London Werewolves Senior Masters Team headed up to Midland for the 1st real tournament of the 2016 season. There was rumour that something went on a couple of weeks ago in Erin on a Saturday afternoon but apparently no records were kept and no one submitted any sort of report. No report, no pics, no video …it didn’t happen….. though the background buzz that the spare goolies were getting upset/tired at the amount of work in the 1st 2 periods of both games was…disturbing – hopefully a temporary aberration…right?…RIGHT?

The road to Midland was a bit depressing – a bunch of last minute cancellations, work or injury related or “I have to play hockey instead!” or “BTW, I decided to play for another team instead at the very last minute! Is that OK?” changed a  workable 10 man running bench to 5 then an email saying someone was running 20 min late on the highway – RUH ROH! 1 goalie, 4 runners – this will not end well!  Looking back at last years report – similar issues, is there a pattern here? Some last minute on site recruiting with promises of appropriate beverages to both players and team managers, spares were obtained from Peterboro and Halton and the Werewolves were ready to snarl. After a surprisingly evenly matched game, Friday night ended with a 5-5 tie against Huntsville.  If this keeps up Huntsville will stop coming to Midland, a loss and a tie to London to open the season – how embarrassing! (9:00 Friday night games – both good and bad – hard to get to the game on time (right Bryan?) but that much more time to enjoy pizza and beer before last call!)

Saturday’s schedule was brutal – games at 2:00 and 4:00 – essentially back to back  with a short bench – are they trying to kill us …or just make us stronger? 2:00pm game vs Beaches was typical but had some promise. They got ahead early but Wolves kept fighting back and got to within 2  in the 3rd period before Beaches scored a couple of quick ones to put the game on ice. Still, any game that they start ragging the ball to kill time to prevent a possible London comeback is a moral victory for the Wolves. With the first game done, no point in getting changed, stay in the same dressing room and wait for more punishment at 4:00pm. The 2nd game was against perennially strong Halton Hills – the 2 players that helped us out on Friday probably shared our secret strategies with their regular teammates butto no avail – Werewolves scored a couple early but Halton kept coming back including a post buzzer penalty shot goal at the end of the 1st period and another buzzer beater at the end of the 2nd. London pulled ahead but Halton came back to tie it going into the last few minutes. The Goats pressed hard but the London defense  stood their ground and kept it away from the goalie – (good thing!) and time ran out just before the potential game winning goal crossed the line….whew! Final score London 8 – Halton 8. 2nd tie, 2nd point of the weekend – not that bad after all.

After more deliberations over beer and pizza and discussions (flirting!?) with Katrina the waitress that remembered us from 2015 and 2014, off to bed and Sunday’s final game of the weekend. With 75% of the Wolves scoring missing (JKOW and Mike) defense and goaltending would have to suffice – Oh well, hopefully we will survive!. Werewolves initiated the scoring and were ahead 2-0 but lack of depth, both in scoring and bench personnel made the end result predictable if not inevitable. Durham caught up and pulled ahead. London kept it close but the game ended with a Durham victory 9-6.

Overall a positive weekend even with the worrisome beginning. The start of another, ever increasing sequence for 2016, 1st Tournament – 2 pts, 2nd Tournament 4pts…? 3 tournaments plus provincials at that pace should put us in the A finals in Oakville in September – should be able to put that money in the bank! Thanks to Barrie, PBoro, HaltonHills and the referee pool for helping out with emergency recruits – that is what Masters LAX is all about – the fun of the game.

Now for a long hiatus – next tournament is July 15 in Fergus – hopefully people can figure out their schedules far enough ahead so that alternatives can be arranged if needed.