Elvis heads up court around a fallen Pig Farming Forward. But the feisty forward was facing the wrong way when he ripped a clearing pass into his own net, setting the table for his team's inevitable demise, 20-16.


Week 16
Elvis' blues

Own goal sinks spirits, and team

by Jay Suburb

Elvis was only doing what came naturally.

When a clearing pass from the corner ended up right on the feisty forward's stick early in Sunday's game, he wheeled around and fired a whistling drive over the goalie's shoulder, into the back of the net. Except the goalie was his own teammate, ER. And the own goal was the kind of gift that cost his team a decisive 20-16 loss.

"I think it was best shot Elvis made all day long," says Pig Farming Forward of his rival's wrong-way wraparound.

"It wasn't a good day all around, for myself and for our team," says Elvis of his mistaken sense of direction. "It's kind of a downer for everybody."

One from which his side never really recovered. The next goal to beat ER was a high Winkian lob from the far end of the court that bounced out of the goalie's trapper and rolled lazily into the net.

"It gives you the feeling that the road hockey gods are with you.," says the notorious gameshow host gone bad of his surprise score. "There's a goal we don't really deserve, so now let's go get some that we do deserve."

And that's exactly what his team did. Riding the momentum of their good fortune, Wink and his mates built their lead to as many as five goals and never trailed.

"It's a game of ebb and flow, and those kind of goals really tend to change the ebb and flow," says Wink.

"Momentum was a big thing in the game," says Gump, who rebounded strongly from a shaky effort last week to win his second game in three starts. "We started off strong, got some lucky bounces."

"It gives you a boost," says New Guy. "We tried to focus on getting a lot of shots on ER, particularly after his tough start."

"On top of borscht, we had lots of momentum at beginning of game," says Pig Farming Forward. "We carried it all the way through."

Even an extended lapse late in the game that saw their comfortable lead diminished to a single goal wasn't enough to deny the victors their destiny. Four quick goals, including the game-winner by Kid on a two-on-none breakaway, sealed the deal.

"That 17th goal was huge to get us moving again," says New Guy. "We just stalled out there, the bounces weren't coming to us."

"The only time we got into trouble was when guys started whining and bitching at each other," says Wink. "As long as we got through that, we were fine."

For Elvis, whose early mistake had cost his team so dearly, the comeback that wasn't was especially frustrating.

"We didn't get the breaks when we needed them," says the hard-charging winger. "I think the team just sorta gave up."

The Stick Pull (Living Legend)
Gump (G) ER(G)
Kid Elvis
Wink Lak Attack
Bird Nibs
New Guy Living Legend
Pig Farming Forward Beetle Boy
Scratches: Slick (legal problems), Ottoman (unsanctioned sex), Lobsterboy (sick), Billy Idol (back injury), Paul One (bowel problems), Colonel (unsanctioned injury), Giebelhaus (exploitative employer)


Goalies don't expect to be scored upon by their own teammates. But fluke goals are an occupational hazard. And games can turn on how a goalie and his mates react to that kind of misfortune, said Gump.
"Your reaction to it is a big thing on the team," said the comeback creaseminder, who made his third consecutive start on Sunday. "If you have a bad reaction, it hurts the team. You've just gotta laugh it off. If you let it get to you, that's when the trouble starts."
"It's a breaker," said Wink of the dangers of being demoralized by a bad goal. "It really deflates you, makes you think 'aw geez, we can't buy a break,' and you start trying too hard, grabbing the stick a little too much."
"Obviously, it's demoralizing," said Pig Farming Forward, who's been beaten by his share of bad goals in his long goaltending career.

Pig Farming Forward played without the big leg pads for the first time since last Spring's Stanley Stick finale. And while his conditioning flagged late in the game, his feisty forechecking early in Sunday's game seemed to bring new jump to his teammates.
"It was like having two goalies out there," said Gump, of his side's reinvented rearguard. "He was blocking shots left, right and center, he was scoring goals, making passes, he was just the complete hockey player."
"He really knows where to go," said New Guy. "If you can get open he knows how to make a play to you."
Pig Farming Forward said he was just trying to avoid some of the playing pitfalls he'd observed during his long career in the goal crease.
"As goalie, I get to watch game unfold in front of me, see typical kind of mistakes that get made lots, and I try to be aware of those. I know I have good speed, pretty decent hockey sense."

Pig Farming Forward's decision to return to the courts as a playmaker instead of a shotstopper, and the ongoing absence of regular rearguards, Lobsterboy and Ottoman, precipitated the second goalie crisis in as many weeks. That's when the emergency call went out to ER, who required a Bird escort to get to the courts for gametime.
The diminished ranks of creaseminders is especially disappointing for the roadsters who, only four weeks ago, had thought their goaltending woes were forever behind them when there were enough equipped ballstoppers at the court to convene two games.
"Things were looking really good," said Elvis of the downward spiral of shotstoppers. "Now you've got players who don't necessarily want to play goal, or you have call-ups, people playing between the pipes who don't usually play. It's not the same game we're used to."
"It would be nice to have another starter at the other end," said Gump, who's walked through the door of opportunity opened by the lack of regular creaseminders. "It's nice to get a shot at playing goalie every week. It definitely helps me develop my game."

Wink also returned to the courts, after missing last week's game to service the onerous demands of his exploitative employer. While the fellow founding father admitted his timing was affected by the layoff, the steady drizzle that didn't let up for the duration of the game, and the resulting slick concrete, were in his favor.
"This is a day built for Wink," said the notorious gameshow host gone bad, who followed up his unlikely lob goal with a patented blast that also connected from the far end of the court. "This brings everybody back to my speed. I can't get any slower, but everybody else can get slower."