AUSTIN, Texas (AP)- The Pond Hockey Club. Exactly one year ago yesterday, the Bros franchise won their first playoff game to finish in third place at the Pond. This was the first of five consecutive third-place finishes with a team that had virtually zero turnover. Last night, after starting the inaugural season at the Barn B1 division with three straight losses, the Bros defeated Leftovers to become the first league champions. The 9-1 victory last night capped off a season that may potentially be the last to feature fan favorites such as Fabian “Casey Brones” Figi, “St. Stephan” Meyer, Ross “Bro of the Devil” Tagtow, and Scott “Sugar Magbrolia” Van Pelt.
The Gonzales Flag represents a small group of Texians who fought off two nearly impossible Mexican raids in 1835 to keep a small cannon that was previously given to them to ward off the raiding Comanches. Both attempts by the Mexicans failed, and the Battle of Gonzales triggered the Texian rebellion against the Mexican government; thus, the war for Texas’ independence was born. The Texians fought for an ideal. They fought for a principle. They fought for something so insignificant as a marginally functional, 30-inch, temperamental cannon that could barely launch anything with a diameter greater than a shooter marble. The Bros adopted the same attitude, a certain je ne sais quoi over the past two years. This season, they battled each week for something bigger than themselves. They battled to stay together, to see their initial goal of winning a championship together through to the end. Last night, they earned it.
After an afternoon mired with controversial substitution concerns, the dust settled with eight Bros suiting up against four Leftovers and four substitutes from the consolation game. The Bros scored early and often, finding twine a team-record nine times on 32 shots. Sensational Bro Goalie Chris “Touch of Bro” Luscombe stopped 12 of 13 shots faced, with the Leftovers scoring their lone goal late in the third on a power play.
The team was led by Nick “Uncle John’s Bro” Leggett, who finished the game with a hattrick. His brother Noah “Shakedown Bro” Leggett added two goals that were matched by Drew “Franklin’s Brower” John and Chris “China Bro Sunflower” Beard. Layne “Bro It On Down The Line” Brougher played another solid game of two-way play, and did a fantastic job of pushing the puck on the forecheck. Larry “Turn On Your Bro Light” Powell played forward for the first time last season. After two periods of jousting the puck and the Leftovers, Powell was forced to decline an offer of knighthood from Medieval Times. Tagtow was again pivotal in setting up scoring opportunities, and alternated with Noah Leggett to quarterback the offensive attack. Captain Andrew “I Bro You Rider” Feigenbaum helped herd cherry picking opponents away from the defensive zone and forced the Leftovers to take shots from outside the circles.
Pierre McGuire had a chance to talk to the captain after the victory to ask Feigenbaum a stereotypical stupid question that only McGuire seems to ask about what the championship means for the Bros’ franchise. “Pierre, we won a championship. It’s eluded us for over two calendar years, you know, something like 8 seasons in beer league years. It’s been really remarkable that we’ve been able to keep the band together, you know? We just feel grateful and this season, this win- just a culmination of what we set out to achieve two years ago, and every week when we lace ‘em up.”
To say the team waited until the championship to paint their masterpiece would be an understatement. In beer league sports, success often isn’t measured by the number of championships, the number of wins, or the number of players on the bench. Success is knowing that you play each game alongside friends that become family week in, week out.
In a time of uncertainty leading up to next season’s draft and the possibility of larger rosters or additional expansion teams, the Bros held together to overcome their rut of historical mediocrity. With impending roster rule changes, your Blacksweaters will certainly have some new faces on the bench next season. What will not change is the foundation the team has built based on a team-first mentality from the locker room to the ice.
The Bros franchise is grateful. Grateful for two years of being able to play together. Grateful to have earned a spot in the championship and then win. Grateful to be able to successfully jump from unparalleled mediocrity in the Pond leagues to a successful B1 season at the Barn.
Fabian Figi was a healthy scratch because he is the star of a Ricola commercial that is shooting in the Alps over the holiday.
Steph Meyer was a healthy scratch because he flew to Paris to find himself and learn how to paint French girls like Jack in “Titanic.”
Scott Van Pelt was a healthy scratch because he wanted to see what Christmas is like when you live in a world only found in a L.L. Bean catalog.
BY THE NUMBERS:
13: Shots faced by Luscombe, the fewest all season.
9: goals scored by the Bros- their highest of the season.
9: wins by the Bros, a franchise record.
9-1-1: The Bros record in their last 11 games.
1: Season champions.
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