Game Recap Week 7

3/2/08 vs. Maple Leaf Pub (3-3-0)

Team/Periods

1

2

3

OT

F

H. Strength

1

1

1

3

Maple Leaf Pub

0

1

0

1

Scoring:

Period

Team

Goal

Assist

Assist

E/PP/SH

Time

1

Strength

Ed (6)

Ryan (1)

Joe (2)

E

13:37

2

ML Pub

25

E

12:18

2

Strength

Jumbo (2)

Ed (6)

Ryan (2)

E

14:46

3

Strength

Ryan (2)

Ed (7)

Bob (2)

E

3:07

Penalties:

Period

Team

Player

Penalty

Length

Time

1

ML Pub

14

Rough

2

4:34

2

Strength

Bob

Rough

2

6:08

2

Strength

Keith

Hook

2

:46

2

Strength

Keith

Delay of Game

2

11:05

2

ML Pub

12

Trip

2

11:29

3

Strength

Bob

Rough

2

7:05

3

ML Pub

16

Rough

2

7:05

3

ML Pub

14

Rough

2

11:13

Current Record: 3-2-2

Next Week: Frankensteins

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Game Recap Week 4

8/20/07 vs. Enforcers (2-1-0)

After our big win last week vs. the Puckhawgs, we were ready to go at it again with one of our divisions’ top teams. The key to this game would be generating shots on goal, as the Enforcers goalie can be very weak at times and gets easily frustrated upon being scored. We also had to deal with a small wrinkle in the first period, as the game clock wouldn’t work. So we used the curfew clock on a run-time basis until the scorekeeper got the scoreboard working again.

Early in the first period, we controlled the play, keeping the puck in the Enforcers end of the rink for almost the entire first shift. Our second shift found Ross, Marc and Alexey continuing the good forecheck, keeping the puck in the zone a couple of times at the blue line, preventing them from starting any offensive rush. Finally, Alexey intercepted a clearing pass just inside the blue line, skated in along the left wing, cut across the goal mouth and slid the puck into the net to give us the early lead, about 2 minutes into the game. After the ensuing faceoff, the Enforcers finally were able to move the puck into our zone and generate a little offense. Their best chance turned into the play of the game, as Josh came out to play a loose puck at the bottom of the right circle, he mishandled it and turned it right over to their player. With the net wide open, Lyle stepped in and used his stick to not only block the shot and prevent a certain goal, but also to clear the puck out of the zone. Once the puck was out of the zone, eventually Joe got a hold of it, made a sweet move by the defenseman and left a drop pass to Ross, who took just a moment before firing a wrist shot into the far corner of the net to up our lead to 2, less than 4 minutes in. On the very next shift, just moments after that goal, Ed, Lenny and Doug were at it again as Keith fired a shot from the point, Lenny collected the rebound, got a shot away and then as a scramble in front ensued, Ed promptly buried it in the back of the net. At this point, the Enforcers were stunned by being down 3-0 so early in the game, but did not wilt. However, two shifts later, Ross fed Doug with a perfect pass and he broke into the zone and fired a shot from just inside the blue line that found a hole and increased our lead to four. With the clock now fixed halfway through the first period and us sporting a 4-goal cushion, we intended to keep the pressure on and bury this team. With just over 5 minutes remaining, Marc and Ed combined on a pass play that fed Alexey, who tapped in his second of the night to up our lead one more time. Although our scoring binge was stopped there, we continued to pressure the Enforcers the remainder of the period, causing turnovers and all-around careless play. In the meantime, Josh was waiting at the other end for his turn to step up and get in on the action. He did make a couple of key saves in the opening period, but the threats were limited and most of the shots he saw he gobbled up with ease. He didn’t have to wait much longer to take control of the game though.

