AUSTIN, Texas (AP)- The Pond Hockey Club. It was opening night for the Spring B1 Beer Leagues at the Barn after a brief off season which saw its fair share of mix-ups, flair ups, back-end trades, front end-loading, and renewed and revitalized senses of team worth. Each of the six teams in the division stepped out on the ice last night with focus and purpose. The Bros HC faced a formidable foe and early season challenge last night against the Barn Burners. The Bros, dressed in their classic black sweaters crested with the white star and cannon and signature hornet socks, looked to use the game as a litmus test to feel out five new members in the locker room.
The Bros started out sloppy, and were slow to generate shots until Scott “Bridges and Bros” Van Pelt found twine on his first shot of the season off a beautiful setup from Fabian “Tell The Truth Bro” Figi. Van Pelt appeared to pick up right where he left off last season after his devastating season-ending wrist injury. The Blacksweaters lead was shortlived, however. Goalie Chris “Death Wish Bro” Luscombe made three SportsCenter Top 10 Plays of the Day saves, but a bouncing puck on edge can wreak havoc on anyone, and this time it found its way behind the goal line as the Burners tied the game. As the first period continued, so did the Bros quality scoring attempts. Ross “The Inerrancy of Bro and Me” Tagtow ended his scoreless drought on a wrist shot from the blue line, and the 2-1 Bros lead was quickly added to when Figi scored his first goal of the night. After the buzzer sounded, the scoreboard reflected a two-goal lead for your Boys in Black.
The second period was more of the same for the Bros, when Nick “Polo Bro” Leggett scored off a play set up by Noah “Flag on the Can, Bro” Leggett and newcomer Kyle “Will I be Known to Bro” McIntosh. The Leggett, Leggett, McIntosh line dominated play on the forecheck and through the neutral zone last night, giving the Bros countless offensive opportunities. Figi continued his hot streak by scoring his second of the night and first shorthanded goal of the season after captain Andrew “Perfect Bro Wave” Feigenbaum and his new defensive partner Kerry “Pretty Good WiFi, Bro” McAlister set up the drive in the neutral zone. Shutdown defense from Chris “Broish Americans” Beard preserved the lead as the Bros closed out the second period with a 5-2 lead.
Drew “Bro of the West” John got the last-minute call to switch from wing to center, and he did not disappoint. Last night, John won a staggering 125% of his face-offs. While it seemed like 125%, he was closer to a still-dominating 90% faceoff success. Another Bro newcomer, Bert “Bro Tomson” Bischof found his stride with the team in the third. A well-timed poke check allowed McIntosh to score his first goal of the season with a Datsyukian backhand toe drag. Travis “Ra Ra Bro” Considine was dusting 10 years of dirt, rust, and cobwebs off, yet still found a way to put himself in every play. Considine‘s no-look redirect passes were accurate, and helped set up Nick Leggett‘s second goal of the game. Halfway through the third and final period, the Bros commanded a five goal lead. Another newcomber to the team, Mike “Vampire Bro” Qualls dominated the corners on the forecheck and played a sound positional game. Qualls and Considine are going to pair well with the John’s bulldog mentality on the ice this season. McGuire caught up with Considine after the game to ask how it felt to be back on the ice. “Well Pierre, it’s slippery out there. Just went out there, tried not to mess up too badly, used my hockey senses to just focus on playing smart and I’m really looking forward to contributing to the team.”
Despite countless blocks by Feigenbaum and McAlister, the Barn Burners dug in and kept peppering Luscombe with shots, and found success two more times. The Burners had excellent puck movement, and were cycling well. Even though the Bros carried a 7-4 lead with 32 seconds remaining in the game, Feigenbaum showed perspicacious judgment and called a timeout. Pierre McGuire heard the captain called the unexpected timeout as a teachable moment so that the Bros could learn from their mistake as the Burners cycling from the corners was generating too many quality attempts.
For his outstanding play defending the crease, Chris Luscombe was awarded the team’s highly revered and coveted Gonzales Flag. For his seemingly 14 point night, Van Pelt was awarded second star of the game.
After the 7-4 victory, the Bros look to next Wednesday at 9:35 against the Master Skaters.
By the Numebrs
7- Most goals scored by the Bros in an opening game;
4- Points for Van Pelt
1- Number of times the Bros have won their first game of the season.
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