Blades Win Over Westchester
By L. Hayes
Gather around, gars & goyles, for the recap of a spine chilling event! Our second game took place on the eve of Halloween, and it was a dark and stormy night…. no, really, it was! Rain and clouds and flashes of lightning and everything!
A full Blades bench was ready to take on the Westchester Wildcats. We were missing a few of our petrifying players, like the Murderous Angel of MeriDeath, and our mind-boggling hybrid, Carol-Animal – half-human! Half-lawyer! All hockey player!
But we were in good shape with our frightening forwards. Leading the onslaught were
Kill-y, centering Jackie O’Lantern and the Cherrybomber; followed by Diabolical Danielle, between Ninja Nina and Doctor Sue-pernatural; and Deb the Real NJ Devil, with Laurie Don’tGoIntoTheWoodsItsLikeYouveNeverSeenAHorrorMovieBefore, and Terrifying Tanya.
The blue liners were ClareVoyant, Laura AlienBaby, The Tan(ya) Mom (OK, no one else still thinks the original Tan Mom is the scariest creature ever to set foot in NJ? Just me?) & me, your humble ghostwriter.
And In net, our ghoulie, Dawn of the Dead!
And of course our bench coach/note-taker, Stephanie the Puck Slayer.
First periods are often about sizing up your opponent, but in this one, the mayhem began early. In her very first shift, Alyssa took it all the way into the Wildcats’ zone for a shot, only to be stopped dead by their goalie. A series of fierce battles ensued. The puck was spirited up and down the ice. Laura chased down a Wildcat who made it into our zone, leaning on her and forcing her into the boards. Clare scooped up the puck and carried it behind the net before sending it up and around to Deb. Deb seemed to be having an out of body experience in this game – she was forechecking, backchecking, and covering the ice from side to side, seemingly tirelessly!
The Wildcats got the puck deep in our zone and tried to crash the net, but despite a screen Dawn got to the puck before it did any damage. On the face off, Deb tipped the puck back to Tanya, who skated it out.
Westchester came roaring back but Laura defanged them with a quick poke check. The puck ping ponged around our zone until Clare got her stick on it, and dropped back until she had line of sight with Kelly for a pass.
More back and forth, as the Wildcats took numerous stabs at scoring. Then the Blades drove into the offensive zone. Westchester almost cleared the puck but Tanya stepped up to keep it in. Sue ghosted in from the high slot to catch a quick cross ice pass and fire a one-timer at the net. The puck bounced off the goalie’s pad but Danielle was there to bury the rebound! 1-0 Blades!
Westchester came back and Dawn was kept busy, swatting at pucks that flew through the air like rabid bats. Kelly won the face off in our zone and Tanya cleared the puck up to Alyssa, who used dead reckoning to send the puck right to Kelly, now in the middle of the neutral zone. With Jackie coming in low to scare up some pressure, Kelly and Alyssa circled. Alyssa came from behind the net, saw an opening and rang her shot off the post! It bounced off the goalie right to Kelly, who put it in the back of the net! Only halfway through the period and the Blades were up 2-zip!
Rather than putting a stake through their hearts, the second goal just got Westchester all riled up. They came at the net looking for blood. Sue hit the ice, as the Wildcats bludgeoned their way to the net. Danielle and Laura worked to cut down the bodies in front of the net, while Clare moved the puck. Nina managed to distract a pair of forwards on the boards, and the puck went out for the clear.
It came back all too quickly, and this time Clare went behind the net to send the puck to Laura, who got it to Tanya the Forward who took it and ran, while Deb and Laurie came in behind. Another reversal of fortune, and the puck came back. This time Tanya the Defender cleared it up the boards to Alyssa, who made a hard crisp pass to Kelly. Kelly’s snapshot went through the five hole, and the score was 3-0 with less than a minute to go in the first period.
Kelly won the face off over to Alyssa, who carried the puck screaming into their zone, outskating the stunned defense to shoot and put the Blades up 4-0! That might be the fastest pair of goals the Blades have ever scored!
As the second period started, Westchester tried to crawl out of the hole we’d dug them. Deb and Tanya backchecked a furious charge. Tanya passed to Tanya, over to Laurie who calmly held onto the puck and skated through enemy territory, moving the puck up the boards even after she was stopped.
But the Wildcats turned it around and started another series of end to end runs. Kelly, Jackie and Alyssa tried to get disrupt them and get their own rhythm going, but aggressive defense drove Alyssa into the boards – and into her own stick!
Dawn worked the crease, keeping the Wildcats off the board. In the neutral zone, Danielle tapped a beautiful pass over to Sue to carry in. Nina got a shot on net from the side of the net. But the Wildcats were locking down their zone.
Halfway through the period, Dawn smothered a play. But Westchester scored a fast one right off the face off, to make it 4-1.
The Blades played it cool. On the next attack, Clare skated behind the net and up to find Laurie. Laurie carried the puck, then passed to Deb who gave it right back to her for the shot. Westchester broke it out, but Laura foiled their plans, and gave the puck to Tanya to dump deep in their zone. The Wildcats cleared it again and this time took a shot from the point as they came at us. Dawn shut it down and the period ended 4-1.
As the third started, Westchester kept coming, as relentless as a zombie army. But unlike the protagonists in Night of the Living Dead, the Blades didn’t panic or move the furniture against the doors as the Wildcats tried to claw their way in. They tried to get the jump on us, with cherry pickers sneaking behind. They crashed the net, to create mad scrambles in front. One puck sizzled along the crease and rang off the far post! But Dawn kept her cool, even as the pace increased.
The Blades skated so hard, it’s a wonder the ice didn’t have scorch marks. Tanya the Forward backchecked with a vengeance, while Deb skated from side to side, to help out where she was needed most. Laurie’s timing was excellent as she held the puck and passed to Tanya in a give and go to break into the offensive zone. Danielle’s speed made her a defensive asset as she got back to our net to even up a three on two.
The Wildcats tried to ratchet up the frenzy, while the Blades tried to calm things down. But they got another goal when an attention-grabbing flurry of activity by the boards let a player skate in font of the net to catch a pass and one time it in to make it a 4-2 game. With two unanswered goals, Westchester clearly thought that all they needed was a lucky bounce or two to tie it up.
It became a battle of the goalies. We had shots – they had shots. As the clock ticked down, their points kept the puck sealed in our zone for what felt like an eternity. But Dawn made stick saves and kick saves, and held them off. The last shot came off Kelly’s stick, and the game ended with A 4-2 Blades win!
And so it ended… or did it? The rivalry continues with a rematch Saturday night in Westchester!