Shockers Set SHL Record with 11-Goal Game

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.”

Heinz Doofenshmirtz

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.”

Shockers’ Practice Arena Damaged by Fire

The Saskatchewan Shockers will need to find another venue for their practice skates for the next several weeks, as the locker room at their practice facility was badly damaged by a fire.  The culprits: Shockers C Foster Culp — and a microwave burrito.

The Shockers held their usual off-day practice Thursday morning at Harbour Landing Arena. During a break in between sessions, Culp decided to microwave a couple of breakfast burritos he’d purchased at a nearby restaurant on the way in.  “I always get a little peckish in between skates,” Culp explained later, “so I always make sure to get myself a little something-something to snack on.”

Foster Culp

One problem with Culp’s otherwise sound plan: The burritos were wrapped in aluminum foil, which the center neglected to remove before turning the microwave on.  Presumably, the foil began sparking, and the sparks landed on the inner paper wrapper around the burritos, causing them to catch fire.

Not that Culp noticed; he’d set the microwave and wandered off to find a drink.  But a few minutes later, he thought he smelled something burning and returned to the microwave, to discover that it had become a ball of fire.  He stared at it, transfixed, but took no action as the fire began to spread to the counter on which the microwave sat.

At that point, RW Brad Stevens noticed either the smell or the smoke and went over to examine the situation.  He saw Culp staring at the conflagration and said, “Dude, fire!”  Culp responded, “Yeah, I know.”

Stevens tried again: “Dude, put it out!”  Culp said, “Uh, with what?  I don’t have a hose.”  Stevens pointed at the fire extinguisher on the wall and said, “Use that, stupid!”

Culp snapped out of his trance, ran to the wall, and grabbed the extinguisher.  But rather than point it at the fire and start spraying, Culp took the extinguisher and hurled it at the fire.  Unsurprisingly, this had no effect.

By the time G Zeke Zagurski grabbed another extinguisher and brought it over to the scene, the fire had spread to the adjoining wall and the team was forced to evacuate the area.  The fire department had to be called in, and by the time they extinguished the blaze, the locker room had suffered an estimated $250,000 in damage.

When asked about the incident, coach Myron Beasley put his hand over his face and sighed.  “Foster… he’s a piece of work, he really is,” said Beasley.  “I don’t know if he got dropped on his head a lot as a kid or what.  But he thinks… different than you and I do.”

Culp was chagrined by his mistake.  “Obviously. knowing what I know now, I wouldn’t do that again,” said Culp.  “But I needed those burritos!  Who hasn’t needed a burrito from time to time?”

Night, Shockers Make League’s First Trade

New York NightSaskatchewan ShockersThe Saskatchewan Shockers and New York Night completed the SHL’s first trade this week, a deal that was inspired by an ill-advised postgame comment.

Daniel Bellanger
Daniel Bellanger

Last week, Shockers RW Daniel Bellanger was asked for comment on his 6-game pointless streak.  A visibly frustrated Bellanger laid the blame at the feet of his teammates.  “The fact is that this team is garbage,” the winger snapped.  “They can barely stand on their skates.  I have been carrying this team for the whole season, and I am very tired.  I cannot do everything.”

Bellanger’s comments made him persona non grata in Saskatchewan, and the Shockers front office began seeking a trade.  Meanwhile, the Night were seeking an offensive upgrade to move up in the wide-open East.

Shane Gladchuk
Shane Gladchuck

On Monday night, the teams struck a deal to send Bellanger and D Shane Gladchuk to New York in exchange for F Brad Stevens, D Dick Bradshaw, and the Night’s 1st-round draft pick.

“We felt like this was a great opportunity for us,” said Night GM Royce McCormick.  “Daniel is an impact scorer who will fit right in here in New York.  We already have the league’s best attack, but now it’s getting even better.  And in Shane, we get a valuable two-way threat that will firm up our blue line.”

The 28-year-old Bellanger was Saskatchewan’s leading scorer at the time of the trade, having tallied 13 goals and 30 points.  The 26-year-old Gladchuk was a quiet, steady presence on the Shockers’ second line, having started every game and putting 2 goals and 3 assists.

Bellanger expressed delight at the trade.  “I could not be happier to be going to such a great city,” he said.  “Also, I am grateful to be with a team that actually has a chance, with teammates who can play at my level.”

Gladchuk’s reaction was more mixed.  “I’m going to miss my teammates and the great fans here,” the defenseman said.  “But I’m looking forward to seeing what we can do in New York.”

In exchange, the Shockers received the 25-year-old Stevens, a popular reserve who put up 2 goals and 4 assists in limited action with the Night, and the 31-year-old Bradshaw, who had yet to record a point this season and had fallen out of favor with New York coach Preston Rivers.

Brad Stevens
Brad Stevens
Dick Bradshaw
Dick Bradshaw

While the primary goals for the rebuilding Shockers were to unload Bellanger and acquire the pick, GM Cooper Matthews also praised the players coming back in the deal.  “Obviously, we’re looking toward the future, but this deal is also about the present,” said Matthews.  “In Brad, we’ve got a high-energy guy who will have a chance to show what he can do.  With Dick, we’ve got a solid veteran defenseman who can be a leader and teacher.”

Stevens reacted to the trade with a mixture of excitement and confusion.  “Awesome!” said Stevens.  “I’m pumped to get a chance to start, and I look forward to getting to know the… Saskatchewanders?  Saskatchewanians?  Saskatchwanites?  What are they called, anyway?  Guess I’ll find out.”

Bradshaw declined comment on the trade, but his play is doing the talking: in 4 games with the Shockers, Bradshaw has recorded 3 assists.

Three days after the trade, the Night and Shockers faced off at Potash Arena in Saskatoon.  The sellout crowd greeted Gladchuk warmly, but booed Bellanger vociferously.  “I am not surprised,” said the winger after the 5-4 New York win.  “They are mad at me for telling the truth.  They should be booing their own team for being losers, but instead they boo me.  Simple jealousy.”