The [ppm] eyrie

August 3, 2009

Golden friendlies

Filed under: GVE chronicles — glanvalleyeaglets @ 10:13 am

Why do folks play friendly games? There are many reasons. You get some money from selling tickets, your players gain experience and team chemistry. If you win, you also get rating points. On another line, friendlies is an ideal terrain for trying out different lineups and tactical schemes. I can see no downsides for playing friendlies – unless you want to play on high importance, that is.

For the sake of fun friendly tournaments were invented. While the German speaking ppm community is still on its way to arrange the first friendly cup, the Latvians can prouldy look back on a long history of running such tournaments in the Beta phase of the game. My Eaglets had taken part in the first two seasons of the Challenge Cup and later changed to the oldest Latvian ppm cup – the Libertadores Cup.

The cup started with 28 teams (27 of them representing Latvia). In the group stage we had 4 groups, each with 7 teams playing two rounds against each other. This is the final standings in group D after 12 games. To put things in the right perspective, the Eaglets played all games on low importance. (There were some problems with arranging some of the games and because of this two teams were placed back in the final standings).

1. Glan Valley Eaglets – 31, 45:27
2. Lion Team – 22, 50:40
3. Etalons – 17 – 43:44
4. Apbedīšanas birojs 0.7 – 9, 35:46
5. Dullīši – 8, 35:48
6. Arsenich TM – 17, 31:40
7. Whitetigers – 11, 28:43

Three best teams from each group and 4 best of the rest qualified for the round of last 16. Our first opponent was
HK Valmet. Already the first game showed that there is no use of low importance in play-offs. Luckily, the Eaglets managed to win both of the remaining games. Here are the the results of the 1/8 final round:

HC KronosAndels 1:2 (0:5, 5:1, 2:4)
Glan Valley EagletsHK Valmet 2:1 (2:3, 6:4,5:4)
Latvian Tigersmildronats 1:2 (6:3, 2:7, 3:4)
kāmīšiJust do it!!! 2:0 (5:3, 10:6)
Rēzeknes dināmoEtalons 2:1 (2:3, 5:3, 3:2)
Aizkraukles MežoņiHC passatwind 1:2 (1:6, 5:4, 2:4)
RTM TigersRiga Mad Dogs 2:1 (6:2, 2:3 OT, 2:1)
Lion Teamvilkspiži 2:0 (5:0, 5:2)

In the quarterfinals, the Eaglets faced noone less than the team that would later win the first Latvian National Cup, the great RTM Tigers! Against all odds, the Eaglets did not lose this match. Here is what happened:

Andels – Lion Team 0:2 (1:2, 4:6)
Glan Valley Eaglets – RTM Tigers 2:0 (4:2, 6:5OT)
Mildronats – HC passatwind 1:2 (5:3, 1:4, 5:6SO)
Kāmīši – Rēzeknes dināmo 1:2 (2:1, 1:5, 1:3)

Who would stop us now? Lion Team hadn’t lost a single game in the playoffs, until… Here is what happened in the semi-finals:

HC Passatwind – Reezeknes dinaamo 2:0 (6:2, 6:3)
Glan Valley Eaglets – Lion Team 2:0 (3:1, 9:3)

The last part of the impossible mission was sailing vs HC passatwind and it ended with the first, albeit inofficial, title for my Glan Valley Eaglets. Just for the record:

HC Passatwind – Glan Valley Eaglets 0:2 (1:4, 1:6).

Here is how the winners of the first Libertadores Cup of the (pre-)final PPM hockey version played in the last game of the cup:

Glan Valley Eaglets: Florin (Nock); Zellweger-Plate, Ihle-Schirmer(C)-Grundmann; Emmerich-Buhs, Nikolaus-Umbeck-Jacobsen; Brinkies-Karsten, Doerr-Vavra-Clasen; Spaeth-Pestalozzi; Schellbach-Mosler-Niederwipper.

Goals: 0:1 Ihle (Zellweger); 0:2 Emmerich (Buhs); 0:3 Ihle (Schirmer, Zellweger); 1:3 Spulbergs(Vaivods); 1:4 Schirmer; 1:5 Schirmer; 1:6 Nikolaus (Buhs).

And so the Eaglets qualified for the inofficial Cup of Latvian Cup Winners along with other great Champions of the first season. The stellar field of participants:

Winner of the Latvian National Cup: RTM Tigers
Winner of the Libertadores Cup: Glan Valley Eaglets
Winner of the Challenge Cup: HK DINAMO RIiGA
Winner of the LHC (Latvian Hockey Cup): HK Murggs.

The round robin tournament was played in three days – an overtime or shootout victory bringing two points.

