Lip Sweaters Unraveled
Posted by: R Forbes on Sat Dec 16th 2017 12:57pm
In a refreshing change from the previous week, Bear Republic had a deep bench and used it to overwhelm the Lip Sweaters (the skaters formerly known as the Undead) with a convincing 10-5 victory. The undisputed star of the game was Aaron J, who tallied 5 goals and an assist. He and his line mates, Harut S and Lee H (3 assists and 2 assists, respectively), worked synchronously for 60 minutes of hockey the way it should be played - hard nosed, smart and selfless. The passes were crisp and on the tape, skates were always in motion, and heads were up looking for the open teammate. Not to be outdone, Danny A, Nick S and Aaron T formed an equally potent line, with Danny and Nick burying 2 goals apiece. The scorer assigned a goal to Roy F, but as prolific as he's been lately with solid shots from the point, the only goal he's earned this season was an own-goal he beautifully redirected past Larry C a few games back. So whoever wants to claim a goal, it's yours! Rounding out the offensive effort was John O's selfless play through the forward lines.
As obvious and mighty as our offensive firepower is to all who look at the scoreboard and stat sheet, the silent heroes continue to be a stingy defense. Against the Lip Sweaters, Arne M, Elvis H, Ben H and Roy did a great job of clearing the crease against a physical team, disrupting passing lanes in our zone and intercepting clearing passes in neutral ice. Their efforts were amplified by the wings who hounded the puck all over the ice and helped ensure the Lip Sweaters never really got into a consistent offensive flow. You can't talk about defense without recognizing the consistent and rock solid play between the pipes of Larry, who was, once again, great in goal. In addition to directing traffic and letting the D know where uncovered opponents are lurking around the net, one of many other things Larry does so well (from this defenseman's POV, anyway) is pounce on loose pucks in traffic anywhere near the crease. Stopping play this way immediately ends any potential chaos and threat that poses around the goal, and allows everyone to reset.
As well as the men in gold have been playing, there is always room for improvement. We need to get better at clearing our zone and not turning over the puck at our blue line. Additionally, wings need to be more vigilant about sticking on the points and not chasing the puck around in our defensive zone. All these things are easily remedied as long as we continue to give the effort we have been. Skate smart. Skate hard. Bear strong.
Posted by: R Forbes on Sat Dec 09th 2017 11:16am
With just 6 skaters, Bear Republic suffered its first defeat of the season at the hands of the Borachos. Despite a short bench which saw Ben and Roy playing D for the full 60 minutes, the team acquitted itself honorably, losing 4-3. Once again, Larry was strong between the pipes. The Borrachos only managed 4 goals, one of which came in the first two minutes of play when the men of gold had to skate short handed while they waited for the arrival of Scott and Lee, who were still suiting up in the locker room.
Fatigue and effort were never an issue, as the Intrepid 7 fought hard for three full periods. Aaron J continued to bedevil and frustrate the opposition with masterful puck handling, which gave the offense a chance to generate a disproportionate and surprising number of scoring opportunities relative to the bench depth. Scott, Lee and Aaron didn't allow the short bench to curtail their effort and were relentless in their forechecking and pursuit of the puck.
Smart playing was equally responsible as effort and moxie for the close result. While in our offensive zone, wings took advantage of lax positioning by the Borrachos and frequently sent the puck to our wide open D at the point, who peppered the goalie with some searing shots. The first Bear Republic goal came off a blistering slap shot by Ben, which Lee managed to artfully redirect past the goalie. The second goal was similar, only this time Roy launched from the point, and Aaron J picked up a juicy rebound at the crease, then waited patiently for the goalie to commit, before closing the deal with a quick wrister. The game was knotted at two a piece in the 3rd, when Scott somehow managed to thread the needle at an impossible angle from the left side at the circle and send the puck over the goalie's shoulder into the upper right corner of the net. The joy at claiming the lead was relatively short lived, as we failed to clear the puck effectively from our zone and turned it over a couple of times at critical moments. The Borrachos were able to convert these into goals, with the final and go-ahead goal coming with just over a minute remaining. Overall, we played the kind of hockey we are capable of playing: solid D, crisp passing, smart puck movement, and good positioning. If a couple of the guys who "no showed" had been there, the game was ours.
