GOLD MEDAL GAME 2015

Toilet Bowl was done, the undercard teams were escorted off the floor and the arena was buzzing for the 2015 Championship game. When everything is on the line, everybody shows up – full teams for both benches – faces that haven’t been seen for weeks or months.

Team Bill was first to draw blood with Brent Yost putting a nice over the shoulder shot into the top corner. Team Bill added another goal while Team Russ struggled with rusty passing and a couple of posts but still scoring a couple of quick goals late in the period – 1st period ending tied at 2. 2nd period was low scoring, stingy defense lacrosse. Team Bill was able to pop in a couple of goals to open up a narrow lead, 4-2 at the end of the 2nd. In the 3rd Team Russ woke up early and popped 2 to tie it up and the war was on. Chances at both ends, stifling defense…classic championship lacrosse. Then Matt Austin, driving across the net, covered and with nothing to shoot at, stopped, spun around and directed a low backhand toward the net. Goal! Up 5-4, Team Bill pressed some more, scoring again,a seeing eye dribbling goal to increase their lead to 2. Could Team Russ come back and continue the 2×2 pattern of alternating goals in this game? The chances were there but the goals didn’t materialize and Team Bill ran out the clock on their 2015 Cinderella season winning with the final score Team Bill 6 – Team Russ 4. Team Bill = Team Sparkle…could be a new nickname!

CINDERELLA

Worst to champs – 5 wins all year but 2 back to back when it matters the most. In any case Team Bill wins the coveted 2015 LMHLL MemorialBraggingRightsUsedBallOf(3M)Tape Trophy

 

 

teambill 2015

LMHLL – parity is not an issue – 4 years, 4 different teams winning the Championship. Team Russ – bridesmaids 3 years running, losers in the final game 3 times since their last Championship in 2012. Next year…..! Vegas odds for 2016 to be posted shortly.

After the cheering and fireworks died down and the complaints about the lack of working showers (AGAIN!), it was off to the Alibi for awards presentations. Awards were delivered, players and teams were appropriately mocked and copious amounts of beer and nachos were consumed. Ron Earnshaw decided to grace us with his charming presence (free food, Ron Earnshaw -coincidence…I think not) and the assembled players were ready to celebrate his impending retirement but unfortunately Ron informed us that he is only retiring from minor lacrosee – Masters still get to enjoy his speedy performance on the floor and his “interesting”  and “unique” interpretations and application of lacrosse rules. WONDERFUL!

Coming up – London Werewolves in the Provincials in 2 weeks – possibly 2015 will be time to make some noise.

Otherwise LMHLL 2016 – 33 weeks and counting!

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BRONZE MEDAL GAME 2015

I guess that for some players, if you are not playing for all the marbles, it isn’t worth showing up. Disappointing turnout for both teams for the Toilet Bowl game – only 7 runners per side. Regardless, for the players that showed up, lots of floor time and one last chance for 2015 glory (or defeat).

As usual the game started slowly with Team Blair(less) getting an early goal and scoring alternating for the remainder of the period – the 1st period ended with Team Blair up by 1, 3-2. The 2nd period was all Ashmore for Team Juniors. First scoring on a deflection off his own player that was called back for a dangerous shot penalty. This must have pissed him off because on a subsequent dangerous shot call against Team Blair, Rob scored on the penalty shot and quickly added a couple more goals of his eventual game total of 5(?) lifting Team Juniors to a 6-5 at the end of the 2nd. But then the momentum shifted…AGAIN. In the 3rd Team Blair came storming back with Matt Vlemmix leading the way with a couple of pinpoint laser goals while Team Juniors were only able to reply with 1. 6 goals from Team Blair and the 2015 Toilet Bowl was in the record books Team Blair 11 – Team Juniors 7.

Team Blair gets some satisfaction from finishing 1st over the regular season with a stellar record and decisively beating the 2nd place team in the playoffs….unfortunately not in the Championship Game though. Second year in a row for Team Blair winning the EveryWinnerHasToGetSomethingChampionOfTheLosersRound Bronze Bobblehead Doll Trophy.