On the first day Eaglets faced Dinamo and lost, so Murggs and Dinamo took the lead:
RTM Tigers – HK Murggs 1:4
Glan Valley Eaglets – HK DINAMO RIiGA 3:5

The next round made the things more complicated – both winners of the first day lost their games…
RTM Tigers – HK DINAMO RIiGA 5:4 OT
HK Murggs – Glan Valley Eaglets 3:4

Now Dinamo were leading with four points, but the last round came with another surprises:
HK DINAMO RIiGA – HK Murggs 1:5
RTM Tigers – Glan Valley Eaglets 3:4

Now two teams were in front with 6 points, but Eaglets had won the game between the tied teams, so the winner is…
1. Glan Valley Eaglets 6
2. HK Murggs 6
3. HK DINAMO RIiGA 4
4. RTM Tigers 2

This was our lineup for the deciding game:

HK Murggs vs Glan Valley Eaglets 3:4 (0:1, 1:1, 2:2)

Eaglets: Florin (Nock); Zellweger-Plate, Ihle-Schirmer(C)-Grundmann; Schürrle-Buhs, Vīļums-Umbeck-Jacobsen; Brinkies-Karsten, Doerr-Vavra-Clasen; Schiebler-Pestalozzi, Schellbach-Mosler-Ortel.

Goals: 0:1 Schiebler, 1:1 Dreilings (Lauva), 1:2 Zellweger (Grundmann, Plate), 1:3 Clasen (Vávra), 2:3 Pūpols (Bērziņš), 2:4 Buhs (Umbeck, Vīļums), 3:4 Lauva (Barovskis, Grundulis)

So our Captain Jonathan Schirmer has had a good training in weightlifting, the two cups can be pretty heavy 🙂 It is hard to put this title in the right perspective – of course, it was just friendlies and it is nothing like winning a National Cup (sweet dreams…). On the other hand, all the Latvian teams participated in the National Cup and many of the greatest ones were represented in the cups, so it is hard to digest, how much luck we have had in this season, the season of golden friendlies 🙂 No time for Champagne, promotion games lie ahead!

Advertisements

July 13, 2009

1st season: 3/4 completed

Filed under: GVE chronicles — glanvalleyeaglets @ 7:56 am

With 2 games left to go in the regular season lets take a look back at the past 4 weeks.

League games. Trying to break the curse of Counterattacks vs Breaking, Eaglets set out with normal game importance and miserably failed to convert the many chances they got. Penalty minutes 0:14, shots 43:22, final score 1:1.
Ulm’s keeper Denis Jahns was amazing in the 65 mins. Two days later V.I.P. was downed in a defensive battle – 5:0, however, the next game day saw the next defeat – a 4:5 in an away game against the underdog O-Town City. The Eaglets had shown their dislike for destructive tactics again, failing to beat Normal with Breaking up.

The situation was saved by a few stellar games in a row – 7:2 against Ludwigshafener Freezers, 5:1 over Ortlfinger EV, 8:2 over EC Crossover and, finally, a 9:0 against Blue Lions in an away game. The winning streak of offensive tactics coupled with low importance ended abruptly against another underdog – 2:3 against Eisbären Dielbach. Our top goalie Florin had caught a flu and two other first team players were injured, but that’s no excuse according to the manager in chief. Nevertheless he put the first goalie back in net even though he was not fully recovered (and the goaltending in team strength section dropped from 16 stars to 14…). The opponent was no-one less than ESV Kaiserslautern Koi´s in front of 998 spectators! Playing offensive against counterattacks, the Eaglets equalized the score thrice, but in the last minute of the regular time made the deciding mistake – the game ended with a 3:4 defeat and Koi’s took over the leading spot in the league table. As if this hadn’t been enough, Briesnitzer Eisballerinas managed to beat us again, 4:3.

A losing streak of 3 games is not the best way to face the play-offs, the only bright side of that is – we have been warned! The plan is simple now – to secure the 2nd place in the league and show the best in the last and hottest phase of the season.

National Cup. Our rivals in the 1/16 final were Ruhrpott Icetigers. Their last login time suggested they’d use the same tactics as in the previous league game, namely, normal and forechecking, so the Eaglets chose to play normal, attacking. The start of the game was delayed due to technical problems, so for a while I felt like a Schrödinger’s cat eagle – a superposition of dead and alive states. Luckily, the tactics worked well and after nearly 30 minutes of goalless pressure the Eaglets broke the deadlock. Capitalizing on 3 of 9 powerplay chances, Eaglets won the game with 6:1 in front of almost 600 attendants.

