Classics 5, Your Mother in Law 3

Short bench for Classics doesn't slow them down as they take the first round matchup

YOUR MOTHER IN LAWCLASSICSSUMMER 2023 - ROUND 1

Aaron Froats

8/4/20233 min read

After battling through eight rounds of a shootout, it was no surprise both teams were looking forward to a great game in the rematch, this one in the first round of the playoffs. The winner of the game would move on to face the season point leader, Norse, next week, and the loser out of the championship bracket, relegated to play consolation games for the remaining two weeks.

Whereas the noticeable issue at the start of last week's game was the lack of a goaltender for Your Mother in Law, last night it was the lack of bench players for the Classics. Without the benefit of substitutes that are available for regular season games, the short roster didn't afford the Classics much room in terms of absences. As a result, Classics were dressing eight skaters to the visiting team's 13 skaters. The key to the game would be stamina.

What could be a good defense against an expected ice tilt in the third due to the team being winded? How about ensuring your team has the lead when it happens. That is exactly what the Classics set out to do. Right off the opening faceoff, Rob Kotulak sped down the right wing, bypassing the Mother in Law defense and firing one five-hole, notching the first tally just ten seconds in. Jordan Kiss would follow his lead burying a shot just 50 seconds later to give the Classics a 2-0 lead early. Kiss and the home team would keep the play in the offensive zone, as he pocketed another with about four to play in the frame, while goalie Aaron Froats saw only five shots in the first.

The first powerplay of the game was awarded to the Classics a few minutes into the second as Kotaluk was fighting for a puck against the far boards in the neutral zone. Both sticks went up and clipped each other, but the referee only called the visiting team for the infraction. The team in teal would not capitalize during the man advantage, but the momentum did appear to swing. After the teams evened up, the puck remained in the Mother in Law zone until a shot from Kiss caromed off goaltender Jessie Lapid's pads onto the stick of Kendall Oziminski, who fired it into the yawning net. Oziminski had been playing sound positional hockey throughout the regular season without seeing the fruits of her labor, but she saw the puck hit the twine this time in the first round of the playoffs.

The temperature began to rise a little on the next shift. Froats took a wrister from his blocker side from Marcus Newman up high and wasn't able to corral it, dropping the puck to the ice. Forward Helena Ferro took a swipe at the loose puck, but Froats was able to cover with his glove. At that point, Ferro attempted at the puck again which did not sit well with Froats, who returned a swipe of his own at her shin guards. The referees stepped in and managed to get the faceoff lined up without divvying out any penalties. It may have been just what the Your Mother in Law squad needed though as not even 90 seconds later, they tallied their first of the game beginning to cut into the deficit. Adding 12 shots in the second, the 4-seed team in white was starting to take advantage of the winded Classics.

Your Mother in Law took advantage of their long bench entering the third, turning the game into a foot race each shift. Bryan Schiraldi took possession of a neutral zone turnover and snapped a wrister past the glove of Froats to cut the Classics' lead to two at the 1:48 mark into the final frame. Next shift, a dash for a puck dying heading down into the Classics zone caused the referees to wave off the potential icing, but in the process Jeremy Goodman's stick got caught in the skate blades of his counterpart which earned him two minutes. With momentum already in full swing for the visiting team, a pair of saves deep in the zone on the ensuing powerplay led to a rebound bouncing out to the back door to an awaiting stick. A diving goaltender could not bail out the penalty kill unit and the scoreboard roll over a three for Your Mother in Law. The Classics were visibly gassed on the bench, shifts being more labored and changes coming quicker. With the home team just rolling their five forwards, both Kiss and Kotulak shared the ice about four minutes left in regulation. A quick jump out of the defensive zone led to a 2-on-1 opportunity for the pair, ending with a tic-tac-toe highlight reel goal from Kotulak to Kiss and back for the insurance marker.

The fifth goal appeared to take the last bit of wind out of the sails of Your Mother in Law, and they never regained momentum enough to pull Lapid for the extra attacker. Final score of the game: 5-3. The Classics will play the top-seeded Norse next Thursday at 9:30, while Your Mother in Law will face-off against the Bobcats in the consolation bracket at 10:45 on Thursday.