Game Recap Week 5

4/22/07 vs. Puckhawgs (3-0-1)

New videos are up on YouTube from the 4/1 game vs. Gang Green and are also linked through the game recap here.

Ok, this post is very late and honestly, it wasn’t our best game, so writing this recap has been a task in itself. Nonetheless, here we go for the ride.

Against the powerhouse, 1st place Puckhawgs, we would need to play sound defense with strong goaltending, collect a few timely goals and stay out of the penalty box.

Throughout this entire game we encountered a couple of recurring themes: 1) too many penalties; 2) lack of offensive/shots; 3) too many men in front of our own net/Josh can’t see; and 4) allowing shots from the point, which, in turn, were being deflected for goals.

The first period saw us fall behind 1-0 on a turnover at our blue line, which the Puckhawgs player turned back into our zone and promptly fired a bullet off the left post and into the net. Moments later though, we showed some offense and on a pretty passing play between Tom N., Alexey and Chuck, Fargo popped home his team-leading 9th goal of the season. Our comeback was short-lived however, as a shot from the point was deflected in front and into the net. With a minute or so before the end of the first period, on a scramble in front, the Puckhawgs found the net again on a shot Josh had no chance of seeing.

We played slightly better in the beginning of the second period and we kept the game at 3-1 until the five-minute mark, however our offense was still anemic, barely registering any shots the entire period. Our lack of offense really cost us when we got into penalty trouble, started running around in our zone and again, with the screens and deflections, in a matter of minutes, we were down 7-1. Two of the goals were the result of screens set up in front and two were deflections that left no chance to be saved.

At this juncture, the clock would continue to run according to league rules, so mercifully, the third period would not be as harsh to us as the first two. With less than 3 minutes to play, Marc poked home a goal to get our stymied offense back on the board, but too little too late, as this game had been decided early on.

Final Score: 2-7 (2-3-0)

Next up, hopefully the cure for the “lack of offense blues”, the last place Hornets.

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Game Recap Week 4

4/16/07 vs. Black Jacks (1-2-0)

Coming off a big win 2 weeks ago, we were facing last season’s champions and a team that usually plays us very tight. This game was no different…at least the first 2 periods anyway.

The first period was played very tight by both teams. Each side spent the majority of time fighting for room to work in the others’ zone. With five minutes remaining in the period, off a faceoff, the puck squirted out to the slot where the Black Jacks captain fired home a wrist shot to the far side of the net for a 1-0 lead. However, just 29 seconds later, Chuck made a pretty pass from behind the net, through the slot and out to Keith, who fired a wrist shot through some traffic in front for his first goal of the season to tie the game at one. A minute and a half later, Alexey fired a shot from the wing into the far corner of the net to give us our first lead of the night and close out the period at 2-1.

The second period found us in very familiar territory taking 3 penalties, leaving us running around in our zone and not being to generate any offense. With nine minutes remaining, Doc took a tripping penalty and then one minute later, Bob was called for delay of game after he had blocked a shot in front but didn’t release the puck, leaving us in a 5-on-3 situation. The Black Jacks took control of their powerplay, firing numerous shots on net and creating a bunch of scoring chances after working the pucking along the boards and back to their defensemen. However, the PK was up to the task and Josh made numerous big saves to kill the penalties off. Our luck would run out just one minute after the kill though, as a shot slipped between Josh’s arm and hip and into the net to knot the game once again heading into the final period.

During the break we stressed staying out of the box because at 5-on-5 we were outplaying them. The third started out just as the previous periods had, very close checking with each team fighting for space. However, Chuck found his space in the slot and Alexey made a beautiful pass from almost the same spot Chuck fed Keith earlier and fired one in at 1:26 to give us our last lead of the night. We continued to tilt the ice in our favor for the next few minutes and Alexey scored his second goal of the night with 11 minutes to go. Just 16 seconds later, Alexey, poked home a loose puck that was lying between the goalies feet for his hat-trick and a three-goal lead. Slightly less than three minutes later, Chuck continued our onslaught, pumping another goal home for a 6-2 lead and essentially icing the game with eight minutes to go. The Black Jacks however, did not go quietly. They continued to put pressure on us, working the puck around our zone and firing shots from all areas, but the defense continued to block shots and Josh made a couple of big saves to quell any comeback attempts. To finish off the scoring, Doug made a strong pinch at the point and fired a shot that popped up in the air, over the goalie’s head and landed in the crease. Doug had followed his shot and poked into the open net for a stunning 7th goal with just less than two minutes remaining.

