• Lure of coveted Golden Puck Bucket inspires fervent competition
By Sean Pearson
Four teams battled it out at Kevin Bell Arena on Saturday, vying for their chance to be immortalized in Homer adult hockey by having their names inscribed on the co-ed hockey league’s Golden Puck Bucket.
The final tournament of the season kicked off with a showdown between Orange Crush ‘Em and the Tighty Whities. Team Orange donned dark jerseys in order to intimidate their rivals. The plan turned out to be surprisingly successful.
The Orange put the crush on early in the first period with a goal by Sarah Owen that slipped past Tighty Whitie goalie Steve Rich’s skate. Chris Owen followed with a top shelf goal to give his Orange team a 2-0 lead. The Tighty Whities found their groove in the second period, with Kristen Brown sending a zinger past Orange goalie Lydia Brown. With the score still standing at 2-1 at the start of the third period, both teams held out hope for a trip to the winners’ bracket.
Those hopes got dimmer for TW, however, as Chris Russ found the back of the Whities’ net in the first minute of the final period. Sitting a little more comfortably with a 2-point advantage, Crusher Jose DeCreft sealed the deal with a late goal in the third period. The final score was 4-1.
Game two looked to be a tough one between the Dark Defenders and the Green Goons; the top two teams of the fall league.
The first period turned into a battle of goalies, as Steve Rich and Lydia Brown fought hard to keep zeros on the scoreboard. Dean Kildaw opened the scoring in period two with a quick puck that sailed right over Rich’s glove to put the Green Goons up 1-0.
The Dark Defenders answered with a Steve Nevak goal scored on a breakaway.
With the score tied at one in the third period, the Goons turned up the heat with a goal from Ingrid Harrald off a Kildaw assist. Sporting a 2-1 advantage, Team Green sealed the win with a Mike Zelinski goal in the finals minutes of the third period. The 3-1 victory sent the Goons to the winners’ bracket for a final league showdown against Orange Crush ‘Em. The Dark Defensemen went on to win the losers bracket game against Tighty Whities.
In the Golden Puck Bucket Championship game, Orange Crush ‘Em was well-rested and ready to take on the Green Goons for the title. Despite a strong Goon game, the Crush were able to defend their 2011 title with a 2-1 win, thanks in part to a stellar performance in goal by Orangeman Steve Rich.
“They really played hard for all three periods of the game,” said Green Goon Ingrid Harrald. “And once they grabbed the lead, they never let go.”
Harrald said Chris Russ started the scoring for the Orange with a beautiful shot from the blue line. Chris Owen followed with a breakaway goal. The Green Goons were able to get on the board with a Mike Zelinski goal in the second period, but it was too little, too late.
In the end, Orange Crush ‘Em edged the Goons 2-1 to retain the co-ed hockey title for another year.
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