up to win
Team fights back
from goalie's cold start
by Jay Suburb
Lak Attack and his talented teammates, including the Kid
and Elvis, had to score 12 goals in the game's final period to overcome
a frosty start by their goaltender and an early 11-3 deficit. Their
20-18 win wasn't supposed to be that hard.
With three of the game's most prolific superstars lined
up on one side of the court, the roadsters were talking about a consolation
minigame even before the opening face-off. Others joked about playing
the game to 40 goals.
But the levity languished when Ottoman whiffed the fist
six shots he faced. The sophomore shotstopper was doing anything but,
and his mates were in disarray.
"It's a bit of a downer," says New Guy of his
side's struggling netminder. "You're coming back and balls go in
that really shouldn't have any business going into the back of the net,
and it's pretty easy to get down."
"They had some pouty faces there, and people were
barking at each other," says Paul One. "You could see that
they were a little bit frustrated and a little bit upset."
With his side down 15-8, Lak Attack asked his goalie if
he wanted a few extra warm-up shots to regain his sharpness, and to
give his teammates a chance to regain their composure. Ottoman was resolute.
Only three more shots eluded him, while Lak Attack sparked the offense.
"Ottoman stood up, we stopped scoring," says
Wink. "They had way too much firepower. We knew it was only a matter
of time before they started scoring goals."
"The stepped up their game a fair amount and started
playing the way they should," says the Colonel.
"You know that they can put it in the net,"
says Ottoman of the effect his turnaround had on his mates. "So
long as you can hang in there, those guys are gonna get their goals."
Lak Attack and the Kid ran circles around flatfooted defenders,
Elvis and Giebelhaus crashed the corners, New Guy chipped in with four
goals, the Living Legend added a pair. As the margin shrank, their confidence
"There's always hope," says New Guy. "When
Kid and Lak Attack are together, you're never out of the game. Twenty
goals is a long way to go."
"Once they start to get a few goals, their frustration
level goes down and their intensity level goes up," says Paul One.
"They're a little bit more keen, a little more confident moving
the ball toward the net."
"Lak Attack took over the game," says the Colonel.
"He just lifted his team, picked them up by the coattails and then
it was a march to victory."
Ottoman blamed his slow start on his late arrival. Eager to get the
game under way, he quickly strapped on his equipment and stepped between
the pipes without the benefit of warm-up shots to loosen his limbs and
hone his reflexes. And when Paul One opened the scoring with a
wraparound goal that banked in off an already-injured big toe, a bad situation
only got worse.
"It's pretty hard, you feel like crap," said the beleaguered
ballstopper. "You just gotta keep playing through it."
But last year's Calder Stick winner, as the league's Rookie of the Year,
wasn't entirely to blame, said New Guy.
"I thought we were going to come out and just run them to death,
but that just wasn't the case. They were going around us, they were winning
every little battle, we weren't picking up loose balls."
Even as their talented opponents struggled, Wink knew his side had
to be at the top of their game if they were to have any hope of maintaining
their early advantage.
"Those were two of the most lopsided teams I've seen,"said the
notorious gameshow host gone bad. "We played superb defense, both
of our lines meshed really well together, everybody checked. We had no
business being in that game."
Indeed, given the imbalance of talent, his side could hold their heads
high said the Colonel.
"It's kind of embarrassing to lose a game like that," said the
veteran forward. "But quite frankly, it's also embarrassing for the
other team to be down like that at the beginning, especially when you
look at the talent lined up on the other side."
"I don't think I'm ever surprised at anything that happens lineup-wise
out here," said Paul One of his team's competitive zeal.
Eventhough New Guy scored four times in his first game of the season,
he could have had many more as the garrulous goalscorer struggled with
his timing and touch around the net.
"I was having a little trouble, the ball was rolling of my stick,"said
the fustian forward, who missed the season's first seven weeks as he traveled
the world in the service of his exploitative employer. "It's been
a little tough getting used to the court again; you have to get used to
the sloped surfaces."