AUSTIN, Texas (AP)- The Pond Hockey Club. The summer B1 season reached its denouement last night and featured the storied rivalry between the Bros Hockey Club and Burt’s Reynolds (nee Layin’ Pipe) for the glory of earning the title of “Champions.” This rivalry matchup dates back to the Pond B days with Burt’s Reynolds (BR) winning six championships in seven seasons, owning the dynasty franchise title on the Pond’s smaller ice sheet. Since the move to B1 at the Barn, however, the Bros have won two of the first three championships, including the most recent. The Boys in Black were riding a four game winning streak into the championship, and hoped to have just enough juice in the tank to pull out the back-to-back champions title against the Toothless Bandits.
The Bros were sloppy in the first period and were unable to find much luck anywhere on the ice. Goalie Chris “Speak Bro to Me” Luscombe carried the team on his shoulders as the Boys in Black were shelled heavily in the first. The defensive dam didn’t break, as the Bros held Burt’s Reynolds to low-chance shots until they snuck a puck past the toe of Luscombe to take a 1-0 lead.
The Bros gathered strength in the second period and had several quality chances foiled by BR goalie Marc Allen. With each shift, Chris “Breathe (In The Air Bro)” Beard and Kevin “Bro On the Run” Gifford kept getting closer and closer to scoring; a backhand shot from Beard missed by millimeters and just hit the post. Burt’s Reynolds phenom Parker Stewart collected a pass from BR captain Ryan Macia and shot from above the dots. The puck ricocheted off of Luscombe’s pad and shot straight up into the air where it came down behind him and into the back of the net to give BR a commanding 2-0 lead deep into the second with the crowd on their side. The Bros’ Jay “Bro Time” Wood chatted with the Boys in Black on the bench and kept the team emotionally and mentally in check. Undaunted, undeterred, and unfazed, Wood‘s fireside chats helped rally the offense. A quick pass from Steve “The Great Bro Gig in the Sky” Czerniak to Gifford set up Beard’s goal to bring the Bros within one. Fans in the stands could be heard cheering and jeering. Ross “Money Bro” Tagtow blocked two shots on the same shift to help Luscombe before the buzzer sounded signaling the end of the second frame of play.
The third period was dominated by the Bros and Luscombe dialed in between the pipes. A massive swing in momentum put BR on their heels. Defensive efforts and puck possession strength from Noah “Us Bros and Them” Leggett generated scoring opportunities, including Gifford‘s game-tying goal set up by the silky confidence of Kyle “Any Colour You Like Bro” McIntosh and Nick “Brain Damage Bro” Leggett. Bert “Eclipse Bro” Bischof and Travis “Wish You Were Here Bro” Considine dominated the neutral zone as Wood punished BR in the corners. Tagtow, captain Andrew “Comfortably Bro” Feigenbaum and Luscombe shut down the BR attacks and Feigenbaum‘s positioning took away several two-on-one opportunities for BR. Burt’s Reynolds staved off several late-period penalties and the game finished in regulation at a 2-2 tie.
For the second consecutive season, the championship game entered sudden death, stop-clock overtime. After nearly three minutes of hectic, frantic, and desperate hockey, the concatenation of circumstances led to the puck finding Fabian “Shine on You Crazy Bro” Figi‘s stick. He shot the puck and the rink went silent as the familiar ping of rubber hitting metal at a high velocity rang out through the crowd with the tonality of victory and the cry of defeat. The shot went far side bar down and the referee signaled a goal. The Bros, through adversity mid-season and after a four-game losing streak, found a way to rip off five straight wins to win back-to-back championships and their third in four seasons.
BHL correspondent Michelle McMahon caught up with Figi in the locker room for the team’s celebrations and asked him about the game-winning goal. “Well, Michelle, I just got really lucky. Closed one of my eyes and just threw the puck on net. Had to wait a second or two and then we saw the signal. I still can’t believe it.” Jeremy Roenick managed to get a word in with Noah Leggett after the game to ask about what this third championship means for the Bros. “I mean, I’m pretty happy about it. We really fought hard and everyone contributed all season. These last five games we just clicked and found ways to win. Jdub (Wood) has really been our glue this season and kept us loose- pulled us out of our heads a bit. Tags (Tagtow) absorbed those two massive shots, Luscombe was lights out. That last period was just us out there having fun with it. Giffy is a beer league generational talent. That guy is like a one in every ten seasons kind of talent. We’re definitley going to miss having him next season but we’ll look forward to getting him back at some point.” Mike Milbury spoke with the captain about the victory as well. “Mike, these guys just went hard and believed in themselves. Beardo (Beard) just never quits, Mac (McIntosh) just always found a way to the net- we’re gonna miss him. He’s so creative and dangerous- he really forced opponents to play him tough. But this whole team just top to bottom made this happen. Can’t say enough about how proud we are to play together like this.”
The Bros finished the season 9-6-0. The extended fall/winter season begins October 4th. The team’s general management doesn’t anticipate many changes, but the Bros are losing all-stars Gifford, Scott Van Pelt, and McIntosh.
William Lucas Van Pelt was born on Friday 9/22. Mother, father, and baby are doing great. The Bros have already signed him to a development contract.
BY THE NUMBERS
32- shots stopped by Luscombe.
27- goals scored by the Bros in the past 5 games.
6- goals allowed by the Bros in the past 5 games.
3- championships in 4 seasons for the Bros.