Game Recap Week 1

7/29/07 vs. Buzzards (0-0-0)

With the start of a new season upon us, there are some new issues to tackle, such as a new schedule and playoff format, and a new rule to adjust to, no two-line passes. This could aid our offense with some of our breakouts and bring Josh’s passing ability into the fold even more.

The new schedule set up divides the league into two divisions, where each team plays its own division two times and four teams from the other division once. It will make each divisional game that much more important, as all the teams will make the playoffs, but winning every possible game will still be crucial for the standings.

Starting our season, we would be pitted against our new divisional rivals, the Buzzards. While we have a winning history against them, with two shutouts, they always play us tough and recently, they’ve upgraded their offense with some more firepower to make our games even closer.

The Buzzards looked to strike early in the contest, but were kept at bay, as many of their shots were not finding the net. However, less than 5 minutes in, with Lyle in the penalty box, a slap shot from just inside the blue line found the net as the shooter used the defenseman as a screen and Josh had little time to react. Our offense seemed to get a jump though as we controlled the play for the next few moments and as Joe made a clearing pass, Paul picked it up along the left wing and with Tom S. cruising down the middle, they raced in 2-on-1. Paul deftly drew the defenseman over to his side and made a beautiful pass across to the front of the net where Tom tapped it under the goalies outstretched pad to tie the game at one, just two and a half minutes later. The play continued up and down the ice for the remainder of the period with each team collecting opportunities and trading power plays as well. However, with seconds left on the clock, a scramble in front of Josh led to a rebound the was just far enough out of his reach for the Buzzards’ forward to slip a back hand into the open corner, to give them the lead back at the end of the first.

The second period started with a flurry in the Buzzards’ zone, with Tom S. sending the puck out to the front of the net and after a scramble, Paul put the puck away to knot the game at two, just :18 seconds in. Our lead was short lived however, as less than 3 minutes later, a Buzzards player was cruising down the right side, eventually throwing the puck towards the front from behind the goal line. Josh attempted to block the pass with the paddle of his stick, which he did, however, it deflected towards him, off his mask and into the goal to give the lead right back. Not wasting any time though, :24 seconds later, Ed took off on a 2-on-1 with Lenny down the left wing, drawing the defensemen over, he made the cross-ice pass and Lenny fired home the one-timer to tie the game once again. But again, the Buzzards’ stormed right back :39 seconds later to regain the lead when their defensemen stepped in from the right point, skated across the slot and fired a laser over Josh’s shoulder, just under the crossbar on the short side. The back and forth pace of the second period continued and two minutes later, on the power play, Marc fed Tom N. at the point, who fired a slap shot towards the goal that Doug was able to deflect by the goalie to bring us even once again. The scoring finally ceased for the remainder of the period, but the action did not, as both teams continued to apply pressure and create scoring opportunities.

The third period brought much of the same in terms of offense, as both teams persisted in their quest to recapture the lead and hold on for the victory. Midway through the period, Tom N. took a tripping penalty that we successfully killed off and our reward was a power play opportunity of our own with less than 5 minutes to play. For most of the man advantage, we were able to move the puck around and hold significant pressure down in the Buzzards zone. With :04 seconds remaining in the power play though, the puck finally found Paul alone in the slot and he rifled a wrist shot off the inside of the post and into the net to give us our first lead of the night, with 2:49 remaining in the game. The Buzzards did not fold though and intensified their pressure, pulling the goalie for the last :45 seconds. They had numerous chances, ringing a point-blank shot off the outside of the post with :20 seconds to play. Josh also made a couple of crucial saves, one with his jaw, just before getting steamrolled by one the Buzzards’ forwards, knocking him into the net, stopping play with 2.3 seconds left, all but locking up the come from behind (numerous times) victory.

This was a tough, tough game, but a great win to start the season off on the right skate and giving us an early advantage in our own division.

Final Score: 5-4 (1-0-0)

Next week, we face the Black Jacks in another important divisional matchup.

Fall Schedule 2007

We are NOT playing on Labor Day or Thanksgiving Weekend

IF YOU KNOW THAT YOU WILL NOT BE ABLE TO MAKE A SPECIFIC GAME, LET MARC OR JOSH KNOW AS EARLY AS POSSIBLE.

