AUSTIN, Texas (HockeyNews)- The Pond Hockey Club. After seven straight winless games to start the Winter season, the Bros knew they had to come out inspired to earn their first win. You could even hear it in the locker room chatter before the game: “I hardly slept at all–I’m exhausted,” one player said. “Let’s try not to lose today,” said another. Spirits were high, and the Bros collectively decided to channel that energy into the rarely implemented “hit ’em soft” strategy in the first period, so as to lull them into a false sense of security.
It worked like a charm. The first period started cautiously, allowing the Bros to let the play come to them–and the defensive pairing of David “I Want Bro” Biagini and Andrew “Crazy for Bro” Feigenbaum did just that. Bags held his position well, diffusing dangerous odd-man rushes, winning the puck in the corners, and finding good outlet passes up ice. Feigs provided the muscle, walling-off the middle against any “foreign bodies,” clearing rebounds, and putting an elbow into anything that was orange and moved. Late in the first though, the Bros found a little luck on the offensive side. Fabian “When I’m With Bro” Figi won a faceoff cleanly to Layne “Summer Bro” Brougher, who was pressured quickly by Orange, but threaded the puck over to Chris “Honey Bro” Beard. With Orange in his face, Beard could only fire a half-speed one timer at the goal, but the puck bounced loose and BOOM–Eddie “Brofriend” Valls fought his way to the rebound to put the Bros up 1-0.
The second period belonged to Chris “Our Bro” Luscombe, as the Bros held onto their one goal lead like a Republican holds onto their constituents’ tax dollars. Despite the fervid two-way play of actual bro Bros Nick “When the Sun Don’t Bro” and Noah “Bratty Bro” Leggett, and grinding work from Drew “Each and Every Bro” John, the Bros were being out-shot for extended stretches of the period, and Luscombe had to stay aggressive. He cut down angles and attacked puck, stayed active with the paddle, and silenced second opportunities with his mitt. Longtime Bro Scott Van Pelt embraced his new temporary head coaching role for the team and could already be seen penciling in his 1st star of the game. After a few too many highlight-reel saves, the Bros knew they needed to regain control of play.
The Bros entered the 3rd ready for that fight, and the ice started to tilt the other direction. Stephan “Happy Bro” Meyer and Tom “Bro End” Harp were seen sustaining cycles in the offensive zone long enough for the consummate rink rate Michael Nightingale to down two Coors Lights. The crowd started call the Mastery of the orange Skaters into question. But despite an increasing shot count and good bouts of bro pressure, Orange kept getting new life on the power play. Captain Feigs was getting a little out-of-hand with the muscle, and was called for two, Drew for another, and all of a sudden it felt like the Bros were on their heels for half the third. But some good defensive coverage from Larry “Goodbro” Powell, Valls, Harp, and the Brothers Leggett helped out the harrowed and shorthanded defense. The continued willingness of the forwards to cover back also provided chances for Layne and Beard to join the rush, and it was just such an opportunity that handed the Bros their two goal cushion. Beard turned the corner on an errant neutral zone pass, curled between the two defensemen and caught goalie Brandon Fawks off-guard with a quick shot five hole.
For the remainder of the game, Bros held the fort. The last two minutes provided some empty net shenanigans, but the buzzer would sound before Layne could even say “Shutout,” and the Bros headed to the locker room with a sense of relief, and a sign that things are pointed up. Luckily, they have a quick turnaround to Saturday night’s game, because they’re ready to build on their momentum right away.
Ross Tagtow — spent the week observing the migration patterns and mating rituals of the Greater sage-grouse.
By the numbers:
3 Overtime loss points for the Bros
0 Overtime loss points for every other team
2 Career shutouts for Luscombe
70% Approximate FO% for Bros’ pivots (last night)
12 Approximate Bros blocked shots (last night)