â€œPronghorn antelope on ice.â€Â
A new nickname for the fastest skater on the CSU hockey team, Dan Malone. Now, the guys inside the doors of the disgustingly foul-smelling locker room may have other names for him. I donâ€™t know them. I donâ€™t really care. Pronghorn antelope on ice is long, special, true and funny.Â
Enough said.Â But the reason behind the name (that will hopefully follow poor Dan until his dying day) is what should be focused on. Malone is fast, as already established, but he is also loud, intimidating, and shoots the puck well.
See, Malone likes water. I know this because he is always playing on it (in addition to the little element that heâ€™s from the land of a large amount of lakes). He plays hockey on frozen water and gets crazy, sick, totally gnarly, wicked, awesome air behind a boat during his summer wakeboarding sessions.Â
Thatâ€™s also the reason why the speedster has only played in six of the teamâ€™s 28 games in his final season as a Rammie. He broke his leg doing a trick; and for giggles letâ€™s say he was throwing a phat inverted 900 on his way to the harsh landing that left him hobbling around town for so many months, even though it could have been a bunny hop for all I know.Â
So that amazing attempt at a great trick that would have made Malone a YouTube favorite cut his season short. But the Antelope is back, and like Moses, no water can stand in his way this time. In the six games the 6-foot-1 righty has suited up for, he has scored seven goals, three of which came last Friday night in a thumping of the UNC Bears, and amassed three assists. The Rams have been carried by their young green liners all season, but now the Horned One is back in the lineup.Â
â€œWhat can you say?â€ said head coach Kelly Newton about having Malone back. â€œHeâ€™s a guy who can put the puck in the net and also brings a ton of intensity to the bench. Weâ€™re ecstatic to have him back.â€
With his skates back on the ice, Maloneâ€™s line has been given the opportunity to excel and has become a second offensive bludgeon for CSU to use. Paul Jenkins makes up a huge part of the scoring for the Rams and, as a newcomer to the team, said he could hardly believe how obvious the addition of Malone was to not only CSU, but also to their opponents.Â
â€œWe went to a tournament in Eastern Washington,â€ Jenkins said. â€œAnd we talked to the Eastern Washington guys afterwards and they had their best defensive (players) paired with my line every time we played them this year. As soon as they saw Dan Malone in the lineup they switched everybody to go cover him.â€
Jenkins added that his teammate is still hurting from his injury and if he can score three goals (during one of which he shrugged as the puck slid in the net) and have three aggressive penalties at 75 percent, he can only improve upon his greatness and send more tales of the horned antelope through the ACHA.
Not only is Malone fast and aggressive on the ice, heâ€™s the same when heâ€™s walking around like the rest of us normal people.
Heâ€™s the type of guy that holds his teammates accountable. Quick and with a bit of spit on his teeth and brimstone in his eyes, Malone is known for letting otherâ€™s know when their effort equals the amount Stephanie Meyer put into writing the Twilight series. Â
With only four games left before the postseason begins, having a guy like Malone returning to the ice is just the push the Rams need to dominate Nationals this season. Last year, the team came within an arm hair of winning the whole thing with Malone not even playing in the tournament.
The Rams have few games left, but many goals left to achieve and Malone may be the golden ticket to the crown of Division-II club hockey.
â€œHeâ€™s the key, heâ€™s the extra little thing we needed to get us over the top,â€ Jenkins said.
Yes sir, the herd of hockey Rams are on their way being led by an Antelope.Â
Sports writer Keith Robertson can be reached at email@example.com.