Winter Storm Warnings were broadcast on news outlets. Even the weather was against the North Shore Red Liners in their weekly matchups. But a full lineup braved the snow and wind and fought hard against a respectable 9-man Rats bench. In the
end, the Liners would hang out and eek out their first win on the season, 6-5.
The first period was a back-and-forth affair between both teams. The Rats would get on the board first after Doc missed a block on Rats player breaking into the Liners zone. The Liners would tie it up on a breakaway by Baby who dished it off to Toto and slipped it just past the Rats netminder. The Rats would regain the lead as they caught the Liners in an odd-man rush and fired a puck into the far upper corner of the Liner’s net.
With a respectable effort, the Liners doubled up their effort for the second period. It would be all Red Liners. Their second goal was a bit controversial as neither referee saw the play clearly. Toto burst into the Rats’ defensive zone and cut sharply at the net. He wristed the puck hard which bounced off the back of the net and out of the goal. The Rats argued it never crossed the goal line but the goal was awarded to Toto. The Liners would take the lead for good from goal by Baby who skated a similar path. He fired a sharp angled shot just inside the near post and just behind the Rats goalie. On the other hand, the defense stepped up to kill a double minor penalty off a high-sticking / drawing blood by Mixy. Tommy the Greek returned to defense along with The Winemaker to for a sold wall during that penalty kill. Doc and Jay tag teamed who would control clearing passes as the Rats could not have a sustained attack at Lee, the Liners’ netminder, who made several key saves to keep the Rats scoreless in the period. The fourth goal scorer is debatable but was credited to The Mott who threaded his way deep into the Rats’ zone.
At the start of the third period, the Red Liners were in a situation they had never been in before: they were in the lead. They tried to keep some offensive pressure up but also focused on solidifying the defense. The goal scoring would alternate throughout the period. First off, the Rats came within one goal of tying up the game early in the period. But Toto would come to the rescue again off a breakaway and a backhand shot that slipped just behind the Rats’ goalie and inside the near post. This netted him a hattrick. The Rats would not give up as they again came within one goal off a wrap around shot through a pile of Liner players. The eventual game winning goal would again come from Toto. Off a defensive zone face off, Baby tipped the puck to a sprinting Toto on the far boards who shot straight at the Rats’ goal. He fired a wrist shot just inside the far post. There were also two controversial and overturned goals in the period. B-hole along with Don Juan and The Motts did pinball the puck into the Rats’ goal where their goalie gloved it behind the goal line. The refs called it off. The Rats had a chance for a goal off a high wrist shot from outside the blue line that slipped into the upper corner of the net. It was called off as a Rats player was offsides. In their last gasp, the Rats pulled their goalie and was able to score on a 5-2 rush at the Liners’ goalie. The final highlight of the period was an empty net
goal attempt by Andy who was apparently tried to also pass it to Yaz for his first goal. Unfortunately, the pass never connected.
With a full bench, good combination of lines in the
offense and defense, key saves by Lee the Goalie, and tiring out the short-benched Rats, everything finally came together for the North Shore Red Liners to notch their first win. Hopefully, a similar approach and effort can be used to other opponents and continuing the winning. The guys in red march off into a 4 week holiday break from games with a win under their belt. They will be sleeping well tonight.
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