Puck Buddies 6, Renegades of Puck 3

The Puck Buddies continue their dominance over the Renegades of Puck, despite late comeback attempt, to take sole possession of second place in the standings.

FALL 2023 - WEEK 5PUCK BUDDIESRENEGADES OF PUCK

Aaron Froats

9/22/20235 min read

Going into Thursday night’s matchup with the Puck Buddies, the Renegades had struggled in their previous two meetings, dropping both games by a combined score of 13-5. However, the Renegades were rolling in the early part of the Fall season, racking up wins in three of their first four games, holding opponents to a league-low 11 goals. In addition to their stingy defense, 12 of their 17 players had scored a goal this campaign, including all but one of their defensemen. The Puck Buddies, with their new-look roster, were also having wide-spread success in having 12 of their 15 players tickle the twine, and all but one had at least recorded a point.

The game began relatively even. Both sides moving the puck through the neutral zone, dumping it in, puck coming back out, rinse and repeat. However, it became slowly apparent the Puck Buddies were making adjustments. The Buddies began making stretch passes up the middle of the ice which caught the overzealous defense of the Buddies either out of position or flat-footed on several occasions. The adjustments had yet to yield anything on the board when Renegades utility player, Chris Brady – who was filling in on defense with Brandon Adams still out with his injury – saw a seam up the middle of his own. Leaving the zone, he skated right through the center circle and headed into the Puck Buddies zone, capping it with a shot along the ice across the grain to goaltender Brody Greif’s right for his second of the season. Next shift, the away squad got set up in the offensive zone. Center Zack Casavant, fresh off his hat trick last week, was able to set up shop in front of netminder Aaron Froats and deflect a shot from the top of the blocker-side circle. Froats caught a piece, but not enough to stop it, resulting in Casavant’s seventh of the campaign. The first period wound down with the ice tilting in the Buddies favor, as the Renegades lacked another shot on goal in the frame, totaling only three. Mike Lombardi was the recipient of a two-on-one pass to the glove side from Scott Levine, burying it for his second of the season with just over four minutes left. As the home team tried to slow down the momentum, Charlie Saunier was whistled for a tripping call as the period waned. The powerplay for the Puck Buddies would be extremely short, however, as 24 seconds in Kenny Ledbetter picked up a slashing call to bring it to 4-on-4. The period would expire with Saunier exiting the box and nine seconds left on the minor to Ledbetter, with the score 2-1.

The Puck Buddies came out flying in the second. Taking full advantage off their stretch passing and getting in behind the offensive blueliners of the Renegades, the Buddies would score twice in 16 seconds in the early part of the frame. The first marker of the period would come from captain Josh Kerr, who took a drop pass from Levine and turned the corner to his backhand to Froats’s left. Kerr was able to get the puck back to his forehand and beat the netminder over his shoulder to extend the lead. Off the ensuing draw, the Puck Buddies came storming into the zone and funneled the puck deep. Defenseman Mike Kerr controlled the puck below the goal line and moved towards the front of the net, ultimately finding Lombardi parked alone at the top of the crease for the easy cleanup. With momentum swinging heavily in the Puck Buddies’ favor, and the team moving away from its gameplan, timeout was called 2 ½ minutes into the second to regroup. Grief would make sure any reset was well earned with a pair of big saves on his end, including a point blank pad save to his right. With the urgency to get back into the game, the Renegades were caught out of position yet again when Spencer Nohe received an outlet pass behind the home defense for a breakaway, securing his first goal of the season. Riding the high of his first goal, Nohe would score again three minutes later on another odd-man rush, with Lombardi feeding him back-post for the one-timer to the back of the net, capping a three-point night for Lombardi and extending the lead to 6-1. It looked like the game may get completely out of hand with less than a minute to play when a perceived icing attempt by the Puck Buddies from their own zone was given up on by the Renegades skaters. The Kerr brothers did not stop skating and Josh Kerr was able to flag down the puck just inside the Renegades zone for a 2-on-0. The captain chose to keep it himself and try to score short side, but it was stopped by Froats to close out the second.

The third period saw a shift in the Puck Buddies play to applying more pressure on the Renegades defense, beginning to outlet two players for stretch options, ensuring the home squad could not begin to overload the offensive zone. Froats made a highlight glove save from the faceoff dot to his right to prevent Nohe from netting the hat trick, earning cheers and stick taps from both sides. Moments later, another unattended forward for the Puck Buddies attempted to slam home a one-timer at the back door, but Froats made a desperation dive to keep the score the same. A spark of life emerged from the Renegades and they able to put two on the board in the final two minutes. Tom Buysee scored from the point, glancing it off a defender’s skate, for his second in as many games. TJ Nielson put himself back on the scoresheet for the first time since the season opener with a goal at the 11-minute mark. Unfortunately, the damage was already done and there was not enough time for the Renegades to complete their comeback as the buzzer sounded, with the victory belonging to the Puck Buddies, 6-3.

With the win over the Renegades of Puck, and the Norse falling to the Classics earlier in the week, the Puck Buddies pull into a first-place tie with the Norse heading into Week 6. They will face Tenacious D on Thursday carrying a three-game winning streak, while Tenacious D comes off a 4-2 loss to Your Mother in Law, dropping them to 1-4 on the campaign. The Renegades of Puck will visit the Bobcats on Wednesday for the late 10:45 start, in a rematch of last week’s tilt where the Renegades secured the 4-3 win. The Bobcats shutout the Woollies this week with goaltender Omar Soliman tending the net for the Bobcats against his normal team, leading them to the 1-0 victory in his 11th game already this season. The loss Thursday night to the Puck Buddies moves the Renegades to 3-2 through Week 5 and down to fourth place with the Classics leapfrogging them on account of their victory over the Norse. The Renegades will be looking forward to a rematch against the Puck Buddies on October 26 in Week 10.