Was PHC’s first Northlands experience the best rec hockey game ever played?

NORTHLANDS COLISEUM (Jan. 8, 2017) — The conversation on the bench tried to assign hope to the hopeless with about six minutes left in the third period.

With the big board showing your good guys down 6-3 to the hated* Teal Team Six and time winding down, the comeback scenarios were talked through.

They were bleak.

“If we score a goal every 1:27, we’re right back in this thing,” we mused.

After all, this is a place — Northlands Coliseum — where miracles had happened before.

It’s where, on Dec. 30, 1981, Wayne Gretzky scored five goals against the Philadelphia Flyers to reach 50 goals in a stunning 39 games.

This is the place where, on Jan. 4, 2007, Dallas’s Patrik Stefan missed a tap-in empty netter with 20 seconds left and then watched helpless as Ales Hemsky took the puck the other way for an unbelievable game-tying goal.

This is the place where, on Feb. 2, 2012, Sam Gagner put up eight points against the powerhouse Chicago Blackhawks.

For your Puckaneers on this day, the miracle began with a breakway goal to make it 6-4. But the clock read 5:14 and the hole was still two.

Composure suddenly became an issue for our opponents. There was a slashing call, followed by an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty and an ejection.

With 2:32 left to go, PHC found the back of the net on the powerplay and the bad guys* were clearly on the ropes.

Another penalty on the other side, this time a trip, and Puckaneers potted on a five-on-three goal-mouth scramble with little more than a minute left.

With the comeback complete, the Buccos leaned on their girl in goal in overtime. She locked things down to get it to a shootout.

Goal 1 came from Nelson:

The clincher came from Hughes on the next shot.

On Sunday, your Puckaneers will get one last chance to take a spin around the Coliseum ice in a game against the Raging Beavers.

The grey old barn on 118th Street isn’t what she used to be.

But if you close your eyes and listen hard, you can still hear the echoes of all those great moments.

You can still hear Gretzky being mobbed by his teammates on the half wall after breaking Gordie Howe’s career points record.

You can still hear Ryan Smyth scoring the fastest hat trick in franchise history at 2:01.

You can still hear the puck hitting Ben Scrivens’ pads en route to a record 59-save shutout.

And you can still hear the crowd cheer as Hughes slid the puck under the keeper to cap what might have been the greatest rec. league hockey game ever played.

We’ll see you Sunday.

*We don’t really hate Teal Team nor are they bad guys.

Oh and three: A look at the Division 15 winter season so far

 

EDMONTON — The Baltimore Orioles had started their 1988 season with 11 straight losses when local radio deejay Bob Rivers took to the airwaves of WIYY, pledging to stay there until his beloved baseball team won its first game.

He figured he might be there for one or two days at the most. The baseball season is an everyday grind and even the bad teams have their good days every now and then.

Who would have known the Orioles would go on to lose their next 10 on their way to the sixth longest losing streak in the history of major league baseball.

Rivers spent a total of 258 straight hours on air. He napped while the music played, but the lack of sleep took its toll. Living off a diet of junk food, his blood pressure rose to the point nurses needed to be brought in to make sure he didn’t die.

Your Puckaneers are a ways from the dumpster fire that was the 1988 Os, but it’s been a tough slog for your boys and girl early on in the 2018 winter season.

PHC is off to an 0-3 start with losses of 7-1, 7-2 and 5-3. The losing streak sits at five if you go back to summer playoffs.

Offence has obviously been an issue. PHC has only scored six goals so far this season, three fewer than any other team. Defence has also been a problem. The Buccos have allowed 19 goals in three games, four more than any other team. That’s a goal differential of -13, eight goals worse than any of the other teams.

It’s been a strange season so far in Division 15.

Code Blue and Revolution Fong are both 3-0, but with goal differentials of only +6 and +10 respectively. Desert Dawgs ran PHC out of the rink a few weeks ago, but are only 1-2 on the year and have the second worst goal differential in the division. PHC could have beat Code Blue had it not been for a third period collapse.

