Rehabs (7) at Fuzz (2)
by Arya Stark
It’s the game that was promised. From the moment Hicks’ defection was announced this offseason up through the infamous letter, July 1 was the date circled on everyone’s calendar. Unfortunately that day would bring disappointment to more than just disgruntled Islander fans as games were postponed due to heat fears despite the fact that this is mainly a summer hockey league. We had to wait until the last game of the regular season to get this matchup by which point it had lost some of its luster (also not helping – Rich telling everyone within earshot that Fuzz was missing players). Safe to say the stakes are significantly higher now as a trip to the final four will be on the line in what pundits are billing “the game of the week” and “an exciting rematch” and “that game I definitely don’t want to ref.” One of these teams is going to be horrifically disappointed come Sunday night, while the other will have their ticket punched to championship weekend. Which is which?
There’s a murderer’s row of talent on each side as Jeff, Miles, Ryann, Gil and Sig will do battle with Joey Bats, Cherie, Monique, Andy and, of course, Hicks himself. Losing Mike T for this game is a major blow to Fuzz as he led the league in goals yet again despite playing a bunch of games early in the year on defense. Fuzz will rely on quick shots and traffic in front, while the Rehabs will look to try their new offensive strategy of actually passing the ball around to generate high percentage looks for Hicks and Cherie. There’s clearly a bevy of talent on both sides, but Fuzz was the highest scoring team this season by a significant 16 goal margin, and playing shorthanded just opens up more minutes for Jeff and Miles.
Fuzz will be without the services of Walsh and Paul in this one, leading them to use a rotation of Ryan/Vlad/one legged Glanzer on defense with Alyssa. Sena will keep everything civil in the Rehabs defensive zone as she is apt to do, and if Jen is able to suit up she’s one of the most underrated players in the league. But the big story on their side is which guy is shifting back to defense, with the current frontrunner according to Betfair being Alex May. He certainly has the speed and hockey IQ to make the move; whether it hurts their offense remains to be seen.
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