AUSTIN, Texas (AP)- The Pond Hockey Club. The stands were empty last night as Austin’s casually loyal beer league hockey fans chose to hit the beaches for Spring Break or hit the lines downtown with aspirations of seeing their favorite bands and up-and-coming acts on stage. The Bros aspired to defeat the Barn Burners on the hunt to defend their championship title. Unfortunately, the team fell short and were defeated 4-3.
The Bros stravaged across the ice in the first and were unable to put any sort of offensive breakout plays together. The Barn Burners simple give-and-go plays were effective early on, and they took a 2-0 lead to end the first period. The Bros again relied heavily on goalie Chris “Trouble Weighs a Bro” Luscombe. He admirably defended the twine between the blood red irons as defensemen David “I Want Some Bro” Biagini, Andrew “HeartBROken, In Disrepair” Feigenbaum, Layne “Because I Should Bro” Brougher, and Chris “Whispered Words (Pretty Bros)” Beard struggled to get help pushing the puck out of the zone.
The Bros have struggled mightily with this issue all season. The forwards seem to catch passes while stationary, which kills the breakout momentum. Last night was no different. The Barn Burners’ second goal was off a turnover when Larry “When The Night Comes Bro” Powell could not get the puck out of the zone. Their third goal occurred after a saucer pass from Feigenbaum to Tom “Real Bro Desire” Harp was intercepted via a well-timed stick lift. The only effective breakout for the Bros occurred off a beautiful stretch pass up center ice from Feigenbaum to Noah “Mean Bronsoon” Leggett, who scored on the ensuing breakaway to cut the Barn Burners’ lead to two goals. Eddie “Dan Brorbach” Valls did a phenomenal job of carrying the puck deep behind enemy lines, but was unable to find much help in getting the puck to the net.
With momentum swinging their way, Beard cleared a puck stopped by Luscombe and deked, dangled, and willed the puck coast to coast and scored to bring the Bros within a goal. Nick “When I Left the Bro” Leggett put the afterburners on to help Feigenbaum break up a three-on-one opportunity for the Burners.
The lead was short-lived, however, as the Barn Burners scored again to push the score to 4-2. With a gleam in his eyes, Ross “The Bro Prowl” Tagtow sniped a glove-side high shot into the back of the net for his first goal of the season to bring the Bros back within one goal. Late game herculean attempts from Fabian “Keep it Bro” Figi and Drew “My Bro Mistake” John along with The Brothers Leggett helped the Bros surge in the final three minutes. At least four shots went off the post in the final minute after the Bros pulled Luscombe to add the extra attacker. Unfortunately, the Blacksweaters were unable to find more time and twine to tie the game.
In the post-game interview, Jeremy Roenick spoke with coach Scott “Broin’ Home” Van Pelt about the loss and the team’s mindset moving forward in the NIT bracket. “Well, Jeremy, I think this was a tough season for us. We had a lot of inconsistency offensively all season, and with the overall increase in skill level league-wide, we just didn’t get adjusted well enough or quick enough to be effective. We’ve been in every game, though, you know, and lost 4 shootouts. All our regulation losses were one-goal losses except for that two goal loss against Snipez. We’re in each game, we just weren’t able to finish the games strong. Looking toward next season, the team may make some adjustments and reevaluate some things, may send some guys down to the minors to brush up on their skills, you know, just make some tweaks to remain competitive and relevant in a league that continues to grow with more highly skilled players.”
With the victory, the Barn Burners continue on to the Winner’s Bracket. The Bros are mathematically in the hunt for, surprise surprise, third place. Next week’s game time and opponent have yet to be determined. For scoring his first goal of the season, beloved teammate Tagtow was awarded the team’s coveted Gonzales Flag.
Steph “Street Walkin’ Bro” Meyer DNP. He thought he turned left, but ended up turning right and didn’t realize it until he came out of a daze in Montana.
BY THE NUMBERS
26- Shots on goal for the Bros;
1- Goal for Tagtow this season, his first;
Several thousand gallons- fermenting beer that spilled out the sewer traps from Austin Beer Works into the Pond.