The Stick Pull (Guy Called Mike)
Scratches: Paul One (healthy), Lobsterboy (healthy),
Colonel (traveling), Slick (parole rescinded?), Pig Farming Goalie (exploitative employer), Beetle Boy (exploitative employer), Elvis (traveling)
As Gump struggled in only his second goaltending start of the season,
his opponent at the opposite end of the court, Ottoman registered his
Unlike previous starts, when the sophomore shotstopper would struggle in the early-going, forcing his mates to play from behind, Ottoman started strongly Sunday and presented an impenetrable barrier for most of the game. And his side never trailed.
"Otto played incredible," said New Guy, who credited his goalie for giving his team the confidence to take the play to their opponents. "He really squared up well to the shots, made sure he got the first shot and smothered a lot of rebounds. He really bailed us out when we did get caught."
"Ottoman saved a lot of shots," said Billy Idol. "He really filled up the net today, he played his angles well. We were only able to bang some of them in."
"I think Ottoman was the difference," said notorious gameshow host gone bad, Wink. "He turned in one of his best performances ever. He came out with some huge stops."
The only player able to consistently solve Ottoman was Billy Idol,
who chopped in five goals in a losing cause, equaling a career-high. And
while his goals weren't pretty, he wasn't making any apologies.
"When no-one else is connecting, you might as well just try and get some in," said the rebounding rocker. "A garbage goal is still a goal, it doesn't really matter."
But when a journeyman outscores speedy superstars like Lak Attack and Guy Called Mike, it's a sign of trouble for that team said Gump.
"Eventhough you've got those guys, you've still gotta go hard anyway," said the beleaguered backstop.
"When you're relying on Billy Idol to get all your goals, you're probably not going to win too many games," said New Guy. "He's a solid player, but he's just not known for his goal-scoring ability."
At the other end of the court, the winners' offense was led by Nibs
and the Kid, who combined for 15 of their team's 20 goals.
"Nibs really came through," said New Guy.
"We lined up well," said Ottoman. "Everyone was chipping in."
Sunday's game was only the second of the season for Guy Called Mike,
who's been hobbled by injuries for most of the past year. His fitness
and touch around the net seemed to show the effects of his sporadic playing
time as his backchecking waned and his dekes went awry.
"He just didn't have his shot," said Gump, of the struggling centerman.
For the first time in years, Sunday's game was almost usurped from
its traditional home when a rogue game of interlopers claimed the center
court of three before most of the Sunday Morning roadsters had arrived.
But they graciously relinquished their claim just before the opening face-off.
Having been based in the center court since the concrete complex was constructed eight years ago, the Sunday Morning roadsters have taken great care of their home, sweeping away the week's garbage, shoveling snow and ice after winter storms and maintaining the mesh in the nets, while the neighboring courts have collapsed into disrepair.
And it's a good thing the roadsters were at their usual location, or South Park never would have found them, as the one-time sniper dropped by to formally announce his retirement. But the news was hardly a surprise, as he's only played a handful of games in the past two years, and twice he failed to follow up on planned comebacks from various nagging injuries.
Regular readers will note a new feature in the weekly game reports,
The Stick Pull, a rundown of the game's rosters and significant scratches.
This should make it easier to follow who did what to whom.
"We had an excellent stick pull today, probably the best one I can remember," said Billy Idol of the way the teams were divied up by Guy Called Mike.
"When you see a score like that, you usually assume all the stars were on one team," said New Guy. "It was just a team effort, a solid team effort."