The Stick Pull (Noel)
Scratches: Slick (legal problems), Gump (substance abuse), Colonel (unsanctioned injury), Giebelhaus (exploitative employer), Ottoman (unsanctioned sex), Beetle Boy (exploitative employer)
Paul One's prolific performance may have been at least partly inspired
by the return of his longtime CO-commuter, Lobsterboy.
Starting his first game in more than two months, the shelled shotstopper overcame early jitters that cost his team a quick 2-0 deficit to dominate his end of the court as if he'd never left.
"From that first shift onwards, he just built more and more confidence for our side," said Paul One of the creaseminding crustacean. "We felt really confident with him back there, taking care of business."
And for Lobsterboy, that meant covering every loose ball that rolled anywhere near his net, controlling the game's pace, giving his mates a chance to regroup and frustrating his opponents.
"That's kinda frustrating when he roams," said New Guy. "We didn't get a lot of shots on him. Our star players just weren't able to make things happen."
"Some of the new guys have got to know they won't have an easy walk into my zone," said Lobsterboy of his wandering ways. "If they get too close, they're going to suffer the consequences."
The veteran netminder said he knew he had to reestablish his game quickly, as much for his own confidence as to fluster opposing forwards.
"Whenever you come back, everyone is looking to get the easy goal on you and wants to humiliate you for missing so many games," said Lobsterboy, who's last start was in Week 10. "I just wanted to make some key saves, keep the game to a low score and set the tone as well."
The reunion of Paul One and Lobsterboy may also have been a rallying
point for their teammates, who played with a single-minded purpose and
playmaking cohesion unmatched by their disorganized opponents.
"I think we were more together as a unit," said Wink. "It was a total team effort."
"The guys were backchecking and forechecking," said Lobsterboy. "They saved the goalie when he was in trouble."
Which wasn't very often, as the upstart opponents sniped at each other more than they sniped shots at the net.
"Our team chase ball and not make plays," said Pig Farming Goalie, who lost his first game in three weeks. "We just not play together, and when you're not playing together, it's difficult because it's three individuals against whole team."
"You feel like maybe you have to do everything on your own," said New Guy. "You wind up coughing it up and it turns around to a two-on-one going the other way when you're trying to hard on your own."
Nibs was a late addition to his team, after he had to scramble to
find a way to get to the game because his car had been stolen the night
before. And, he admitted later, the distraction may have limited his effectiveness,
as he struggled all day to unleash his patented point blasts, reaching
the back of the net only once.