The second period began with the Enforcers picking up their intensity, realizing they weren’t entirely out of this game with two periods to play. They worked the puck in deep, fired numerous shots on goal and crashed hard for rebounds. With just over 3 minutes gone, the Enforcers were called for a high sticking penalty, but just 30 seconds later, we returned the favor as Bob got called for roughing. The 4-on-4 play was mostly concentrated in our zone, as we were having difficulty clearing the puck. On the positive side however, Lyle, Doc and Keith were blocking a lot of shots from the outside keeping things away from our own net. After those penalties expired, the Enforcers really turned the heat up, keeping us pinned in our zone for long stretches and shooting from all angles. Josh was equal to the task though as he stopped everything thrown at him. The save of the night came on a scramble in front with about 8 minutes remaining in the period. Two shots from the right side of the goal produced a rebound that was sitting just at the top of the crease, on the left side, where the net was wide open. The Enforcers player was able to take a good shot at the puck, but Josh threw his catching glove out and robbed him of a sure goal. It happened so fast, the referee didn’t even know where the puck went. Moments after that play, we were able to clear the puck out and Ike was racing after it on the left wing, but got his stick tied up with their defenseman, causing him to hook him to the ground, dropping us a man down once more. Again, the Enforcers turned on the pressure, this time hitting the outside of the post, just barely missing a goal. Despite the Enforcers best efforts, even their skilled deflections kept finding Josh’s equipment for him to make the stop. As the second period wore on, not allowing them to score began to deflate the Enforcers resolve and with just over 2 minutes left, we were put back on the power play. However, we turned the puck over in their zone right at the blue line, causing a 2-on-1 bearing down on Josh. Ed came rushing back to break up the play without a shot ever being fired, but was called for interference, evening up the teams once again. The second period ended with us continuing to lead 5-0, but not without an outstanding effort from everyone in the defensive end.

The third period began with Ed finishing his penalty and the Enforcers continuing to pepper Josh with shots, many of them harmless however. Finally, at the 3:42 mark, the Enforcers broke through the wall, as Josh could not see a shot from the right circle as it fluttered past him and into the net. The goal seemed to lift the Enforcers up once again and began to press our defense. They began firing shots from everywhere again and were able to cycle the puck a few times in the corners and out to their defensemen on the points for shots. Yet again, the defense stepped up and blocked a handful of shots and whatever they didn’t block was easily eaten up by Josh. We also produced some more offense as well, however our scoring was finished for the night as their goalie began to shut us down, making a few key saves to keep them in the game. Conversely, Josh, the defensemen and all the great back checking from the forwards completely neutralized their attack as we cruised on to victory in this hard fought game.

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

Up next, we have a 2-week hiatus as the rink is closed next week and the following week is Labor Day weekend. We return with a 4:15 game against the Rangers on 9/9 to complete the first round of divisional play.

Game Recap Week 2

8/5/07 vs. Black Jacks (0-0-1)

Coming off a nice win to start the season, we needed to keep up the solid defensive play and timely scoring. The Black Jacks were coming off a tie with the defending champs, the Puckhawgs and were looking to get into the win column against us.

This game began with us controlling play for the first few minutes, but we were unable to capitalize and find the net to take an early lead. However, at the 8:53 mark, a clear-cut breakaway, finished off with a great fake to pull Josh out of position gave the Black Jacks the lead. Then, just :32 seconds later, a rebound came out to the right of goal and was fired into the far corner to drop us two goals down before we could regain our momentum. Fortunately, we pulled it together and less than two minutes later; Tom N. took off down the left wing, into the offensive zone and behind the net. He continued on, circling around and throwing a pass out to the slot where Lenny was waiting to wrist home our first goal to get us right back in the game. Each team had their chances to score during the remainder of the period but could not convert, ultimately ending with us down by the score of 2-1.

As the second period began, we knew an early goal would certainly be helpful in regaining some momentum; however, just 4 minutes in, on a bad call, Keith was penalized for high-sticking. On the ensuing power play, just :40 seconds in, after a scramble in front, a rebound was converted to put the Black Jacks up by two goals again. A minute and a half later, they continued to pound us with their offensive assault and after a long point shot was deflected and bounced off Josh, the rebound was promptly stuffed into the open net to increase their lead to 4-1. The next goal could potentially be huge as another Black Jack goal would certainly put the nail in the coffin, but if we could put one in, with over half a game remaining, we may find some much needed life. With about 6 minutes remaining, Doug made a fantastic clearing pass to a wide-open Alexey, who was behind the defense. He rifled a slap shot from the top of the right circle over the goalie’s shoulder, but just under the crossbar, to give us a spark and bring us to within two goals once again. Our jubilation was very short-lived however, as this game began to take a dramatic turn for the worse. Less than :30 seconds after we scored, the Black Jacks scored again on a shot from just inside the blue line. The problem however, was that a Black Jack player was clearly offside when the puck carrier came into the zone and let his shot go. Everyone argued the call, from the players on the ice, to those on the bench, but to no avail as the refs would not change their thinking, giving the 3-goal lead back. The remainder of the second period was fraught with arguments with the referees over calls being made, or not made. Finally, with just over 2 minutes remaining in the period, Paul was streaking down the right side when the defenseman intentionally checked and knocked him down. Unfortunately, Paul’s frustration with the refs showed when he retaliated with a slash and a penalty of his own. We did gain the man advantage :25 seconds later though as one of their players was called for interference along the boards, but, we weren’t able to benefit from on the power play, ending the period down by three goals.

