Gunderson Division Preview (Monday Night)
#1-P.R.E.A.T. (3-1-0, won tiebreaker over Brett’s Classy Ladies)
Key Players: Dave’s a Killer Hovet. Tim “the Enchanter” Gregoire. Becca “Broomball” Perry. Sarah Boese the Fearless. Jeff “Bosco” Bakke. Richard “Friend by Day, Foe by Night” Dafoe.
Key Players that Don’t Show Up: Nick Schaefer. Casey Fugleberg. Matt Palmiscno. Ivar the Boneless. Bobby Lukkason. John Vanbiesbrouck.
Why They Will Win: Dave’s a Killer. Tim’s an Enchanter. The rest just seems to work. P.R.E.A.T. is the defending champion and entered the season hungry to repeat. With alternating blitzkrieg/Crimean War battle plans, the denouncers of popcorn are hard to play against, heavy in fact. If they can produce enough weight in their style of play, a repeat is heavy on the horizon.
Why They Won’t Win: Since no one on the roster (much to the chagrin of P.R.E.A.T. Team Captain Bosco da Gama) actually looks at the Broomball website, there’s a fair chance that he will be the only player that arrives to play on Sunday. He will try his darndest, but won’t win the tournament solo. Also, there’s the fact that P.R.E.A.T. lost to the last-place Sundogs in their final regular season game. Was that a sign of things to come?
#2-Brett’s Classy Ladies (3-1-0, lost tiebreaker to P.R.E.A.T.)
Key Players: Brett “Jelly Legs” Gilbraith. Soy Sauce Rosendahl. Shoeless Donny Kristjanson. Sydney “Exists” Paoli. Taylor Reynolds. Julissa Johnson.
Why They Will Win: Forming a near-impenetrable fortress while in goal for his Classy Ladies, All-Monday 1st Team keeper Jelly Legs presents a considerable obstacle for all teams. Add in the dominant net-front presence of Soy Sauce, the gritty determination of a Shoeless Donny, and the sheer terror opponents feel any time Paoli hits the ice; you have a team that is very tough to beat. With the sting of last year’s championship loss also a continuing presence, Brett’s Classy Ladies are determined to silence the doubters and claim their place atop the HBBL throne.
Why They Won’t Win: Jelly Legs is hit with a serious case of rhabdomyolysis after spending too much time at Crossfit Tundra. Shoeless Donny is forced to play goalie. Not used to a position with much less body movement, his feet get stuck on the ice like Flick’s tongue on the flagpole. The fire department is called to remove him from the ice. In the ensuing commotion, opposing teams fire countless shots into the empty net.
#3-Butter Knives (1-3-0, won tiebreaker over Sundogs)
Key Players: Becca Cruger. Thor Grantfinnson. Skiffington the Broken. Greta Silewski. Brittany “Pretty Good” Caillier. Kyle Klivnik. Long Hoplin.
Why They Will Win: Save for an uncharacteristically-impressive 2-0 loss against perennial power Brett’s Classy Ladies in Week 4, the Butter Knives have depended largely on cold weather, with captain Becca Cruger’s bull rushes becoming more and more suspect to soggier, icier conditions. But Sunday’s tournament forecast calls for a high of 2-below zero, which bodes well for the freshman center and her giddy compatriots. Combine this with the ever-unpredictable play of Kyle Klivnik, and you’ll see the Butter Knives are no team to sleep on. Nap, yes. Sleep, no.
Why They Won’t Win: The Butter Knives have been plagued all season by a lack of scoring and an even heavier lack of passing. Should the Knives catch an opponent off guard with an early goal, still no lead is safe due to their young, inexperienced defense that boasts the gumption of a half-eaten slice of Swiss cheese. Do not, however, count any Butter Knives roster members out of the League Sportsmanship Award race, which will be presented by last year’s recipient Adam Shaugabay.
#4-SunDogs (1-3-0, lost tiebreaker over Butter Knives)
Key Players: Endless Mike Peterson. Shinpadless Mike Peterson. Sans Shinpads Mike Peterson. Shinpadclad Mike Peterson. Cap’n Mike Peterson. Sudden Death Peterson. Shoot Em Up Stingum.
Why They Will Win: They won’t. Random drug testing has eliminated all chances of a cinderella run after Shoot Em Up Stingum tested positive for RGBC Iconic Blonde in his system. The SunDogs will serve an 8 month ban and defer their first two draft picks in 2020.
Why They Won’t Win: See above.
Nord Division Preview (Wednesday Night)
#1-Vilandre Brew Balls (3-0-1, won tiebreaker over Legion of Broom)
Key Players: Adam “Destroyer of Worlds” Shaugabay. Jake “Sleeveless Jake” Pryor. Brady Wrightsman. Josh “Gilbatron” Gilbertson. “Bar Down” Tyler Wilson. Travis Dymowski.
