Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Commissioner Chooses Wrong Day to Go Skiing; Lacy Locks up First Ever WHSHP Title After Thrilling Double-Overtime Thriller

The thrill of victory...

The agony of defeat...
Wow, with my only connection to yesterday's instant classic being the occasional hysterical text from Erik Moe, I knew something great was happening. Little did I know just how great. The Notre Dame Academy Tritons finally reached the promised land with an amazing come from behind win that have many in atttendance calling one of the most exciting games ever played on the Big Ice.

And with that dramatic, double-ovetiue victory, Joe Lacy brings home his first ever WHSHP Title. Riding the crest a perfect 26-for-26 opening round that caught everyone's eye, the soft-spoken Lacy proved to all the doubters that there's still room on The Big Ice for quiet dignity and an ardent love of dachshunds. Lacy could not be reached for comment at his rural Belleville home at press time but has scheduled a press conference for later in the week. 

A mystery man even in victory's sweet spotlight, Lacy (far right)
appears to be already pondering next year's brackets at a small
victory gathering at his local race track.
It was a heart-breaking loss for Lucas Rudy, one of the few bracketeers with the testicular fortitude to choose Wausau West to repeat in 2012. But as we've seen time and again with this pool: The Big Ice doesn't build character; it reveals it. You have a long life ahead of you, kid. Take solace in that fact that your pain has given a middle-aged former tuba player in rural Wisconsin some much needed glory.

A bitter Lucas Rudy fends off reporters moments
after Appleton's overtime goal.
More details to follow, including our annual post-tounrey awards presentation. Stay tuned.









Friday, March 2, 2012

BIG ICE BREAKDOWN #2: Verona vs. Notre Dame

TOWN

Ah, Green Bay. The Paris of the Fox Valley.
Verona is a friendly enough place, but it's basically just another suburb in the sprawling wasteland that is the Madison Metro area. Green Bay is Wisconsin's Oldest City and self-proclaimed Toilet Paper Capital of the World. Green Bay, you had me at Toilet Paper.

ADVANTAGE: NDA

NOTABLE CITIZENS

Phil Kessel 
Two current NHL players started their careers in Verona: Jack Skille and Phil Kessel. That's damn impressive. Dawn of the Dead director Jack Snyder hails from the city by the Bay. Other notable residents: the entire roster of the Green Bay Chill, a member in good standing of the always competitive Lingerie Football League. Green Bay, you had me at Lingerie.

The one sport that can get me to stop obsessing about high school
hockey.
ADVANTAGE: NDA


MASCOTS


Wildcats vs. Tritons? Oh, please.

ADVANTAGE: NDA

CONFERENCE NAME

Verona is atop the Big Eight, while NDA owns the Fox River Classic Conference. I think I've already made known my feelings on the word "classic."

ADVANTAGE: NDA

COOL PLAYER NAMES
Verona sports a Sven, a Brogan, and Tarek, and a Kegan. That's awesome, even for an episode of Star Trek. Notre Dame gives us Miko Filon and Anton Brix. Two cool full names beats four awesome first names every time.

ADVANTAGE: NDA

UNIFORM DESIGN

Actually, I prefer Verona's jersey in this category. Solid consistency both home and away:




But what's that? A misplaced apostrophe? If there is one thing this office will not tolerate, it's a misplaced apostrophe, especially in a team hockey poster. For the first time ever, I am disqualifying Verona from the uniform competition. Don't bother arguing, Wildcat fans. I have spoken. We don't even have to see the NDA jersey.

ADVANTAGE: NDA

TOURNEY PEDIGREE

The Verona hockey program is an amazing study in how to do it correctly. Through a solid youth program with excellent coaching, they have worked their way up the ladder to truly elite status in the state. Kudos. They've been to The Big Ice four times and, in the words of Gary Clement, have "paid the price" while there. Notre Dame is returning for a third time, and gets a little closer very time.

ADVANTAGE: VERONA (only because I feel bad about the uniform DQ)

PREDICTION
This is going to be a very, very good game.
VERONA 5, NDA 4 (6 OTS)

BIG ICE BREAKDOWN #1: Wausau West vs. Brookfield

TOWN

Hmmm. Wausau has a minor league baseball team named the Woodchucks. And there's Rib Mountain. Brookfield is a suburb of Milwaukee, which is sort of like being the blander cousin to Prince Charles.

ADVANTAGE: Wausau West

NOTABLE CITIZENS

Al Capone owned a home in Brookfield where he made moonshine. Two-time Indy 500 winner Arie Luyendyk lives there, as did the late, great Arpad Elo, inventor of the Elo rating system for chess.

Arpa Elo reflects on the secret
to Warrior success.
Famous Wausauians include football great Jim Otto, NASCAR host Nicole Manske, and folk singer John McCutcheon who has given us, among other classics, All God's Critters.