The league has responded by putting out the next batch of schedule without any realignment. PHC has one last game at Northlands (more on that later).

The Puckaneers will try to get into the win column Saturday night against Spartan Army, the team the PHC eliminated in Round 1 of summer playoffs.

The 1988 Orioles finally snapped their losing streak with a 9-0 win against the Chicago White Sox.

Pitcher Mark Williamson held Chicago to three hits over six innings. Future hall of famers Eddie Murray and Cal Ripken Jr. each had a home run.

Rivers popped the cork on a bottle of champagne and screamed “I’m going home” as the Who’s I’m Free played in the background. He then slept for 24 hours.

The Os finished the season 54-107, 26 games below .500.

Like I said, even the bad teams can have a good day every now and then.

See you Saturday!

Code Blue at Tipton: PHC and another third period collapse

TIPTON ARENA — The two-goal lead is often said to be the most dangerous lead in hockey. It even has its own Wikipedia page. 

But is it?

Patten Fuqua, managing editor at puckscene.com, did some interesting work on this issue back in 2011. That’s six years ago, but I can’t image things have changed too much.

Of the 463 two-goal leads Fuqaua looked at in the 2010-2011 season, only 183 were surrendered — just under 40 per cent. That compared to one-goal leads that were surrendered almost 86 per cent of the time. That doesn’t necessarily mean the games were lost by the team that gave up the lead — only that at one point, the team held a margin of either one or two goals and the other team was able to get the score back even.

You can take a look at Fuqaua’s full analysis here.

Your Puckaneers carried one of those not-so-dreaded two-goal leads into the third period against Code Blue on Wednesday night.

Things were looking good for your Buccos, who had last winter’s defending champions against the ropes 3-1, with only 15 minutes left to plays.

But as has happened so often in past, the wheels came off and PHC pulled defeat from the jaws of victory — make the final 5-3.

Miranda pulled some numbers on the Puckaneers performance in the third period so far this season and they aren’t pretty.

PHC has allowed 19 goals in its three games so far this season. Of those, 13 have come in the third period. That’s good for a -12 goal differential in the final frame.

Yikes!

Looking ahead, PHC has a couple of games against familiar foes — Spartan Army and Teal Team Six.

Puckanneers have enjoyed success against both teams in the past, including a first-round playoff series win against Spartans in summer league.

One thing is certain though, heading into those match-ups. PHC isn’t going to have any success if it can’t start tightening up its play when it matters most.

Puckaneers are back on the ice Sept. 30 against Spartans.

We’ll see you there!

Who let the Dawgs out? PHC blown out in Game 2

THE MEADOWS RECREATION CENTRE — It all began in the tiny Caribbean island nation of Trinidad and Tobago, in the mind of composer Anslem Douglas.

The Mississippi State Bulldogs was the first sports team to recognize its value as a raucous stadium anthem in 1998, using Chuck Smooth’s version to accompany their on-field dance: The Dawg Pound Rock.

Bahamian junkanoo group the Baha Men (you see what they did there?) took the single mainstream achieving triple platinum status in the summer of 2000 and winning a Grammy for Best Dance Recording a year later.

In the years that followed, however, Who Let the Dogs Out? was panned as one of the worst things to ever happen to music.

It placed third on a 2007 Rolling Stone survey of the 20 most annoying songs of all time and it was named the worst song ever by music streaming company Spinner in 2008. When the Seattle Mariners and the New York Mets got into a public spat over who owned the song in Major League Baseball, ESPN noted it was kind of “like scientists arguing over who discovered a deadly virus.”

Whatever your feelings about Who Let the Dogs Out?, if you asked that question at The Meadows Rec Centre on Sunday night, there was one answer – Your Puckaneers let the Dawgs out.

PHC dropped Game 2 of winter season 7-2 to the Desert Dawgs Sunday.

It was a mismatch pretty much right from the start.

That there was a blowout in the early going of a rec league season is not unusual. It usually takes the league a little while to place teams, especially new arrivals like the Dawgs, with the right competition.

It’s the way this one went down that left a bit of a sour taste.

