Thank God for town league hockey
by Than Acuff
Finally, it started. Town league hockey is upon us and I couldn’t be happier.
Well, a lack of snow has me a bit irritable and while I don’t play town league hockey, I can certainly use it as a chance to vent.
So, here we go.
Last week I read in one of those quick little news blurbs on the side of Facebook that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has his nuclear button sitting right on the desk next to him. And, being of low attention span and quick to jump to conclusions (like most of the world), I took that to mean that he’s about to bomb the daylights out of us and everyone else.
That’s Un-believable. Bang the Jong.
Then there’s all of the sexual harassment stuff, a sexual pervert almost retaining his Senate seat, more on that guy in the White House and a buddy who almost died recently and I was in dire need of a distraction.
I’ll be the first to admit, as I often did last year, that Melania Trump offers a fine distraction but even she bores me now. And seeing her next to him is like seeing a beautiful woman pick up after her dog.
Like I said, thank God for town league hockey.
Monday night my distraction from this world came in the form of a monumental showdown between Kochevar’s and High Country Capital Management (HCCM) at Big Mine Ice Arena before a crowd reaching double digits in size.
Kochevar’s opened the game noticeably casual in their approach as HCCM was anything but. The out and out hustle of the plucky HCCM squad created chances on net, resulted in a penalty and continually flustered the efforts of the seemingly superior Kochevar’s squad throughout the entire first period.
HCCM stepped it up a notch in the second period to open up additional looks on the Kochevar’s net as Eric Dishmon sped up-ice to set up Molly Keating, only to have her shot just miss its mark. A minute later Alex Albers did much the same to set up Jack Seiver but Kochevar’s goalie and last year’s co-MVP of the championship game Rowan Pershke made the save.
HCCM was all over the ice all period long, so much so that at one point they had three wide-open players surrounding the slot looking to poke a rebound past Perschke, only to miss the mark once again.
Kochevar’s got a subtle kick in the pants from teammate Mike Eaton as he spent the better part of his shift midway through the second period outskating everyone in attendance. While his efforts fell short of bearing fruit that time, it paid off two shifts later as he took a pass from Paul O’Connor and skated clear to net with a little shimmy and shake reminiscent of his days as a professional inline hockey player in the Northeast to score for a 1-0 Kochevar’s lead.
Kochevar’s tacked on a second goal early in the third period as O’Connor scored on a rebound off a shot from Jake Laramie and HCCM looked on the cusp of folding.
But some flash and dash from Seiver and John Peterson pulled HCCM back into the game, as did a penalty by Torrey Carroll.
HCCM was re-energized as Dishmon found Peterson across ice through the neutral zone with a pass and Peterson found the Kochevar’s defense sleeping to skate straight to net and score.
Three minutes later HCCM player Torrey Carroll picked up a penalty but that merely poked the badger even more as Peterson took advantage of the open ice to play the puck off the boards to himself and score again, tying the game 2-2.
Having blown a two-goal lead, Kochevar’s woke back up to retake the lead a minute later as Eaton skated coast-to-coast and around the zone to set up Laramie in the slot. Laramie’s shot hit off goalie Zach Vaughter, popped up in the air and then proceeded to trickle in for a 3-2 Kochevar’s lead.
A minute later, Kochevar’s struck again as Mikey Weil served the linchpin for the breakout, taking a pass off the boards and feeding Laramie up the middle for Laramie to fire another shot that popped up and somehow trickled in again.
But HCCM maintained their pace despite the two quick strikes and came right back to score once again, closing the gap back to one with just under a minute to play.
They called a timeout, caught their breath, pulled their goalie and scrambled for the game-tying goal, but Eaton struck one last time carrying the puck end-to-end to slip it in the empty net and seal the 5-3 Kochevar’s win.