AUSTIN, Texas (AP)- The Pond Hockey Club. In times of national uncertainty, few things rally a sense of comfort and security more than a sporting event. On October 30, 2001, then-President George W. Bush threw out the first pitch at Yankee Stadium in front of a stunned nation desperate for solace, stability, and normalcy after the September 11 attacks. Last night, the Bros HC stared down the 7-0-1 New Centaurs who stood in the way of the Bros fourth straight win. Just four short weeks ago, the Bros served the New Centaurs their first loss of the season in a shootout, and gave the Bros momentum to their winning streak. The stage was set for a battle between the New Centaurs, looking to demolish the one team that tarnished their otherwise perfect season, and the Bros, who stepped on to the ice hell-bent to send the New Centaurs into oblivion. Although the importance of this game as a method of healing is incomprehensibly incomparable to that of 43’s first pitch, it elicited a healing moment for all the players, the referees, and the fans facing four years of the possibility of pestilence, famine, and war.
Both teams settled in to an early groove of good passing, strong back checking presence, and hustle in the boards. After several highlight worthy saves by New Centaurs’ goalie Tom Ligh, Dylan Pratt led the charge toward Bro’s substitute goalie Brandon “Tom Morellbro” Fawks, but defenseman Chris “Bro of the Sun” stripped the puck and set up Stephan “Bros On Parade” Meyer, who faked a deke so hard he faked himself out. Meyer quickly recovered the puck and buried a top shelf goal past Ligh, giving the Bros a 1-0 lead.
The goal temporarily inspired the New Centaurs to play harder, and the Bros backcheck and neutral zone presence significantly reduced the New Centaurs 5-man forecheck charge. Bros Fabian “VietBro” Figi and Noah “Brovolver” Leggett smothered Pratt for most of the night, and Nick “Brosnakecharmer” Leggett maintained a strong presence on New Centaurs set-up man Michael Morris. Near the conclusion of the first period, Pratt found an errant pass and put the puck on the top shelf where mom keeps the cookies. The buzzer sounded and the first period ended with both teams scoring one goal.
When the puck dropped to initiate the second period, the Bros found another gear. The strong neutral zone presence of the Leggetts, Figi and your favorite Broamedic Ross “Bro Me” Tagtow pinched off any hope of a New Centaurs stretch pass. Layne “Down Brodeo” Brougher and Beard found room to set up the forwards and keep the puck on the forecheck. Larry “Wind Belowbro” Powell took full advantage of his nine-foot long sailing mast of a stick, sweeping the puck away from any New Centaur in his path. By taking away the neutral zone outlets, the Bros forced the New Centaurs to pinch along the boards and substantially reduced the New Centaurs ability to find a shooting lane toward Fawks. Team statistician Mathew McMatherson noted that more than two-thirds of the New Centaurs entrances into the Bros’ zone came along the boards.
Then the Nick Leggett scored off a beautiful set up from his brother Noah.
The Bros smelled the blood in the water. It initiated an insatiable urge for dominance. The New Centaurs still had a “0” in the regulation loss column, and the Bros wanted to prove that the shootout win was no fluke. The Bros shut down the home team for the remainder of the second period. Leggett’s goal would prove to be the game winner, as the Bros never relinquished the lead after that goal.
At the start of the third, carrying a one goal lead, the Bros increased their focus, and went wide open throttle. Drew “Bro of the Boomerang” John played his best game of the season last night, tirelessly keeping the puck in the offensive zone and putting low shots on net, generating multiple opportunities. A few minutes in to the final period, Scott “Without a Broface” Van Pelt finally found the back of the net on a beautifully placed wrist shot to give the Bros a two goal lead. He had several quality opportunities in the second period, but was unable to capitalize earlier in the game. Pratt and Morris started to grind out the boards and rushed hard into the Bros territory, finding themselves on several two-on-one opportunities against captain Andrew “Bro Right” Feigenbaum. During a two minute stretch when he was unable to get a line change because of an unusually long push from the New Centaurs, Feigenbaum blocked four shots by Morris and Pratt, and took the lane away, giving Fawks the opportunity to see the puck from the stick to his pads.
With the hopes of a regulation-time undefeated season blowing in the wind, the New Centaurs admirably continued to press hard, but they just had no answer for the Bros. With less than five minutes remaining, Noah Leggett scored off a rebound, giving the Bros a commanding 4-1 lead. The New Centaurs never recovered, and their night ended in defeat.
For his incredible hustle last night, and for collecting his first goal of the season, the team’s revered Gonzales Flag went to Meyer. The second star of the game was earned by substitute goalie Brandon Fawks. He made several incredible kick saves and did a phenomenal job forcing rebounds to the corners, and his heads-up play on the delayed penalty contributed the consistent pressure put on by the Bros.
Next week your Boys in Black take on the Leftovers in the matinee slot at 6:45pm.
–Broalie Chris Luscombe missed the game due to a last minute work trip to the Big Apple. What he didn’t want the world to know is that he’s secretly a collector of all things Sleepy Hollow, and he won a fictional artifact on eBay so precious and so rare, that not even FedEx could be trusted with returning it to Austin.
–Bro Eddie Valls continues to steadily improve with his shoulder rehabilitation.
BY THE NUMBERS:
4- Straight wins by the Bros, tying a franchise record.
3- Largest margin of victory for the Bros this season.
2.33- Goals against average for the Bros this season.
1- Number of regulation losses for the New Centaurs so far this season.