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Gritty effort and flurry of 2-pad stacks restore a shred of dignity to close out 2011 festivities

Sorrows officially drowned

8-April-2011

BANFF – A 15-0 victory was all that stood between the Watchmen and a chance at the finals Saturday morning. With that in mind the Watchmen called it a relatively early night on Friday and stuffed in as much eggs, bacon and coffee as they could Saturday AM before suiting up for their third and final round-robin game. The Watchmen were up against the Stingers, who had handily beaten the Swamp Donkeys 5-1 the day before, to whom the Watchmen had lost 8-1, and so the odds-makers weren’t placing much stock in the purple and white. The game got off on the wrong foot when the crack-squad of savvy, motivated, personnel at Che Hockey couldn’t switch some numbers on the game sheet, forcing the Watchmen to dawn their whites, instead of the fearsome purple sweaters.

While an appearance in the finals was assured for the Stingers, they still hit the ice hard pressing the Watchmen early in the frame. The Watchmen, looking to regain a little pride were not about to roll over and die, and few early 2-pad stacks, and defencemen diving to block shots (defenceman, and blocked shot, more correctly), proved early on the Watchmen showed up to play. These efforts would hold the fort for the squad, and the first period ended in a 0-0 stalemate. Fending off the early attack, the Watchmen were able to find their legs, and took the momentum away from the Stingers for the early half of the period. Preston Kulmatycki would open the scoring with a seeing-eye backhand (►), drawing first blood for the Watchmen. The boys would hold on to the lead until the mid-way point of the game, when a deep pinch would result in a two-on-one, which the Stingers executed to perfection tying the game at one. The Stingers would double their score by capitalizing on a failed clearing attempt only moments later, putting the Watchmen’s back to the wall.

While the war was being lost, the Watchmen were not about to lose every battle, and a heavy bump delivered to the Watchmen tender in the dying seconds of the period brought out some choice words for the Stingers (and the referees) from none-other than the F-bomb himself, who was quickly backed up by Dino Vlahadamis (◄), who swooped in to lay down the law (in what would be a bit of a recurring theme for him before the weekend was out). Shockingly, the verbal exchange didn’t get the referees to change their minds, and the period ended with the Watchmen trailing by a goal.

There was no scoring early in the third period, and Watchmen were afforded an opportunity to stage a comeback when the overly aggressive Stinger took a penalty. The power play turned out to be more of a curse than a blessing however, as the Stingers notched back to back shorthanded goals on a breakaway, followed by a 2-on-0, giving them a healthy three goal cushion. A few more two-pad stacks were on display for good measure, but the game was iced moments later, when a failed clearing attempt was dished into the slot, and the game would end with the Watchmen on the outside looking in again.

To forget the disappointing showing on the ice, the Watchmen took to the Banff streets to lift their spirits, and Earls turned out to clearly be the place to do so, but a rash decision to take the table that was offered to them turned out to be another in a string of bad luck for the boys, and Dr. Nisky let Ben know it. A soak in the tub, a ‘banquet’ and a trip to the R & C followed, and stories of past glories and moments of heroics were retold and relived into legend. Having been given re-assurances, the boys are ready for the over-35 division next year, there appeared to be a consensus the Watchmen would be back at it a year from now. Hopefully the infamous Sasquatch will still be in hibernation, and moustache rides will continue to be politely declined when next year rolls around.

Here’s to Barker who hoped 4 provinces to make it to the tourney, to Wilky for overcoming the Rockies and a sleepless first night, to de Jaham who was successfully initiated into the fold, to Glaves, for developing the best unexecuted table infiltration plan, to Girard for reminding us you can never do too many toe-drags on the same play, to Kulmatycki, for demonstrating why “he who wins the t-shirt, keeps the t-shirt”, to Marsh for coming out of retirement and vowing to be next year’s leading scorer, to Hockman for taking 2 opposing players out of the tournament, to Vlahadamis for flexing his patriarchal duties, to Blue, who was with the boys in spirit, and to Nisky for showing up. Until then.

Three Watchmen Stars

1.         Tim Weis (shirt-winning performance)

2.         JP Glaves (+ 1 in 5-1 loss)

3.         Dino Vlahadamis (+ 1 in 5-1 loss)

Watchmen – 1

Stingers – 5

Record 1-2

3rd place finish

 

 

 

Watchmen Spanked in Game 2

Jacknisky discusses organization issues with CHE mid-game

8-April-2011

BANFF – After a big win in the opening game the Watchmen faced off against the Swamp Donkeys. Having been assured that this squad was not a related to the former pro and semi-pro “Donkeys” who handed the Watchmen their ass in the opening game of a beer league tournament last year, the boys’ spirits were high. The Swamp Donkeys lost their first outing 5-1 and a win by the Watchmen virtually guaranteed them a berth in the finals.

Those hopes were all but dashed on the first shift.

The Swamp Donkeys came out buzzing burying two on the first shift and a third the following shift on a goal that almost cost Chris Girard his life (and his dignity). The Watchmen did slip in a marker making it 3-1 by the end of the period.

The most “comeback” didn’t faze the Swamp Donkeys who buried another 3 in the 2nd and another pair in the 3rd bringing the Watchmen’s hopes of an elusive appearance in the finals to a screeching halt.