You see beer league douchery is a bit like a snowball rolling down a hill — it get’s bigger and bigger as it goes.

Let us explain what we mean with some examples from Sunday:

The toe drag:

— Excessive use of the toe drag in non-contact hockey: mildly douchy. You wouldn’t do that in a real game, where you would find yourself on your back more often than not.

— Excessive use of the toe drag against a team that bills itself as the worst adult hockey team in YEG: pretty douchy. You are playing the worst team, make a pass.

— Excessive use of the toe drag when up 6-1 against a team that bills itself as the worst adult hockey team in YEG: super douchy. Need I say more?

The archery celebration:

— Dropping to a knee after a win and doing an archery pose in any rec hockey game: mildly douchy. Does any beer league win really ever need to be celebrated beyond a few high-fives?

— Dropping to a knee after you win and doing an archery pose while playing a team that bills itself as the worst adult hockey team in YEG: pretty douchy. We get it, you are better than us.

— Dropping to a knee after you with 7-2 against a team that bills itself as the worst adult hockey team in YEG: super douchy. I think this speaks for itself.

We could go on, but you get the point. It’s enough to make the Baha Men proud.

Don’t even get us started on tinted visors. Dirty Mike and the Boys, you know what we mean.

I guess we’ll see where the Dawgs end up this year.

My bet is the league lets them out up to Division 14. Woof, woof, woof, woof.

Take to Twitter and share your great moments in beer league douchery. Tag @PuckannersHC

PHC is back on the ice Wednesday night against Code Blue.

We’ll see you then!

Scouting the Opposition Game 2: Wuddup Dawgs!

EDMONTON — Make a simple typo when searching for information on our new rivals the Desert Dawgs and you launch yourself into a world of post-main-course culinary delight.

Yes Puckaneers Nation, dessert dawgs are a thing, and they are glorious.

There’s the banana in a bun:

There’s the churro in an eclair:

And, my favorite, the Tootsie Roll in a Twinkie:

Gross desserts aside, your Puckaneers will try to bounce back from last week’s loss with a game against the Desert Dawgs Sunday night at The Meadows.

The Dwags come to the CCRHL from the NCHL, making it tough to tell where they rate. They played last winter season in Division 13 and they played summer season in Tier IV Division A. Put simply, the Dawgs played in the middle of the pack in NCHL. If past experience is a guide, middle-of-the-pack teams in the N usually fall to the bottom divisions when they transfer over to the Double C.

The Dawgs finished 7-7-1 in NCHL summer league with 56 goals for and 71 goals against. Here is a look at their numbers:

There are some significant differences between their summer NCHL roster (left below) and their roster entered with CCRHL for this winter season (right below). The players not on their winter roster had 26 goals and 49 points in summer. That’s a significant chunk of their 125 total summer points.

But, that might not tell the whole story. The Dawgs have a Jared Turcotte on their winter roster. He didn’t play in the summer, but he did play for the Dawgs last winter. Take a look at his line:

Those 44 points (2.20 points per game) make the differences between the NCHL summer and CCRHL winter rosters almost a wash, at least as far as points go.

The Dawgs have already played one game in the CCRHL this season — a 4-1 loss to Code Blue. Code Blue was the winner of the bottom division in CCRHL last winter.

What does this all mean? The Desert Dawgs should be beatable, but it’s hard to know going into the game.

Here’s hoping PHC can send them away from the table without any dessert.

Share your favorite dessert dawg recipes on Twitter:  @PuckaneersHC

See you Sunday!

A Puckaneers Guide to the CCRHL on Twitter

EDMONTON — In our whirlwind trip to 170 Twitter followers, @PuckanneersHC has learned a thing or two about what’s out there as far as the CCRHL goes.

Here’s the teams we’ve been able to find (click on the names to go to the feed):

CCRHL League Feed

The Itchy Beavers

The Raging Beavers

Tropics Hockey

Defiance Hockey

Riverfolk HC

Sting

Ice Dragons Hockey

Benders Hockey

Big Coffin Hunters

Mashers Hockey

Saints Hockey

Bullet Bills

Ice Ninjas Hockey

Panthers Hockey

Soviets Hockey

Shoot us a tweet if we are missing any.

