PM | Comments (3)

January 10, 2016

Slick surface stifles scorers

The icy court pebbled with rock salt and gravel may have frustrated players in Sunday’s game, but it was a boon for Joker.

The veteran netminder limited both teams to a total of eight goals in a competitive half-court game that was as much about survival as scoring.

Several overnight frosts slicked the concrete, making for precarious footing.

Pebbles of stone and salt sent shots and passes skipping with abandon.

“We haven’t seen something like this in many years,” said Lak Attack of the challenging conditions. “It was like playing on gravel.”

But for Joker, the harried, haphazard play seemed to move in slow motion, giving him plenty of time to square his position and cock his glove hand.

“It slows down the game,” said the gregarious goaltender. “You can see everything and you can get a little better positioning. I think I did that well today.”

Time and again he frustrated shooters who were happy just to get a shot on net as they tried to control the wildly careening ball.

“People were cautious and some good opportunities to make passes just didn’t materialize because of the courts,” said Lak Attack, whose side jumped to a 4-1 lead then hung on for a 5-3 win.

The conditions were equally challenging for defenders, who struggled to anticipate passes or found themselves sliding wildly on icy patches.

“It was very frustrating for both sides,” said Lak Attack.

And a confidence booster for Joker, whose stingy ways reversed a couple of shaky starts in recent weeks.

“Today I felt great,” said Joker. “My confidence for the rest of the season will be sky high.”

Posted by jaysuburb at 08:37 PM | Comments (2)

January 03, 2016

Shrimp Ring shame

One of Sunday Morning Road Hockey’s enduring traditions may now be a portent of the game’s decline.

Sunday’s 20th annual Shrimp Ring Bowl to kick off the new year was a shrimp ring without a bowl. Only four players reported to the frost-slicked courts and the game was iced.

And that doesn’t bode well for the season’s second half, said Lak Attack, a veteran of many of the celebratory showdowns.

“If you have a good Shrimp Ring, you know the guys are committed,” he said. “But if you don’t, you know the game is waning away. It’s disappointing.”

While a cold fog that iced the roads may have kept some of the roadsters home Sunday, there was a time when even a snowstorm couldn’t prevent the Ring’s renewal. Like in 2005, when the roadsters chopped and shovelled three days of accumulated snow and ice to ensure the game went on.

“That’s what’s been lost,” said Lak Attack, as he, Nouvelle Guy, Joker and Living Legend dipped their bargain shrimp into tangy cocktail sauce. “Guys have had a good holiday; you’d think they would be champing at the bit to come out and play.”

Still, there’s reason for hope.

The league’s core veterans remain passionate, their enthusiasm buoyed by the return of fellow founding father Wink after he missed five seasons to overcome medical challenges. And there’s a promise of new recruits, including another goalie.

“It’s time to find some new faces that are passionate and committed to the game,” said Lak Attack. “We have to build around that. It’s only going to get better as long as we’re all committed to the same goal.”

Posted by jaysuburb at 08:17 PM | Comments (6)