Sailors Outlast Smoke in Crazy 8-7 Win

As the regular season winds to a close, it’s looking increasingly likely that the Seattle Sailors will make the postseason for the first time in their existence (and, ironically, in their last season in Seattle).  It also looks increasingly likely that the Kansas City Smoke will finish with the league’s worst record, which means that they’ll get the top pick in the draft.

On paper, Sunday’s game was a mismatch.  But anything can happen in a single game, and the contest turned out to be a wild see-saw affair, culminating in a frenzied third period in which the teams combined to score seven goals.  In the end, Seattle emerged with a razor-thin 8-7 victory that allowed them to hold onto first place in the West for another day.

“This was like playing shinny as a kid,” said Sailors LW Rod “Money” Argent.  “Just firewagon action back and forth, all offense.  It was crazy.”

The game started with a bang, as Argent fired a shot that beat Kansas City netminder Gus Parrish just 26 seconds into the contest.  Smoke RW Tyler Cloude answered a couple minutes with a low shot that went five-hole on Sailors goalie Rocky Goldmire.  Just over five minutes after that, Seattle RW Vince Mango tucked a slapper just under the crossbar to give his team a 2-1 edge, which it maintained for the rest of the period.

In the first minute of the second period, C Darien Picard got Kansas City back even by beating Goldmire on a breakaway.  After that, though, Seattle went on a run, aided by some bad Smoke penalties.  First, C Mike Rivera went to the box for elbowing.  Kansas City killed off the penalty, but couldn’t get the puck out of their own end, allowing RW Rodney McElvern to tip a shot home and put the Sailors back in front.  A minute after McElvern’s goal, D T.K. O’Neill hit Argent in the mouth with his stick, drawing blood and earning a double minor.  Mango made the Smoke pay, hitting pay dirt on a shot from the right faceoff circle.  A couple minutes later, RW Zachary Merula took a cheap slashing penalty in the offensive zone.  This time, it took only 36 seconds for Mango to overwhelm the exhausted KC penalty kill, scoring again to complete his hat trick.  It was now a 5-2 Seattle lead, and it seemed like the rout was on.

The plucky Smoke refused to give up, however.  With 49 seconds left in the second stanza, LW Veikko Sikanen gathered up a rebound and stuffed it home, closing the gap to two.  Then in the first couple of minutes of the third, Rivera and Merula made up for their penalties by scoring just 14 seconds apart, tying the game and stunning the crowd at Century 21 Arena.

“We couldn’t believe that it was a game again,” said Mango.  “We were sure we’d put them away, but they came back on us.”

Seattle answered back just 24 seconds after Merula’s score, as C Napoleon Beasley beat Parrish on the short side to give the Sailors the lead again.  But KC wasn’t ready to give up.  LW Tadeusz Adamczyk scored to tie it yet again, and exactly a minute later, Cloude found the back of the net to give Kansas City its first lead of the game.

“[The Smoke] were like the Black Knight in Monty Python; we cut their limbs off and they just kept coming,” said Mango.  “’It’s just a flesh wound!’”

Fortunately for the Sailors, they had one more good push left, which they deployed in the final five minutes of the game.  C Marco Venezio got behind the defense and scored on a breakway to tie it up one more time.  A mere twelve seconds later, RW Elliott Pepper stormed down the ice on an odd-man rush and scored what provide to be the winning goal.  A pair of late penalties erased whatever chance Kansas City had for a comeback.

Harold Engellund

Sailors coach Harold Engellund praised his team for its resilience.  “One of the things I appreciate about this team is the way they can take a punch and keep going,” said Engellund.  “[The Smoke] didn’t make this one easy on us, but we hung in there and got the W.  That says something about the competitive character around here.”

Critics of the Sailors often argue that their lackluster defense will prevent them from succeeding in the playoffs, and giving up seven goals to the league’s worst team certainly argues in that direction.  Engellund, however, brushed off those concerns: “The bottom line is that we did what it took to win.  Maybe it wasn’t pretty, but so what?  You don’t get points for style, just for winning.”

Where There’s Smoke, There’s Fire: Adamczyk, Cloude Clash After KC Loss

It’s been a long season for the Kansas City Smoke.  Widely expected to be the worst team in the league this year, they surprised by getting off to a decent start.  However, they’ve swooned badly in the last few weeks, losing seven in a row and 12 out of their last 13.  Losing often makes for an unhappy clubhouse, and the Smoke’s is no exception.  The situation boiled over after a particularly tough loss this week, as two Kansas City players nearly came to blows after the game.

The showdown occurred after a brutal defeat in Quebec.  The Smoke and Tigres were tied 3-3 after two periods, raising hopes that Kansas City might be able to steal a badly-needed victory over a quality opponent.  Unfortunately, the Smoke collapsed in the third period, surrendering four goals and absorbing a 7-4 shellacking.  The crowd at Centre Citadelle jeered the visitors off the ice.

Tadeusz Adamczyk

After the game, the Kansas City locker room was silent at first.  After a few minutes, though, RW Tyler Cloude turned on the Bluetooth speaker in his locker and began blasting some music.  This irked veteran LW Tadeusz Adamczyk, who was on his way to the shower.

