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
Next up, the Rangers.