There’s no denying that it’s been another long season for the Saskatchewan Shockers. They fell out of contention from almost the beginning of the season, and they were mathematically eliminated with almost three weeks left. They unleashed yet another disastrous promotion on their fans, this time a poorly designed kids’ activity book. Until this week, perhaps the most notable event of Saskatchewan’s season was when one of their players accidentally set fire to the locker room.
That all changed on Friday, as the Shockers finally delivered a season highlight worth celebrating. They may be having a season to forget, but Friday was a game to remember, as Saskatchewan set a new SHL record for goals in a game in an 11-5 thumping of the Dakota Jackalopes.
“We sure know how to deliver excitement, huh?” said Shockers coach Myron Beasley with a huge grin. “You saw more goals in this game than you’d see in a week watching Michigan or Anchorage. You want fun, come see us!”
C Elliott Rafferty pointed out that Saskatchewan had scored 11 despite the fact that no player managed a hat trick. “That’s a testament to the kind of depth we have here,” the center said. Rafferty, C Napoleon Beasley, and D Dick Bradshaw each scored two goals, while LW Troy Chamberlain, D Wyatt Barnes, RW Brad Stevens, D Ed Francis, and RW Andrew “Lucky” Fortuno got one apiece.
The game was not a blowout at the beginning; at the end of the first period, the score stood 4-3. The Shockers peppered Dakota goalie Buzz Carson, but the Jackalopes fired 19 shots at Oliver Richardson and put three behind him. In the second period, Saskatchewan blew it open, scoring five unanswered goals and sending Carson to the showers.
The Shockers came into the third chasing history, but it seems that no one was aware of it. The PA announcer made no mention of it, and the fans and benches seemed equally unaware. Eight and a half minutes into the period, Chamberlain snapped a shot past new Dakota netminder Christen Adamsson for Saskatchewan’s tenth goal, tying the SHL record, first set by Dakota against the Shockers last season. Five minutes later, Barnes buried a rebound to set a new record. The crowd roared its approval, but again, no mention was made of the new record.
It wasn’t until after the game, when a journalist who had looked up the record asked about it, that the Shockers discovered what they had done. “Hey, we’re famous!” shouted Beasley when informed of the record. “That’s really cool. Now we’ll be able to go to the record books and point and say, ‘Hey, I was part of that.'”
“This team is more dangerous than people think,” said Rafferty, who had two assists in the game in addition to his pair of goals. “We’ve got some real snipers here. We’re a young team and we’re still learning, but games like this show what we’re capable of.”
Owner Heinz Doofenschmirtz, whose passion for his team is well-known around the league, was ecstatic with his team’s performance. The owner reportedly came into the locker room after the game and gave each player an $1,100 bonus check in recognition of the record-setting performance. “I believe he’s doing a few laps around the ceiling about now,” said Beasley.
For the Shockers, the game was a welcome bright spot in an unremarkable year. For the Jackalopes, it was yet another reminder of a season gone wrong. Small-market Dakota spent heavily in the offseason to build a team that could contend for a title. Instead, the Jackalopes have turned in another so-so season, and ownership has signaled that they intend to cut payroll next season.
Jackalopes coach Harold Engellund, whose job is reportedly in jeopardy, responded wearily to news of Saskatchewan’s record-setting performance. “Well, congratulations to them,” said Engellund. “They’re a team on the rise and they deserve it. But that’s not a record you really want to be part of, not on the other end. If this is what we’re remembered for this year, that’s not too good.”