April 25, 2016

Doo gets it done

Doo capped a season he’d rather forget with a memorable performance to lead his team to a 20-13 victory Sunday and a two-game sweep of the Stanley Stick championship series.

The speedy centreman scored a handful of goals, many of them spectacular individual efforts of footwork and persistence, to earn the series’ Conn Stick award as the most valuable player. He was the unanimous choice by the underdogs who were repeatedly victimized by Doo’s slippery moves and stickwork just as they seemed poised to get back into the series.

It was a stunning return to form for the lanky scorer who struggled to find the net at times during the regular season as he dealt with injury and personal issues.

“I had to make a commitment to play,” said Doo. “I’m proud I was able to do that.”

After romping to a relatively easy 20-6 win in last week’s series’ opener, Doo and his mates knew they’d be in for a tougher battle from their opponents in Sunday’s decider, as they were bolstered by the addition of two players, Ohio and Nouvelle Guy.

“There were definitely times we were under siege,” said Doo. “But I think we were pretty consistent all game.”

In fact the game seemed poised to get away from them entirely after the underdogs got to within one, 6-5; but a three-goal outburst reestablished their goal cushion and seemed to clip the underdogs’ growing confidence.

“That was a key point where we elevated our game,” said Doo. “Once you pull away like that you’ve got to keep your foot on the pedal.”

Joker said the trio of successive goals reversed the game’s tide back into their favour.

“We were losing momentum at that point and that was the catalyst we needed to hold the lead for the rest of the game.”

“That was kind of a backbreaker,” said Wink. “It gave us momentum and a cushion so we could give up a goal and not be too worried.”

The winners never trailed in the series, but that doesn’t mean their win was easy.

It took the solid execution of a defensive gameplan to stifle the dangerous tandem of Cleveland and Ohio.

“Everybody knew the job they had to do; shut down their big shooters,” said Joker.

“I thought we had a really solid game plan and we stuck to it,” said Doo.

“There was a lot more battle,” said Wink, whose side added Holt and Coach to its lineup.

That gave them two full lines of players. And a challenge to establish chemistry quickly.

“The camaraderie we built on this team over two games was second to none,” said Joker.

“I think we found some chemistry and that will take you a long way,” said Doo, who settled into an effective combination with wily veterans Lak Attack and Wink after some initial line rolling.

“You don’t panic, you know you’re going to be able to complete passes,” he said of working with his senior wingers. “It really was a team win.”

While the addition of Ohio and Nouvelle Guy was expected after they were excused from last week’s Stanley Stick opener, the arrival at the courts of Holt and Coach was a surprise.
The former was making his first start of the season after spending the year pursuing educational opportunities abroad; he received a special veteran’s dispensation to participate in the championship while Coach fulfilled the minimum regular season games to play in the finale. All the new players were distributed by a special supplemental card draw before the start of Sunday’s game.

This year’s Stanley Stick champions are: Wink, Lak Attack, Doo, Colonel, Coach, Holt, Joker.

The roadsters will next convene at the special mid-summer scrimmage and annual Beetle Boy comeback anticipation in August.

Next season will be Sunday Morning Road Hockey’s 25th anniversary. Plans are already being formulated to celebrate the milestone including a reunion game of past roadsters.

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April 17, 2016

Winners wear down overmatched opponents

The only thing gorier than the bloody cut suffered by Lak Attack in Sunday’s Stanley Stick opener was the score.

The versatile veteran shook off the high stick that clipped his left eyebrow to lead his team to a dominating 20-6 win in the first game of the two-game championship finale.

After a tight first half in which the underdogs got to within three goals, 8-5, fatigue and heat took their toll and the winners outscored their beleaguered opponents 10-2 after the break.

Having an extra player to sub off tired legs certainly worked to their advantage in the balmy conditions, said Colonel.

“it was a warm day and any time a team doesn’t have a sub at all, it just allows the team with a sub to stay fresh and go hard every shift.”

But to take full advantage, the winners had to strike quickly. They did just that despite being outplayed in the early going, said Doo.

“They were generating chances,” said the speedy centerman. “But that was classic offence from defence for us from the beginning of the game.”

Joker also stood tall in the net, rebuffing Bam Bam and Cleveland in close.

“He did well to be there when we needed him,” said Colonel of his veteran goalie. “It’s a big boost because you know you can take a few more chances offensively.”

