November 19, 2017

Veterans play waiting game

A combination of Joker’s fatigue in net and the sense by a pair of veteran players to take advantage powered Lak Attack and Living Legend to a pair of half-court victories over a pair of crafty rust belt forwards, Cleveland and Ohio.

In a steady rain that slicked the concrete courts, two of Sunday Morning Road Hockey’s most senior forwards kept their footing and patiently awaiting Joker’s inevitable lull to fire five unanswered goals in the first game, and then edge their younger and speedier opponents 3-2 in the follow-up.

“We’ve been around the courts for a long time, and you know when you can wait for some lucky bounces,” said Lak Attack.

He and his teammate also knew Joker would eventually tire from the constant barrage of shots from both teams.

While the reliable rearguard was aggressive on the ball in the early going, lunging to intercept passes and poke checking advancing forwards with his stick, the effort of stopping both teams steadily wore him down.

That’s when the veteran forwards adjusted their game plan from up court passes to constant shooting from every distance and angle. It paid off, as Lak Attack connected from long range and Living Legend found gaps from impossible angles.

Joker admitted there was little he could do against the assault.

“At the beginning of the game, it was a lit easier because everyone is trying to pass,” he said. “But after a while everyone is getting tired and the shots are coming in and I’m tired too.”

Cleveland said his side wasn’t prepared for the strategic shift.

“We probably didn’t adjust as well,” he said. “It can be difficult when you’re so used to playing three-on-three, then you end up with the half court game.”

But Lak Attack said his side’s decision to rain shots on net was as much a product of the weather conditions.

“This was one of those sloppy game, you’re not going to get crisp passes.”

Joker said the slippery court should have played into his favour.

“I’m a little more maneuverable, and the players are slower,” he said.

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

November 12, 2017

A lazy win

Cowboy Bill and Cleveland barely broke a sweat in their 6-3 win in Sunday’s half-court game.

That’s because they were able to make their long range shots count, allowing them to conserve energy for some aggressive forechecking to produce turnovers.

Cowboy Bill said their winning strategy was as much about survival.

“It’s a big court to cover with just two guys,” said Cowboy, who’s making his Sunday Morning Road Hockey comeback after several years away from the courts.

So they didn’t.

Instead of transitioning to offence with quick-strike rushes up the rain-slicked court, Cowboy and Cleveland fired howitzers at Joker. When he whiffed a few, they had the edge they needed.

“If you can get some of those quick ones, you have more energy,” said Lak Attack, whose own attempts at long-range scoring always seemed to land squarely in Joker’s trapper or his smothering leg pads.

Cowboy said once his side exposed Joker’s apparent weakness, the game came to them.

“You try to keep the pressure on to create turnovers,” he said. “We needed as many chances as possible.”

But Lak Attack’s dangling and the Living Legend’s knack for finding the five hole seemed to elude them on Sunday, as the wily veterans failed to find the kind of chemistry needed to succeed in the half-court game.

“The half-court game is a running game and Legend and I just didn’t have the best chemistry today,” said Lak Attack. “We played hard and they just played a bit better.”

When there’s so little margin for error, that extra effort made the difference in controlling the game’s tempo and making it work to their advantage, said Cowboy Bill.

“It gives you the chance to settle back,” he said. “You don’t have to work as hard on the forecheck coming in so it saves a lot of energy in the long run.”

Posted by jaysuburb at 09:06 PM | Comments (3)

November 05, 2017

Cowboy Bill has impact in comeback

In only his second appearance at the road hockey courts in more than seven years, Cowboy Bill had a huge impact on Sunday’s game.

An immovable presence in front of the net all day in his team’s 10-4 victory, it was a clash at the side of the net with Colonel that may prove to have the most lasting implications.

The feisty forward was wheeling his way below the goal line when he and Cowboy Bill clashed, toppling Colonel to the concrete hard. When Colonel gathered himself up, his right hand hung limply from a badly swollen wrist. His game was over, and possibly his season, as he headed for x-rays.

His mates, who’d charged to a quick 2-0 lead but were struggling to find much more offence than that, visibly slumped.

“That’s when the game got away from us,” said Nouvelle Guy. “It’s tough to lose a guy and if you don’t have that sub, it’s a double whammy.”

Especially against a skilled lineup that featured Cleveland, Scooby and Lak Attack who freewheeled around and through diminished defenders while Cowboy Bill parked himself in front of Kid to establish a screen and pounce on rebounds.

“He was a big presence for us in front of the net,” said Lak Attack. “He’s tough, he won’t let up and he works hard throughout.”

Cowboy Bill said his role as immovable obstacle was as much a survival tactic after being away from the game since the 2010 Stanley Stick so he could travel the world in pursuit of job opportunities.

“The court looks small, but it plays big,” he said.

But with an overall advantage in speed that really made itself apparent after Colonel left the game, Cowboy’s mates were able to shrink the court to the size of a postage stamp as their opponents struggled to keep up.

“They were passing around us and we were caught napping,” said Nouvelle Guy. “We lost our legs.”

And Sunday Morning Road Hockey may have lost one of its most stalwart veterans.

Posted by jaysuburb at 07:33 PM | Comments (9)