AUSTIN, Texas (AP)- The Pond Hockey Club. On a breezy, cloudy Saturday afternoon, the Bros HC faced off against the Mean Eyed Cats (MEC) squad in front of a sell-out crowd. Both teams fed off the fans’ energy in what became an instant classic.
In what is now called the Thunder Over Texas Shootout, the Bros, dressed in the classic home black sweaters with white shoulders, white star and cannon, and yellow Gadsden snake, and stinger socks were matched in “True Texan” by the MEC decked out in their white, red, and blue uniforms feature the Texas flag and mean-eyed cat.
Both teams struggled to push the puck out of the neutral zone in the first period, but the Bros managed to strike first when Mike “Bro on, Bro on” Qualls put the puck through the five-hole on the MEC goalie. Shortly thereafter, Kyle “Bro Wedding” McIntosh also scored five-hole to give the Bros a 2-0 lead. The MEC struck back, and after the first period of play, the Bros held a narrow lead.
The second period featured power plays for both sides, but it was Nick “Bro in the City” Leggett who scored a shorthanded goal to give the Bros a 3-1 lead. The MEC clawed their way back, and managed to score two quick goals after Noah “Bro on Arrival” Leggett was unable to clear the puck out of the defensive zone. Noah Leggett roared back to life and scored on his next shift off a beautiful set up from Fabian “It’s So Bro” Figi to give the Bros a 4-3 lead at the close of the second period.
The Bros continued to nurse their one goal lead into the middle of the third, but the rebarbative play of the MEC kept them in the hunt for victory. Excellent neutral zone presence by Travis “Congo Bro” Consadine and Bert “Dancing with My Bro” Bischof flustered MEC forwards and prevented odd man rushes.
Despite the Bros best efforts, a quality attempt led to another MEC goal to tie the game again. After Nick Leggett was called for tripping, the Bros found themselves shorthanded with four minutes remaining in the game. Captain Andrew “Brobody’s Business” Feigenbaum cleared the puck out of the zone in the direction of MEC defenseman Michael Nightingale. Scott “Bro Calling” Van Pelt stripped Nightingale of the puck and scored with a slapshot from the point to give the Bros a 5-4 lead. In the final two minutes of play, the MEC again tied the game off a fluke deflection when the puck was redirected off of Kerry “Hole in the Bro” McAlister‘s stick. Undeterred, the team staved off the final MEC surge, and the game went to the shootout.
Chris “Shooting Stars Bro” Luscombe stopped both of the MEC’s top two sharpshooters, and Van Pelt scored with another five-hole shot for the game winner. McIntosh scored five hole in the second round of the shootout to give the Bros the insurance goal.
For his clutch performance, including the late shorthanded goal and the game winning shootout goal, Scott Van Pelt was awarded the team’s coveted Gonzales Flag. For his shootout heroics and for turning out another solid performance between the pipes, Chris Luscombe was awarded the team’s Gadsden Flag and second star.
Mike Milbury had a chance to talk to Van Pelt shortly after the game to ask Scott what the win meant for the Bros. “Mike, we went out there and just willed our way through it. Gritty play from all the boys today, just went hard, focused on the basics, and put a lot of shots on net. I think Luscombe came up huge for us there in the shootout.” Milbury then asked Van Pelt about his shootout goal. “I just knew I had to be patient and wait for him [goalie] to open up five-hole. We beat him all game there, so I just wanted to wait until I had him off balance and get the puck past him.”
The Bros look to continue their hot streak against Snipez this Wednesday at 6:45 pm.
-Ross Tagtow was a healthy scratch because he was taking long shifts on the ambulance bench.
-Chris Beard was a healthy scratch because he was literally at a white wedding.
BY THE NUMBERS
2: Consecutive stops by Luscombe in the shootout to give the Bros the win.
4: Straight victories for the Bros; a franchise record
5: Most goals the Bros have had to score to take a game to the shootout.