Friday, July 13, 2007

AMHL Tuesday: Mystery Boys

“But I'm telling you, some pretty good goals. I'm loving these kids. I want to adopt them. How's that? I want to clean them up and raise them as my own.”

-Donnie Shulzhoffer (Mike Myers) from Mystery, Alaska

If you’ve read the Tuesday Ticker, you’re no doubt familiar with superstars like Dana “Mr. Points” Salvo, Brendan Doyle, and Mike Evans (and other regular point-getters who won’t like it that that they didn’t make it on my short list).

Forget them for now. This entry is all about the little guys who don’t normally make the headlines.

Bobby Kilkenny: Flyers, Rink One

Bobby Kilkenny lists his weight at 160 pounds. The corporate CPA by day is known for his Tuesday morning sponsorship of the US Post Office (he wraps tape normally reserved for Priority Mail around his hockey socks) and his willingness to play goalie when needed. Although he has averaged about sixteen points a season, Bob Kilkenny is not synonymous with Art Ross. This Tuesday morning, Kilkenny earned three points as his Flyers dumped the Blues. On his first assist, he picked up the puck just inside the offensive blue line and skated down the middle to force a defender to cover him.

“I really wanted to be selfish and just shoot it, thought better of it since one of their D was right in front of me,” Bobby would explain on Wednesday. “It was just a little flip under the stick that happened to land flat.” Right onto the stick of Jim Cullen, who promptly plopped the puck past the Blues’ goalie.

Kilkenny assisted on another goal and scored one himself. “I flipped a pass out in front to no one that bounced off of Jesse Floyd and ended up in the net. Just like I planned it.”

Bill VanderClock: Penguins, Rink Two

While Kilkenny was making a name for himself on Rink One, “Bahrain Bill” VanderClock was enjoying his stop at an oasis, lush with offense, on Rink Two. In the midst of more than a year-long scoring drought (last goal was in the Spring 2006 season), VanderClock tallied two assists and one goal.

“The puck appeared on the ice in front of me,” said VanderClock on Wednesday, “and there was this open spot between the pads that all worked together (with a little help from a teammate) to put the puck in (too bad we don’t “light the light” in the AMHL).”

Bill, who had suited up last week but didn’t play because a skate blade broke on his way from the locker room to the ice, also gave credit to his skate doctor. “Rob at Tricon Sports treats me very well and worked some magic on those new blades…”

And his Penguins won, so that makes this memory even sweeter for Bill.

Mark Elder, Maple Leafs, Rink Two

Mark Elder, was a little bitter about the loss to VanderClock’s Penguins—the Leafs disputed at least one Penguins’ goal—but happy with his second goal of the year.

Elder scored after John Greszczuk retrieved his own rebound and then slid the puck across the crease to Mark, who hoped the AMHL photographer might have captured the event (she didn’t). As Elder would say the next day, “I don’t remember how it happened. I think I blacked out.”

Why did it take him so long to score his second goal? “First of all, it is very difficult to score goals when you are a perennial checking line winger. Second, it is difficult to score goals when you occasionally play on a line with Dana (Salvo) and Mike Evans. However, playing with those two guys has accounted for my over the top spike in assists (once in a while a puck will hit me on the way out of our zone and I get credit for the assist).”

Mark has ten helpers this season, a career high!

Kilkenny, VanderClock, Elder: These underdog mutts probably won’t, collectively, catch up to the big dogs in terms of raw numbers. But, Donnie Shulzhoffer would love these Mystery Boys, eh?
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