On the rink, the Sharknados look far from their Hollywood namesakes.
The name Sharknado might conjure up images from a comical disaster movie but on skates, the picture is no joke. The roller hockey squad is currently tied for first place in the Fall 2014 Adult Inline League at Kings Sports Centre. A 3-1 record for the Sharknados equals that of the Cayman Hot Sauce Flames, the reigning two-time champions in the Cayman Islands. Offense has been the key, with the Sharknados netting a league-best 42 goals thus far while the Flames are not far off with 34 goals.
A key player for the Sharknados is Evan Ellbogen, the hockey director at Kings, who has scored a league-high 23 goals. The Montreal native says his side is still a work in progress.
“Well, we have a lot of new players on our team so it’s really just getting the chemistry going,” Ellbogen said. “We definitely have a lot of talent on our team but it’s just finding the right lineups and match-ups. It’s also getting used to the new rosters on the other side of the puck. It’s kind of just trimming things out and building as a team as each game goes on.”
Ellbogen has had plenty of help. On the scoring side, Claude Plamondon has netted seven goals while Dan O’Flaherty has a league-high nine assists with team mate James Osborne tied for fourth with six assists. The squad, a new take on the old Sharks team, also boasts veteran additions – like Ryan Pull, Jeff Danter and Jason WWoman pleads guilty to possession of pistolindsor – that can maintain a title push. The newcomers supplement mainstays like defender Dave Champoux and goalie Scott Hughes.
A lot of those players excelled in the team’s 11-3 thrashing of the ITS Solar Bears last Tuesday. Ellbogen, Plamondon, Champoux and Windsor all netted goals along with Scott Somerville and Norm Klein. Fareed Hosein, Jagger Hope and Brad De Schiffert scored for the losing side.
With the defeat, the Bears dropped to 1-3 (tied for last in the league) and the result was a microcosm of the season thus far: the side is last in offense (with a league-low 22 goals) and defense (allowing a league-high 39 goals). Team veterans like Brendon Malice and Fiona McLeod have said in passing that the losing record stems from a lack of players and last week’s loss was a case in point with only a handful of subs on the bench.
Both clubs will hit the rink again on Oct. 7 as they square off at 9 p.m. The Flames and High Rollers will also renew their battle at 8 p.m. Last week, the Rollers nabbed their first win of the campaign and improved to 1-3 with a stunning 3-2 upset of the champs. Wayne Griffith and Rich Hastings had the decisive goals while Cody Bateman and Andrew Bowden scored for the Flames.
That result does not change who the main title contenders are in Ellbogen’s mind.
“I think we’re definitely top two. I think, obviously, the Flames are tough competition for us. We play them early on in the season, we’re missing a couple of key guys but they’re definitely a tough team to beat. I think we’re right up there with them. I think it’ll be us two in the finals.”
The regular season is slated to go 12 rounds before the playoffs begin. The Sharknados get three shots at the champs, on Oct. 14, 28 and Nov. 25.
The two teams previously squared off last month, with the Flames enjoying a 14-8 victory thanks to goals from Derek Bruce, Jamie Nelson, Mike and Andrew Bowden, Dennis Paschier and Paul Strenk.
For Ellbogen, facing the Flames is personal as he led the side to the Cherry Cup last season before changing teams in the offseason. Ellbogen says he does miss his old team.
“I miss those jerseys. A lot of key guys I miss playing with on the other side of the puck. On that team, (for instance,) there are the Bowdens who are great puck movers and are fun to play with. I like being part of the Sharknados because it freshens things up and sometimes it’s nice to beat guys in those Flames jerseys.”