“The odds are good, but the goods are odd”
by Than Acuff
The quarterfinal playoff game Monday night between Bliss Chiropractic and the Talk of the Town was a lot like the movie “Cocaine Bear.” Hopes were high but eventually hopes were dashed.
Side note, during one of the few good parts of “Cocaine Bear,” the gratuitously gory part, a majority of the crowd was laughing at the ridiculousness of it all when a woman stood up in the theater to chastise us because the movie was based on a true story. So, you’re telling me that a Forest Service employee actually did fall out of the back of an ambulance, flipped over in the gurney grinding her face on the pavement, and the ambulance then smashed into a tree sending one of the EMTs 20-feet airborne through the windshield?
I did not know that.
RIP Ray Liotta.
And I’m barely a fan of the NFL, but the XFL?
I haven’t actually watched a game, but I did watch a clip where the announcers turned away from their pregame analysis to point out an incredible beer snake in the crowd. I can’t imagine Terry, Howie, Curt, Michael and Jimmy doing that before an NFL game.
I wonder, just wonder, if fans could get a beer snake going all the way around Big Mine Ice Arena at the Crested Butte town league hockey championship game scheduled for Friday, March 10, at 6:45 p.m.
Until then, the field of teams is dwindling in the single-elimination format of the town league playoffs as Altitude Painting lost to Kochevar’s, leaving Altitude Painting without a single win all season, and Lacy’s Construction sent REG packing last Thursday.
Four more teams squared off on Monday, March 6, looking to move on to the semifinals and I may have picked the wrong game to cover because, when Bliss and the Talk of the Town took to the ice, one very important ingredient was missing: a goalie.
The teams and officials conferred, and it was decided that the lone goalie there, Luke McMullan, would play half the game in net for one team and the other half for the other team. Meanwhile, the team without the goalie would have six skaters and an open net.
Soooo… suffice it to say, it wasn’t the best game. But I will say that it sure made the team without a goalie skate that much harder, bringing at least a semblance of intensity and intention to the ice. That is, until the third period.
Bliss played the first period without a goalie and the Talk of the Town’s initial series of long open-net attempts proved fruitless. Meanwhile, Bliss used their extra skater to set up in Talk’s zone and fire shots at will, scoring two minutes into the game as Ned Stitt scored off an assist from Isaac Evans.
Talk defensemen Axel Deer and Pink Loubier proved a little more disciplined as they looked to actually move the puck farther up the ice before shooting on the empty net, but Bliss made a point of shutting things down in the neutral zone to prevent any quality looks.
Bliss struck again in the ninth minute as Eric Dishmon slipped the puck to Evans in the slot and Evans roofed it for a 2-0 lead.
The Talk finally figured out how to take advantage of the empty net to finish the first period when both Ashton Mabry and Dakota Wiggins scored, and we were all tied up 2-2.
Per the pregame decision, McMullan would remain in net for the Talk of the Town for the first half of the second period, the midpoint of the game, and then switch to Bliss’s net for the remainder of the game.
That said, no one scored in the first six minutes of the second period and when Bliss got McMullan in net, Stitt scored on the Talk’s empty net taking Bliss up 3-2. The Talk didn’t show the discipline to use their extra skater to set up like Bliss did for the first half. Bliss then proceeded to exploit the Talk’s empty net like a bear that found kilos of cocaine dropped into the Tennessee woods.
Bliss’s Billy Watson scored their fourth goal off an assist from Thomas McLean and then netted another empty-netter for a 5-2 lead. Deer did step in front of a Bliss shot to block it, and Mabry skated coast-to-coast beating McMullan with a silky double move for a third Talk goal, but Bliss scored four more empty-net goals to win 9-3 to face Lacy’s in the semifinals.
In the second, and probably more exciting game with goalies in both nets, Ska Brewing and the Sunflower were tied 3-3 with four minutes left in regulation before Ska sealed the win with two late-game goals to move on and face Kochevar’s in the other semifinal.
With the semifinal games on Wednesday, we’ll see you at the finals Friday at 6:45 p.m. Beer Snake!