Lak Attack pokes the evil orange plastic ball past Paul One. For the third time in this young season, the speedy centerman got a chance to play with another offensive star, the Kid, presenting a defensive nightmare to their opponents.


Week 6
Spoiling the plan

Quick start destroys defensive idea

by Jay Suburb

As he watched the sticks being pulled to choose up the sides for Sunday's game, the Colonel knew his team would need a plan. Checking Lak Attack and the Kid would be a defensive challenge, he told his mates during a spirited pre-game meeting.

Four quick goals by the dynamic duo later, their strategy had gone awry. And no amount of plotting could dig them from the hole that eventually became a 20-16 defeat.

"It's very important to establish your game when you're going against players with talent like that," says the Colonel of his side's pre-game resolve to check their speedy opponents hard and keep them from roaming through the middle of the court. "But we came out slow, got down and we just never caught up again."

The Kid scored on his first three shots, and the advantage swelled to 4-1 before any of the players on the court had broken enough of a sweat to shift off.

"I think a quick start is always a good thing," says notorious gameshow host gone bad, Wink. "It was just a matter of we were getting some goaltending, we were checking a bit, and that kinda led to the chances coming."

"We came out with a lot of confidence," says Billy Idol of his side's early attack. "We had the momentum going our way."

"It's tough," says Beetle Boy of his side's slow start. "It puts you in the underdog role and you don't wanna be the one out there making the mistakes, you don't wanna give up any more goals so they can widen the lead."

And with Lak Attack yet to step on the court, it would have been easy for the underdogs to panic, to quickly let the game get out of reach.

"When a team gets out front by that big a margin that fast in a game, it makes you change your game plan completely," says the Colonel. "You've gotta get a goal back right away, and then you have to build back slowly by playing a good defensive game."

That's just what the underdogs did. For a time, it even worked, as twice they closed the gap to as little as a goal.

"There was more of a commitment to coming back," says Ottoman, who rebounded strongly from the early barrage by making some key saves through the middle periods.

"He kept us in and gave us a chance to come back, but it just wasn't quite enough," says the Colonel of his side's resurgent rearguard.

Indeed, says Ottoman, the hole they'd dug early in the game was just too large to overcome, their gameplan derailed too soon. "We lost by four, and it was really over in the first period."

Sunday's game was played in a steady drizzle that kept the roadsters struggling for traction on the slick concrete. But the conditions also helped neutralize the speed advantage of Lak Attack and the Kid, who rely on their deft dekes to dazzle defenders.
"Instead of guys coming streaking in, you're going to have guys slipping," said Ottoman. "You just don't know what's going to happen."
The goalies also had to adjust, said Pig Farming Goalie, who was a surprise starter given his renowned distaste for playing in wet equipment.
"Getting back up much more difficult. You have to set yourself much more quickly; I think I had maybe three or four goals that went through legs while I was moving."
But for one roadster, the soggy conditions were a bit of a motivator.
"It's no fun coming home wet and soaking," said Wink, a veteran of countless rain games through his long career. "It's even less fun coming home wet, soaking and a loser."

The showdown between Pig Farming Goalie and Ottoman was the first time last season's dominant shotstoppers had faced each other since the Spring.
"They're totally different goaltenders," said the Colonel of the confrontation. "Ottoman fills the net real well and he gets his body in the way of the ball. PFG is a little more athletic, he doesn't worry about cutting down the angles so much."

All season long, teams have been struggling to score that final goal to end the game; three weeks ago it cost one side a five goal advantage and a seemingly surefire victory. Sunday was no exception.
Lak Attack's persistent plugging through the crease eventually gave his side the win, but not before some tense moments as the underdogs persisted in their comeback from their early woes.
Match point is no longer a sure thing, said Beetle Boy. "That type of lead with only one goal to go doesn't mean anything, you don't feel dejected when the game is at 19 anymore."
"We've seen teams come from way way back, so that's always sticking in the back of your mind," said Wink. "You're up at 19 and all of a sudden they get one, and then they've got two, and it gives you real pause for concern."
"That last goal was a hard one," said Billy Idol. "We got a little bit lazy near the end, maybe we got a little too confident."

As first reported in the Sunday Morning Ticker, Elvis was a no-show for Sunday's game. And while the sophomore sniper, who hadn't lost a game through the season's first five weeks, may now be able to boast to neighbors of his unbeaten streak ballooning to six, many of the roadsters aren't quite so charitable.
"He just ran it out this week," said the Colonel. "His winning streak is over."
"I'm disappointed," said Beetle Boy. "I thought Elvis had a little more class than that."
"That's a black eye," said Billy Idol, who originally recruited last year's runner-up for rookie of the year. "I'm pretty disappointed in Elvis this morning."
"Bah, Elvis nothing but hounddog," said Pig Farming Goalie. "I have no respect for him no more."