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Bulldog reaches in to clear a rebound from the feet of his goalie, New Guy. His feisty play in the offensive and defensive zones late in the game helped spark his team to a comeback 26-24 victory.

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Week 27
Dogged comeback

Bulldog elevates game to lift team

by Jay Suburb

In one shift, Bulldog transformed his team from hapless losers to comeback contenders to confident winners.

The veteran Kits Boy scored three quick goals late in Sunday's game to put his side on even terms for the first time. But more importantly, he gave his mates the confidence to ride that momentum to a dramatic 26-24 overtime victory.

"I think that was the turning point for us," says Billy Idol of his teammate's dogged determination. "Bulldog brought everybody's spirits up a bit. It builds up your confidence, gets everybody hustling a bit more."

After trailing all morning, Bulldog's teammates started to believe in themselves, says their goalie, New Guy. "We thought we had a chance."

Bulldog's scoring heroics started with a nifty give-and-go with the Kid to pull his side within two goals. Moments later, a scintillating shot off the face-off and then a determined poke at a rebound skittering around Ottoman's feet as he stormed past the goal post, he'd tied the game at 23.

"He had his head up, he was going to the open spot," says New Guy.

"He came out and wanted to get something going," says Ottoman.

But it was almost too late.

After falling behind by as many as five goals through the game's middle periods, Bulldog and his mates seemed to be going through the motions towards inevitable defeat.

New Guy struggled between the pipes, dropping easy rebounds right onto the sticks of prowling opponents, whiffing easy long shots from the point.

"My head was kinda out of it, I wasn't really paying attention to what was going on," says the backup ballstopper, who strapped on the big leg pads after Pig Farming Goalie scratched.

Offensively, Nibs' rapier shot pummeled everything but net, as his once fearsome blasts rocketed harmlessly wide or high over the fence. Kid and the Living Legend squandered countless scoring opportunities by shooting straight into the goalie's protective padding. Only four fluke deflections off defenders into their own net kept them within striking distance.

But that was close enough for Bulldog to light the spark for his team's late resurgence, and dampen his opponent's hopes for an easy win.

"It was tough to watch the game fall apart at the end," says Elvis of his side's swoon. "They just wanted it more. In the end, they worked a little bit harder."


Sunday's heroic comeback by Bulldog and his teammates was almost snuffed out when a controversial call late in the game went against them.
After taking their first lead of the game, 24-23, a momentary defensive lapse allowed Giebelhaus to loft a seemingly harmless shot that handcuffed New Guy and dropped near the goal line. A raucous argument ensued whether the evil orange plastic ball had actually crossed the line before it was scooped out by the goalie's glove. The goal stood, sending the game to overtime.
But, said New Guy, the contentious call wasn't about to distract him from his side's newfound determination to complete their comeback.
"I thought we were in trouble," said the sometime shotstopper. "I tried to use the anger to my advantage and really shut them down to show them that we won the game rightfully."

In fact, Sunday's game was marked by strange goals. Four shots banked off defenders, including two by the Living Legend that careened off Bird and past a bewildered Ottoman. But the seasoned shotstopper tried to take freak bounces in stride.
"You've just gotta laugh it off," said Ottoman. "You just never know what's gonna happen, that orange ball can dip and curve and bounce off anything."
But his opponents were keen to take advantage of their good fortune.
"A goal is a goal, it doesn't matter how it goes in," said Billy Idol. "If we hadn't got those goals, wouldn't have won."

A steady drizzle that started in the second period of Sunday's game quickly turned the concrete court slick as ice and sent a number of roadsters tumbling. Giebelhaus, playing his first game in a month after separating his shoulder in unsanctioned ice hockey, went down heavily and limped off the court favoring his already-braced left knee. And some of the game's swifter players slowed down to lessen the chance of injury.
"Usually the players on our team were really running for the loose balls, but when it got wet we got a little tentative," said New Guy.

"You're not gonna get the great passing plays and the fancy plays because it's too slippery out there," said Billy Idol.
But some speedsters paid the failing footing little heed.
"You don't try to think about it too much," said Elvis, who continued to crash the net and charge along the boards. "You've just gotta keep going hard to the net."