The roadsters have learned to fear the Colonel's gameface.


Week 9
Facing their fate

Colonel puts on his gameface to fire up his team

by Jay Suburb

When the Colonel puts on his gameface, trouble is sure to follow.

With his teammates struggling to regain their composure, after squandering a 16-12 lead, the feisty forward squared his jaw, narrowed his eyes and set his sights on shaking his team from its swoon.

"We were down on ourselves a bit because we'd blown such a big lead," says Bird. "We knew we had to rally."

The Colonel charged into the corners where his teammates had been consistently beaten all day. He streaked up the wing, stepping on anybody bold enough to get in his way. And his team responded, scoring two quick goals to reestablish their lead, and then hung on for a 20-18 win.

"The Colonel stepped up," says Elvis of his tenacious teammate. "We realized that we had to quit going easy out there and really work for the win."

Their opponents, who'd battled the boards aggressively all morning to eke ahead, 17-16, late in the game, realized they'd woken the slumbering dragon.

"Obviously our play as a team was getting to them," says Giebelhaus, who's own dogged determination in the corner ignited a fiery verbal and physical confrontation with the charging Colonel.

But the game never should have been allowed to get to that point, says Bird. With a robust lineup long on skill and speed, led by the Colonel, Kid, Bulldog and Elvis, his side should have romped.

"I don't think we played all that well for big chunks of the game," says Bird.

"It took us a while for us to gain our energy," says Elvis. "The other team really shut us down physically, going to the body a bit more and really just grinding down on us the whole game."

Indeed, their speed and skill advantage might have been their biggest liability says notorious gameshow host gone bad, Wink, of his overpowering opponents.

"They were too busy waiting for all the gunners they had on their side to get going."

And waiting for someone to deliver them from their sloth.

"Once the Colonel got out there, we knew we could take it," says Elvis. "We just had to grit our teeth and grind a little harder."

The Colonel's confrontation with Giebelhaus ratcheted up the tension in an already hard-fought game as neither player backed down from their aggressive play in the corner. Afterall, said Giebelhaus, it was that kind of tough checking that had brought his side to the cusp of pulling off the upset win.
"Anytime you're outskilled, you just have to play hard and grind," said the powerless forward, who's still limping from surgery on his knee last February.
"We had guys hustling and playing hard," said Wink. "We just had to believe in ourselves."
"That was our main thing, to be aggressive on the ball," said Lak Attack, who time and again tried to drive the offense for his outgunned mates by bedazzling the opposition with his stickhandling and fancy footwork.
And their effort almost paid off, said the winners.
"They just managed to bury their chances whenever they got them," said Bird.
"You can't take anything away from them," said Elvis. "They were a great team, they fought hard the whole game."

That the Colonel would kick his game up a notch to motivate his teammates came as little surprise to veteran roadsters. In his two seasons at the road hockey courts his aggressive playing style has set off confrontations with a number of players, the Hired Gun, Lumberjack, Philderama, and, perhaps most infamously, an ugly stick battle with the Living Legend in last Spring's Stanley Stick final.
But, said Wink, it's important opponents not give the Colonel a wide berth when he's on the warpath.
"I don't think you can be afraid of it, you can't let it change anything you're trying to do. He's not some crazy lunatic where you're worried about your safety."
"He's a really good player, and he's hard to check," said Giebelhaus. "You just gotta react to how he's playing, you can't back down."

The winning goal in Sunday's game was scored by Bird, who started the game despite feeling ill. And while he seemed half a step behind his mates most of the game, he said it was important to persevere.
"It's hard to get out in the morning, it's cold and you're not feeling well, you really gotta drag yourself out there," said Bird. "But as you start going, you start feeling better."

His contemporary, Kid, revealed late in the game he was also ailing, hobbled by a sore knee that's been giving him grief for two weeks.

Sunday's game was Lobsterboy's second consecutive as a newfound forward, as Pig Farming Goalie was a surprise starter. But the shelled slapshooter seemed to forget he wasn't minding the crease as he repeatedly dropped in front of opponents' shots, preventing them from reaching his own goalie, Ottoman.
It'll be good practice for next week, though, when Lobsterboy is expected to return to the nets to replace Ottoman, who's already announced he'll be unavailable.

The attendance surge of the past few weeks continued Sunday, as each side started the game with two full lines. Giebelhaus' late arrival put his team over the ideal limit. But they didn't let that distract them, said Lak Attack.
"I think the tough part is making sure everyone on the team knows what their role is," said the speedy playmaker.