AUSTIN, Texas (AP)- With eyes that shined, burnin’ red last night at The Pond Hockey Club, the Bros HC locked in their second place finish in the B1 division with a hard fought victory against the Leftovers. In a game that saw six lead changes through three periods of play and a four round shootout, the Blacksweaters appeared holidazed and confused, and struggled with shot selection and shots on net.
The Leftovers came out strong early, outskating and outshooting the Bros, and they took an early one-goal lead. Fabian “Bro Dog” Figi scored the Bros first goal off a beautiful setup from Stephan“Rock and Bro” Meyer and Layne “Robro Plant” Brougher. Meyer served as the consummate teammate last night with strong backchecking. Somehow, he also managed to collect more assists than Donald Trump can send out tweets in a White House security briefing.
The second period was not kind to the Bros. By the end of the period, the team found themselves down two goals. However, as many hockey fans are quick to point out, the two goal lead is the toughest lead to have in all of sports. During the middle and late stretches of the period, broalie Chris “John Bro Jones” Luscombe carried the team on his back with countless saves. The game got chippy and any mansuetude of the first and most of the second period evaporated with the first puck drop in the third period.
On that initial faceoff in the third, Drew “Battle of Everbro” John managed to put the biscuit in the basket to light a fire on the bench. Less than 30 seconds later, the puck from a Figi pass from behind the Leftovers net found the tape of Scott “Stairway to Heaven, Bro” Van Pelt’s stick and Van Pelt is lethal from within 18 inches of the crease. Goalie Michael Nightingale never had a chance on that shot. Within the first minute of the third, the game was tied at three.
Noah “John Brohnam” Leggett and Nick “Misty Mountain Bro” Leggett’s neutral zone efforts led to a Leftovers turnover halfway through the third, and Nick capitalized on the turnover, and slid the puck under a diving Nightingale. For the first time in the game, the Bros had the lead, but unfortunately it would not last. Despite the incredible efforts of Chris “Bro Sticks” Beard, the Leftovers tied the game with five minutes remaining, and then the Leftovers took the lead when a puck deflected off of Andrew “Bro-ing to California” Feigenbaum’s stick and found its way to the back of Luscombe’s lair.
With two minutes remaining, the team found themselves down 5-4. All of the momentum the Bros carried throughout the third was sucked out of the Barn. Ross “When the Levee Bros” Tagtow gave Feigenbaum a pep talk on the bench and reminded him that a lot can happen when the Bros go into their two minute drill. As the seconds drained from the clock, the Bros went into pre-flight mode. Luscombe knows when to head to the bench. Check. Beard knows when to jump on. Check. The wings know who is going to screen and who is going to be looking for a deflection. Check.
The seconds continued to drain. With less than 30 of them remaining, the Bros found themselves on the forecheck. Feigenbaum turned back to Luscombe, who headed to the bench. Beard jumped the boards and cut in on the attack. The Bros began to bombard Nightingale with shots. Two bounced off the pads. A third bounced off a pad, then a stick, then off the board toward the point. Feigenbaum, from the neutral zone, rushed in and saved the offsides. He saw Beard come over from the weak side to cover on the pinch, and Feigenbaum maneuvered his way around to find some open space for a shot. Noah Leggett and Van Pelt were both in front of Nightingale. Sixteen. Fifteen. Feigenbaum opens up on a snap shot that managed to bounce just in front of Nightingale and over his pad between the post and his torso. 14.8. This game was going to be decided in a shootout.
Layne Brougher called to go first for the Bros, and slipped a shot between Nightingale’s legs for the Bros first shootout goal. The Leftovers missed their first attempt as Luscombe came up with a huge save.
Meyer was denied by a diving Nightingale’s glove. The Leftovers scored on their second shot, which bounced off Luscombe’s glove. Chris Beard took the third shot for the Bros, but the puck deflected off Nightingale’s shoulder. Luscombe denied the Leftovers again. Fabian Figi’s now signature move, with a deke to the left, a shuffle to the right, a headfake, and backhand went in on the fourth shootout attempt. Luscombe again stepped it up for the Bros, with a beautiful butterfly save to win the game.
For fighting his way back to make up for the deflected goal, Feigenbaum was awarded the coveted Gonzales Flag. Fabian Figi and Steph Meyer collected the second and third stars, respectively. Pierre McGuire had a chance to talk to the captain after the game about the last two minutes of the game. “Ah, Pierre. We’ve been on both sides of the scoreboard in situations like these all season, and I just didn’t want to lose again like we did last week. Ross did a great job of keeping our heads in the game the last two minutes and we executed our six man rush to perfection. Big team win.”
The B1HPS committee will announce the playoffs later this week.
BY THE NUMBERS:
7- Franchise record number of wins for the Bros in a season.
7- Goals scored by the Bros last night.
6- The most goals given up by the Bros in a game.
16- Number of assists by Meyer last night.
Larry Powell was a healthy scratch last night because he was learning how to brick a gingerbread house at Williams-Sonoma.