TEAM BLAIR 2015Team Juniors ….what can you say! From champions in 2014 to being flushed in the 2015 Toilet Bowl.

TEAM JRS 2015

Apparently Sports Radio chatter is all about the disappointing results that these two teams provided in 2015. Fans and team owners are demanding changes –  2016 may have to be a rebuilding year, new strategy, new coaching…new players? Should be an interesting winter!

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LMHLL LAX FESTIVAL FINALS – TONIGHT, WEDNESDAY AUGUST 26, 2015

Tonight! The Finals! For the Hardware! For pride and bragging rights! The last HL floor time for 7 months! It’s why we play the game! (insert additional cliched sports sound bite as appropriate…)

3rd place vs. 4th place and then 1st vs. 2nd…Wait! What? That’s not how it played out? Who didn’t get the memo and follow the instructions? …sigh… Sorry, It’s 1st place Team Blair vs. 2nd place Team Juniors in the Toilet Bowl at 8:00 and then 4th place Team Bill vs. 3rd place Team Russ for the glittering LMHLL Championship at 9:00! (Somebody should talk to these teams to make sure they follow the narrative, how can predictions be made if the teams don’t follow the approved script…)

Tonight Wednesday, August 26, 2015 at Kinsmen Arena

Team Blair (Gord)  vs. Team Juniors (Trevor)     8:00pm – 9:00pm.

Team Russ (Guntis)  vs. Team Bill (Trevor)     9:00pm – 10:00pm.

Who will reign supreme in the Toilet Bowl and who will be relegated to the bedpan to be flushed! Can Team Bill complete their Cinderella story by trading their last place finish for the 2015 Championship or will Team Russ crush their hopes and dreams like a broken glass slipper ( Hmmm, I think the metaphors are starting to get a bit strained here though the thought of Team Bill in Cinderella glass stilettos is strangely …disturbing). Should be exciting, interesting and fun and then everyone is invited to the Alibi Roadhouse afterwards for cold beverages and some gourmet appetizers (well, nachos and wings at a minimum). Awards to be handed out, game stories replayed as they SHOULD have happened and the 2015 season debriefed – what worked well and what could have been done different/better. See you all tonight.

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PLAYOFF ROUND #1 – THAT’S WHY WE PLAY THE GAME.

Interesting, not quite the results that I was expecting.

1st game started a bit late – forgetting goalie leg guards at home could end up being a bit painful but luckily, Justin was doing his LMLA Equipment Director stuff in Room #6, so replacement pads were dug out, Gord eventually made it out to the floor and the game was on. It took a while to get going (probably because Team Juniors were a touch more tired after having to walk the extended distance from the other pad’s dressing room… mind games, all part of the plan!) and, typical of the playoffs, the defensive coverage, at both ends, was stifling. Goals were traded and the 1st period ended with Team Russ up by 1, 3-2. In the 2nd it seemed that Team Russ was pressing a bit harder but was  a) unable to hit the net, and b) when a legitimate shot on goal was made, unable to solve Gord. Regardless, both teams popped a couple of goals and the period ended with Team Russ still up by 1, leading 5-4. A one goal lead, probably NOT ENOUGH! In the 3rd, Team Russ scored a couple of goals early to open up a bit of a lead and then held on for dear life. Team Juniors pressed hard, again and again but were unable to break through the defensive wall. Ashmore was determined to make the game close, driving and shooting hard but, uncharacteristically, was unable to seal the deal. Team Juniors were able put in 1 goal (cross crease on a power play?) but couldn’t get any closer. Some questionable calls (or lack thereof) from the refs made it interesting but time ran out with Team Russ punching their ticket to the 2015 Championship game with the final score 7-5. Team Juniors won the regular season series 3-1-1 but were unable to pull it out  when it really mattered.

