So last week we were playing one of the undefeated teams in our division, the unfortunately Bro-named Mooseknuckles. I'd seen them play a little the week before and knew we'd have our hands full, as not only did they have a number of good players but they also had a 'shouldn't-be-in-this-division' Superstar who also was sporting a vintage mid-1990's Jaromir Jagr full blown mullet. So I was prepared for a possible replay of our game against the Wolfpack and their two douchenozzles.
However, I underestimated the level of loser we were dealing with. They scored on each of the first two shifts and it looked like it was going to be a long night. We calmed down, got a few big saves from Chaz and then a few more before poking one home. Then another. And another. They scored to tie it up before the first period ended, but we got one early in the second to take a 4-3 lead. Hell, I even got an assist on it, even though they gave it to someone else. To be fair we were in our 'road' sweaters, which are a miismosh of non-black colors with numbers taped on the back. They answered back quickly, but then I started to notice something. They had a full bench like us, 15 or 16 skaters.
They weren't using about half of them.
As I watched I realized the same 8 or 9 guys were the only ones on the ice for the second period and a good chunk of the third, during which Superstar potted 6 goals and turned the game into a farce. They BENCHED half their team to win a mid-season game against a 2-2 team.
I would say it was a testament to our class that Superstar didn't get clobbered, but the truth is that I couldn't catch him. I'd watched tape of the previous game and noticed that part of what makes me look so goofy skating is that my feet are always super-wide apart, so I tried to work on that. Watching this week's tape (and realizing that if not for Chaz's heroics it could have been 22-5 instead of 11-5 for the final) I looked much better - for about half the game. Also, if someone with speed started skating at me it all went out the window and I started moving like a guy getting tasered. Baby steps, baby steps. I was either a -1 or -2 for the game - not great, but not awful for a blowout like that. Got caught flatfooted too much. Well, flat-bladed. Whatever.
Tomorrow night is pretty much the game that'll decide which team grabs the 4th and final playoff spot. the Mutiny play smart team hockey and have a couple of higher-end 8W players. Can we beat them? Well, we haven't yet, but hopefully with the scouting report I ferreted out of my friend Dave while drinking Friday night (he plays for them) we can try to reverse that trend. Our two best-skating defensemen are unavailable so we'll shift a few people around and let the pucks fall where they may. Next week we suffer the wrath of the scheduling gods as we have 10:45pm games on back-to-back nights. That's next week, though. One game at a time.