While there was understandable disappointment over losing a game we could have won, the reigning emotion was satisfaction with the effort and how we kept the game as close as we did with just one sub. We can use this as fuel for our upcoming game against the Lip Sweaters (formerly Undead) to get back on track. Skate smart. Skate hard. Bear strong.
Bear Republic Juggernaut: 4-0-1
Posted by: R Forbes on Fri Dec 01st 2017 6:42pm
Five games into the season, Bear Republic sits undefeated atop the standings, at 4-0-1. Nipping at their heels, one point behind, are the Wolves. But as last season showed, a torrid start does not necessarily translate into a league championship. A lot can happen over the remaining 15 games, so the men of gold can't afford to get complacent.
Several factors have contributed to the team's early success. Larry C's stellar net minding has picked up right where he left off last season. Danny A continues to leave trails of melted ice in the wake of his scorching speed and leads the team in scoring with 10 goals and 3 assists. Aaron J is frustrating the hell out of opposing defenses with his puck handling, passing, two-way play, and scoring, trailing Danny by one, with 12 points. Nick S is quietly assaulting the net and setting up his line mates, sporting an impressive 3.0 pts/game average. Scott S's return from the IR has brought increased energy, effort and a lot of offensive firepower - a gaudy pts/game average of a notch under 4. New acquisition Chris A, who formerly handled ordnance for carrier-based fighters in the Navy, has peppered opposing goals with missiles of his own, sniping 7 goals in the two games he's played. In addition to the proliferation of goals from these five, seven others have scored at least one goal (not including the incredible own-goal deflection Roy F had last game). Within this group, grizzled veterans Aaron T and John O have provided an unexpected offensive boost, with each having found the back of the net three times so far, prompting cries from opponents to have them tested for PEDS.
The biggest question mark coming into the season was the Defense. With only aging, but wily, Roy guaranteed to return on a consistent basis, it was not clear who would step in to fill the void week in and week out. The first piece of the defensive puzzle to fall into place was a favorable schedule that allowed the team's defensive anchor Elvis H to commit. Next, Ben H returned from his excellent European adventure and Arne M came back from the IR, to restore some speed, scrappiness and fire power to the D. The embarrassment of defensive riches continued when Harut S apparently changed his mind and decided to work his schedule so he can make more games than he thought. The final piece to fall into place was the result of Roy scouring the Halls of Montezuma and the Shores ot Tripoli (aka the draft list) to secure the services of Garret L, who brings some mad D skills as the last piece of the Bear Republic defensive bulwark.
Savvy acquisitions, a brilliant G.M. and the return of some key players only go so far in explaining the team's success. The final ingredient in the secret sauce is that the same guys are consistently showing up, which has resulted in improved passing, better positioning, and a constant hustle and overall relentlessness that has proved contagious throughout the lines and toxic to the opposition.
The next three games are against teams that have traditionally matched up well against us and really forced us to be on the top of our game. This will be a good barometer to see how well the rest of the season should stack up. It all starts with each person showing up ready to give the best they have. Skate smart. Skate hard. Bear strong.
New Season Off To A Good Start
Posted by: R Forbes on Fri Oct 27th 2017 11:16pm
With just five forwards and three defensemen - two of whom hadn't skated in over a season, it was a trial by fire for Bear Republic on opening night. Despite the short bench, the Bear Republic skaters showed some moxie, eking out a narrow 4-3 victory over the Wolves. Danny notched a Hat Trick, putting Connor McDavid on notice that he's not the only one who can score three in the season's first game. Aaron J aggravated Wolves forwards and defensemen all night with his puck handling, and sailed a gorgeous slap shot past a baffled Wolves goalie into the upper right corner.
After missing last season, Ben was back in fine form and showed no signs of rust from not having laced up the skates in a while. Arne was back as well, having missed all of last season due to injury. After whiffing on a couple of shots early on, Arne regained his form and made life miserable for the Wolves forwards.
Roy clearly confused ice hockey for pro wrestling and managed to get himself "excused" from the game late in the 3rd period after picking up his fourth penalty. Undaunted by the loss of a skater, everyone waived off any exhaustion to hold off the Wolves' desperate final - and futile, attack.
Larry preserved the win with some stellar play between the pipes, in what has become a routine and signature performance.
All in all, it was a great way to start the season, and we'll undoubtedly only perform even better with the full compliment of Bear Republic skaters. Skate smart. Skate hard. Bear strong.
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