AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters)- The Pond Hockey Club‘s Winter 2017 season kicked off last night with two new expansion teams, The Barn Burners and Master Skaters, the rebranded Leftovers (now Mean Eyed Cat) and New Centaurs (now Snipez), Learn 2 Skate (L2S), and your reigning champion Bros HC. The Bros were one of the few teams to feature a complete returning roster, and management was able to reach an agreement with David Biagini’s agent to sign him on a one season opt-in bridged contract for Spring/Summer 2017.
The first two games were close, with the expansion teams emerging victorious in both matches. The marquee matchup between last season’s top two teams, Bros and Snipez lived up to the hype. Fans filled the glass seats and the heated suites to watch the now-perennial powerhouses battle it out on the ice.
The grueling, fast-paced match was very physical from the moment the puck dropped. Midway through the first period, Scott “Townes Van Bro” Van Pelt found top shelf cheddar against Snipez goalie Tom Ligh. The goal was set up by a phenomenal pass from Fabian “Waiting Around To Bro” Figi. The lead was short lived, as the Snipez quickly tied the game.
The Bros’ first line anchored by Noah “Columbro” Leggett was a serious threat as the first period concluded and the second period began. Leggett scored on a play set up by a neutral zone strip by Chris “Don’t Take It To Bro” Beard. The Bros’ defenseman, who was looking for a shift change, dumped the puck up the board to Stephan”Colorado Bro” Meyer, who fed Leggett for the goal. The Snipez again struck back quickly despite Bros’ netminder Chris “Bro Lungs” Luscombe’s maelstrom around the crease.
The second period continues to be problematic for the Bros. The team went long stretches without generating much offense, and were forced in on the backcheck with the inability to get the puck out of the zone on face offs. Consequently, the Snipez built on their second goal momentum and scored two more quick, unanswered goals to take a commanding 4-2 lead at the end of the second period.
The Bros started the third off strong, with Van Pelt scoring off a fantastic set up from Figi and Drew “I’ll Be Bro In The Morning” John to sway the momentum in favor of the Star and Cannon. Meyer, who was using a brand new stick last night, stripped a Snipez forward of the puck on a breakout and was able to skillfully weave around Ligh and execute a backhand shot to tie the game with six minutes remaining. Ross “Quicksilver Daydreams of Bro” Tagtow had four prime scoring chances in the waning minutes, but was unable to find the back of the net to put the Bros ahead.
The fans must have left the concession stands because the glass seats were packed for the ending of this game. Beard and Larry “Fare Thee Well, Bro Carousel” Powell paired well on defense. Powell had several key opportunities to put the puck on net in the closing minutes of the game. Newcomer David “None But The Bro” Biagini and captain Andrew “For The Sake of the Bro” Feigenbaum found a rhythm midway through the first period and both played total shut-down defense.
At the conclusion of regulation, fans got to see a five round thriller shootout. Despite Meyer setting the tone with the first shootout goal, Albert Massie’s short stick and shifty footwork helped earn the Snipez the shootout victory.
Mike Emerick checked in with Van Pelt, who earned the team’s revered Gonzales flag after the game and asked him about the loss. “Mike, we just seemed a bit off in the second and I guess we’re shaking the cobwebs off the twigs. We played well late in the stretch and got into a good rhythm. Was thinking five-hole on that shootout shot, but Tommy did a good job of getting his glove down and I second guessed myself. Wish I had that one back, but hey, we know what we need to do and we’ll come back out fresh Saturday to try and pick up the clean W.”
Luscombe picked up the second star of the game with his phenomenal goaltending against 32 shots, and Feigenbaum took home the third star of the game for the Bros for his outstanding coverage and protection for Luscombe.
The Bros look to bounce back this Saturday against Mean Eyed Cats at 4:45pm. The last 500 fans will receive a Larry Powell bobblehead.
– Nick Leggett missed last night’s game. He spent the evening watching “The OA” on Netflix trying to figure out the fifth movement for his next breakaway.
– Layne Brougher missed last night’s game because he was trying to record the call of the wild wolves for his next EDM album.
BY THE NUMBERS:
– 5 round shootout.
– 3 number of times Bros and Snipez have ended with a shootout.
– 2 number of times Snipez have won the shootouts.