Fly Eagles Fly!
by Than Acuff
First of all, how does a team that hasn’t won a town league title since 2014 get not just one, but two sponsors? Granted, the Brick Oven, now Ska Brewing/Brick Oven, team did win three titles in a row back when the Brick Oven franchise was in its heyday with hockey league titles, Chainless World Championship titles and some other title I know I’m forgetting, but that they will remind me of, if they read this.
Fat bike title?
Crested Butte Classic title?
Nordic citizens race series title?
Anyway, Dan and Brian, being the business geniuses that they are, must have known it wouldn’t last long so they sold half of their hockey team to a brewery knowing that in the end, win or lose, there would be beer.
Inside sources tell me though, that they are looking to rebuild their sports franchise as there is talk of the Rasta Hairnets returning to softball this summer.
Until then, they will have hockey, and beer, and the two came together Monday night, February 5, as they faced the Talk of the Town in town league hockey action.
The first two periods were back and forth despite the obvious numbers advantage of the Talk. While the Talk had a full bench, the Brick showed up with eight skaters total, including goaltender Jake Beren.
The Brick opened the scoring as Jeff Black carried the puck from behind the net (FROMBENE) and into the slot to slip it past Talk goalie Ryan Kay. The Talk got a break seven minutes into the first period as Mark Cram chopped an unsuspecting Talk player down with his stick to warrant a penalty, giving the Talk a powerplay. While most powerplays tend to be somewhat negligible in town league hockey, this one was not as the Talk took the opportunity to press into the Brick’s zone.
After a few failed attempts to set up in the Brick’s zone, Bill Frame took matters into his own hands skating the puck solo into their zone and firing a shot to catch Beren off-guard and tie the game 1-1.
Beren made up for it a minute later as the Talk returned on the attack to set up a clear lane to net but Beren fell forward like a nitrous casualty at a Dead show to stop the shot.
The Brick breakout then made the difference minutes later as they pushed the puck up the boards to Kent Preston. Preston looked up to find Matt Gutter turn on the afterburners and split the Talk defenseman and slipped the puck ahead to Gutter. Gutter carried his big stride momentum past the Talk defense and fired a shot seemingly through the glove of Kay for the goal.
Then, in a classic barroom brawl, the Talk came right back at the Brick a minute later as Nathan Lacy jumped on a loose puck and caught the lone Brick defenseman falling to skate to net and score, tying the game up 2-2.
The first half of the second period played out much like the entire first period as the two teams traded off attacks. The Brick struck first as Black took advantage of a melee caused in the slot by Dan Loftus to fire the puck through traffic and past Kay for a 3-2 Brick lead. Eighteen seconds later the Talk responded as Tom Collins skated onto a pass from Matisse Baugh to find a seam to the Brick net and score, tying the game up once again.
The Brick looked to put the game away for good though as they opened up a can to fire off two goals in the final five minutes of the second period. Gutter dropped a no look pass to Preston, who calmly slid the puck inside the post past Kay for a 4-3 lead. Then, in the final minute of the period, Kent’s brother Ben Preston skated free up-ice and held off the last Talk defenseman to score for a 5-3 Brick lead heading into the third period.
Black scored a sixth goal with four minutes left in the game for a 6-3 Brick lead and the game appeared all but done until the Talk called a time-out and reorganized.
They came out of the break with new lines in place and proceeded to score two goals in the span of 10 seconds. Collins fired the first of two lightning strikes and Lacy the second, forcing the Brick to call a time-out to try to derail the Talk freight train.
The Talk pulled their goalie with a minute left in the game and were firing away at the net, but not only can Beren ski big peaks, he can also make big saves, and he did what needed to be done to hold off the barrage and help seal the 6-5 Brick win.