Which is exactly what they did.

“They got a couple of quick goals and the momentum was always on their side,” said Bam Bam.

A brief flurry and some fortuitous bounces got the underdogs close early in the second period. But Doo said his side kept its cool.

“We had a lot of veteran presence on our team… so we didn’t panic.”

That's something the underdogs will have to remember if they’re to win Sunday’s second game to force a deciding sudden death mini game.

“All you need is one win to send it to the mini game,” said Bam Bam. “We’ve got to create more offence, take more shots, keep it simple.”

Despite Sunday’s lopsided score, the leaders aren’t taking anything for granted.

“I don’t think we got the other team’s best game this week,” said Colonel. “Next week they’re going to come out hard, feel rejuvenated. It’s going to be a whole other game.”

Doo said his side’s experience will serve them well to maintain an even keel.

“When you’ve been around enough Stanley Sticks, you know each game is completely different. We’ll have to rely on our veteran experience and patience next week.”

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April 10, 2016

Bam Bam's return a battle

After missing more than a month of the season with an ankle injury, Bam Bam didn’t have the luxury of easing himself back into the lineup.

Sunday’s game was the last regular game before the Stanley Stick championship series, and the feisty forward felt the full intensity of the season’s short strokes in his team’s tough 15-12 loss.

“I was definitely two or three steps behind,” said Bam Bam. “The cardio will take some work, as will the physical aspect of keeping up on the dry surface.”

It was definitely a spirited affair as players from both sides were fearless in blocking shots and relentless in their offensive attacks.

“The intensity was high,” said Doo. “There was lots of good stick work, lots of back checking and the goaltenders played really well.”

All factors which set up an epic finale when players leave it all on the court every shift.

“Every bounce counts,” said Bam Bam. “It’s a lot different from regular season games.”

The addition of several rookies midway through the season likely won’t lessen the ferocious commitment it takes to win the Stick, said Doo.

“They’ve had a lot of games together to get acclimatized to our game,” said the speedy centreman. “There’s no true rookies out there.”

Sunday’s warmup featured two great swings of momentum as each team managed to battle back from three goal deficits to build three-goal advantages of their own.

Doo said it was important to take full advantage of any lapse in concentration.

“When you see your opponents letting up, you just have to pounce and we were the ones able to do that at the end.”

Bam Bam conceded the momentum swings are inevitable in such an intense game.

“Every week we know teams are going to go on a run,” said the veteran forward. “Once you have it going your way, you have to capitalize as much as you can.”

Which is exactly what his side did as they used some fortuitous bounces and won some difficult battles at the top of the crease to rebound from an early three-goal deficit by scoring six straight goals.

“We weren’t giving them anything, but they just found the space out there,” said Doo. “They had a little better body position, they were a bit faster.”

But they couldn’t sustain it and the leaders gave up a five-goal run of their own en route to their demise.

“I think it was pretty even today,” said Bam Bam. “They got a couple more bounces.”

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April 03, 2016

Cleveland rocks comeback win

Cleveland and his teammates shook off a sullen first period to fire six unanswered goals and roll to a 15-10 win in Sunday’s game.

The shifty rookie found his legs, and his passing game, to spark the second period barrage. Feeds that had been rolling harmlessly into the corner in the first frame suddenly found the blades of his line mates who deftly tucked those setups behind a bewildered Joker.

“I think we got our legs and developed some chemistry,” said Colonel. “We had a lot of chances early, but then we started to put them away.”

Time and again Joker found himself abandoned by his defence.

“Our defence wasn’t getting back on the odd-man rushes,” said the embattled net minder, who’d been almost unbeatable in the first period when his team stormed back from an early deficit to go into the break up 5-4. “Once the first couple went in, it opened the floodgates.”

Cleveland scored twice, the Legend three times and Colonel added another to shatter the shotstopper’s confidence.

“It just started to get to me,” said Joker. “It fell apart really quickly.”

Colonel said keeping their game simple was the key to their comeback.

“If you pass it around too much, there’s too much opportunity to bumble it,” said the senior forward. “Those quick passes and deflections to the net work best.”

A brief flurry by the underdogs on the strength of an unexpected hat trick by Big D gave them some life. But it was too little too late.

“When everybody is really tired and you’re able to make a run at the end of the game, it shows character,” said Joker.

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