Puck Buddies 6, Woollies 2

The Puck Buddies keep pace with the Renegades and remain tied in second place after dispatching the Woollies in a pseudo-revenge game.

FALL 2023 - WEEK 4PUCK BUDDIESWOOLLIES

Aaron Froats

9/17/20234 min read

The Puck Buddies shot out of the gates like a catapult in what looked to many to be a wire-to-wire roughshod run through the regular season. Meanwhile, the Woollies were piecing together their lines week-to-week with a roster that was developing chemistry on the fly, with expectations across the league of a hard-luck season. When the two teams met in Week 7, it would have been extremely difficult for anyone to take any set of odds in favor of the Woollies heading in to the matchup. Despite being the overwhelming underdogs, the Woollies shutout the Buddies 2-0. While both rosters had some changes in the offseason, there were many lacing up Thursday night that remember that game all too well.

If the rematch was the headliner, the faceoff between goalies Aaron Froats and Omar Soliman was the undercard. For the fourth time in as many weeks, the two netminders were toe-to-toe as Froats was filling in for Brody Grief, manning the net for the Puck Buddies. The previous three matchups saw both goalies seeing their fair share of rubber fired at them, this game saw Soliman doing the heavy lifting. The Puck Buddies did not have the likes of Dylan Brady, Stephen Von Heyking, or Steven Martinez in their lineup this season, but the team was still as fundamentally sound as ever and it would pay dividends often. The Woollies had defensive stalwarts JJ Shire and Jessie Lapid filling in from Your Mother in Law, and though they would do their part to make life difficult for the Buddies, a lack of offensive breakout would have the play bogged down in the neutral zone and shift back into their end many times. The away squad would strike with the first of three goals in the opening period. New blueliner Kenny Ledbetter opened the scoring with a wrister from the point that would score along the ice to Soliman’s right. Zack Casavant would follow with a snipe up under the bar from close range over the glove hand for his fourth of the season. It would not be the only time we heard from Casavant. Jeff Braun would add his second of the season, marching the Buddies out to a 3-0 lead and potting a 2-on-1 feed from captain Josh Kerr. Not even ten seconds later, the Woollies would throw a puck at the net as they entered the zone. It would be an unfortunate tip off the stick of defenseman Mike Kerr that put the Woollies on the board. A rather innocent snapshot from the point didn’t get air at all, but it did get enough of Kerr’s stick to alter its course from skirting wide to hitting the back of the net. So, the scoreboard would read 3-1 as the buzzer sounded.

Second period began like the first with the Puck Buddies controlling play. A second goal by Casavant made the score 4-1 at the 1:09 mark and the ice started to tilt back in the away team’s favor.. But not to go down without a fight, the Woollies attempted to level out the ice with a couple of rushes down the ice. Froats was up to the task, but not without a bit of drama. A butterfly save to his right on a shot from the top of the circle had Froats frozen, believing he had the puck secured. However, the puck was loose to his right and Mike Kerr was able to clear it from harm’s way. Another shot later in the frame hit off the back end boards and shot out towards the front. While the goaltender was able to get back to his near side post, the Woollies still got a stick on it to create a scramble for the puck. The Bobcats would finally be rewarded for their persistence when Christian Mansfield got loose on a breakaway along the far boards. Ripping the shot as he approached the faceoff dot, the puck found its way between the top of Froats’s leg pad and his glove to tally the second Bobcat’s goal.

As the game entered the third period, the pace of play began to wear down the Bobcats. Play stayed down on their defensive end for the bulk of the period. Just over two minutes into the period, any remaining momentum was lost when Gloria Maas was whistled for tripping. The Puck Buddies would not score on the powerplay, but the possession alone was enough to secure control of the game. Casavant would finish off his hat trick and Scott Levine would seal the scoresheet with his first of the campaign, snapping a loose puck lying unattended in the high slot as he fell to the ice, finding the back of the net for his first tally of the season. One last rush by the Bobcats with two minutes to go found Froats fighting off a 2-on-1 with his blocker, sending the puck en route to closing out his fourth win of the season.

The win would be the Puck Buddies’ third win of the season, moving them back into a tie with Renegades of Puck at 3-1-0 and 6 points, trailing only the Norse. Both teams will face off against each other next Thursday, September 21, at 9:30, with the Buddies being the away team once again. The Woollies will visit the Bobcats in the game prior as both teams look to secure their second win of the Fall campaign.