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Lak Attack still tries to get his shot off, even as he's falling on the slick concrete. It's that kind of levelheaded composure that propelled his veteran team to their stunning 20-17 upset over their younger, faster opponents.

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Week 20
Keeping their composure

Veterans stick to plan to upset upstarts

by Jay Suburb

When Lak Attack stumbled on the slippery concrete, he kept his composure to still get away a dangerous shot. When his veteran team suddenly found themselves down a goal going into the game's final period, he knew if they just stuck to their gameplan they'd prevail over their younger, speedier opponents.

And that's just what they did, as his side of aging oldsters, led by the Living Legend, Wink and Paul One, overcame their creaking bones, wheezing lungs and a mid-game swoon, to upset their upstart foes, 20-17.

What the veterans lacked in speed and stamina, they compensated with guile and determination. As Elvis, Rudy and the Kid tore up and down the courts and careened crazily across the crease, the wizened defenders stepped slightly sideways to cut them off, creating turnovers, and opportunities.

"I think it was just patience on our side," says Lak Attack of his side's gameplan for success. "We were just waiting for their mistakes. We had to catch the opportunities and then pounce on it."

"We had better composure, we got some timely goals, " says Pig Farming Goalie, who won his second straight game. "I think today the difference was we were able to capitalize on our opportunities."

"You've just gotta play solid defense and you get your chances from making good defensive plays," says Paul One, who's own solid two-way effort was rewarded by a handful of key goals. "A lot of it was just keeping our heads up and knowing who was out there, who was coming against you."

When those rushing forwards include Rudy, coming off a sensational ten-goal performance last week, Nibs and his giant shot, and the ever-elusive Kid and Bird, it was important for the veteran defenders to maintain their focus, says Wink.

"We just didn't panic," says the fellow founding father. "Road hockey is a long game, there's lots of ebbs and flows, and I think the veteran guys understand that. We knew that we had a chance, we were capitalizing on our chances when we were getting them."

Those chances started early and often, as the veterans were able to convert their tight coverage in the defensive zone and tenacious forechecking into fast breaks and scoring opportunities. They held narrow leads at the end of the first and second periods.

"They kept playing pretty hard," says Nibs of his side's inability to elude the seasoned defenders. "It was pretty frustrating, they seemed to be covering us everywhere."

That was the plan, says Lak Attack. "You just try to hold them off by playing positional hockey."

"They had some pretty potent line combos," says Paul One. "When you saw those coming, you knew you had to play a little better defense."

And when that defense flagged late in the third period, allowing the upstarts their first lead of the game, 15-14, the veterans kept their cool.

"We never got down, we never got too worried," says Wink. "We knew it was a game to 20, and when we gave up two or three goals in a row, it really didn't matter."

"I think the veterans don't get down after a few goals," says Lak Attack, who sealed his side's win when he roofed a shot over Gump's shoulder after breaking in unchecked from center court.

"I think after break, we just settled down, get focus and took advantage," says Pig Farming Goalie. "We had excellent experience. It just show, just because you have spit and fire and your sperm count is high, it doesn't matter."

The Stick Pull (Living Legend)
Pig Farming Goalie(G) Gump(G)
Wink Bird
Living Legend Kid
Paul One Nibs
Lak Attack Elvis
Cowboy Bill Rudy Twooty
Billy Idol  
Scratches: Slick (legal problems), Lobsterboy (domestic duties), Colonel (unsanctioned injury), Giebelhaus (exploitative employer), Unabomber (creative differences), Ottoman (unsanctioned sex), Beetle Boy (exploitative employer)

 

Lak Attack's game winner came just in the nick of time, as his aging mates' legs started to fade in the game's waning moments.
"I thought if we didn't bury it soon, they would come back," said the speedy centerman. "We just had to finish off the game."
"I wanted Lak to finish off, just put it in back of net," said Pig Farming Goalie of his side's sudden urgency. "It was important to seize opportunity and not let them get momentum."
"I think we just upped the intensity a bit," said Paul One.
"It's always important to get the winning goal," said Wink.

Actually, the game might have ended a few moments sooner, as the Living Legend rang a searing wrist shot off the crossbar just before his limber linemate pounced on his opportunity. It would have been the ageless veteran's fifth goal of the game.
Despite being Sunday Morning Road Hockey's oldest player, the Legend has been playing his 12th season with as much energy and grit as a robust rookie. He's even made some defensive plays in his own end.
"That was maybe the best game I've ever seen from the Legend," said his linemate, Paul One. "It was a legendary game from the Legend."

Another roadster with a reason to smile, Pig Farming Goalie, earned his second straight win in three games since returning from a month-long hiatus.
"I see ball a lot, so I able to make most saves," says the agrarian goaltender, who turned his back on the crease after a series of frustrating losses late last year. "I was pretty happy with my play today, I thought I kept them in there."
"I think PFG was key today, he bailed us out," said Wink.
"PFG always plays well," said Nibs, who's renowned rapier shot rarely found its mark past his netminding nemesis. "He seemed to cover the whole net, it was really hard to score on him."

The upstarts' apparent speed advantage may have been neutralized by the slippery court, slicked by an overnight rainstorm that finally let up just before gametime. Rudy especially struggled on the gleaming surface, loosing his footing time and again as he tried to veer in from the wing.
"For sure, it slows down the quick guys," said Paul One. "They can't make a cut, they can't make a play, especially if they're headed up court and the ball goes the other way. It's not like they can wheel around and come back and play defense."

Sunday's game was the first in a month in which the roadsters had the court complex they've called home for ten years all to themselves again. A mysterious band of roguesters had been swarming the neighboring court in increasing numbers, even spreading their nascent game to the adjacent basketball court and practice annex. Little kids from the area, looking to play their own game, were suddenly out of luck. Residents needing to park on the quiet street alongside the complex were forced to circle the block repeatedly.
The roadsters were beginning to feel beseiged, and a legal opinion solicited from a former player offered little hope.
"You should... be concerned that, if the neighborhood parents complain, the school may attempt to ban ALL adults from using the courts," said Wendel, who's taken a leave from his road hockey career to study law in a faraway city. "You may be heartened to know, though, that if it came down to a legal battle, roadhockey.net would be crucial evidence to prove your regular use and enjoyment of that facility!"