Every sports season has peaks and valleys. The best teams have small dips, while the weaker teams usually have some deep gorges on their graphs. Top of the Rock was posed to be one of the better teams in Frozen Factory, with little bumps along the way.
Yet after nine weeks, the Rock currently find themselves in the lowest valley of the season, and at this point, there is no telling how far they will continue to stumble.
After opening the season with a nifty 3-1 record, the boys have found themselves stuck in a five-game losing streak that has seen them go from second to fourth in the standings. These losses also haven’t been blowouts, which means the team is competitive, just not enough to beat out the weaker opponents who are nipping at the heels in the standings.
Once upon a time ago, the Manager-less Team was winless. After several weeks, they turned the ship around and now sport a 3-6 record. These two teams went head to head in week nine, which turned out to be a disaster for the Rock, who never led for a single minute of the action. This week marked just the second time the Rock failed to have a lead at any point during the week.
The Manager-less team jumped out to an early 11 point lead, which stayed that way for the first two days. They managed to tack on some extra points on Wednesday before the Rock chipped away and brought the deficit back to single digits. By the end of Friday, the score had tipped heavily in Manager-less’ favor, who held a comfortable 33.70 lead. The Rock again lowered the score by five points on Saturday before rallying for more points on Sunday to turn a massive loss into a minor 4.50 point defeat.
As the team continues to bleed out points and position in the standings, the team statistics have taken a hit as the losing streak progressed. The team no longer holds first-place spots, as the goalies lost their crown in week eight. As the league’s best team in shutouts, their number hasn’t changed in a few weeks, allowing the competition to come up from behind and kick them down to third place.
The Rock may still have the second-best numbers in terms of shots, hits, and blocks, but the plus/minus rating along with power-play points continue to fall. The boys are only a few points away from having the league’s worse offensive unit.
When we look back at the Frozen Factory’s week nine action, there were many exciting scores to look at. Steve’s Great Team scored 497.50 points to hand Dirty Sanchez their second loss of the season. Sanchez’s 385.50 points marked the team’s first failure to reach 400 or more points in several weeks, while Steve’s team came just 2.50 points shy of 500.
Every team scored at least 300 points, with Icing scoring 367.50 points, which moved them into third place. The remaining three teams, Rock, Manager-less, and Stoned Assassins, all have identical 3-6 records and remain tied for fourth place.
Joel Eriksson-Ek (Minnesota) became the newest player to win the best player award. He scored a season-high 36 points in week nine thanks to two goals, three assists, two power-play points, 18 shots, 11 hits, and one blocked shot. Eriksson-Ek also finished his impressive week with a plus-two rating.
Meanwhile, in the goal crease, Linus Ullmark (Boston) picked up his first goalie award, breaking up the monopoly his teammates Jacob Markstrom (Calgary) and Robin Lehner (Las Vegas) had. Ullmark signed a massive contract with the Bruins in the offseason and finally had a chance to play on a contender. It took several weeks, but he finally found his groove to earn two wins, give up four goals, and make 81 saves.
This week’s worse player was Hampus Lindholm (Anaheim), who recently joined the team to contribute points from the backend. He had a tranquil week offensively, collecting just five shots on goal. Lindholm became just the third player to win the award by scoring less than three points in a matchup. It seems unfair that he would win the award since he joined the team on the last day of the matchup; however, he had the lowest total of anyone who participated.
As mentioned in the previous paragraph, Lindholm was the team’s first of two signings in week nine. Armed with a roster full of players ready to go, there was no real need to make adjustments, that was until the weekend.
A few holes needed plugging when two players were moved to IR for protocol reasons. That’s when management signed Lindholm and brought back Viktor Arvidsson (Los Angeles), who was on a bit of a hot streak at his signing.
Weekly Move Total: 2/4
Season Move Total: 13/50