This game was a significant statement by our defense in the early going, as we stymied their potent offense; and then by our offense in final period, as we poured it on and ran away with the victory. The line of Chuck, Alexey and Lenny combined for 13 points as Alexey finished with 3 goals and 2 assists; Chuck had 2 goals and 2 assists; and Lenny chipped in with 4 assists of his own.

Final score: 7-2 (2-2-0)

Next up, we face an old nemesis from last seasons’ playoffs, and the currently unbeaten Puckhawgs.

Videos coming soon!

Spring Schedule 2007 – Updated

Game Recap Week 3

4/1/07 vs Gang Green (0-2-0)

This week’s game vs. Gang Green would give us an idea of what our team was really made of. Adding Alexey to our lineup after missing him for the first two games would boost the offense, in addition to having Paul back for another game as well. Couple this with a gameplan of staying out of the box and we hoped this was a recipe for success against a team we have had trouble with in the past.

Gang Green started the first period out very fast as they dumped the puck into our zone and worked it around fluently for the first minute and a half. After a shot from just inside the blue line bounced off the wall behind the net, a pass came out front and was one-timed home to put us behind less than two minutes in. Although this wasn’t how we planned to start, we still had a lot of hockey left to play. The remainder of the period saw solid action at both ends of the ice. By the end of the first period, both teams had good scoring chances, however each goalie continued to make saves to keep the score close.

Starting out the second period, we knew the next goal would be critical and we were determined to have it go in our favor. Without further ado, just 18 seconds in, Paul grabbed a loose puck in the zone and blasted a shot that was initially blocked, but it squirted out to Chuck who had a yawning net to fire the puck into, which knotted the game at one. Our celebration was short lived however, because on the ensuing faceoff, Chuck was called for interference and less than a minute later, Gang Green reclaimed their lead as a pass from the corner was quickly fired from the right circle, behind Josh and into the back of the net. For the next 10 minutes of the period, the action was at both ends of the rink, but we couldn’t seem to sustain an offensive attack or solve their goalie. All of that changed in a 3 minute span, late in the period. As a penalty was called on Gang Green, Josh almost got wiped out coming to the bench for the extra attacker, but more importantly, on the ensuing power play, Ike took a loose puck out of a scramble in the corner and passed it behind the net to Alexey, who poked it out front, eventually finding it’s way to Marc who backhanded it home to tie it back up at two apiece. Less than 2 minutes later, Chuck took a pass in the neutral zone and skated down the left side where he rifled a shot by the goalie to give us our first lead of the night. Just 45 seconds later, after Lyle made a great play to break up a 3-on-1, Chuck again took a tip-pass from Marc in the neutral zone, in almost the same place and came in 2-on-1 with Tom N. Using him as a decoy, he fired another shot behind the goalie to stretch our lead to 4-2 and close out the period.

During the break, we stressed staying out of penalty trouble and keeping things simple. We also knew they would turn it up a notch and start to really put the pressure on. We did, however, remain composed and played solid defense. We limited the majority of shots to the outside and the few chances they had inside were swallowed up by Josh. With 10 minutes remaining, we delivered the knockout blow as Alexey skated down the right side, made a beautiful move to cut inside of the defender, got the goalie moving to his right and fired a shot across to the left, into the semi-open side, for his first Houston Strength goal. That was all we needed to put them away. Despite Gang Green’s hard work in the final minutes of the period, the defense slammed the door and we cruised to victory.

Final Score: 5-3 (1-2-0)

Next week we are off for Easter, but we return in 2 weeks in a Monday night matchup against the defending champions, the Black Jacks.

Videos coming soon!