Saturday, March 29, 2003
Damn, I was really pulling for the turtles. Maryland I mean. Had them beating Texas Sunday.
But who cares? It's March Madness in the CHL as well. How great is it to have a series of Burton vs. Parsons, Shedden vs. Sauter? How pumped were they in Amarillo for the first playoff game in franchise history? How huge was Mike Gorman, turning away 39 rounds of buckshot while his boys came up with two unassisted goals?
And how often do you see not one, but two playoff games decided by an OT power-play? (Austin's game-winner came ten seconds after Ambroziak left the box, but wouldn't have happened without the extra-man momentum).
Of course, that wasn't the real story in Albuquerque tonight, though I'm sure the Scorps fans had a few choice words for Boyd. It sounded to me like New Mexico got the better of things for the first 50 minutes, though Matt Barnes stopped a Tyler Baines penalty shot (which, according to trusted New Mexico fan Mi3ke, never should have happened) and was both good and lucky otherwise.
Unfortunately for the Scorpions, Caravaggio's performance stopped at "good": he fell victim to a freakish goal a la Salo, Hextall and Cloutier. Mike Rees' bouncing, should-have-been harmless dump-in was the margin for error in a game that didn't have one. It erased a 1-0 New Mexico lead, and judging from the SOGs, the Scorps did not recover from the shock.
Which doesn't mean they won't tonight. But Austin was six minutes away from ceding control of this series, and now they're at least guaranteed a chance to win at home.
Brent Scott has indeed bowed out gracefully (next step: grace under pressure). I wonder if the team is going to talk to any candidates who weren't former coaches. Personally, I'd go with Clouston, he and Smith are both good coaches, but a little nostalgic PR value couldn't hurt.
Assault by mutual scuffle? Is that a minor or a double-minor? (There's a little shoutout for two Mudbugs in that piece as well.)
I'm sure everybody knows this by now, but Billy D's ouster is official. He didn't even show up for the hearing, which was apparently the thing to do that day.
To trap, or not to trap? That is the question in Wichita.
An incredible statistic: Lubbock was the only CHL team this year that didn't trade, waive or release a player. Kind of depressing in a way, to not make the playoffs with that kind of stability and health. New Mexico and Corpus had neither of those things. However, there was coaching instability, and two injuries -- Savary, who never played, and Gauthier -- while they added players in Volk, then Binns, then Reigstad.
All right, I'm off to Laredo with a trunk full of Zamboni Rodeo (one box, actually). I'm coming from San Antonio and heading right back to see the hoops on Sunday, so Eric, feel free to catch a ride.