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WHEN ANTS LEARN TO PLAY HOCKEY
Posted October 27th, 2017 @ 10:00 pm

copyright TG Storey

Folks left the Olds Sportsplex Friday night wondering just how it was that the Olds Grizzlys lost 2 – 5 to the Calgary Mustangs, considering that the Grizzlys outshot the visiting team throughout the game. The final tally in shots on goal was 44 to 29 in favor of Olds. At one point, at the end of the second period, Olds had outshot Calgary by a two to one margin.

And indeed, I had scratched my scalp pretty well raw, trying to figure it out. And then, in the third period it was demonstrated to me, up close and personal like.

I was photographing the play at the corner of the rink in the opposition end. There was a face off in the circle to the left of the Mustang’s goal tender. The goalie was over to the left side of his crease, covering his angles. The Olds center won the puck drop and, quick as lightning, passed to a wingman who was in the slot, two meters out from the opposition goal. The wingman fired as soon as he got the puck. And…and…….amazingly, the Mustangs goal tender, # 30, Ashton ABEL, made it to the center of the crease in time to stop the puck shot from almost point blank range, and prevent a goal.

That ladies and gentlemen sports fans, is what this game revolved around. Goal tending.  Or, more specifically, the goal tending offered up by the Calgary goal tender. He stopped 42 of 44 shots. Freaking amazing. How does that happen? I got me an opinion.

The fastest reflexes on the planet are said to belong to a critter known as the Trap-Jaw ant.  Those reflexes are measured in milliseconds.  The only thing I can figure is that the Mustangs recruited a large trap-jaw ant, suited him up with a hockey uniform, and stuck him in their net as their goal tender. The Olds Grizzlys, with mere human reflexes, could not compete.

The nitty –gritty, down and dirty of the game went something like this:


PERIOD ONE

Things initially looked pretty promising for Olds, early in the first period. I found myself scribbling down a quick note about Grizzly # 23, Cody LASKOSKY. He appeared to be setting up some potentially good scoring opportunities. But, as I mentioned, the Mustangs goalie was very fast, and blocked all of the Grizzlys early attempts.

Calgary scored first, at 8:48, on a Power Play, courtesy of a boarding penalty to Olds.

It was an odd, unlikely kind of goal. Calgary Forward, # 22, Joseph KARPHYSYN wristed a shot on goal from just inside the blue line in the Olds end. It wasn’t a hard shot, but it got the job done. Olds Goal Tender, Andrew Henderson appeared to applaud the shot after the fact, tapping his glove hand against the blade of his stick in apparent congratulations.

That was goal number one. The score 0 – 1 for the Mustangs. Shots on goal are 6 -4 in favor of the Grizzlys.

The Grizzlys tied the game a little over 8 minutes later, at 17:21. This was a pretty piece of work. The puck was dug out of a corner in the Mustangs end and passed to Olds Defenseman, # 4, Jared Bowman, who was at the top of the slot, just inside the blue line. He whistled a slap shot into the Calgary net. Assisting were #3 Defenseman, Austin PICKFORD, and # 14 Forward, Quentin Greenwood.

The score is 1 – 1. Shots on goal are 7 – 6 in favor of Olds.

The First Period ended with the score tied 1 – 1.


PERIOD TWO

The Second Period was a bit of a hockey mish-mash. The Mustangs scored early, at 1:37, from a skirmish right in front of the net. It was Calgary Forward, # 8, Tanner KLASSEN, who did the job.

Play was prolific, with a total of 27 shots on net. The breakdown was 18 shots for Olds and 9 for the Mustangs. But despite outshooting the opposition by a 2 – 1 margin, the Grizzlys could not get the puck past the Calgary Goal tender.

And at the other end of the ice, Olds goalie, Henderson was doing not too bad a job either. He made at least two great and notable stops. One was against a Mustangs break away.

In the other, a Mustangs player in the slot, close in front of the Olds net, spun in a full circle and fired from an odd angle. Henderson, without much warning as to the puck’s trajectory, managed to get his right pad on it, and prevent what would have been a certain goal. Well done.

What seemed to be missing from the game was body checking. If it was going on, it wasn’t that pronounced or effective. There have been Grizzlys games where the boards have boomed like a tropical thunder storm from the violence of Olds delivered checks.  This was not such a game.

The Second Period ended with the score at 1-2 in the Mustangs favor. Total shots on goal in two periods of play were 28 -17, for Olds. The game was still within reach of the Grizzlys.


PERIOD THREE

Period Three was wild, fast, frantic hockey. Frenetic, if you’re in need of fancier description. There were 28 shots on goal. TWENTY-EIGHT! Fans were getting eye strain from following the action.

Olds Forward, # 11, Owen GUENTER, circling the opposition end with the puck at high speed, looking for a shooting opportunity, created a whirl-wind vortex that threatened to suck younger fans right off their seats.

And, at one point, a rugby type scrum formed against the boards in the Mustangs end, puck lost in a forest of legs and feet, as the teams tried to move the puck by brute force. Oh, the humanity!

But alas, what can you do, when the opposition goal tender exhibits inhuman reflexes? Trap-jaw ant reflexes measured in milliseconds. Can you resort to insecticide in Junior A hockey? It was probably the Grizzlys only hope.

Calgary Defenseman, # 9 Jordan MARKS scored at 5:41, from the vicinity of the faceoff circle to the right of the Olds Goal Tender. Net Minder, Henderson, had stopped an initial shot from his left side. But he was unable to set up for the scoring shot from his right side.

The game is now 1 -3 in the Mustangs favor. Total shots on goal sit at 34 – 21 for Olds.

The Mustangs scored again about six minutes later, at 11:20.  This unseemly goal was set up by a pass from the faceoff circle at the right of the Olds Goal Tender, to Calgary Forward, # 10, Eric LEMIRE, who was in the slot 5 meters out from the Olds net.  His scoop type shot was awkward but effective. Calgary is now ahead by 3.  The score is 1-4.

Olds Forward # 7, Chase OLSEN, scored on a break-away at 12:02. He beat the Calgary goal tender with a beautiful, low, close in, between the pads shot. Unfortunately, it was a flash in the pan goal. While it narrowed the score to 2 – 4 for the Mustangs, the Grizzlys were not able to build on it.

The final goal of the game was scored at 16:39 by Mustangs # 13, Brady BARCLAY. The final score, 2 – 5 for Calgary.

Total shots on goal, 44 – 29 in Olds favor.

Tough to beat a trap-jaw ant, goalie, in the reflexes department. Mustangs Net Minder, Ashton ABEL, took star of the game honors for the visiting Calgary team. Certainly deserving of an extra portion of crickets, or whatever is a delicacy for the trap-jaw ant, on the bus ride home.

Hmmmmm, crickets.

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