Watching the train wreck unfold in front of them the league organizers began to run the clock mid-way through the period. One of the Watchmen’s two captains, Tom Jacknisky, took it upon himself to bawl out the league official mid-game, setting a new standard in a proud history of complaint to officials from members of the storied club. Despite his efforts the clock rolled on. The comeback that the Watchmen were about to stage was thwarted by the minutes that had been shaved off the clock and the buzzer ended with an 8-1 loss.

For the second game in a row, the player of the game, and accompanying shirt was given to Preston Kulmatycki. Kulmatycki graciously handed the coveted t-shirt over to team founder Cory “F-bomb” Wilkinson, whose feelings had clearly been hurt after having been overlooked, despite putting his heart on the line all game (and particularly in warmups).

The frustrated squad retired to the lounge to lick their wounds, were they learned they’d been placed in the “over 19” division this year.  Apparently the following information sent to Che Hockey (along with several colorful emails from the previous year):

On average our age is 30+.  Most of the guys played reasonable hockey (AA or so) up until about midget, but all have just been playing men’s league since then.  We currently play in division 3 men’s league in Edmonton and are middle of the pack (4th out of 8 teams). – Email sent to goals@chehockey.com

was apparently interpreted as “our boys would like to play against a squad whose average age was younger than some of the Watchmens’ children.

The loss didn’t discourage the boys from enjoying an evening on the town and a chance to reminisce about former glories, although the waitress from the “land of jokes” didn’t appreciate the sharp wit quite as much as her heritage suggests she should have. The Watchmen retired for a soak in the hot tub at the Caribou Lodge during which became known that the POG t-shirt had not made it back to the hotel, but had been unceremoniously dumped in the garbage by the player who hadn’t even earned the t-shirt, much to the annoyance of the player who had. “Whatever little respect I had for the guy, I lost when he tossed the consolation prize that afternoon.”

Three Watchmen Stars

1.         Preston Kulmatycki (shirt-winning performance)

2.         Cory Wilkinson (close 2nd)     

3.         Tom Jacknisky (special recognition for discussion with officials)

Watchmen – 1

Swamp Donkeys – 8

Record 1-1

 

Watchmen Reunion Tourney 2011 Kicks Off With Win

Barker flies in from New Brunswick to dawn the purple and white

8-April-2011

BANFF – After months of emails, cheques, flights, waivers and fence-sitting, the Watchmen descended upon the town of Banff for their annual weekend of hockey and festivities. The weekend started with a last minute roster cancellation to be quickly filled by a founding member of the Watchmen – Chris Marsh.

The tourney also drew out another famous Watchmen vet – Matt Barker who arrived all the way from New Brunswick for the event. The Watchmen’s all-time face-off champ and receiver of crushing hits from his teammates, dawned the purple and whites for the first time since the Watchmen’s last championship title in the summer of 05. The Watchmen also welcomed to the fold Marc de Jaham, who was recruited by the Watchmen’s “all-time worst non-signing”, yet Banff tourney bedrock, JP Glaves.

Once the handshakes and hugs were taken care of the Watchmen suited up and hit the ice against the Whalers in the Caribou division. The “crazy” Whalers got the early jump, but weren’t able to put in Description: Description: cid:image006.png@01CBF728.72EDCA10any, in part due to their inability to hit the net as they whistled slappers wide on repeated occasions.

(◄) Chris Girad, who’d graciously accepted a spot on the point, opened the scoring with a coast-to-coast triple toe drag, sliding the puck into the yawning cage to give the Watchmen a 1-0 lead. The single tally would be all either team could muster in the opening frame, but the Watchmen would open it up in the second when Barker slid a tap-in to Marsh on the side of the net, and Preston wired a slapper into the top-shelf, rounding out three classic Watchmen goals, like it was the glory days of 2004.

Sensing the hole an opening game loss would put them in, the Whalers pressed for a comeback in the final frame, but were repelled until the final few minutes of the frame, when a sharp-angle, but well placed shot kissed the crossbar after beating the Watchmen tender’s glove hand. But the most dangerous lead in hockey would be put to rest when a timely 2-pad stack, resulted in a quick turn around for Darren Hockman, who decided he wasn’t going to let Girard be the only Watchmen to go coast to coast and deke the goalie out of his pants. The Whalers wouldn’t give up without a fight though as they quickly narrowed the lead to 4-2 keeping their hopes in the game. Hockman would take those very hopes and shove them down the Whalers’ collective throats when he corralled a puck in the Watchmen zone and fed a perfect pass to de Jaham on a 2-on-1, who didn’t make any mistake burying the biscuit (►).

The final buzzer signaled an opening game victory for the Watchmen, putting them in good sted for a crack at the elusive Sunday morning finals if they can win one of their next two games.

Three Watchmen Stars

1.         Preston Kulmatycki (shirt-winning performance)

2.         Matt Barker (grit + assist on 3-hour jet-lagged legs)    

3.         Darren Hockman (key comeback-spoiling goal and comeback-spoiling assist)    

Watchmen – 5

Whalers – 2

Record 1-0

 

Click here for tourney pics

 

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