Saturday, November 15, 2008

AMHL Thursday, Part II: Great Expectations

"Now, I return to this young fellow. And the communication I have got to make is, that he has great expectations."

-Great Expectations, by Charles Dickens

Last week, the first installment of our AMHL saga ended with the underdog Bruins trailing the bourgeoisie, 0–1. But the B’s have not lost faith. Nay. Despite the team’s losing record, they aspire to greatness; as Dickens’ protagonist Pip sought to transform himself from a blacksmith to gentleman, the Bruins seek an escape from the forge of sub-mediocrity.

The King of the Capitals, who would be joining the battle had it not been for a lower body injury, has been surprised by the Bruins doggedness and, at the first intermission, informs his minions of the statistics: twelve shots on goal for the Bruins, four for his own team. Not good enough.

Angered by the uprising, the Capitals—skating right to left across your classic literature—wage an assault on goalie Steve Scansaroli. The brawny backstop’s defense seems to have given up the cause and offers only token support. Scansaroli is under siege. A pad save here, a glove save there, Scans holds his own until the Caps score off a rebound. Later in the second period, Cap center Brent “Scooter” Delehey displays Orr-like presence: Scooter carries the puck into Bruin territory and then confuses his opponents by pretending to fall. As his opponents wonder how to respond, Scooter—his twisted torso serving as a Zamboni—passes the puck left, to John Field, who beats Scansaroli.

The Bruins counterstrike on gatekeeper Ken Tarr, who has been alert and agile. But when his own defense is not able to reach a rebound, Tarr is helpless to stop a grateful Bruin.

However, the Capitals respond by pouncing on yet another rebound and then beat an abandoned Scansaroli.

After two periods, the king is content with his underlings’ offensive outburst: eighteen shots on goal. But the AMHL’s upper class allowed nine shots. His majesty knows that a 4–1 lead in this league is not insurmountable. And the Bruins (several of whom may have read Great Expectations in junior high school) still have high hopes.

The rebels regroup and then attack. Scott “A-Train” Arnold, once an apprentice blacksmith, chugs in on a breakaway. But Kenny Tarr, who traded in his smithing tools for a regal robe and a fine facemask, drops a metaphorical anvil in front of Arnold.

The king is pleased, even when the revolutionaries score on their sixth shot (another rebound) this period. The insurrection is about to be suppressed for good when, late in the game, Rob “Mr. Open Net” Mirak has a clear shot at the vacated goal. His teammates have been chiding him—all in good fun—about his penchant for scoring goals after the opponent’s netminder has been yanked for an extra skater. So Mirak passes to teammate Mike Hansen who, with his sixth goal this season, sticks a stake in the once buoyant Bruins.

Shots on Goal
Bruins: 10
Capitals: 12

The game over and their battle gear returned to malodorous hockey bags, the players turn their attention to the donut pantheon. What sort of sweets will Adam “Donut Meister Meister Donut” Berger have procured for this morning’s participants? Will there be a sprinkled donut for Chad Mikkelson? How about a Boston Kreme for Scansaroli? A Munchkin for the king?

Now, what I have to relate about these old fellows is that they have great expectations.
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