Downloadable Fall 2007 Schedule

Sunday 7/29/2007 5:45 PM Buzzards
Sunday 8/5/2007 8:45 PM Black Jacks
Sunday 8/12/2007 4:15 PM Puckhawgs
Monday 8/20/2007 10:00 PM Enforcers
Sunday 9/9/2007 4:15 PM Rangers
Sunday 9/16/2007 10:15 PM Buzzards
Sunday 9/23/2007 4:15 PM Black Jacks
Sunday 9/30/2007 8:45 PM Puckhawgs
Sunday 10/7/2007 7:15 PM Enforcers
Sunday 10/14/2007 8:45 PM Rangers
Sunday 10/21/2007 10:15 PM Old School Oil Kings
Sunday 10/28/2007 10:15 PM Gang Green
Sunday 11/4/2007 5:45 PM Hornets
Sunday 11/11/2007 7:15 PM Maple Leaf Pub
Sunday 11/18/2007 Puckhawgs Playoffs Round 1
Sunday 12/2/2007 Enforcers Division Semi Finals
Sunday 12/9/2007 Eliminated Division Championship

Playoffs – Round 3

2007-summer-playoffs-3.jpg Click picture for larger version

Playoffs – Round 2

2007-summer-playoffs-2.jpg Click picture for larger version

Game Recap – Playoffs Round 1

7/8/07 vs. Maple Leaf Pub (7-4-3)

After concluding the season by playing three nearly flawless games to wind up as the fifth seed, we were about to face off against a Maple Leaf Pub team that finished just one point ahead of us in the standings. We didn’t have much of a history against this team, other than our come from behind tie earlier in the season in which Paul collected two goals and his brother Adam, in his only appearance, scored a shorthanded goal. We were also without some of our offensive threats, as Tom N., Tom S., Alexey, and Chuck were unavailable for this game. We still had firepower though and we expected this to be a hard fought game. It did not disappoint.

After trading a few offensive chances early in the first period, a rolling puck came to Josh who played it just to the left of the goal. It caromed off a leg however across the slot and stuck on the still wet ice. One of the Pub forwards picked it up and quickly tucked it behind Josh to give them an early 1-0 lead. While this wasn’t an ideal start, there was still plenty of time left and we were producing offense, so we weren’t too concerned. The play continued back and forth, each team earning chances, but both goalies were quick to stop everything coming their way to keep it to a 1-0 score at the end of the period.

We knew the next goal in period two would be big and without too much time wasted, Ed rifled a pass to Ike, who was alone in front and knocked home a one-timer to knot the game at one. Just minutes later, Josh made a clearing pass to Joe, who knocked it down and fed Paul breaking through center. He cut into the zone and put a shot on goal, followed his rebound and after banging at it a couple times, finally pushed it to the back of the cage to give us our first lead of the night. Ed attempted to continue the offense with a couple of breakaway attempts that he just couldn’t finish on and a slap shot from just inside the blue line that dinged the left post. The Pub team didn’t relent either, firing shots on Josh and making the defense work hard in their own zone. Finally, with just over a minute remaining in the period, a slap shot from the point, bounced off Josh and out just below the left circle. The puck was rolling away from him and the man in front took a backhanded swipe and connected with it to knock it over Josh’s shoulder and into the net to knot the game back up.

The third period was no different from the first two, with each team gaining numerous offensive chances, but unable to get the puck by the goalies. We killed off a couple of penalties and continued to get opportunities, just missing every time. With about four minutes remaining, as a scrum ensued in front of our net because the puck was underneath Bob, but one of the Pub players dug it out and fired into the top corner of net, to give them a late lead. About a minute later however, we were given a golden opportunity as one of the Pub players was called for a penalty, giving us a two-minute power play with only 2:39 to play. At this point, Coach called a timeout and assembled the troops, putting Ed, Paul & Lenny out on the power play unit, with Bob and Keith back on defense. We controlled a good portion of the play in their zone, but they cleared the puck a couple of times down the ice. Josh however, jumped on each one, getting it back up the ice quickly to keep the pressure on. With just over a minute to go and Josh getting ready to go to the bench for the extra attacker, Paul made a last rush into the zone, breaking through the defenders and beating the goalie top-shelf to the glove side to knot the game at three on the power play! In addition to the goal, during Paul’s rush, a holding penalty was called, which meant we would go back on the power play for another two minutes. Despite our advantage, we could not finish this game in regulation, so on we went to a 5-minute, sudden-death overtime.

Entering OT with the man advantage could’ve been the potential difference, but we were unable to capitalize as they returned to full strength. Each shot had greater importance and the intensity and stress level grew with each shift. Both teams found opportunities to end the game, but again, both goalies had thrown up a wall to keep the game tied. At the end of the 5-minute OT session, a shootout would be needed to decide this contest.

We decided on Lenny, Paul and Ed to be our shooters and we would be shooting first. Josh let the shooters know that the other goalie liked to use the surprise poke-check and to be careful coming in on him.

Lenny shot first, coming hard down the center and just as Josh had predicted, the goalie used the poke-check and knocked the puck away.

