Game Recap Week 13

1/28/07 vs. Skate Texas (0-11-1)

This is a rematch of week 2 when we outplayed Skate Texas, but could only muster one, late third period goal for the win. During the course of the season, Skate Texas picked up at least three solid skaters and were missing a couple of their regular players, of lesser abilities. This game turned out to be a fight, right down to the final buzzer.

The first period was frought with too many penalities (five) and too much time spent in our own zone killing them off. When we were playing 5-on-5 hockey, we were clearly the better offensive team. However, despite all the penalties, the period ended 0-0.

In the second period, we didn’t fare too well in our own zone, as we were having trouble clearing the puck out, which lead to one of Skate Texas’ newest members firing home their first goal through Josh’s five hole. About 5 minutes later, we found ourselves down 2-0, as the defensive coverage lapsed in front and a pass from behind the net found the open man to stuff the puck again in the back of the net. On the positive side, we had many more scoring chances, as our parade to the penalty box seemed to slow down a bit.

The third period started off well, as we had mixed up the lines a bit, moving Fargo to center and dropping Lyle to the back end. About two minutes into the period, Skate Texas put us on the powerplay and Fargo cashed in for his third goal in two games. The tide seemed to turn on that goal, as our offensive opportunites multiplied significantly. Less than two minutes later, Joe found Onion Soup’s rebound on the doorstep and knocked home the tying goal, but with more than twelve minutes left to play. Again, after tying it up, we began to really take the play to them and stepped up our defensive play as well. Less than three minutes after the tying goal, again on the powerplay, Fargo notched his second of the night to give us our first lead at 3-2. However, that would be short lived, as three fortuitous bounces landed a rebound in the crease with Josh sprawling to the wrong side and Skate Texas banged home another tying goal. With the score knotted at three, each team found numerous offensive opportunities, only to be foiled by the goalies at either end. The best opportunity landed on the sticks of Skate Texas, as Bob mishandled the puck at center and they walked in 3-on-0. However, Josh was up to the task, not wanting to let this game slip back out of reach. As the final minutes ticked away, penalties on both sides were called and neither team could gain an advantage as the game would come to a close.

Final Score: 3-3

Record: 6-5-2

No game next week, we’ll all be watching SuperBowl commercials.

Next up, in the regular season finale, a must win game vs. Black Jacks.


Game Recap Week 12

1/21/07 vs Rangers (2-8-1)

In a rematch of week 8, when Tom N. blew away the Rangers with a 5-goal performance, the Rangers were coming into this matchup in a complete freefall, not having won a game since week 5 and giving up 29 goals in their last four games. This was about to be no different for them.

We started this game out very fast, but couldn’t find the net. We fired numerous shots away, either shooting wide or firing it right into the goalie. Finally, we squirted one through for the 1-0 lead. During the break, we talked about getting everything on net, pouncing on rebounds and making the most of our chances. In the second period, we did just that, socring twice and pulling away, while Josh was holding the fort down at the other end. Despite the offensive output this game was a little sloppy on the defensive side, however Josh was there to clean that up as he stopped 5 breakaways, a number of 2-on-1’s and at least one 3-on-0. He left a number of Rangers’ players shaking their heads throughout this game. In the third period, the offense continued to click as we potted three more tallies and completely ran away with the game. The only puck to beat Josh was on a one-timer that started with a nice pass from the corner to the slot, where the Rangers’ player fired it to the low stick-side corner.

This win put us in a good position, as we clinched a spot in the playoffs with two games remaining. Now, we can set our sights on climbing the standings for a better first round matchup.

Final Score: 6-1

Record: 6-5-1

Next week, an improved Skate Texas.

Game Recap Week 11

1/14/07 vs. Grateful Leafs (7-2-1)

Coming off our decent showing in the tournament, following that with our unlikely comeback win last week vs. the Enforcers, we felt that we were playing some good hockey and if we could get a good showing of players, we could definitely be competitive this week. However, the Leafs are riding a seven game winning streak, which included a game in which they manhandled us. As game time drew closer however, it was easily noticeable that there was a lack of players filing into the locker room. We knew Marc, Dave & Joe were out. We also knew Paul had run the Houston half-marathon in the morning, so his energy level would not be up to par, but his presence was, nonetheless, inspiring. When everybody showed, we had eight skaters.

Aside from the small showing from our teammates, we didn’t start the game very well as just 14 seconds into the first shift, Josh gave up a weak goal, from a bad angle and just like that, we were down, facing a long night ahead. We pulled it together however and some played inspired hockey, eventually tying the game at one, late in the first period.  Despite being outmanned, outshot and outplayed, we battled against a far superior team and although we gave up a goal in the second period, we felt that we were in this game, just like we were last week, heading into the third period down 2-1. The third period saw us fight hard for every bit of offense we could get. As hard as we fought and as well as Josh was playing in net, it wasn’t enough though, as a shot from the point was redirected in front of the net and slipped into the far corner to give the Leafs a two-goal lead with ten minutes remaining. Knowing that we have problems scoring, especially with our limited lineup, this game was now pretty much sealed. We added a goal midway through the period to cut the lead to 3-2, but shortly after, with 4 minutes to go, a quick pass to the front of the net was popped home for a 4-2 Leafs lead.

This was a solid effort, against an elite team in our league, and we did it with only half of our team. The game MVP went to Paul who gave more than he probably had left in the tank.

Final Score: 2-4

Record: 5-5-1

Next up, the Rangers.

Game Recap Week 10

1/7/07 vs. Enforcers (5-2-2)

Although we had just met in week 6, it seemed as though our last game had been played a while back, which, in truth, it had – it was before the holidays, before Thanksgiving even! So although it was just 4 games later, here we were facing a tried and true opponent for us. Our last meeting ended in a loss, so we were out for a little revenge, but we were about to take a rough ride.

After playing in the Holiday Shootout tournament all weekend, in which we had eight players participate, most of us were pretty tired. Throw in the fact that Paul was serving his one-game suspension for being thrown out of our last game vs. Gang Green and we would be hurting for players, let alone scoring. The final count on players that showed up was eleven. Two lines, four defense, and the goalie. In any event, we trudged on, most of us weary, but ready to play one more game for the weekend.

Just nine seconds into the game, we led 1-0. On a very strange play, the puck came out from behind the net and Marc popped it between the goalies feet for a quick, much needed, early lead. While the play was a bit sloppy by both teams, it was still a relatively fun game. Later in the first period, the Enforcers got on the board with a very nice goal that beat Josh to the stick side. Continuing on, despite losing an early lead, the game went up and down, with both teams trying to find the back of the net, but despite his fatigue from the weekend, Josh stopped shot after shot, preserving the 1-1 tie deep into the second period. With about 3 minutes remaining, a shot from the lower right circle found it’s way between Josh’s pads to put us one-goal down. Knowing that the offense was going to struggle, at the end of the second period, Josh let the team know that the door was closed on his end, if we could put a couple pucks in the net and we would win this thing.

Hard work and belief paid off, as less than 5 minutes into the third period we scored to knot the game at two. With everyone tiring from this late-night, after a long-weekend affair, the game was certainly up for grabs and both goalies were doing their part to keep the game tied. However with less than 3 minutes remaining, Tom N. put one home to give us our lead back and give us the hope that we could pull this win out. The enforcers threw everything they had at us in the final minutes, but the defense, though they were tired, and Josh, did not break down preserving the win.

Final Score: 3-2

Record: 5-4-1

Next week we’ll see the Grateful Leafs – again.