ADVANTAGE: Brookfield


MASCOTS

This is a tough call. There is more than one Warrior team out there, so Stars get the points for being more unique. But I like that Wausau West isn't bowing to the PC police and changing its name to the Panthers or Wildcats. Hmmm.

ADVANTAGE: DRAW

CONFERENCE NAME

Wausau West hails from the Wisconsin Valley conference. Brookfield comes from the Classic 8, which makes me think of Classic Rock, which makes me think of Bad Company, which makes me think of the song that was playing that time I volunteered at the Edgefest haunted house and my zombie makeup distracted an unsuspecting girl from my acne long enough for a long and undeserved makeout session. This one is a rout.

ADVANTAGE: Brookfield

COOL PLAYER NAMES


A quick check of Wausau's roster reveals a Zakk Augustine, a Tanner Gould, and a Seth Wage. Brookfield counters with a Zak Pipers, but the double k takes out the single k every time.

ADVANTAGE: Wausau West

UNIFORM DESIGN



This might prove a shock to some of you. Initially I was not a huge fan of the Brookfield logo and the stripes on their breezers are right out of Rocky 3. But I have been watching a lot of Project Runway All-Stars and there is something to be said about taking a chance and being a little fashion forward (see the Cooper All-sporting Edgewood Cruskaters circa 1982). But I just cannot abide the dated asymmetrical striping motif.

Still, there's something off with Wausau West's get-up, and the white numbers on the back instead of gold is almost a fatal flaw, but the simple but powerful interpretation of a familiar mascot crest, combined with consistent helmet decal application across the roster, gives the very slightest edge to Wausau West.

Not sure what is coming out of this kid's pants, but I humbly beseech him to
take care of the situation.
Spot the fashion error here? A gold crest front deserves a gold number
on the back, with white accent for easy viewing.  It's like two different jerseys.
ADVANTAGE: (And I might still change my mind on this one) Wausau West

PEDIGREE

Wausau West has been to the dance more times than Ivo Knezevic has been to Shutters on the Beach, winning the whole thing back in 2011. This is Brookfield's second trip the Big Ice, and their first since the year Mike Tyson bit off Evander Holyfield's ear.

ADVANTAGE: Wausau West

BIG ICE PREDICTION: Wausau West 4, Brookfield 2

Big Day of Hockey, Lacy Claws His Way Back to Top

It's humiliating to be busted by work colleagues watching porn at your desk (or so I've been told) but I will admit to also feeling somewhat sheepish about being caught watching Wisconsin high school hockey yesterday. Whatever.

This reporter was able to take in a lot of action despite a crazy work day. Verona looks really good. Notre Dame looks awesome, too. But you want to know who else looks great?

Joe Lacy (left) neglects his pit boss duties to radio in for
a Big Ice update.
Belleville's Joe Lacy, one of the finest tuba players to ever grace the auditorium of Edgewood High School, finds himself alone at the top of the WHSHP pyramid, just three point ahead of Blake Feist and five points ahead of former champ, Mark Jobson.

Would you trust your landscape ecology with this man?
It was a crushing day for Erik Moe, who once again watched his title dreams fall apart faster than one of his advertising campaigns in a Des Moines focus group. The embittered Moe slips to 5th, but according to calculations by a certain landscape ecologist in Seattle, he has no chance of besting Feist, his former bandmate, should Verona go all the way. Ditto for the rest of the Top 10, which includes a surprising appearance by Fort Wayne's Steve Miller and a host of other also rans. 

Steve "Wildman" Miller shares  a special moment
with an unknown man wearing Mom jeans.
So it comes down to this, again according to a landscape ecologist with as sturdy a grasp on statistics as this half-awake English major.
Joe Lacy takes the coveted WSHSHP (sic) Title if GBND are champions, I [Blake Feist] take the Title if Verona is champ and Luke Rudy will hold the Title if WW is the champ. God help us if Brookfield wins the championship.
Indeed, Professor Feist. Indeed.

Next up: My Final Four Big Ice Breakdown

Thursday, March 1, 2012

God Bless Wisconsin High School Hockey


Because, really, what other sport gives you an excuse to drink hard liquor in the middle of the work day?

Technology is a wonderful thing.


I'm not going to lie. Technology and I have a love-hate relationship. I've screamed epithets at my iPhone's Siri that I haven't even thought about screaming at Anne Coulter. But sometimes I want to reach out with my flabby, hirsute arms and embrace technology, like right now when I can set at my desk in stormy California, the rain overhead drowning out the voices in my head, and take in a live TV broadcast of some Wisconsin High School hockey, compliments of the good people at PrepSportsWisconsin.com.

God bless you, Technology. And God Bless Wisconsin High School Hockey.