On to the 2nd game where Team Blair (only 2 losses for the regular season) was up against Team Bill (only 3 wins total). Should be an easy prediction…right? Unfortunately for Team Blair their 2nd loss was last week’s season ender which was also Team Bill’s 3rd win – What is a better predictor – long term average or short term momentum? Trevor was pumped in net for Team Bill, while Gord was warmed up (maybe too warm?) for Team Blair. First period was typical playoff ball – tight checking and low scoring but Matt was able to drive to the net for a late goal to put Team Bill up 1-0 to end the period. In the 2nd the flood gates opened with each team scoring 4. Matt was dominant for Team Bill scoring a couple of pretty goals to keep Team Blair off balance. The 3rd period was war! Jeff W, determined to pick up and drag Team Blair to victory by sheer willpower alone, put a couple of precision low, along the floor shots past Trevor, but, each time Team Bill was able to respond. With time running down, Team Blair pushed harder and harder, even pulling the goalie for an extra attacker but just couldn’t get the equalizer. The refs apparently put their whistles away to let the teams play and things got a bit …heated. In the last minute, a couple of ejections suggestions to take an early shower derailed Team Blair’s momentum and the last seconds ran out with Team Bill controlling the ball. Final score Team Bill 7 – Team Blair 6. As noted in all financial advertising, past performance does not guarantee future results… based on this single data point, lacrosse does seem to be more of a momentum game than one of long term statistics. Who would have predicted…?

An updated Team Blair certificate is now available for printing.

eliminated

Next week, LMHLL Lacrosse Championship Festival, a showcase for London’s best Old Guy lacrosse

The undercard is for the LMHLL EveryWinnerHasToGetSomethingChampionOfTheLosersRound Bronze Award (Girl’s Lax Bobblehead version) and the marquee matchup is for the LMHLL MemorialBraggingRightsUsedBallOfTape Award. Unfortunately the ultimate prize of the SilverBedpanToiletBowlLoser bedpan trophy is unavailable – it disappeared a couple of years ago when one of the players was unclear on the concept and thought winning the bedpan was a good thing. Probably in a place of honour in a local chop shop or on the wall of a prison cell somewhere in Ontario….sigh…. it was a nice trophy! I may have to do a Google image search for an appropriate photo as a replacement…what COULD go worng?

Next week, LMHLL Championship Festival, Wednesday, August 26, 2015 Kinsmen Arena

TOILET BOWL  Team Blair vs. Team Juniors  8:00pm – 9:00pm

CHAMPIONSHIP  Team Russ vs. Team Bill  9:00pm – 10:00pm.

Bring out the fans, bring your A games and let’s get ready to rumble!

Hopefully the showers will be working again and we can retire to the Awards ceremony to be held afterwards at the Alibi Roadhouse – more details as they become available.

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PLAYOFFS ROUND #1 – AUGUST 19, 2015

The regular season was for fun, now the sh$#% gets serious. No one will remember that Team Blair came in first through the regular season if they can’t seal the deal in the playoffs and Team Bill’s last place finish will be quickly forgotten if they win one or both of their next 2 games. …and it all depends on who shows up to play (or just shows up).

Tonight, Wednesday August 19, 2015 Kinsmen Arena

Team Juniors (Gord)  vs.  Team Russ (Guntis)     8:00pm  –  9:00pm

Team Blair (Gord)  vs.  Team Bill (Trevor)     9:00pm  – 10:00pm.

Who will emerge victorious to go on to the Championship Game. Which teams will fall by the wayside to be flushed in the Toilet Bowl game?

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WEEK #15 RESULTS

Well, that was disappointing! So much for a rousing end to the regular season, I guess when there is nothing on the line, there is no need to show up.