As we did in the second period, we would need an early goal in the third to get back into the game; yet the referees had it out for us this day as Keith was called for another bogus high-sticking infraction and Paul was called for an unsportsmanlike conduct. On this occasion however, down two men, Ed had other plans as he stole the puck at our blue line, raced down the right wing and pumped a shot into the far corner to bring us back to within 2 goals with more than 11 minutes remaining. We killed off the remainder of the penalties only to have a double minor called against Paul for almost immediately after his other penalty expired. The rest of the period was spent killing off that situation, which wasn’t affording us an opportunity to get ourselves within a goal and by the end of the game, we had spent all of our energy arguing the poor quality of refereeing.

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

Next week, the Puckhawgs in a primetime battle on Sunday afternoon.

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.

Game Recap Week 6

4/29/07 vs. Hornets (1-4-0)

Playing against a first time opponent can sometimes be a challenge, but this week, we introduced ourselves Chuck took it upon himself to introduce Houston Strength to the Hornets in spectacular fashion.

Before the fans could get settled Early in the first period, Alexey drove to the net and popped home goal after some nice work by Lenny and Chuck. Just 1:33 into the game, we were already on the board and that was just the beginning. Five minutes into the contest, Marc slid a backhand home on a loose puck in front to stretch our lead to 2-0. Just three minutes later, Fargo began to steal the show on his way to a natural hat-trick (and then some!), with a nice rush down the left side, firing it in with a wrister from the left hash mark. 1:07 later, Chuck was at it again, making a nifty move in the high slot and firing home another wrister to the far side to put us up 4-0. Less than two minutes later, Fargo finished his three-goal spurt by pushing a rebound into the net. This came after Lenny broke out of the zone, down the wing, making a nice pass in the corner to Alexey, who then found Chuck open in front of the net.

At the start of the second period, we looked to continue our scoring ways, however we hit a slight bump in the road just 1:27 in, as the Hornets got on the board with a flukey goal that rolled over Josh’s shoulder, down his back & into the goal. The Hornets fed off this opportunity and continued to send shots on goal while we began to relax, maybe a little too much. That all changed with six minutes remaining in the period as Lenny took a pass of the boards from Joe, made a great rush up the right side and scored top-shelf to reclaim our five-goal lead. This sparked the Hornets even more as they pressured us in our defensive zone, finally breaking through again with a minute left in the period, while Bob was in the box for roughing.

Heading into the third period, we knew we’d have to stay more disciplined, as we took three penalties in the second, one of which cost us a goal. However, just 40 seconds into the period, Joe took and interference penalty and 16 seconds into the power play, the Hornets stung again to cut our lead to 6-3. Just one minute later, the Hornets pulled even closer as they continued to pour on the offense. That would be as close as they would come though, as we clamped down defensively. At the 8 minute mark, Chuck continued his scoring ways as he took a chip-pass from Marc in the corner, worked his way out front and rifled home another wrister into the corner to build the lead back up to 7-4. This all but sealed the game up as we Chuck stopped the bleeding and finished off the Hornets with one last power play goal with 1:10 to play. Tom held the puck in at the point, found Lenny at the side of the net, who fed Chuck alone in front again for his 5th goal of the night.

Chuck, Lenny and Alexey again dominated our opponents, totaling 13 points, including Chuck’s 5 goals and 2 assists. Even though we thoroughly defeated our opponents, we did give up two power play goals and had a slight letdown at the end of the second and beginning of the third periods. We recovered however, and finished them off late in the third.

Final Score: 8-4 (3-3-0)

Next week we square off with the Buzzards.

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.

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!