Puck Buddies 6, Renegades of Puck 1

Speed of Puck Buddies no match for Renegades; Night capped by highlight reel goal by Josh Kerr


Aaron Froats

8/11/20233 min read

After getting roughed up in Week 9 of the regular season by the Puck Buddies, 7-4, the Renegades of Puck were gearing up for a rematch in the second round, with the winner moving on to the finals for the 2023 Summer season. However, for the second straight week, the team was dealt a blow to their lineup: This time, the team received news about two hours prior to puck drop that their captain, Charlie Saunier, would be scratched from the lineup due to an undisclosed injury. Reports are that he will recover in time for next week’s game.

It was worth noting going into the game that Renegades goaltender was returning to the lineup after having to exit the game early last Thursday with a knee injury. Before the game, he noted that mobility was not an issue and was wearing extra padding on his knee to cushion the impact when going down into the butterfly. His team, donning the white jerseys this time, would be facing a very fast lineup and appeared to be on their heels for a lot of the night.

Froats was not helping the cause early as several early saves were resulting in high-quality rebounds for the Puck Buddies. One of those led to the first goal of the game by Dylan Brady. The Renegades would strike back quickly with a tally of their own when TJ Nielson lit the lamp for the away team. Chris Brady, no relation to Dylan, assisted on the goal and was back on the scoresheet after being held off last week by Tenacious D. The Renegades center, who was filling in on defense for the scratched Saunier, had points in all nine games he suited up during the regular season. As the period waned, the Puck Buddies started capitalizing on several failed clearing attempts by the Renegades that resulted in turnovers or icing calls, leading to heavy fire on Froats. Stephen Von Heyking put the home team up by one heading into intermission, scoring against ROP again following-up on his 4-goal performance in their previous meeting.

Action began to really pick up in the second frame. While there were three goals total in the first, accompanied by a penalty to each side, three more goals were scored in the middle period, along with three penalties. The three goals were all scored by Puck Buddies, and the infractions looked to stalwart any comeback by the Renegades. However, an outlet pass up the far boards to Jon Bellucci created a quick 2-on-0 as defenseman Brad Bartlett exited the penalty box about halfway through the period. Unfortunately, the overzealousness of Bartlett caused him to creep offside before Bellucci could enter the zone, killing the possible momentum shift. Froats was doing what he could to keep the score close, pulling off two outstanding thefts with his quick glove. On a pass across the low slot to an awaiting Puck Buddies forward at the back door, Froats slid across on his pad and snared the one-timer across the grain with his trapper while falling to the ice. Not even two minutes later, a shot from the middle point through a screen was snapped by the netminder leading to cheers and awe from both sides. However, with 31 shots on goal through the first two periods, the message to the Renegades in the intermission was to make better outlet passes and not let the speedy Puck Buddies forwards behind the defense in the transition game in an attempt to lead to more offense.

The plan looked to work to a degree as the away squad was able to slow down the second-seed team for a bulk of the final period. The speed of the game had already taken its toll on the Renegades of Puck; however, and they weren’t able to tilt the ice in the opposite direction. As much as they tried, it wasn’t meant to be. Froats continued to hold firm in net, aside from the highlight of the night. Puck Buddies captain, Josh Kerr, corralled a bouncing puck deep in the Renegades zone, within about ten feet of the goal mouth. As Froats dropped to the butterfly in anticipation of the shot, Kerr ripped a wrister up under the bar over the glove-hand shoulder of Froats from point-blank range. It would prove to be the final tally, making the final score 6-1 in favor of the Puck Buddies, who will move on to the 2023 Summer championship next week. The Renegades will play a consolation game against the Woollies. While the Renegades are expecting their captain to return to the lineup, goaltender Aaron Froats’s status for the consolation game is uncertain. With the Fall season beginning the following week, the Renegades will have only six days before they open up the new campaign against Tenacious D on August 23. Froats, having played in 22 games in less than 3 months, instead of the usual 12 games at this point, as well as still recovering from the injury, may shut it down for a week for rest and recovery.