So there’s that
by Than Acuff
We’re three weeks into town league hockey now and it’s shaping up to be another great season. You’ve got your top teams, your middle of the road grinders and the bottom feeders who are just one player and several goals away from being somebody.
Wait—everyone is aware that we are on the cusp of Melania, right?
Okay, good. ’Cuz it’s going to be awesome!
Tuesday night, with the bigger, better, more better shadow of a Trump presidency casting across America, which will be great again, believe me, the Eldo and Altitude Painting squared off in town league hockey and not a single person out of the entire crowd, nine people strong, was left disappointed as the Eldo took down Altitude Painting 5-3.
Both teams were short-handed come game time with Altitude skating just seven players plus goalie Shawn Harrington and the Eldo with eight skaters plus Roan Pershk in goal.
Nevertheless, the lack of players had no effect on the lack of heart on the ice, with the Eldo jumping out to a sizeable lead, only to have Altitude come roaring back but eventually falling in the end.
Net minding was the name of the game in the opening minutes as both Harrington and Pershk denied open looks on their nets as their teammates were scrambling to find some semblance of position play up and down the ice.
The Eldo opened the scoring four minutes into the game when Mike Preston stepped in front of a breakout pass to stop an Altitude breakout. The effort caught Altitude horribly out of position and Preston found Ian Baird wide open in front of the net and Baird slipped the puck into the corner for the 1-0 lead.
Ninety seconds later Will Muller broke free to net a second Eldo goal and then struck again in the eighth minute of the first period as he caught Altitude during a shift change and skated up ice to score a short-handed goal for a 3-0 Eldo lead after one period of play.
Altitude speedster Luke Haggerty was determined to make a difference. He came close in the opening minute of the second period but Paul Tilger turned him away with some solid defense and the Eldo turned back up ice to turn the screw one more rotation. Baird shut off an Altitude breakout up the boards with a quality forecheck and then found Muller open in the slot with a pass. Muller netted his third of the game and the Eldo was sitting on a 4-0 lead. It looked like we were in for a blow-out.
But two things happened. One, Muller was at the three-goal max for players and ostensibly handcuffed from doing much of anything. And, two, Altitude’s patience and commitment to team play finally paid off, sparked by the play of Bill Frame.
Frame stepped inside the blue line to keep the puck alive and passed it to Haggerty wide of the net. Haggerty took a look and found Will Nunez crashing the slot with a pass through traffic and Nunez scored to put Altitude on the scoreboard.
Haggerty continued to push the pace, Frame ripped a shot off the crossbar and then three minutes later Altitude struck again as Bruce Winchenbach followed on a rebound to poke a second Altitude goal in.
After numerous tries, Haggerty then finally found the back of the net with 40 seconds left in the second, taking a pass from Frame to score and pulling Altitude to within one goal heading into the third period.
Yet, just as things were looking up for Altitude Painting, the Eldo regrouped to strike back. Two minutes into the third period, Tilger dropped the puck to Preston at the point and Preston fired a shot through the flesh mass in front of the net and off the inside of the post for a 5-3 Eldo lead.
The two teams spent the remainder of the period trading blows but both Harrington and Perschk were spot-on in net and the Eldo finished with the 5-3 win.