3/18/07 vs. Grateful Leafs (0-0-0)
The new season begins full of hope with a couple of new players added to the roster and a chance to build off the momentum we started at the end of last season and the playoffs.
Awaiting us as our first opponent are the Grateful Leafs. They are a strong team that finished in third place last season and looking to improve.
The Leafs took it right to us, skating and forechecking us hard in our own zone. We managed to break out a few times, finding some offense, but the opportunities were very limited. Less than 5 minutes into the period, they jumped out to an early lead as the goal scorer made a nice move to get Josh off the post and slip one over his shoulder. Down 1-0, we wanted to come right back, but less than two minutes later, we turned the puck over in our offensive zone and the Leafs stormed down the ice on a 2-on-1. Josh kicked out the original shot, but the follow-up player shoveled home the rebound for a 2-0 lead. As the period wore on, we were able to settle down some and find the offense we were looking for. We threw a number of shots at the net, but didn’t produce any high quality scoring chances as their defense was limiting our work inside their zone. Unfortunately, about 8 minutes into the first period, Tom N., who had crashed into the boards hard earlier, needed to leave because he was in some discomfort with an upper body injury. Losing him was tough, but we soldiered on.
Even after switching Paul to the first line with Lenny & Fargo and dropping Marc down to line 2, the second period started much the way the first period did with the Leafs all over us. After a flurry of shots, coming from all angles, a shot that went wide, rebounded off the backboards at the right side of the crease and although Josh was in position to stop it, it glanced off his glove and trickled over the line just before he could get to it, leaving us down 3-0. With over 25 minutes to play however, we were not out of it yet and less than 3 minutes later, Ike fired a dipping shot from the high slot that found the inside of the left post and back of the net to cut the lead to two. From this point on, the action was back and forth in both ends of the rink. Both goalies were making saves and our defense was playing very well, clearing rebounds and blocking countless shots. Doc, Keith, Bob and Lyle all stepped up and played very solid games this day.
To start the third, we knew the next goal would be big and with just under 10 minutes on the clock, Fargo found the back of the net after he raced down the right side and put a nifty move on the defenseman. Just under a minute later, Doug tied the game at 3 after he intercepted a pass at the top of the right circle and fired it home. By this point, we had found our offense and the flow of the game was much more in our favor than it had been through the first two periods. Again, our defense was steller in our own zone and it showed as we cut down the number of shots Josh faced in the first part of the third period. The Leafs were not expecting us to come back in this manner and after we tied it up, they began to turn it up a notch as well. The second half of the thrid period looked much like the first two periods with Josh having to come up with some big saves. However, with 1:28 remaining, a pass found the slot and through a maze of players that Josh couldn’t see through, it was deposited in the net, putting the Leafs back in front, 4-3. After the ensuing faceoff, we pulled the goalie for the extra attacker, but could not get a shot on goal and as the clock ticked down, we fell to defeat in week 1.
Final score: 3-4 (0-1-0)
Next week: a Monday night matchup vs. a revamped Enforcers team.