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Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Shooting the puck 

Bloggingitreal continues to bring home the vege-bacon reporting on sports other than rugbyfuckingunion. Last night I attended a match featuring those two powerhouses of international (ice) hockey, New Zealand and Australia.

It was a sellout crowd at the Botany Downs stadium, where over 500 paid $18 for the privilege of sitting on the wooden bleachers. Man, they test the buttocks and back in pretty short order ... no better than those fucking concrete terraces at Eden Park. On the other hand, the view was excellent: 5th row back next to the goal New Zealand defended for two periods ... those seats would cost a fortune elsewhere. Except there weren't really any "seats" and there were only 6 rows. As Ms_Red observed, it was a bit like watching hockey in 100 Mile House, BC.

Anyway, I degress. The game was proceeded by a rousing haka ... not bad for guys on skates!

Australia was, from the outset, clearly the better team. They won the first face off and quickly set up camp behind the New Zealand blue line, taking - I would estimate - 10 shots on goal in the first 90 seconds. At this point it quickly became clear that New Zealand had one class player, and luckily for them he was their goalie, Gareth Livingstone.

The first period was frequently farcical, with the mighty Ice Blacks (does every NZ team name have to be some play on Black/Silver?) completely unable to clear the puck for long periods of time, offering Australia countless opportunities to rain shots in on goal from close quarters. When, by some accident, the puck did land on the stick of an Ice Black, a hilarious giveaway usually followed. But, thanks to the lightning reflexes and great anticipation of Livingstone, nothing got through until about the 16th minute.

New Zealand gradually began to warm to the task, and by the second period were even managing to string a few offensive passes together. The scoreline gradually mounted in Australia's favour, but New Zealand also scored after a breakaway mid-way through the second period, in what must have been one of their first 4-5 shots on goal, briefly reducing the difference to one.

The final period was pretty open, with Australia dominating, but New Zealand scoring a good second goal (cause for much celebrating). All in all, Australia deserved the 6-2 victory, but it could easily have been 20-2 without our goalie. Hence his well-deserved MVP award.

Indeed, I'd guess he saved well in excess of 60 shots, meaning his save percentage stayed over 90%. The Ausssie goalie, by comparison, let in about 2 off 15 or so.

It's not too often your team loses 6-2, and your goalie still has a better save percentage than his opponent.

And hey, when I'm using broadband at home and someone picks up the land line phone, the whole fucking thing falls over. What's with that?


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