First game, Team Russ has 5 runners, Team Juniors has 8, ….this is going to be painful! And the dearth of runners shows up in a lack of scoring. Team Russ set a glacial pace and the goalies come up big when called upon – end of the first  0-0 tie. The TV ratings and resulting ad revenues are going to take a hit on this game. In the 2nd things didn’t get much better though Dirka and the JKOW did show up for Team Russ. Team Juniors scored 1 early and hung on, and on, until Team Russ responded late to end the period tied again 1-1. In the 3rd, Juniors were able to pop a couple, and after exchanging a couple of additional goals,  a buzzer beating goal ended the game with Team Juniors winning 2nd place on the basis of a 5-2 victory.

In the 2nd game Team Blair was in dire straits, Ian Gordon out for the season with a knee injury, a number of players watching the Jr A game in 6Nations and even more players just missing…. 4 runners vs a full Team Bill bench. To stave off an embarrassing forfeit with the accompanying onerous fines a quick deal was made to rent a couple of Team Bill’s players for this game only – shuffling team leader Bill and power attacker Andrew to Team Blair seemed generous but ….questionable.  1st period was slow to get going but Team Bill started to get a few goals with Team Blair more or less keeping pace. The period ended Team Bill 3 – Team Blair 2.  It can’t be said that Bill doesn’t play hard all the time – who cares if he was going to return to his original team next week for the playoffs, when given the opportunity, he laid a heavy check on (ex and future) teammate Eric and put him …DOWN! Now that’s focus and drive! But it was all for naught, the 3rd was all Team Bill (and a whole lot of Team Blair shots off the posts and crossbar!), Team Bill scored 5 and only allowed 2 to increase their season’s wins by 50% and doubling Team Blair’s loss total to 2. Final score Team Bill 10 – Team Blair 6. The message has been sent – see you next week!

So….. the 2015 regular season is done and what have we got to show for it – 2015 regular season champions (Greasy Bucket of Used Balls Trophy/Bucket/Cup/ Certificate), in a worst to first run, Team Blair, with a convincing season run, only 2 losses, dominant (at times) scoring, surprisingly good defense (at times). Team Bill with the dreaded participant certificate (Roll of Crumpled Up, Used Tape (3M) Participant Ribbon/Certificate), a substantial drop from their strong 2nd place finish last year. Overall, goals per game dropped by nearly 4 from  just over 19 per game to 15.6. I credit that to stronger goaltending but I may be somewhat biased.

In any case, on to the playoffs! Next week, Wednesday August 19, 2015 Kinsmen Arena

Team Juniors (Gord)  vs.  Team Russ (Guntis)     8:00pm – 9:00pm

Team Blair (Gord)  vs.  Team Bill (Trevor)     9:00pm – 10:00pm

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LONDON WEREWOLVES IN NIAGARA – 33% INCREASE IN TOTAL WINS, CLIFTON HILL INCIDENT

Using the terminology of our banker types, London Werewolves recorded a 50% return over the last tournament reporting period and achieved a stellar 33% increase in tournament on tournament returns. Long term returns are 44% ( an even better 50% in the key reporting sample) which is an unbelievable 444% increase over the previous years results. These results should greatly increase our recruiting ability and help us build for the future (and possibly allow us to increase management fees!). DISCLAIMER: Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

After a relatively pleasant drive to Niagara on Friday night, the first game on the schedule was against Toronto Beaches. A FULL dressing room, a couple of new recruits and the game was on. Werewolves pushed hard right from the start and directed a lot of shots at a new Beaches goalie but the Toronto players put up a stifling defensive shell that did not allow many close in scoring chances.  London dominated in possesion time and scoring chances but couldn’t convert. At the other end Beaches were able to slowly pick away and score a few. Going into the latter half of the 2nd period Beaches were up 5-0 and, surprisingly, they went into a full on defensive ball control mode. Better to run out the clock than allow some turnovers and possibly change the momentum in London’s favour. The 3rd period was pretty slow and boring with Matt Austin finally solving the Beaches’ goalie but they were able to get one back and the game slowly ran out – final score Beaches 6 – London 1.  Not the best game to watch but the fact that Beaches were worried enough about the Werewolves to play a stifling defensive shell was encouraging.

