5/20/07 vs Skate Texas (5-3-0)
This Skate Texas team has significantly improved this season, already winning more games than they have in the past 3 seasons combined. they also sit two points ahead of us in 4th place, so a win today would begin to put us in prime playoff position.
In the past two games, we’ve given up goals very in early in the contest and this was something we hoped to avoid to start another game. While we were able to make it out of the first few minutes without giving up a goal, at the 4.5 minute mark, with Paul in the box for slashing, the Skate Texas power play made us pay, as Josh didn’t quite see a shot that went between Keith’s legs and found it’s way to the back of the net. True to our form though, Chuck brought us back to life just 19 seconds later with his 17th goal of the season to tie the game at one. Less than two minutes later, after Chuck won a faceoff, Lenny broke through the defenders and popped home our second goal to take the lead. Both teams continued to flash their offensive abilities, with Skate Texas coming down on us with numerous odd-man rushes, each time, only to be turned away either through stellar defensive play or with Josh slamming the door shut.
The second period continued down the same path, as we had numerous opportunites to grab a two-goal lead, but could not find the back of the net. Skate Texas also had numerous chances, a few 2 on 1’s, a 4-on-1 that Joe played beautifully to break up and a breakaway that Josh stopped with his stick, but left a juicy rebound for the trailer. He recovered in time however and made a fantastic blocker save on that shot as well. Lyle also stepped up the defense, as he used his body to break up a couple of rushes and got under the skin of the Skate Texas forwards. Halfway through the period though, after some work around the back and side of the net, the puck squirted free with Josh caught out of position and the Skate Texas forward roofed the puck over his outstretched pad to knot the game at 2. Just 2 minutes later, Skate Texas was pouring on the pressure again and a beautiful one-timer found it’s way under Josh’s left pad to give them their lead back. In the last five minutes of the second period, we were also forced to kill off two penalties, one of which would be carrying over into the third.
Starting the period, we knew we would need a quick score, but staying out of the penalty box became a bigger priority as Lyle was whistled for roughing at the 12 minute mark and Tom N. took a slashing penalty with 30 seconds remaining in Lyle’s penalty. After clearing the zone, the puck was shot back in right to Josh who attempted to clear the zone again, but hit Chuck with a pass instead (although it wasn’t planned that way!). Fargo raced down the left wing and made a perfect shot into the far corner of the net to tie the game with a 5-on-3, short-handed goal! While we were confident that we could grab another lead, Skate Texas turned it up another notch and consistently peppered Josh and the defense with attack after attack. We also showed some offensive life, as Dave had his second breakaway of the game late in the period, but again, couldn’t find the net. With two minutes to go however, our biggest challenge approached us as Chuck was called for holding. This meant we would finish the game short-handed. Skate Texas had ample opportunities and probably fired 5-8 good shots on net, with a couple leading to scrums after the whistle. With 20 seconds remaining and the puck tied up at the side of the net, one of their forwards took a jab at Josh after the whistle and Paul let him know, not so subtly, that that was not acceptable. The Skate Texas forward didn’t like that and punched Paul back in the head and wrestled him down to the ground. Keith tried to come in to get their guy off Paul, but another forward came over and grabbed him as well. Once the tangled bodies were separated, Paul and his opponent were given 5 minutes each for fighting and Keith and his man were given 3rd men in penalties. After a lengthy delay, the situation was sorted out and the final 20 seconds of this great game were played. After the faceoff, Lenny grabbed a loose puck and held it in the corner to burn the seconds off the clock and preserve the comeback tie we worked so hard to earn.
Final Score: 3-3 (4-4-1)
Next week we are off for the Memorial Day weekend holiday, however some of us will be playing on various teams in the Memorial Day Invitational Tournament. We’ll return in two weeks (6/3) against the Maple Leaf Pub, who are currently sitting in third place.