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,"
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
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
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."