“Hey, turn that [stuff] off,” Adamczyk barked at Cloude.  The young winger responded by turning the music up further.  Adamczyk then grabbed a hockey stick and swatted Cloude’s speaker, knocking it to the floor.  He smashed the speaker repeatedly until it shattered.

Tyler Cloude

“What the hell is wrong with you, Deuce?” snapped Cloude.

“We just got our [butts] kicked, and you’re [screwing] around like we just won the Vandy,” Adamczyk shouted.  “How about you [expletive] straighten up and act right, you stupid [expletive]?”

“How about you take that stick out of your [butt]?” Cloude responded.

At that point, Adamczyk slammed down his stick and lunged at Cloude.  Teammates stepped in and separated them before any punches were thrown.

Adamczyk remained perturbed after the game.  “There are a lot of young guys on this team, guys who need to learn how to take this game seriously,” he told reporters. “Tonight was a total embarrassment.  After a game like that, everyone should be hanging their heads.  Instead, we’ve got guys laughing it up and blaring music.

“All they care about is hitting the clubs at night, instead of focusing on the game.  They treat this like it’s one big joke.  They don’t play hard, but they party hard.”

Cloude seemed mystified by the dust-up.  “Deuce and I have always gotten along,” he said.  “We’ve been losing and that sucks.  But I don’t think we have to throw a pretend funeral every night just to show everyone how hard we’re taking it.  Besides, I did my part today.  I scored a goal.”

Randy Bergner

Smoke coach Randy Bergner benched Adamczyk for Tuesday’s game against Washington, but said he wasn’t troubled by the incident.  “It’s a long season, and tempers run hot sometimes,” Bergner said.  “Guys rub on each other sometimes, especially when you’re losing.  Adamczyk’s a good guy, but he’s pretty old school.  Cloudy’s an easy-going guy, likes to have fun.  It was probably inevitable something like this would happen.”

The coach saw a bright side to the incident.  “At least the guys are still heated enough to fight each other,” Bergner noted.  “It’s when they don’t care enough to get pissed at each other that you really have to worry.”

Continue reading “Where There’s Smoke, There’s Fire: Adamczyk, Cloude Clash After KC Loss”

Shockers Screw Up Another Promo With Error-Filled Kids’ Book

The Saskatchewan Shockers, to put it mildly, have had a rough time coming up with successful promotions.  In 2015, there was Japanese Night, in which the team started a sumo wrestler in goal; the result was an awkward embarrassment.  Last season, there was the Kazoo Night fiasco; that game nearly turned into a riot, with fans chucking malfunctioning kazoos onto the ice.

This season, the Shockers decided to try a simpler, less dangerous promotion: Kids Night.  In an effort to draw in younger fans, the Shockers offered discountered tickets for fans 12 and under.  In addition, they raffled off the opportunity for kids to work in a variety of positions, including on public address announcer, in-game entertainment crew member, usher, reporter, and ceremonial first puck dropper.  To cap it all off, the team offered a giveaway: a Shockers-themed activity/puzzle book.

The day itself largely went off without a hitch.  The PA announcer repeatedly mangled the name of LW Tadeusz Adamczyk, and the puck dropper accidentally flung the biscuit onto the bench instead of dropping it on the ice, but otherwise things went smoothly.

The trouble started when the kids got home and started looking at their activity books.  The book was riddled with errors and problems.  For instance, the word search was missing several of the terms that kids were supposed to find, and the grid spelled out multiple curse words.  The scramble that was supposed to contain the names of Shockers players instead contained strings of letters that didn’t spell anything.  Multiple pages were printed upside down, and the page that was supposed to list the answers was missing entirely.

Irate parents took to social media to vent their displeasure with the book.  “My kid cried for 45 minutes bc he couldnt get the word scramble right,” said one fan.  “Turns out it was all garbage, like this team!!”  Another highlighted the obscenities in the word search and tweeted, “So I guess u think this is ‘appropriate’ 2 give 2 kids???”  The Shockers initially claimed that “some fans” might have received misprinted copies, but it quickly became clear that all of the books contained the errors and omissions.

Heinz Doofenshmirtz

It turns out that, rather than hiring a professional company to design and print the books, team owner Heinz Doofenshmirtz outsourced the job to a relative who “wants to make kid’s books someday.”  He never provided proofs of the work before printing, and the Saskatchewan front office apparently never asked for any.  Nor did they check the finished books before handing them out.

“Yeah, we had a few problems there,” said Doofenshmirtz.  “The one time I really needed a self-destruct button, we didn’t have one.  How ironic.”

The Shockers have destroyed all remaining copies of the book, and are reportedly looking for a way to compensate the children who may have been upset or traumatized by the event.  “I was going to put a bouncy castle on the roof of our arena and let the kids play on it,” said Doofenshmirtz.  “But it turns out there are some liability issues with that, and our insurance company dropped us after the whole Kazoo Night thing.  So we’re working on it.”

At least one person from the Shockers had no problem with the promotion.  “I don’t see what all the fuss is about,” quipped coach Myron Beasley.  “I found the word search very educational.”