AUSTIN, Texas (AP)- On a bittersweet night at The Pond Hockey Club, the Bros HC and their fans said goodbye to defenseman Matty “Pursuit of Happiness” Young as he skated for the final time in the Star and Cannon sweater. Young heads northbound on I-35 to begin playing in the HockeyFinder leagues of Minneapolis on June 3. In a serendipitous result, the Bros defeated the Rockets 5-2 in a hard fought, very tight game that easily could have ended up in another shootout between these two rivals. The first ten minutes of the matchup were scoreless, as both teams struggled to find quality opportunities against stellar goaltending by both the Rockets and the Bros’ Jon “My World” Creasey. Creasey was brought in on-loan from the Mean Eyed Cats system in place of the Bros usual tendie, Steven “Solo Dolo” Sullivan, and did a fine job between the pipes. This was Creasey’s second game with the Bros this season, and he didn’t disappoint. Taking command of the blue, Creasey absolutely dominated the Rockets in every facet, exacting revenge for the devastating 5-4 shootout loss against the Rockets earlier this season.
Assisting Creasey was a full-strength defense with Marc “Sky Might Fall” Henderson suiting back up for the first time in three weeks after a freak upper body injury occurrence during a Friday morning conditioning skate. Henderson skated with intelligence and made several heads-up passes and had two tremendous takeaways that sucked away the Rockets’ momentum early in the second half. Roy “Enter Galactic” St. John played his strongest defensive game of the season, blocking multiple shots and interrupting countless dangle attempts by the Red Sweaters. Captain Andrew “Soundtrack 2 My Life” quarterbacked the defense, but his hard passes struggled to stick to the tape of his teammates’ carbon fiber swords. The Bros drew first blood when Feigenbaum placed a brilliant pass through two Rockets’ defenders across the blue line to a forward-surging Scott “Up Up & Away” Van Pelt, who finished the play with an elevated backhand shot to the back of the net. Shortly thereafter, Young set up Ross “Day ‘N’ Nite” Tagtow with a beautiful one timer snapshot goal to put the Bros up 2-0 late in the first half. The two goal lead did not last long, however, because the Rockets immediately responded with their fastest breakout of the night. The Rockets caught the Bros on a line change and took advantage of the open space. At the close of the first half, the Bros narrowly cradled a one goal advantage.
The Rockets came out strong in the second half, but both teams quickly settled in to a moderately-paced cadence. After a scoreless first five minutes of the second half, fans and players alike began to wonder if this game, too, would be decided in a shootout. Finally, Matt Young picked up a Henderson rebound and found twine thanks to a Dan “Make Her Say” Pranno screen. Pranno continues to prove and remind sports fans everywhere that there is a place for sabermetrics in beer league sports, and that that place is not the iced-down urinal trough in gender-neutral restrooms. Carrie Milbank caught up with Young shortly after his goal, and asked him what was going through his mind. A very unemotional but excited Young downplayed his efforts, responding, “Carrie, I’m just really proud of these guys and how we’re playing tonight and how we’ve played the past few seasons. I just wish, and I know the boys do, too, that we could’ve won a ‘ship here.” With time winding down and the Bros holding on to a 3-1 lead, the Rockets again attempted lift off and scored on a highly-skilled shot. Less than two minutes later, however, a late-game penalty gave the Bros an opportunity to regain their two goal lead with three minutes of clock winding down on the regular season. Steph “Heart of a Lion” Meyer converted on the penalty shot. The goal was quickly followed by an unbelievable backhand goal by Fabian “Man on the Moon” Figi. The goal proved to be the final dagger in the Rockets’ hopes of retaining sole possession of third place in the league. Fans cheered the final 90 seconds as the Bros let Young skate out the rest of the game. Rocket Nick Long took a clear-out chip pass puck to the cheek in the waning seconds, but was fortunately uninjured.
Even with the victory, and return to their position as the “Epitome of Mediocrity,” the Bros win was overshadowed by the loss of Young. For his efforts in the game, Young earned the team’s coveted Gonzales flag. As a gesture of appreciation, the Bros presented Young with his own Gonzales Flag, which will be proudly displayed against the Aurora Borealis skyline of the Twin Cities.
The Bros do not play Memorial Day, but return to the ice on June 6th in their quest for their third straight bronze medal finish. The game will most likely be against the ever-persistent Wolves.
BY THE NUMBERS
3- Straight seasons of .500 hockey for the Bros
14- Goals by season leader Steph Meyer
-Steven Sullivan was a healthy scratch due to excessive dermal exfoliation from the white sands of Alabama.
-Scott “T.G.I.F.” McNearney was lost on a desert island after winning the lottery playing 4 8 15 16 23 42.
– Mic Bush was a healthy scratch while researching beer league PED regulations and testing procedures pertaining to his newly discovered mutant protein.