Winners wear down overmatched opponents

Mario Bartel storyteller photographer multimedia content writing road hockey
Lak Attack looks the worse for wear after he was clipped by a stick early in Sunday’s Stanley Stick opener.

For 24 years I’ve journeyed back to the carefree days of my youth by playing road hockey every Sunday morning from October to May. The stories and photos of those games are chronicled in my weekly blog roadhockey.net

The only thing gorier than the bloody cut suffered by Lak Attack in Sunday’s Stanley Stick opener was the final score.

The versatile veteran shook off the high stick that clipped his left eyebrow to lead his team to a dominating 20-6 win in the first game of the two-game championship finale.

After a tight first half in which the underdogs got to within three goals, 8-5, fatigue and heat took their toll and the winners outscored their beleaguered opponents 10-1 after the break.

Having an extra player to sub off tired legs certainly worked to their advantage in the balmy conditions, said Colonel.

“it was a warm day and any time a team doesn’t have a sub at all, it just allows the team with a sub to stay fresh and go hard every shift.”

But to take full advantage, the winners had to strike quickly. Which is exactly what they did despite being outplayed in the early going, said Doo.

“They were generating chances,” said the speedy centerman. “But that was classic offence from defence for us from the beginning of the game.”

Joker also stood tall in the net, rebuffing Bam Bam and Cleveland in close.

Mario Bartel storyteller photography multimedia blog content writer road hockey
Joker wipes the sweat from his brow as Sunday’s Stanley Stick opener was also the warmest game of the season.

“He did well to be there when we needed him,” said Colonel of his veteran goalie. “It’s a big boost because you know you can take a few more chances offensively.”

They executed their game plan perfectly.

“They got a couple of quick goals and the momentum was always on their side,” said Bam Bam.

A brief flurry and some fortuitous bounces got the underdogs close early in the second period. But Doo said his side kept its cool.

“We had a lot of veteran presence on our team… so we didn’t panic.”

Which is what the underdogs will have to remember if they’re to win Sunday’s second game to force a deciding sudden death mini game.

“All you need is one win to send it to the mini game,” said Bam Bam. “We’ve got to create more offense, take more shots, keep it simple.”

Despite Sunday’s lopsided score, the leaders aren’t taking anything for granted.

“I don’t think we got the other team’s best game this week,” said Colonel. “Next week they’re going to come out hard, feel rejuvenated. It’s going to be a whole other game.”

Doo said his side’s experience will serve them well to maintain an even keel.

“When you’ve been around enough Stanley Sticks, you know each game is completely different. We’ll have to rely on our veteran experience and patience next week.”

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