Following two straight game nights of blowouts in the CIHL, the games of Sunday, January 21 st marked a rise in intensity by players on all teams. Nowhere was this more in evidence than the night’s second battle between the 2 nd place Tigers (looking to keep pace with the 1 st place Bears) and Raptors (coming off an ugly 10-3 loss to the Sharks) in a game that set a record for PIMs (probably).
In addition, the game would be the second match-up of the season for “Mal’s House”, featuring roommates Mal Turner (Raps), ThunderCat Millard, Dan “Turtle” Definney and Brent “Broadway Bernie” Huizinga (all Tigers) going head to head on the ice instead of their usual “back-to-front” at home.
While all these players would play important roles in the evening’s saga, it was slumping Murray “Tron” Richardson that would get the early press. After looking strong on a rush down the wing, Richardson was able to pull the puck out of “ Zamboni Canyon” at the corner boards, step out in front and pot a backhander in behind an uncharacteristically weak-looking John Osmar.
Tron looked to score another four minutes later with Tigers recent acquisition Dave “Fleury”field in the box for tripping, but the whistle had been blown as the net had become dislodged. After that the Raps power play was gross, although the Raptors goon squad of Paul Bray, Bob Ford and Nick Iadenza worked David Chapman in their own end like he was illegal labor on three separate occasions in the span of a few seconds. This marked the beginning of rough play by both teams, but it was Kevin “Canadian Junior?” Yu’s graceful goal at 10:23 that brought the Tigers even. Raptors regained the lead when Paul “Immigration be Damned” Bray wired a slapper in from one foot out at 11:43 (A. Marcus “Maddog” Maidment).
And then, a campaign of violence perpetrated by two-men rarely seen on CIHL ice begins with a harmless looking hook by Maddog on Tommy “Coach” Sullivan on a strong rush by Sullivan; a harbinger of things to come between these two crazy, I mean fiery, competitors.
Maddog’s stay in the box would mark the end of his great play at wing (a first for the Maddog) as shortly thereafter, Coach Sully unintentionally speared Raptors’ captain Ross Kolton in the face whereupon Kolton was forced to leave the game
(http://www.esportsdesk.com/leagues/rosters_profile.cfm?clientID=2341&teamID=106262&leagueID=5733&playerID=264153) and a charged-up Maddog was forced back to his more familiar position on the blue line where he was quiet for the rest of the game. Tigers “Fleury”field took advantage of the PP afforded by Maddog to draw the Tigers even at 2-2 to end the very eventful first period (A. Thundercat and Sullivan).
“ALL MAL…” was how the second stanza began as the league leader in points made a great rush and finished with a backhand that Oz should have had (unassisted, 0:09). The Tigers looked UGLY in the first five minutes of the period but were given a break when the Raptors committed two successive penalties. Both trips, the first was by Nick Iadenza who brought the CIHL’s new greatest fans, employees of The Taiwan Shinkansen Corporation (Hey Sullivan, if you’re not too busy trying to fight Marcus, maybe you should be looking to The Taiwan Shinkansen Corporation for some much needed sponsorship?). The second was to Maddog. Upon receiving the penalty, Maddog unfurled a litany of expletives not seen since the Mario Beaulac incident of season one. Fortunately, this time we had tons of fans (including many children) in a stone quiet arena to listen to this poet’s latest lyrical masterpiece. The Raptors killed off the first penalty, but Dan “The Tedious” de Finney tied it up for the Tigers after holding on to it FOREVER (A. Thundercat, Schmukin’ Fullivan) and we’re still only half way through the second.
Round two, Maidment vs. Sullivan; Maddog makes a great rush, is denied by Oz (making his first stop of the game), and then bowls the shaky ‘tender over despite having a clear opportunity to avoid the hole-ridden net-minder. Coach Sully circles around the net, and DROPS Maddog with a cross-check in the back. When all thought that would be the end of it, Coach got up off the disabled Maddog, and crosschecked him in the back of the neck, piling the gentle lyricist’s face in to the ice. Coach got three minutes after referee Steve Clark risked his life in separating the two adversaries (“It should have been more…” Coach was quoted as saying in the box) and Maddog launched into the second verse of his newest hit, “How Much Can I Curse Before I get 10?”.
