Was the Barn burning? Or was that just the glow from the Bros’ new sweaters?
Whatever the cause, the building was warm last night, and the Barn Burners showed up ready to take advantage.
Early and often, the Burners chipped the puck deep and forced the Bros to chase. Larry “Twelve Step Hammer Brogram” Powell was up to the task though, fighting through a groin injury to get to pucks in the corners and clear the front of the net. However, halfway through the first period, the Ross “The Abominations of Bros Virtuous” Tagtow looked up at the scoreboard and saw the Bros had yet to register a shot on goal. Determined to change that, Ross found an opportunity after a key faceoff win by Tom “Timothy Bro” Harp. Tom dug in on the dot, creating an opportunity for Layne “Unspoken Bro” Brougher to grab the puck and go. Layne, spreading his Bro wings his 2nd game at forward, found Ross waiting on the right wing boards in the neutral zone, and he was off. Chris “After the Brology” Beard jumped up and joined the rush from the back, and drove the net as Ross hammered a shot on goal. The puck bounced out, but a second too late and out of Beard’s reach. The score remained 0-0.
The Bros were getting out-shot, but still in the game, thanks to gritty d-zone work by David “The Bro Majeure” Biagini and some highlight-reel saves by Chris “Bro Under Glass” Luscombe.” David pounced on loose pucks like an even meaner-eyed cat, and Luscombe played his angles to make the tough stuff look easy. Two-on-ones? Three-on-ones? THE MANY, AGAINST THE FEW!? It mattered not; Luscombe was there, holding the fort, and the first period ended without a score.
The second period started off far better for the Bros, thanks to some hard backchecking by Stephan “When Rhetoric Bros” Meyer, and voracious forechecking by Fabian “Our Bro-Honored Tradition of Cannibalism” Figi. They were all over the Burners, forcing turnovers and feeding the puck to a hungry SVP. Scott “My Bro in the Knife Trade” Van Pelt had a number of good looks at the net, but couldn’t pump one past the Barn-Burning ‘tender.
But after a round of good shifts by all three lines, the Bros found themselves losing a draw in their own zone, and chasing the pill like a junkie on a Sunday. After a couple of failed attempts at a clear, you could smell the bad bounce coming. The puck banged off Bargiani’s pad to an uncovered left wing, and the Burners hammered home the easy rebound. It was 1-0, and the Bros needed to respond.
The Bros then found new life behind the relentless pressure of Drew “Brookie” John, who drove into the offensive zone with the puck, and kept his legs moving through any and every stickcheck in his way. The ref’s arm went up, and a hooking call would put the Bros on the Power Play. Up a man, the Bros took the blue line and got the puck deep, where Nick “Bro Waiting For the Punchline” Leggett controlled the puck in the corner. But the Burners clogged the middle and kept up their tense pursuit, preventing any easy passes. Still, the puck found captain Andrew “Across Bro Years” Feigenbaum at the point, and he kept his shot low (below the neck for once!) for the Bros only shot on the first PP.
At even-strength, the Burners continued to outshoot the Bros, but the pesky stickwork and physical skating of Noah “(Compassion) as Skull Fragments on a Bro” Leggett clearly frustrated the Burners, and led to another opportunity on the power play late in the period. This time, the Bros would struggle to get the ship off the ground though, and they spent much of the two minutes putting out fires in their own zone. In the waning seconds of the PP, Beard and Meyer connected on a pass after a faceoff win by Figi, but despite the zone time, the Bros struggled to get shots past the Ludwig-esque leg pads of the Burners’ PK. The second period would end 1-0.
The third went by in a flash, with some Bros taking turns making desperate pushes toward the opposing net, and other Bros taking turns keeping the scorekeeper company in the sinbin. The Bros trademark “Bend-but-don’t-bro” defense limited some chances, but the penalties taken by Beard, Leggett, and SVP added up, and cost the Bros valuable offensive opportunities.
The Bros had some chances; Leggett backhanded a puck over a vacant net, Drew got jammed on some primo chances in close, and Layne and Steph each had pucks bounce over their sticks. If the puck was a needle, the Bros were sifting through a haystack in a burning barn.
Puckluck would be on the other side, as late in the period, a Burner hit Luscombe in the shoulder with a knuckler, and it bounced off his head, sat briefly on his other shoulder, then fell to an unmarked winger who knocked it home for a 2-0 lead. Beard would realize too late that he should’ve let go of his marked man, and gone after the puck with his mitt. Beard would say after the game “It was a bad time for me to miss that one. I didn’t see him. I won’t let that one happen again.”
The horn would sound with the Bros frustrated, and anxious for another shot. Circle the date on your Teamstuff® calendars. February 22 : the rematch.
Inside the Numbers:
100% -Bros’ Penalty Kill
0%-Bros’ Power Play
18-Burners’ Blocked Shots
23-Fans in the Stands
3-Unruly Fans in the Stands
0-Number of Barns Literally Set Aflame
*The Bros were given a gold star for perfect attendance.