Damn Beavers! Puckaneers Toppled in Game 1 of Winter Season

 

THE MEADOWS RECREATION CENTRE — Deep in the heart of the Big Muddy Badlands in southern Saskatchewan, there’s a place called Big Beaver.

Legend has it, when engineers were cutting the CPR through the Prairies, they encountered one of the biggest beaver dams they had ever seen.

And hence Big Beaver, Sask., was born, grabbing a spot beside Dildo, N.L.,  and Ball’s Falls, Ont., as one of the best places to take a roadside selfie in Canada.

Your Puckaneers took their first shot at the Beavers Sunday night and the only thing big about the results was the margin of defeat.

PHC fell 7-1 to its furry foes, the same result as when the two teams met in summer league last May.

While the final score looks bad, there were some positives.

PHC battled the Beavers hard for two periods. Miranda played out of her mind early with the help of her posts. The good guys only trailed by one heading into the final frame.

Johnny had an assist in his first game of winter season and Mikey, who is about half the man he used to be, looked really light on his feet.

In the end, it was another third period collapse that did the Buccos in.

PHC falls to 1-7-0 all time against the Beavers with 23 goals for and 53 goals against.

And so we turn our attention to next Sunday and a meeting with the Desert Dawgs — a NCHL transfer that should be beatable.

PHC played Beavers without two of its regular defenders. Having Pat and Dan back will mean new recruit Brent can move up with the forwards and hopefully provide a spark for the offence.

I have no doubt PHC will win some games this year, even with Sunday night’s score.

But, as everybody in Saskatchewan knows, you’ve got to go through Big Beaver to get to Climax.

Scouting the Opposition Week 1: Nice Beaver!

EDMONTON — Whenever Raging Beavers come up on the schedule, I can’t help but think of probably the best beaver joke ever written.

It was in The Naked Gun.

Priscilla Presley, in a short red dress, is looking for a book on a high shelf. She climbs a ladder up out of the shot. The late, great Leslie Nielsen — Regina’s own Leslie Nielsen — is holding the ladder and looks up.

“Nice beaver,” he says slyly in the way only Det. Frank Drebin can.

“Thank you,” Presley responds, still out of the shot. “I just had it stuffed.”

She proceeds to hand down a giant taxidermied beaver, which Nielsen takes in hand.

It’s pure deadpan comedy gold! See for yourself:

The Puckaneers kick off their winter season against the Raging Beavers on Sunday night at The Meadows.

It’s a team your Buccos have never enjoyed much success against.

PHC is 1-6-0 against the Beavers all time and has been outscored 46-22. The last game the two teams played was a 7-1 victory by the Beavers in summer league. Here is the box score:

The Beavers were moved up to a higher division after that victory and they only won three games against the better teams. But I think it is fair to say that PHC wouldn’t have won any games in the higher division.

And the unfortunate part for your boys and girl is that the Beavers’ core roster has not changed much between summer and winter, at least according to the players who have already registered on the CCRHL’s new website (by the way, if you are a Puckaneer who hasn’t signed up yet, go do it NOW!). Here is a look at the side-by-side comparison between the two seasons (summer stats left, winter roster right):

It is worth noting that the Beaver who had two goals and four points in the 7-1 victory over PHC is not yet on the winter roster.

So, I guess we’ll see how it goes Sunday night. The Beavers have been beaten before. Let’s hope PHC doesn’t get stuffed!

Take to Twitter and share your best beaver jokes before Sunday’s game.

Tag @PuckaneersHC

See you Sunday!

PHC preseason game

EDMONTON — On Wednesday, Sept 6, the Puckaneers will host a preseason opener against the NCHL’s Blackjacks. The game is tentatively set for 10:45 PM at Callingwood.

C.Virga and K.Wachter’s loyalty will be tested as they appear on both roster. Will it be a friendly warm-up to the season, or will the defections lead to a bloodbath fueled by betrayal?