After extended strategy discussions at the beer hall, further lacrosse discussion ensued back in Niagara over food and, surprisingly, more beer. As usual all London Masters and LMLA issues and problems were discussed and solved but noone remembered to take minutes…sigh….  Forgot to ask the players that held the subcommitee meeting at the strip bar to see if minutes (or incriminating videos) were recorded there! The 9:00am Saturday morning game arrived much earlier than was desired but the additional players driving from London did show up as promised – an even FULLER dressing room and the game was on.   Matt Austin scored very early to get things going but Peterboro responded and the game remained close, the 1st period ending with London up only 2-1. Peterboro tied up the game early in the 2nd but the rest of the period was all Werewolves who scored 5 to pull away. Key goal -#4, when, 10 sec in to a power play, a pretty 4 way passing play found Darryl open in front of the net. Peterboro deflated and the scoring gates opened.  2nd period ended with London up 7-2. 3rd period Peterboro scored 2 bookend goals, one right at the start of the period and one in the last few seconds, but London scored 3 in the middle – final score London 10- – Peterboro 4. The minimum 1 win per 2015 tournament streak continues.

Afternoon game was against Halton Hills. Would their early season loss to the Werewolves up their game this time or would we be able to humiliate them with a 2nd defeat? Again Werewolves scored on the first possession, this time it was Ian Gordon with his first of 4 goals. London led after the 1st 2-1 and both teams exchanged a couple of goals with Halton scoring to get within 1 and then London scoring to extend the lead again to 2 to end the 2nd with London up 4-2. In the 3rd the sequence was reversed, London scoring to up the lead to 3, and Halton clawing back each time. Timekeeper issues allowed about 6 minutes of play with only 4 minuted of time remaining in the game – what is this? soccer with extended penalty/injury time? In any case a last minute penalty allowed  Halton to get within 2 with 30sec to play but it was too little, too late and Werewolves won 6-4!

After intense strategy discussion (again) at the beer hall a disturbingly large number of players headed home to London – excuses such as birthday parties for brothers or children, parental obligations….. where are your priorities?   It was decided that this situation would have to be discussed by a 45% quorum of the remaining players at a suitable location in downtown Niagara. After extended review (of the appropriate toppings for the pizza order) and more beer, the meeting was adjourned to a new craft brewpub in the middle of Clifton Hill. At this point things went bad…very bad. Tom, our legal counsel, saw a sign across the alley indicating the presence of Bumper Cars! Obviously a (very) long ago childhood trauma has made bumper cars somewhat of a trigger for Tom as he would talk of nothing else for the next hour. Upon further investigation, it was found that the ride was actually Combat Cars (much better name) and that none of our restraining orders prevented us from being in the arcade itself and combat was on. Luckily there were no breathalizer limitations and Formula 1 driving skills were optional. A hilariously good time was had though the 2 kids who foolishly participated in 5 minutes of Combat Car mayhem were heard to ask about the creepy old guys in the cars. Apparently incriminating photos of a famous local radio personality have been forwarded to the NATIONAL LACROSSE ENQUIRER and should be on the front page next time you are in the grocery store.

COMBAT CARS 2015

 

For the Sunday afternoon 4th game, the dressing room was definitely the opposite of full – only 8 runners – back to the bad old days. Without the speed and scoring of 5 of our top scorers, the result, if not inevitable, was at least predictable. Huntsville, with only 9 runners themselves, was able to win the ball control game and scored 4 in the 1st and a further 4 in the 2nd. Werewolves were only able to get 1 in the 1st but put out a burst of energy in the 2nd to score 3 in a row, 4 total as well. There was some glimmer of hope when the score was  6-4 and 8-5 but it was not to be. Exhaustion pushed the shots on goal wide, and allowed numerous uncontested breakaways in the 3rd and Huntsville scored 4 more to win easily 12-5.