Why They Will Win: Tyler Wilson
Why They Won’t Win: Adam Shaugabay
Additional notes: The Brew Balls come out of the trade deadline largely in-tact despite heavy offers for the talents of Jake “Sleeveless Jake” Pryor and mysteriously never before seen team-controlled prospect John Beehler. Brew Balls captain Brady Wrightsman has changed defensive coordinators, adopting a new strategy of retaining at least one of four players back to help protect All-Wednesday 2nd Team goalkeeper Josh “Gilbatron” Gilbertson. Look for the Brew Balls to make a serious run for the league title.
#2-Legion of Broom (3-0-1, lost tiebreaker to Vilandre Brew Balls)
Key Players: John. Bobby “Bull Whip” Wippler. Sydney “She Will Wreck You” Paoli. Chad Gunderson. Charlie “Chuckwagon” Soqui. Taylor Nord.
Why They Will Win: The brew crew is one of the league’s most complete teams, with nearly impenetrable performances from Goalie John all season and a pesky front line that has consistently put balls in the net. A tie with Wednesday league #1 seed Vilandre Brew Balls in the season finale has only sharpened the Legion’s resolve, and captain Bob Wippler has reported a relatively healthy squad ready for a long march through the tournament.
Why They Won’t Win: Business is business, and breweries are not immune to this axiom. Brew schedules may keep 2019 Newcomer of the Year Charlie “Chuckwagon” Soqui busy back in the mash tun, if not also 2018 Wednesday league honorable mention forward Chad Gunderson. Despite the team’s depth, the possibility of these voids in personnel poses a definite vulnerability in the Legion of Broom’s tournament hopes.
#3-Gandelson (2-2-0, won 3-way tiebreaker)
Key Players: Herbie “Certified Seed Potato” Blue. Nick “Cheat Code” Hagen. Andy Holter. Andy “Daily Andy” Conlon. Hoplin Twins. John “Fergeddaboudit” Ferguson. Chad “I Want a Uniform” Jensen. Kyle “Rude Sully” Sulerud.
Why They Will Win: The Gandelson sportsracers have at times shown signs of brilliance this season. Led by jack-of-all-trades Nick “Cheat Code” Hagen and hard-hitting Andy Conlon, Gandelson will use its passing and grit to gradually create opportunities to put the ball on net. Strong in net has been freshman goaltender John Ferguson, who has registered 118 saves this season, and has improved to the point where Gandelson front-liners can devote more resources towards the opposing team’s cage.
Why They Won’t Win: Gandelson has proven that their passing game (ergo, its entire identity) is susceptible to teams with more than zero defenders in its zone. Gandelson opponents have given up zero total goals when less than 100% are relaxing on the opposite side of the ice.
#4-C.O.R.O (2-3-0, finished second in 3-way tiebreaker)
Key Players: Joe Deck, Laura Cobb. Teddy Sandberg. Zach “SwivelStik” Boettner. Franks Red Hot. Harvey Specter.
Why They Will Win: Team captain Laura Cobb. As C.O.R.O.’s sole managing partner, Cobb has gone to great lengths to develop on-ice and off-ice strategies, including the most recent tactic of recalendarizing her crew’s first tournament matchup from “P.R.E.A.T. vs. C.O.R.O.” to “P.R.E.A.T. v. C.O.R.O.” The legal team will also benefit from an off-day on Saturday, which could prove deadly for even defending champs P.R.E.A.T. Look for the Cobb Squad to pull out some surprising trick plays and general tomfoolery in Sunday’s first round.
Why They Won’t Win: After a strong start in Week 1, including a three-goal performance from Joe Deck, C.O.R.O. fell into a three-game slump, ending the regular season with the #4 Wednesday division seed heading into Sunday’s tournament. It is difficult to predict whether C.O.R.O.’s offensive woes will continue, especially considering the team has experimented with several changes to the starting lineup. Inconsistency may be the deal breaker for the 2019 C.O.R.O. troupe.
#5-Swifter Sweepers (2-2-0, lost 3-way tiebreaker, won play-in game w/Sundogs)
Key Players: Austin Mack. Collin “SeaDaddy” Hanson. Paul McCullough the Thoughtful Trash-Talker. Tyler Manske. Xavier Mortenson.
Why They Will Win: The Polar Vortex of 2019 eventually gives way to seemingly powerful supernovae in the vicinity of Arp 299 - a pair of merging galaxies some 150 million light-years from Earth - which collide with their respective galactic cores, a dust-shrouded region filled with clouds of gas and newborn massive stars generated by the ongoing merger that any team may pass over when studying Swifter game film. And even for the most prepared offensive coordinators, a supernova would be, at first, exactly what they thought they found. These cataclysmic stellar explosions could be particularly bright in visible light and in x-rays—except in Arp 299’s murky center, where most of that light would be absorbed by dust and reradiated in the infrared; the remnant would then leak out as radio waves. But follow-up infrared observations with NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope might show the source was far too bright to be a supernova, blazing with light that would outshine a typical small galaxy by several 100-fold. That would suggest the source was not a supernova at all, but rather a tidal disruption event (TDE), a star being torn apart by a supermassive black hole, swallowing whole any Swifter opponent not keen enough to arrive with contingency plans that would account for this possibility.
Why They Won’t Win: For the most part, they’ve been pretty terrible all season.