8/12/07 vs Puckhawgs (1-0-1)
Our game in week 3 pitted us against the defending champion Puckhawgs and while we don’t have a very good history against them, we have played them tough almost every game and this game was no different.
Starting the first period, we controlled the play in their zone for the first few moments, gaining a couple of good scoring chances, but unable finish any of them off. As the play shifted into our own zone, one of their players danced through our defense, eventually ending up just to the right of the net. As he fired it across the crease, it caught the inside of Josh’s left skate and banked into the goal to give them a 1-0 lead, just 1:32 in. Despite falling behind early, we continued to pressure the Puckhawgs in their own zone, shooting from all angles, but continuing to be denied by the goalie. We even had a few power play opportunities, but again, could not find the net. Eventually, Doug stole a breakout pass at their blue line, skated down through the left circle and made a perfect pass to the front of the net where Paul was gliding in on his backhand to tip it home and knot the game at one with less than five minutes to go in the first period. Just a little more than a minute later, with Lenny in the box for a hook and Dom in there for an illegal check, Tom N. and Ike took off on a 2-on-1. Tom carried the puck in, passed it to Ike, whose shot from just inside the right hash mark was stopped, but the rebound came back over to Tom and he popped it into the net to give us our first lead of the night. We finished killing of the penalties and the rest of the period without any further damages to either side on the scoreboard and entered the second period brimming with confidence.
The second period continued to be close checking and each team’s defense and goalies were shutting the others’ offensive chances down. Nevertheless, at the 6:47 mark, with Tom N. in the box for slashing, a Puckhawgs defenseman found the net on a long shot from the point on the power play to knot the game at two. Not to be outdone though, Doug and Ed teamed up with Alexey, who put us back in the lead three minutes later. The penalty parade also continued throughout the second period as both teams put themselves shorthanded a few times. None of those chances were converted though and we completed two period still clinging to a one-goal lead.
The third period would prove to be as tough as the first two, with each team playing tight defense and not allowing many chances. Despite taking two early penalties, the Puckhawgs power play could not mount enough offense to break through and tie the game again. They were able to finally score their goal halfway through the period while playing shorthanded. Immediately after a face-off in the neutral zone, the Hawgs player sliced through our defense, firing a shot that Josh saved initially, but the rebound went right back onto his stick and the shooter quickly punched it into the net to bring the game back to even. The game looked as though it might slip away yet with just under three minutes go as Tom N. took a high sticking penalty that was questionable. He pleaded with the ref because he had interfered with Tom’s progress, causing him to lose his balance, which then caused the high stick. His plea was not taken well and he was given an additional two minutes for unsportsmanlike conduct and a 10-minute misconduct, which put him out for the remainder of the game. After some intense pressure from the Puckhawgs, a face-off to the right of Josh was won by Paul directly back to Joe on defense. He skated up the left wing boards, chipping it by the defenseman and making a rush up the ice. After he had beaten the defenseman, there was only the goalie left to beat. With Paul skating just behind him on a 2-on-0, he made a quick fake to the left, pulling the puck back to the right and going backhanded into the upper corner of the goal to give us a 4-3 lead with one minute left to play. Again, after more pressure from the Puckhawgs, who pulled their goalie for an extra attacker, a face off to the right came over to Alexey who fired it the length of the ice, just grazing the outside of the net. Paul had raced down the ice to collect the loose puck and with :10 seconds left, slipped it into the empty goal to seal the victory.
Final score: 5-3 (2-1-0)
Next up, a Monday night matchup with the Enforcers.