Still, 2 wins, .500 for the weekend and .500 for the 3 best tournaments that are used for seeding purposes. Much better than the 0-12 in 2014. Not bad, overall a positive weekend – Werewolves (ver. Full Squad) can compete with any of the other teams and, depending on the final seedings, should cause a lot of worry for the other teams in their pool. On to the provincials – September 12 weekend in Oakville.

GO WEREWOLVES…AROOOOOOH!

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WEEK #14 RESULTS

Much nicer weather for lacrosse last night – cooler temperatures, happier goalies! and there is nothing more important than happy goalies!

First game was slow to start, Team Blair opened the scoring and built up a 3 goal lead before Team Russ was able to respond with 2 quick goals. A few more goals and the period ended with Team Blair ahead 5 – 3. With no water on the Team Blair bench there was some controversy about their goalie possibly offering to let in some Team Russ goals in exchange for some water…. there may have to be an investigation by the commissioner but with the typical number of goals allowed in a normal game it would be pretty hard to see any evidence of point shaving or collusion…. though Watergate does have a certain ring to it! In the 2nd, Team Blair popped a couple more goals but Team Russ bore down and scored 3, the period ending with Team Blair up 7-5. The 3rd period was all defense with both teams held to only a single goal. Lots of chances highlighted by missed open nets and hit goal posts! The action continued right to the last seconds with the buzzer finally ending the game, Team Blair on the winning side of an 8-6 score over Team Russ.

In the late game, both teams were missing a number of key players with Team Bill hurting the most with only a single spare on the bench. As has been the case in other games involving seriously short benches, Team Bill came out strong and pulled ahead for an early lead. The 1st period ended with Team Bill up by 2, leading 4-2 over Team Juniors. In the 2nd, Team Juniors pushed hard and scored 4 while the rapidly tiring Team Bill could only respond with 2 and the period ended tied at 6. At the start of the 3rd there was some pushing, shoving and cross checking at the initial faceoff – could Team Juniors have sent out their enforcer, Jacquie, to take Team Bill’s Lia out of the game? With the height differences, ANY cross checks would be either high sticking or illegal crosschecks! Luckily, cooler minds prevailed and the game continued. Team Juniors scored 3 and an exhausted Team Bill, pushing hard throughout was only able to counter with 1 and the game ended with a Team Junior victory 9-7.

After last night’s games a high level goolie meeting was held to discuss playoff goalie scheduling. To address last year’s regular season whining complaints about uneven goalie scheduling, special care was taken this year to try to make sure that goalies were evenly distributed among all of the teams… and it ended up surprisingly successful – goalie distribution was between 4-6 games per team, both for and against.For the playoffs we are going to put the onus back on the teams to actually have to think at bit (I know lacrosse players having to think, bizarre concept). For the first round of the playoffs, the 2nd place team gets first choice of goalie, then the 3rd place team picks from the remaining goalies. For the 2nd game, the 1st place team again gets their pick of goalies and the 4th place team either gets the unpicked goalie or has their choice. All of the goalies are pretty close in GAA so the strategy becomes…interesting – do you pick for best defense or strategically pick so that the other guys get someone you find easier to score against….. some thought will be required…or not.

Anyway, going into the final week, it looks like both games will be previews of the 1st round of the playoffs, Week #15 – August 12, 2015 Kinsmen Arena

Team Juniors  vs.  Team Russ     8:00pm – 9:00pm

Team Blair  vs.  Team Bill     9:00pm  – 10:00pm

On another note London Werewolves are off to Virgil for the Niagara tournament this weekend. Pretty hard to hope for another 100% increase in 2015 wins with only 4 games to play, but a couple (or more) wins would be nice to keep the win/tournament streak alive and the possibility of messing with the tender psyches of some of the other teams…PRICELESS! Even if we only get to qualify another couple of players for the Provincials while enjoying Niagara wine and craft beer – win-win! GO WEREWOLVES – AROOOOOOOOH!

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