The Work Horses are living proof that “luck favors the bold.”
In Kronum, everything from jumping a pass for a steal on defense to passing up a low percentage Chamber shot in lieu of a Crown Ring gamble, is high risk – high reward. An 8-point Kronum shot from the cross through the ring offers life to any team that has a hard-headed and confident enough scorer to put the team on his back and go for the glory. In this particular matchup versus the Night Owls, the Horses saddled up two cowboys for the gunfight, rookie sensation Dave Slusser and captain Jeff Yetter. The two combined for a Kronum League record three, 8-point “Kronums” accounting for 24 points that, if not scored, would have left the Horses in the stable and out of contention against the high-powered, second-place Owls.
The first period offered a plethora of points, passes, and penalties. Owls ranger Luke Dougan (28 points) drilled home half of his game-high total in the first with 14 points early, including two 4-point shots from 17 yards out and Phil Cavalcante (22 points, 7 assists, 6 blocks) got some help from Horses’ wedgebackTrevor Lyman (7 saves) on a deflected penalty that found it’s way through a Crown Ring for 6 points. Owls’ wedgeback and ROY candidate Matt Sola (18 points, 12 saves) patrolled the field and found open shots from the Flex and Cross Zones, connecting for 10 points in the opening frame to go along with 5 saves in net while Greg Ashton (11 saves) recorded 7 saves. The Owls were flapping along with a double-digit lead early when Horses’ rookie ranger Dave Slusser (24 points) sniped the first of his two 8-point “Kronum” shots on the day to breathe life back into his squad. Kosta Nikolos drilled 8 of his 10 points to support Slusser’s heroics and the Horses were within reach, trailing 46-34 after one.
The re-emergence of Horses’ captain Jeff Yetter seemed to have more than an inspiring effect for the defense in the second period. The team’s physicality alone stymied the Night Owl shooters, forcing ill-advised shots and turnovers in the middle of the field. As good as the first line of defense was in the second, the wedgebacks were even better. Bill Zane (8 points, 10 saves) led the cavalry with 5 incredible stops to help limit the Owls to less than half of their first period total. Around the 11:00 minute mark in the second, Slusser decided to go ahead an bury another 8-point “Kronum” to start the surge that would eventually bring the Horses within two points to close out the period. Yetter began heating up as well drained a 4-pointer from the Cross and a 2-point dunk late. The Owls needed to mend their broken wings but escaped with a slim lead at 68-66 heading into what would be one of the greatest 3rd period battles in Kronum history.
The winless Work Horses smelled blood against the Nimble Jacks three weeks ago where they played lights out and took a 6-point loss. In this game, they already took a bite and had it running down their chin. Yetter (28 points, 5 assists) was the first to jump in on the carnage, going off for 18 points in the 3rd and showed his versatility in the process. An 8-pointer from the cross, a 2-point kick score in the wedge zone, a 4-pointer from the cross, AND a 4-point Ring shot from the Flex. Matt Urglavitch (16 points) played Robin to Yetter’s Batman in the 3rd and chipped in 8 points. Bob Zane (9 saves) was going crazy in net for the Horses, turning aside all 5 shots fired on him in the final 20 minutes. The Owls’ were missing ranger Jay Klein, their “Maestro in the Middle” and turned to their All-Star wedgeback Joe Tulskie for a spark and Tulskie went ballistic. Working in unison with Chris “CVT” Von Tanhausen (game-high 7 assists), “Polish Joe” went 5-for-5 from the Flex to erase 5-point deficit. With half-a-minute left in the game and the Horses leading by 1, Tulskie calmly fired a bullet past Bob Zane to give the Owls a one-point lead. Now, every sport has its own legendary finishes. Bobby Thompson’s “Shot Heard Round the World”, Ali/Frazier’s “Rumble in the Jungle”, and so on. The final 20 seconds of the 2011 Work Horses/Night Owls second go round will forever be known as the “Mess in the Wedge”. After Tulskie’s go-ahead shot the Horses put all their focus and effort on Quad 1. About 12 players battled in the “no hands” Wedge Zone as the Horses tried to get off a shot and the Owls desperately tried to clear the zone. Elbows, shoulders, knees, and hips were thrown spastically by each team in the frenzy. Tick, tick, tick. The clock seemed to be in slow-motion but eventually timed out on the Horses and the Owls “limped” away with a hard-fought and exhausting 106-105 victory.
The Horses fell to 0-9 and the Owls made a bigger push for the first round bye and advanced to 6-3 heading into the final week of the regular season.
Tune into kronum.com on January 8th beginning at 10am to view all the action.