CHbLog – Inside Edge

The 10-0 Punch

Reeder's First Star CelebrationSo I caught that crazy game when the Rocky Mountain Rage played New Mexico on November 3. As the doorwoman scanned my ticket, she announced, “The Scorpions just scored!”

Silly me, I figured I’d just missed what could be the only goal against the Rage, at the time still undefeated in regulation. But no! As I rushed up the stairs to my seat, the Scorpions scored what turned out to be their third of five, first period goals against a team that hadn’t allowed even one first-period goal in their first six games of the season. Holy crap!

Already down 3-0, I assumed the Rage would snap out of their momentary lapse and turn on the juice, right? Still, I ran down an extensive list of possible excuses for what just happened:

1. Disrespect. No team wants to admit it, but chances are the Rage didn’t get “up” for the game against New Mexico – a team whose second win of the season was only the night before (in a shootout against Amarillo).

2. Injury. But Rocky Mountain’s bench wasn’t short and unless they were playing with a few hidden, somewhat serious injuries, this wasn’t the excuse.

3. Exhaustion. They did play Colorado the night before.

4. Momentum. Perhaps Rocky Mountain’s overtime loss Tuesday had drained a little out of them, while New Mexico’s Friday OT win had energized the Scorpions.

5. Mental Stuff. There’s always that wildcard relating to what Ray Edwards talked about (see previous blog). Maybe personal issues distracted Rocky Mountain.

6. The flu. What comes around, goes around.

My mom was visiting from the west coast and in the middle of the second period, she asked of any likelihood of a Scorpions loss. I told her that even with a 7-0 lead, they didn’t want to take anything for granted against the sort of team the Rage has morphed into. It’s a matter of bounces and here’s how it works: A quick snap at the face-off could result in Rocky Mountain’s first goal. Disappointed but not worried, the Scorpions could be caught off-guard for a second goal. Finally flustered, they might miscommunicate for a third goal-against and with all that momentum, the Rage might score a fourth. I figure that’s as many bounces as a team generally gets.

With eight minutes remaining in the third, I gave Mom my theory about a come-back: When a team is losing badly, there’s a superskinny chance they’ll rally as long as they have a minute-per-goal to do it (see strategy of bounces above). I know a goal can be scored in what, 4 or 5 seconds minimum? But more than one goal scored that quickly would be pretty freaking unusual.

Don’t You Dare
“I forget – is it called a hat trick when the goalie doesn’t have any goals against?” my mom asked. “A hat trick is three goals in a game scored by the same player. I’ll tell you what you’re referring to for a goalie after the game!” I answered, not wanting to be mauled by the home crowd should I curse Martin with the forbidden words.

10-0 At the Final Buzzer
How does that happen in professional hockey (coincidentally, my beer league team won 8-0 Monday)? New Mexico’s Martin sure did his part. At times the Rage controlled the puck in their offensive zone way too long and still, Martin kept the door locked on all 31 shots, including two penalty kills. Both goaltenders for the Rage had less than stellar nights (Scott Reid stepped in for the second half of the game, letting in three goals on 19 shots). The Scorpions certainly executed some pretty sweet offensive plays. I guess after the Rage suffering their first loss Tuesday, then their first goal-against in the first period Saturday, systems failed. Perhaps they have some learnin’ to do about expectations. They did get right back to their winning ways for their next game.

Can’t help but congratulate the Rage on their 5-0 start of the season after enduring an inaugural season as Colorado’s other CHL team, having to play the Eagles again and again as Northwest Division rivals but with nearly opposite end results. If the Rage can escape the punching bag status of the lower 50% and join the few Big Dogs in the League, more power to ’em.

Am I the only one who assumed that the Memphis RiverKings were from Memphis? Apparently they’ve been in Southaven, Mississippi for the past seven years and just this season changed their name to reflect that fact.

After a season off, the Fort Worth Brahmas are alive and well as the Texas Brahmas, off to a very respectable start and playing their home games in the NYTEX Sports Centre in North Richland Hills. It’s a cute little venue seating 2,300, but you’ll need a cushion to sit on (lots of bleachers). You could say they’ve come full-circle: in the late 1970s and early 80s, they were the Fort Worth Texans.