Friday, January 27, 2012


Slip sliding away........

I am certain that one of the most uncomfortable feelings a coach or a manager might experience would be when a lead dissipates in the latter stages of a contest.

It happens easily in basketball, where momentum can reign supreme. Last night the Orlando Magic took it to the Celtics in the first half. In the second, the Bostonians clawed their way back into the tilt, and snatched the victory from the jaws of infamy.

In the baseball world, Yogi Berra said it best: “It ain’t over ‘til it’s over!”. There is no time clock; therefore, three outs are required at the bottom of the last inning to complete a game.

They are tinkering with overtime rules in the National Football League playoffs. As was apparent in the Tebo-Denver victory, things are not quite perfect, just yet. Too sudden, not quite fair.

In hockey, once the overtime period has been exhausted, the shootout is for all the marbles. One does not leave the arena until the fat lady sings.

Last night at the Germain Arena, the Florida Everblades took the ice at the start of the third period with a lead of three to zip over the Greenville Road Warriors. The Blades were trying to dig their way out of a nasty hole at this point in the season, having lost four in a row to ECHL opponents.

Brayden Irwin opened the scoring for the Blades at 14.44 of the first period on a fine feed from Matt Marquardt. The Blades extended their lead on two second period goals. Scott Pitt split the Warrior defence and tucked the puck under goalie Jason Missiaen at 14.10. Matt Beca made no mistake converting a fine passing play with only fourteen seconds remaining in the period. That is always a great way to send the opposition to the dressing room.

The Warriors found a little magic in the proverbial bottle during the intermission. With his goalie on the bench for an extra attacker, Marc-Olivier Vallerand sealed the deal with a wicked wrist shot from the slot with less than a minute remaining in regulation to tie the game at three apiece. Vallerand stands at 5’ 11”, tips the scales at 200 pounds, and looked eerily familiar to a similar-sized # 17 who played for the Leafs, Wendel Clarke.

The Blades did pick up a point for their effort, but they could not capitalize in the overtime period, failing to get one shot on goal. The Warriors dominated the shootout, with goals from Brandon Wong and Vallerand, the game’s first star.

Pat Nagle was chosen as one of the game’s stars for his efforts in the Blades’ goal. But it was a few costly mistakes that sent the Florida team to defeat, something that Coach Poss would like to eliminate in Saturday night’s tilt.

Final Score 4-3. Not what the doctor ordered.

James Hurst

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