The Zambronies beat the Crossbar Cronies in a grueling match ending 8-4 April 8 at The Rinks Anaheim’s NHL Rink.
The adult rookie league game could not have been won without the Zambronies’ forward Thomas Yeandle, who scored five goals and was voted the most valuable player of the game.
Yeandle’s biggest challenge was the Crossbar Cronies’ center Jonathan Hernandez, who completed the game with one goal, multiple assists and over 10 penalty minutes.
Here is how the game unfolded:
Two minutes into the first period, Zambronies’ forward Julian Ness scored the first goal.
Before the excitement in the crowd could quelled, center Eric Hegner scored for the Crossbar Cronies.
Immediately, the Zambronies proved they came to win with five quick turnaround goals, ending the first period with a hefty 6-1 lead.
The period was full of goals from Yeandle, including a hat trick. Yeandle was named most valuable player of the game.
“By the end of first period I already had about six points and four goals,” Yeandle said.
Points are accumulated by making goals or assisting teammates in making a goal.
With almost five minutes left in the second period, Zambronies’ right wing Philip Dawson removed his gloves and swung at Hernandez, yelling obscenities from his side of the home right faceoff circle.
“I had the puck and he just slammed me into the boards. The refs didn’t call his hooking earlier so I took it into my own hands,” Dawson said.
Hernandez admitted the boarding to the referees, but fought them on the penalty.
“I’m defending at any cost,” Hernandez said.
Both Dawson and Hernandez served three and a half minutes in the penalty box for fighting, it was the first of what would be multiple penalties for Hernandez.
With eight minutes left in the game, Zambronies’ forward James Riley came barreling down the ice toward the Crossbar Cronies’ goalie. As he dribbled the puck, defenders came from every angle, their navy jerseys creating an undefined blur of blue with a single speck of orange in the center.
Riley managed to pass the puck between the skates of the defenders to right-wing Phillip Dawson, distracting the goalie as Dawson returned the puck to Riley. Riley scored with seven minutes and twelve seconds left on the clock in what would be the final goal of the game.
“It was exhilarating. I just maneuvered my stick around four guys and the puck went right through them. They had no clue what was happening,” Riley said.
With 24 seconds left in the game, an angry Jonathan Hernandez cross-checked Riley. The thud of Riley’s back hitting the ice echoed in the sub-freezing rink.
Both referees blew their whistles with a powerful shrill lasting longer than the usual short blast.
“He got what he deserved. He’s lucky I didn’t take my gloves off,” Hernandez screamed at the referees.
Fans cheered from the wooden stands as Hernandez, the Crossbar Cronies’ highest scorer and most brutal player, skated his way to the penalty box for the four-minute punishment he would serve less than 30 seconds of.
The game ended with a fruitless Zambronies powerplay.
The game would not have been a win for the Zambronies without Yeandle, who returned to the ice after a two-week medical leave.
“If Yeandle was still broken, we probably would’ve had a chance,” Crossbar Cronies defenseman Mark Zeko said.
Yeandle’s left rotator cuff was injured in a squabble with Hernandez after the last Zambronies game against the Crossbar Cronies on March 18.
“He should be removed from the ice,” Yeandle said. “He hooked, he cross-checked, he fought, he boarded; he did just about everything you could do to get a penalty. And that’s just in this game alone.”
However, the Crossbar Cronies unanimously voted Hernandez their most valuable player of the game.
“He comes to win every time, I’m sure he’ll be our MVP of the year,” Zeko said.
Zeko said aside from being a center, Hernandez is the team’s enforcer.
“I do what it takes to win, my team recognizes and appreciates it. That’s what matters,” Hernandez said.
The Zambronies and Crossbar Cronies face off again at 9:05 p.m. April 29 in The Rinks Anaheim’s NHL rink.
“We’re ready to destroy them again. They can expect an even bigger sweep, it’ll be 8-0 next time. Hernandez isn’t going to get the drop on our players again,” Riley said.
The story above was written as an assignment for my Journalism 300 class. Information and quotes should not all be taken as fact.