The Pub shooter came down towards Josh just to the right of center, drifting more towards the middle the closer he got. As he got right in front of Josh, he cut sharply back to the right, but Josh’s pad shut down the lane and he shot wide, leaving both teams scoreless after round 1.

Paul was up next and moved in down the left side, crossing to the right, but the puck jumped off his stick and he didn’t get a quality shot off.

Their second shooter came in again, just right of center, but moved across to Josh’s left, trying to get him out of position, but just before he went to shoot, the puck jumped off his stick, just as it did to Paul and the puck rolled to Josh to keep the shootout scoreless again after round 2.

Ed was our next shooter, gliding down the ice towards the goal. He cut to the right and got the goalie down, but couldn’t lift the puck over him and into the empty goal to give us a lead and left us hoping for another big save from Josh.

As the Pub shooter moved in, Josh charged out to the hash marks, slowly backing up as he approached. When Josh reached the top of the crease, the shooter fired a shot that went low, between Josh’s legs and into the net to give the Maple Leaf Pub the deciding goal in the shootout, moving them on to the next round and eliminating us from this year’s playoffs.

Final Score: 3-4 (SO)

After battling back in this game, losing in the shootout was heartbreaking, but after an up and down regular season, we ended it playing our best hockey.

Next week, our game time and team to be played are TBD, but will be posted as soon as it is known.

Check out the new pics from Week 14.

Stats from this game will be updated when the scoresheet is turned in.

Playoffs – Round 1

Playoffs Rd. 1 Click picture for larger version

Game Recap Week 14

7/1/07 vs. Gang Green (5-7-0)

Coming into the final game of the season, playoff spots were still up for grabs as 6 teams were still vying for 4 spots. With last weeks’ win, we had the inside track on one of those spots, but a win versus Gang Green would secure it once and for all. Aiding us in our quest would be the return of our second leading scorer, Alexey, from his broken thumb. His added offense could be the key to spur us on to victory.

Early on, Gang Green had the better of the chances, but Josh was equal to the task as he made numerous saves to keep the game scoreless. His best save came on a 2-on-0 where he stopped the first shot off his shoulder and swatted away the rebound to the corner to prevent an early score. As the period moved on, we began to find our offense and with just a little over 6 minutes remaining, Ed made a nice pass back to Bob who fired a slap shot on net that the goalie could not control and Ed was there to pound the rebound home to give us the critical 1-0 lead. The remainder of the period was back and forth, as both teams had scoring chances, but neither could find the net again.

The second period began as the first one ended with end to end action and each team getting quality scoring chances. Gang Green had several odd man rushes, but were foiled time and time again as either the defense would step up and break up a play or Josh would make another huge save. Finally, again with just over 6 minutes left in the period, Paul and Alexey made a rush up ice 2-on-1. Paul made a beautiful behind the back pass to Alexey who fired it into the very open net for our second goal. Just a minute later, Tom S. found the back of the net off a feed from Tom N. to increase the lead to three with 5 minutes to play. The way we were playing, a three-goal lead would be difficult for Gang Green to overcome, but not impossible.

During the break, we talked about playing smart, getting the puck deep, not being caught up ice and how big the next goal would be. No sooner did we finish talking about the next goal, than did we go out and put the game away. :24 seconds into the period, Paul drew the face off win over to Joe who passed it back to him. He carried the puck into the zone and dropped it to Alexey, who found the net for a second time and essentially put the game out of reach. A few moments later, Paul broke in alone, made a nice move and shot the puck, which glanced off the goalie, over his shoulder and into the net to increase the lead to five and the rout was on. Four minutes later, Doug found the net off a great feed from Tom N to make it a six-goal lead. However, off the ensuing face off, the Gang Green winger broke down the left wing and made a quick pass across the front of the net to the open man who redirected the puck between Josh’s legs to break the shutout bid with less than six minutes remaining. Bob made a great effort to try to get back, but was just a second too late and our lead was cut back to five. That did not last very long as Alexey rifled his third goal of the game through the five hole less than 2 minutes later to get our lead back to six. Moments later, with victory firmly within our grasp, Tom S. took off on another breakaway, his third of the game, and hit his third post of the game. Nevertheless, with forty seconds to go, a puck deflected right to him, off his stick and trickled into the net for our eighth and final goal, sending us into the playoffs on a 3-game winning streak and putting us in a good position for the 5th or 6th seed.

Everyone showed up to play in this important game, particularly Alexey (3g), Paul (1g, 3a), Tom S. (2g), even though he also hit two goalposts and one crossbar, and Josh, who made countless big saves early and throughout the game. Even though we won’t get Chuck back before the end of this season, this win got us primed for the playoffs and ready to do battle with any team we’re up against.

Final Score: 8-1 (7-5-2)

Next week we begin the playoff journey against a team to be decided.