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Giebelhaus takes a tumble after being checked by Billy Idol. But the hobbled veteran would get the last fall on his opponents, scoring four times, including the game winner.

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Training camp report
Rocked by the 'haus

Limping roadster scores four

by Jay Suburb

Giebelhaus just didn't want to embarrass himself. But it was his opponents who were red-faced after the limping veteran scored four times, including the game winner, to lead his side to a comeback 15-13 win in Sunday's pre-season opener.

The loitering forward was a human pylon for most of his shifts, regularly getting caught ten steps behind the flow of play as he hobbled around in circles like an old man. But on the small road hockey courts it didn't take long for the play to find its way back towards him, and suddenly being out of position meant being in the right place at the right time.

"I was just trying to plug away and contribute in any way I could," says Giebelhaus, who's comeback from knee surgery more than 18 months ago received a setback on the eve of training camp, when he fell off his mountain bike and onto the jumbled joint. "Sometimes that meant not being able to come back and defend and just wait for the play."

Unable to help his mates in the defensive zone, Giebelhaus took on the role of forechecker. That's just what he was doing when he unwittingly scored his fourth goal of the game, a career high. Standing just to the side of the net, a clearing pass caromed off his shin pads past a stunned Lobsterboy. It wasn't pretty, but it won his team the game.

"I just got a lucky bounce off the shinpads and straight into the net," says Giebelhaus. "I was just trying to slow the other guys down on their breakouts."

"That's what hurt the most," says Elvis, who's wayward pass cost his team the game. "He just seemed to be tripping in the right spots, tumbling over the right people and he was getting those lucky bounces off his body."

"He just kinda stood there and we served up some nice stuff to him," says Beetle Boy of his side's inability to exploit Giebelhaus' immobility. "I think we took him for granted, and we thought we could pass through him or get around him anytime we wanted."

But, says Giebelhaus, that's exactly what he wanted to prevent.

"The biggest part is to try not to make the big mistake, make the bad pass or leave the big guy open who scores that goal," says the veteran forward. "I was trying not to do just what ended up happening to them."

Giebelhaus' four goals were the most he's scored in a single game in his long and checkered career.
"It's incredible, I hope I can keep that up," he said after the game, shaking his head in disbelief.
But to repeat the feat, he'll have to stay healthy. And that's been his biggest challenge.
One of the few remaining roadsters to have played in Sunday Morning's formative seasons at the old tennis courts, his playing time languished when the league moved to the hockey courts because of the onerous demands of his exploitative employer. But even then, he was hobbled by injuries, especially chronic knee problems.
When he finally went under the knife more than 18 months ago, his recovery was set back by poor rehabilitation. And then, two weeks ago, as he was working himself into shape for the coming road hockey season, he fell from his mountain bike.
"I was hoping to come off the Summer really healthy," said Giebelhaus. "But then injuring myself just before the season, I was feeling pretty bad out there. I had absolutely no mobility."

Despite being beaten by Giebelhaus' fluke game winner, Lobsterboy was upbeat about his team's effort.
"Compared to last year, the guys are in much better shape," said the veteran goaltender. "The game was fast, it was quite intense out there, but we should have won."

Some of that speed and intensity may have been the result of extensive conditioning programs many of the roadsters followed through the off-season. The Living Legend said he accompanied Giebelhaus on many of his training rides. The Kid and Bird continued their pursuit of the evil orange plastic ball in the afternoon league, which didn't take the Summer off. Elvis and Pig Farming Goalie also played in off-season leagues.
But that didn't mean the roadsters weren't without challenges.
"There's just a complete lack of defense," said Lobsterboy. "Nobody has a clue what they're doing."
"I'm not in bad physical condition, but I find between pipes waiting for ball to be very tiring," said Pig Farming Goalie, who returned to the nets after a brief, one-game stint on offense in last year's Stanley Stick Championship series. "That's what make me most tired, the mental drain. I was rusty out there, make many mistakes."
"Everything's off when you come back,"said Beetle Boy, who admitted to a Summer of sloth. "The guys have to worry more about timing, getting their passes off and playing like a team."
"You've got to feel out the other players again," said Elvis.

Notorious gameshow host gone bad, Wink, missed Sunday's game, and with the fellow founding father contemplating retirement, it may have been the first of the post-Wink era. His absence had an impact, said the roadsters.
"It's a lot less vocal out there without him," said Beetle Boy of the veteran defender, who often barked defensive instructions to his malingering mates. "Wink did tend to stay back and coordinate defense and keep teams honest out there. For the first couple of weeks, you're gonna see a lot less defense and a lot more offense."
"What Wink does is he tells you where the ball is, he yells at the players to play back," said Lobsterboy. "I think it will be high scoring this year."
"We missed his shot out there today," said Elvis. "Playing with him is always nice because he's usually there for the big onetimer from the point, and playing against him you're usually trying to get out of the way of his shot."