A snazzy ‘Roos team, decked out in new hockey pants, faced off against two very different teams, for two very different games, over the weekend, with a win and a loss to show for it.
Going into Saturday’s game the coaches and the players knew it would be difficult, citing last year’s unbeaten streak in the regular season.
And the game proved to be a tough one, with the ‘Roos going down 5-1 to a strong Steelheads team, backed by a very strong goalie in Mike Wall.
“That’s the standard. That’s what the league is right there. That’s the best team and if we want to do something that’s the team we have to beat.” Coach Brian Kozak said, adding the team had the rest of the season to grow.
The ‘Roos came out strong. The first saw some very fast, competitive hockey from both teams, with some nice chances and nice saves on both ends.
The period stayed tight through the first ten minutes until Mike Kaluzny, in his first game with the ‘Roos, took a shouldering penalty, leaving the ‘Roos down a man, which the Steelheads took advantage of, with Ryan DeVries taking the shot that finally made its way past ‘Roos’ goalie Ryan Manderson, putting the ‘Roos under pressure.
Manderson did his best to keep his team in the game, logging 16 saves through 20 minutes, but the ‘Roos couldn’t find the back of the net, despite some chances that had Wall standing on his head.
In the second, the Steelheads found momentum, keeping the ‘Roos on their heels for the duration of the period.
The Steelheads’ Jody Pederson opened up the scoring in the second with a shot from the point four and a half minutes in. Three minutes later Bobby Smith would get another through some heavy traffic in front of the net. Their third of the period came Courtesy of Rob Miller, on quick wrist shot through traffic.
The ‘Roos posted a couple nice chances with some nice rebounds, but Wall made like his name and stopped everything that came his way.
In the third, things got rougher, with a bevy of penalties being handed out in an otherwise free-flowing game.
The ‘Roos kept the period even, with each team netting a goal a piece.
The Steelheads’ came courtesy of a wrist shot from Mark Arnold at 11:38, while the ‘Roos got their point in style, with Justin Fulton feeding a pass on a rush to Levon Johnson in front of the net, who one-timed it past Wall to break the shutout.
Sunday’s game opened with the ‘Roos hitting the ice with everything they had, in a fast, rough win over the Houston Luckies, 8-3.
“Nobody should come into this rink and feel comfortable and I think the guys did that well,” assistant coach Bob Marsh said.
Mike Kaluzny got the opener not quite three minutes in, burying a rebound which pinged off a post.
A three man rush got the ‘Roos their second, with a soft shot by Fulton dribbling through the legs of Colton Wardrop three quarters of the way through the first.
Not two minutes later Johnson got another one through on a rush with Fulton, who fed it to Johnson in front of the net for the assist.
The second began with a couple of fights, and a couple of game misconducts, which decimated the Luckies’, already shallow, bench, leaving the team with only four skaters on the bench.
The bumping continued for the rest of the second, with the ‘Roos down to three skaters at one point and fights breaking out, or threatening to break out, for much of the second.
The ‘Roos continued to score through the second, piggybacking goals with two early and two late.
The first flurry of goals came within a minute of each other with Fulton scoring his second of the night, followed by the Luckies’ Tyler Poznikoff scoring not 15 seconds later. Joey MacDonald capped the flurry within a minute with a quick wrist shot past Wardrop.
Scoring didn’t resume until late in the period, with Fulton finishing up a hat trick at with two and a half minute left, followed by Johnson netting his second 15 seconds later.
In the third, the game calmed down as the Luckies didn’t have players to spare.
The Luckies opened up the scoring, with two goals in the first seven minutes, closing in on the ‘Roos.
The ‘Roos wound back up in the last half of the period, with Curtis Gassoff netting his first of the night at 11 and a half minutes and Joel Boyetchko netting a goal in the final two minutes.
Ted Law was escorted off after getting hit by a stray stick on the bench, which resulted in bleeding from the neck area. After cleaning it, John Norman, the team’s trainer, saw the cut was on his jaw line. Law stayed out of the game due to a concussion from the incident.