The Raptors power play was anemic and survived a scare when Snarf hit the iron short-handed.
Round Three: Maddog dangerously up-ends Tigers’ superstar Kevin Yu at center ice. The Tigers still manage to set-up in the Raps zone and Coach dribbled a harmless bouncer in behind Raptors’ goalie Jeff “Safety First” Cuvilier. Desperate for the Gordie Howe hat-trick (already with a goal and 2 assists), Coach then skated over and punched Maddog in the face, obviously oblivious to the fact the Tigers just took their first lead of the game and he was setting the Raptors up for a powerplay. Referee Steve Clark had seen enough. Coach Sullivan gets 3 minutes for the rough and an extra 10 for, as Steve said, “Being an Ice whole…” which doesn’t seem right because I’ve never even heard of an Ice Whole. In a case of roll reversal, ThunderCat yelled at teammate Tommy, and Coach replied, “Someone has to protect our players, it shouldn’t have to be me.” It was hard to take him seriously though because then he started giggling, rubbing his hands together, and gratifying himself with his hockey stick.
So begins the third period. Teams quieted down in the first half apart from The Condor adding to the penalty tally by holding someone’s leg of all things at the 3 minute mark. The Raptors tied the game up at 8:28 when Murray Richardson was sprung free on a breakaway and made a great move to the backhand to beat Cuvilier (A. Turner, Kory Frame). At 10:30, a well-rested Coach makes his exit from exile and all were anticipating what would be a great finish. Teams exchange good rushes and hard play along the boards. The good offensive play continued for both teams hungry for the win as time dwindled down, with both goalies finally looking like they belong in this league. What a blessing to see some good, hard-fought, but relatively clean, hockey.
Oops, spoke too soon. The Tigers looked to be in trouble when Steven Liu took a tripping call at 16:17. Fortunately, Kevin Yu really stepped up and was out-skating the Raps on numerous rushes. It was this hard-play that lead to what was perhaps the most decisive play of a very long write-up, I mean game. With Yu beating Maddog into the corner in the Raps end, Maddog through a wicked hip into the youngster, apparently forgetting how much of a bulls-eye he had put on himself in the ref’s eyes, and Maddog went to the box for boarding (cue third verse of “How Much Can I Curse Before I get 10?”). The Tigers developed strong puck control during the four-on-four and upon gaining the man advantage, Clay Laughren, working from the point, squeezed another dribbler just over the line to put the Tigers up for good with 40 seconds left (A. Thundercat), thus marking the third time in the game that the Tigers scored with Maddog in the box.
Although one (most) would say that Sullivan was the winner of the battle with Maidment, is there ever really a winner when players disrespect each other physically and the game verbally? Maidment played a great game when he wasn’t in the, or on his way to the, box and yet will only be remembered for his potty mouth and unwillingness to take Coach on (instead opting to take out his frustrations on the much smaller Yu). Tommy used to be a role-model for many young players in Taiwan, but what mother or father would want their child to do what he did on the ice? Who wins? Fans of old-time hockey that’s who, because we’re all really tough and hoot like baboons when our comrades bash each other. No harm though, the only damage was to Coach’s and Maddog’s reputations, oh and Ross Kolton, who nearly lost an eye….
(There’s also maybe something about it possibly reflecting badly on all of us trying to introduce and popularize a great game to a culture that does not look favorably upon outright violence and four-letter-friend-getters, especially since we foreign males are so well thought of to begin with, but that’s not funny, so we won’t mention it.)
#1 Tigers Jeff Millard (3 assists, avoided skating like a lady, and showed significant increase in intensity)
#2 Tigers Clay Laughren (Game winning goal and one assist, solid leadership when Sullivan went off the deep-end)
3# Raptors Murray Richardson (hampered season-long by a bad back, leads Raptors to near victory with 2 goals)
Honorable mentions to refs Steve and Greg, who did well to keep it from getting any worse.
Special thanks again to the Taiwan Shinkansen Corporation for their support last night. All of us at the CIHL hope to see you out again soon. What an ideal partnership opportunity, High-speed, graceful, bullet trains and the world’s fastest team sport…minus the Maidivan’s thuggish-ness, of course...
(Nick Iadenza, please contact Dave Campbell regarding sponsorship opportunities)
- Dave Campbell