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Bulldog, playing his first game of the season, battles Beetle Boy to get to a centering pass from the Colonel. The feisty forward scored a number of key goals to spark his star-studded team to a come-from-behind 20-18 win.

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Week 11
Saved by the 'dog

Returning forward sparks star-studded team

by Jay Suburb

Playing his first game of the season, it would have been easy for Bulldog to get lost in the lineup of star players around him.

But it took a handful of blistering goals from the canine centerman to spark his star-studded mates to a dramatic come-from-behind 20-18 win.

After spotting the underdogs a quick two-goal advantage on their first two shots at a barely sober Gump, Bulldog and his talented teammates, including Lak Attack, the Colonel and Elvis, struggled most of the game to find their pace. And each other, as passes went awry, offensive breakouts broke down. Heading into the game's final period, the powerhouse squad were stumbling, down 15-12.

That's when Bulldog stepped up his attack, and stepped into his shots.

"Clearly I made a few quick defensive mistakes at the beginning that cost our team a couple of goals," says the feisty forward, who missed the season's first ten weeks to pursue educational opportunities in a faraway city. "I knew I had to make up for it later on."

A pair of quick, rapier wrist shots by Bulldog that eluded Pig Farming Goalie low to his stick side ignited his line to four straight goals, the first time in the game they'd managed to outscore their opposing line.

"Things started to click for us," says Bulldog of his line's sudden scoring outburst. "We're not used to working with each other, we just had to tinker with the system."

And once those long shots started to find their mark, the complexion of the game changed, says Beetle Boy. "Those long shots just kill you. You're playing the dekes, you're playing the skill players, but when the long shots start happening, you're not quite sure how to play against it."

"I was too tired," says Pig Farming Goalie, who's frustration escalated as the long-distance shots blasted past him. "It's always tough to let goal in, but when you see so much orange, you feel like you are working in Sunkist company."

"They had all the bullets," says Wink. "We were ducking, but eventually we knew we were going to get hit."

A couple of goals, including a lightning slapshot of his own by Wink, kept the score close, but another seeing-eye blast off Bulldog's stick set the table for the inevitable final course.

"Ultimately we just tired, and other team get tons of shots on net," says Pig Farming Goalie.

"I've always said I hate playing against Bulldog," says Elvis. "I think his long-shot goals are what kept us in it and got the momentum to swing our way."

Bulldog's season will last only three games before he returns to his faraway city to continue his pursuit of educational opportunities. But that's enough to make him eligible for next Spring's Stanley Stick Championship. And he's determined to establish himself as a serious contender.
"It can be difficult" said the feisty forward of his role as a part-time player for most of the past three seasons. "That's sort of where your experience as a veteran comes in
, you've got to know how to adapt. I know I've got to stay in shape."

The underdogs may have lost Sunday's game but they won the hearts of road hockey fans with their rugged determination to defend against an offensive juggernaut that featured three of the season's top scorers.
"They had Lak and Bulldog and Elvis and all these offensive guys, and as good as Pig Farming Goalie was, he wasn't going to be able to keep us in it the whole game," said notorious gameshow host gone bad, Wink. "We knew it was just a matter of stemming the tide."
"They had two dominating lines," said Pig Farming Goalie, who ultimately succumbed to their onslaught. "We had just one scoring line and a few lucky bounces, but other team ultimately got more."
"I think we just played really good defense," said Beetle Boy. "We just tried to contain their offense. We stayed in it, I thought we were competitive."

After the game, as the underdogs salved their bruises, some of them were critical of the unequal distribution of talent, a problem that has persisted through a number of games this season, but has rarely resulted in a blowout.
"It's a sad sad day for road hockey, the way some of these stick pulls have gone," said Wink. "I think (the game) was a foregone conclusion. We knew that all we had was the Kid. But you can't ask the Kid to score every one of your goals."
"Going up against five of most talented players in game, it's foregone conclusion," said Pig Farming Goalie.
"I thought the teams looked a little stacked offensively to one side," said Beetle Boy. "Maybe we played over our heads for some of the game."