First off I just want to say I wish I had more thorough stats and memories to do an accurate wrap-up. That said this game needed to be surmised in someway. On Saturday evening the Warrior Ice Arena Staff and Family and friends gathered for the first ever Staff Game. Assistant Facilty Manager/Hockey Director Pete Joyal drafted one team and Manager on Duty Jason Piche drafted the other. Piche got first pick due to the fact that Pete is a well-accomplished hockey player and Piche's best on-ice work is done with a Zamboni.
After the draft, in the week leading up to the game, the staff was abuzz. Lots of chatter about who would be scoring all the goals, who would be checking who, and what team would take down the win.
Pregame we all hit the lobby for some light grub, stretching, and general chatter. As the players got ready and the game neared Team Piche's goalie, Jack O'Dea, was not on site. This delayed the start of the game. Then after he was ready we did a national anthem (U.S. only much to my chagrin)
The game started with both teams feeling each other out. Many of us hadn't even seen each other ever play and early on it was 2-2 before things got out of hand. Team Joyal's youth was coming on strong and led by Andrew Stefura and Coach Joyle himself they plowed ahead to a 7-3 lead at the break (two 25 minutes halfs were played).
Most of Team Piche decided to hit the locker room while Marissa made the ice. There Coach Piche emphasized defense and getting a body on those kids to slow 'em down. Then he declared the time for playing around was over and it was time to get more shots on net.
In the interview portion from the bench Coach Joyle was braggadocios as he proclaimed that his squad would win by a final score of 14-3. And then he taunted Rich Herlihy proclaiming he'd be shadowing him in the second half.
Then the interview was swung to Team Piche where Rich was asked his thoughts on what we had just heard. Rich declared this half would be different.
And Rich was right. Team Piche came out with fire and a now warmed up Jack O'Dea was making key saves. Sam Bartlett, Mike Geiler, George Han, and many others were flying around to turn the momentum back to Team Piche. But many great chances were left off the scoreboard as almost all of Team Piche had some tale to tell after the game about a near miss, or two, that they didn't get.
After all the comeback efforts the final score was 9-6 in favor of Team Joyal.
Coach Piche spoke after the defeat.
"I was really proud of that effort our guys had in the second half. We had a lot of great chances but hats off to Team Joyal and Ryan Nolan who was solid in net for them. Their defense was up to the task more oft than not and we needed to cash in on those chances we will all be talking about until the next game comes and goes. I feel like if Jack had gotten here on time and gotten warmed up quicker this could have been a different story today. They definitely had a great first half and we couldn't match them until the second half and that was really the story, but we had fun and everyone did and that's what it was all about out there tonight."
Post-game most players left not joining in on the free skate with family and friends after mostly due to giving their all in the staff game. Those who did hang around saw the Staff game trophy left behind by Coach Pete in bay 4... a move that confused Coach Piche.
"2 things I know. 1. You don't put baby in a corner and 2. you don't leave a trophy near a puddle in a storage unit on the floor. Clearly the security of this trophy hasn't reached Stanley Cup levels, but I'm shocked the players aren't going to get to enjoy this win with some trophy time..."
Later the trophy mysteriously appeared above the skates in skate rental where in now resides. And talk for the next staff game has already begun...