Bluega Whales v. GryffinDucks
The feature game last Sunday at Hartmeyer was the first real test of the first-place GryffinDucks. The team in maroon was without the league’s leading scorer, Chuck, who has 15 of the team’s 26 goals on the season. The Bluega Whale’s high-powered offense and solid defense was bolstered by the addition of Katy, the Flamer’s goalie, in net. If there was ever a matchup in which the league’s top team could look like an underdog, it was this one.
The opening minutes of the game tried to erase any doubt of maroon’s dominance. A few quality chances for the GryffinDucks had the Bluega Whales on their heels, unable to even exit their defensive zone until two minutes into the game.
That first zone exit would prove to be killer though. With the GryffinDucks caught in a delayed offside, Streicher was able to carry the puck all the way down the boards into the attacking zone. He attempted to pass to Ashleigh waiting in the low slot, but the pass was deflected into Ryan. Streicher picked up the rebound and maneuvered around the back of the net, just beating Ryan to the far post for a wraparound goal.
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After the goal, the Bluega Whales stole the momentum. Scoring chances evened out over the rest of the first period. Ryan became a lot more athletic in goal and began trying to set up breakouts for the GryffinDucks. A failed breakout attempt though would lead to a second goal for the Bluega Whales. After Sebastian tried to wrap the puck around the boards from behind the net, Streicher activated from the point and again tried to center a pass. After a few bounces, the puck found its way back to Streicher, who lifted it over Ryan’s pads for his second of the game. The Bluega Whales entered the first intermission with a 2-0 lead.
The second period started strong for the GryffinDucks, but Katy proved to be up to the task. After a scary spell of zone time where Ryan had lost his stick, Anton and Libs created an excellent 2-on-1. Katy tracked it the whole way and was able to easily block the resulting shot. Shortly after, Dan generated a breakaway chance by catching the Bluega Whale defense standing still. Once again, Katy was there with a pad save to keep maroon off the board. Libs would get one more quality chance before the period was up, taking an offspeed shot from the low slot. Katy was able to get a piece of it with her pad and it trickled onto the line but not over. Against all odds, the second period ended scoreless.
The third period would be all Bluega Whales. Despite the best efforts of the GryffinDucks defense, Ryan would be tested multiple times by high danger shots. Eventually the Bluega Whales got one more on the board, thanks to a beutiful play by Ashleigh. She took a hard shot from the top of the right circle, and Ryan was unable to control the rebound. He attempted to stick the puck towards the boards, but Ashleigh was crashing the net and it bounced off her shin pad. She picked it up behind the net and ricocheted it off Ryan’s skate as he was retreating into the net. An unusual goal, but a goal nonetheless.
When the dust (snow?) settled, the Bluega Whales had stunned the GryffinDucks and earned a 3-0 victory, scoring as many goals on Ryan as he had allowed in the entire rest of the season. Katy recorded the first shutout against the GryffinDucks, stopping all 20 shots put against her. With their second loss, Ryan’s first, the GryffinDucks fell out of first place in the league, though still maintain the top spot in the East Conference. With the win, the Bluega Whales move into third in the West Conference, as they hope to use their last three games to edge out the Greyt White Sharks or Green Gays and Ham, who are currently tied for first.
Looking Ahead: Golden Skate Warriors v. Lean Mean Pink Machines
Ashleigh will look to bring her success back to the Golden Skate Warriors, who are within striking distance of third place in the East Conference. The Lean Mean Pink Machines will be hungry for their first win of the season, especially after the incredible game they played last week against the (now) first-place Green Gays and Ham. The last time these two teams met, the Golden Skate Warriors easily claimed a 6-0 victory. Don’t expect that to be the case this time around. Keep an eye on the Lean Mean Pink Machines to play spoiler and showcase just how far a team can come in a few short months. Celebrate your favorite team winning (or eat your feelings after a loss) at Shamrock, our social sponsor for the evening. See you on Sunday!