This is hockey in July. Roller hockey. A game with no Gretzky, no goons, and most important, no ice.
The Los Angeles Blades, playing this peculiar version of the sport, defeated the Calgary Rad’z, 7-6, Tuesday night at the Forum before 2,874.
It was the home opener for the Blades (3-0), who compete in Roller Hockey International, a 12-team league playing its inaugural season.
Behind two goals each from Steve Bogoyevac and Ralph Barahona, the Blades took a three-goal fourth period lead, before Calgary scored the game’s final three goals.
The game is fast-paced, and from a distance it looks like regular hockey. However, the rules have been changed a bit.
Blue lines have been eliminated. There are only four skaters and a goalie to a side. Players are ejected for fighting. The players wear in-line skates, skating on a ‘sport-court’ surface. And of course, there’s no Zamboni.
Blade forward Ralph Barahona opened the scoring with a wrist shot 3:10 into the game.
He added another goal as the Blades took a 3-2 halftime lead.
They increased that to 5-2 after third-period goals by Bogoyevac and Rich Garvey.
Calgary cut the score to 5-3 in the third period before Kip Guenther scored from close range, giving the Blades a 6-3 lead heading into the fourth.
The Rad’z scored three times in the fourth to make the score to 7-6 with 26 seconds to play.
The Blades will play host to the Anaheim Bullfrogs Thursday.