New Guy straps on his new pads, after announcing he'd be a surprise starter in Sunday's game.


Week 23
Mission accomplished

Surprise starter shuts door late in game

by Jay Suburb

Down for the first time in Sunday's game, 14-13, New Guy resolved not to let another shot get past him.

"I decided that was it," says New Guy, who was a surprise starter between the pipes despite the return of regular shotstopper, Ottoman. "I wanted to make sure we had a chance to win the game."

They got that chance. New Guy allowed only one more goal the rest of the way, while his teammates scored seven, en route to a 20-15 win. Mission accomplished.

"It changed the momentum," says the neophyte netminder.

Not that he'd been an easy mark earlier in the game. Playing with grim determination to atone for the soft goals that had dogged him in previous starts, New Guy threw himself across the crease, and into the corners, to smother every loose shot within his reach.

"Today I just focussed and made sure those long ones weren't going to get through," says New Guy. "They were going to have to earn everything."

But his opponents weren't prepared to pay the price.

"In the end, that's what killed us," says Bulldog, who was robbed by New Guy on a breakaway halfway through the game. "It was an uphill battle all day, and that certainly affected our morale."

"We weren't able to really get any cheap goals," says Beetle Boy. "You get a cheap goal and it kinda demoralizes the other team. You start to think, okay, we can beat this guy."

That's just the way he intended it, says New Guy. "Those would have changed the game.

"When I see guys wind up, I just really have to focus on the ball and follow it in so it hits me square in the pads."

"He stands tall," says Ottoman.

"He's quick," says Beetle Boy. "You get the initial shot on him and you've gotta bang around at his feet to try to get the ball in."

He's cocky, says Bulldog. "He's got a bit of an attitude."

But he puts his money where his mouth is, says notorious gameshow host gone bad, Wink. "New Guy came through in the end. He came up with some good stops."

New Guy's surprise start in goal relegated Ottoman to his first Sunday Morning appearance as a forward. It was short-lived, as he turned an ankle on his first shift. He returned late in the game.
While his debut may not have been an overwhelming success, the displaced shotstopper was philosophical about his new role.
"It's nice to see lots of goaltenders coming out," said Ottoman. "You wanna see other guys doing well, but you also wanna get back in there."

At the other end of the court, another courageous effort by Pig Farming Goalie went unsupported by his teammates. It's a scenario that's repeated itself all too often this season for the barn-slopping shotstopper.
"We just didn't have our heads in the game," said Bulldog, of his side's repeated defensive lapses that, time and again, exposed Pig Farming Goalie to two-on-one and even three-on-none rushes. "The goalie can't stop everything."
Although he tried his best.
"I thought Pig Farming Goalie kept us in it," said Beetle Boy.
"(He) put on a show today," said Wink. "I think the score was very flattering to the other side."

For the first time in three weeks, each team was able to play with two full lines, plus one extra spare. The victors seemed to have little trouble cycling their subs to create effective line combinations.
"We checked, we ran, we did a little bit of everything," said Wink.
But his opponents struggled all morning to find any kind of chemistry.
"When you're always changing people, you never know how you're supposed to play," said Beetle Boy, who started on a line with Bulldog and the Colonel, but only saw them again a few more times through the game. "When you start mixing it up, yo have to get used to the other linemates, you don't have the time to get to know your linemates."
"Our breakout was all over the place," said Bulldog. "I don't know what we were doing behind our net, but we just made too many giveaways."