In the round of last 16 we faced one of the strongest teams in the pool – TowerStars from II.1. Even though TowerStars use Normal tactics for official games, we didn’t expect an easy game and actually used High game importance for the very first time. Since the rivals were rated 16 star overall at the moment (equaling my Eaglets), breaking up tactics did not seam misplaced to me. Actually the tactics worked out quite well, leading to a shot differential 14:5 after the first period. Unfortunately the goalie Florin had a bad day and could not stop two of the five shots. Our forwards kept silent – 0:2. Uli Nock came for the unlucky Florin and in 42nd minute Jacobsen equalized – 2:2, however, soon after another blunder TowerStars took the lead again. Uli Nock had to leave his place for another forward and Andi Jacobsen scored again – 3:3. A pretty quite overtime followed where the teams hardly got scoring chances. In the penalty shoot-out, the captain Jonathan Schirmer missed three chances, Rafael Grundmann two and Mojmír Vávra one chance, however, Uli Nock kept the Eaglets in the game, stopping first 5 attempts. However, the 6th was the last. 3:4 SO ends our dreams of international cup games in the next season… TowerStars have reached the finals after beating the very strong Düsseldorf Allstars in semis, 2:6! So tomorrow is the final – Bodensee Devils (III.4) vs TowerStars (II.1).

Libertadores Cup has reached the final stages as well. Having eliminated HK Valmet in a best-of-three series 2:1 (2:3, 6:4, 5:4) and the finalist of Latvian NC – RTM Tigers with 2:0 (4:2, 6:5 OT) (gee, why can’t we play like this in official games!?), the Eaglets face LionTeam in semis.

Development: TF 5(6), REG 5, HRED 4, SA 6. Yep, the best OR of a player from SA was 171… No, it isn’t the world yet, is it?

Current team rating: 96.85 making us 157. in the world and 8. in Germany. The best position ever was reached on 2.07.09, #44 WR, #2 DE. Team strength: GK 16, DF 17, OF 17, SH 16

Coming next: a big update on the stats is planned after the regular season.

Yep, take care anybody who reads this, best of luck and have fun!

June 15, 2009

The next moon

Filed under: GVE chronicles — glanvalleyeaglets @ 9:29 am

The river of time keeps flowing and the time has come for the second monthly progress report of my team. Moon is my unit of time that lasts four calender weeks, thus a PPM season can be conveniently divided into 4 Moons and four reports. The pain of writing the report gives a new meaning to the word Moonsorrow 🙂

I have slightly extended the range of data I’m collecting for statistics, including shot efficiency, penalty minutes and some rudimentary statistics on the team strength “stars” (the numbers estimating the overall goaltending, defence, offence and shooting abilities). Measuring the effects of these stars is a very elusive stuff, I must say. It will take some time to collect enough of data worth of publishing, but some day you can hope to find an executive summary in this blog.

Let us turn to the performance of my own team.

The second moon has seen 12 rounds of regular season league games. This time my Eaglets had to face all three Noname teams that currently reside in our German league III.7. I will focus on the remaining 9 games, which ended with 4 victories after regular time, 3 overtimes (1 won, 1 lost, 1 draw) and 2 losses. Perhaps we have lost some points due to the low game importance, but I have to admit that most of the points were lost after a tactical defeat. Sure, it is nice to win, but the game wins in substance when the other side uses unexpected tactical variants 🙂

Having started with two victories 6:2 and 8:1, the Eaglets faced the leading team of the league in terms of facility development, ESV Kaiserslautern Koi’s. With an aggressive transfer policy they have erected the 6th level of TF and 5th level of RF and HRED. I think we’ll see this team go really far indeed. The derby in front of 429 we played defensively against breaking tactics. An exchange of many goals ended with zero points for the Eaglets, 6:7. Our next guest was the 17th number of the league who reached the round of last 64 in the National Cup – Briesnitzer Eisballerinas. Although Eaglets had the clear tactical edge defensive vs offensive, the only reward was one point – 4:4. There followed another victory 7:3 and an unexpected loss against Crusaders’ top goalie Kannast with 1:3. The game aganist Darmstadt improved the situation – 4:1, however, the last two games ended in overtime. First the Eaglets managed to take 2 points against Iron Wolves with 5:4 in OT, but on Friday we lost against Berlin Capitals 6:7 OT (reminding of the match in the first round). The strange thing is that Eaglets keep flying on Position 1 in the table, 3 points ahead of Koi’s and 11 points ahead of the 9th placed Capitals. The margins are still extremely narrow and the competition on the verge of play-offs is extremely tough. With 14 rounds remaining, the 11 point margin lets us feel everything but safe.

The hunting grounds of the National Cup are considered to be even more rough and dangerous as the first slip is usually the last. It took both skill and fortune for the Eaglets to reach the round of last 32. The National Cup, probably the highest peak a team can reach in the first season, is only five games away. So close at hand, yet as unreachable as the Moon 🙂 The first serious opponent was Red Devils Berlin. Eaglets played offensive against forechecking and marked an impressive 8:2 victory. The next in line was PreussenSpiders with an inactive manager. Scoring 2 goals in the last seconds, Eaglets saved the day with a tough 4:1 victory. HC Growl fought furiously using the forechecking tactics against offensive finding a response to every goal scored by the Eaglets. As the evening dusk fell, we saw a deserved yet lucky 6:5. The next draw revealed SRBIJA as the next opponent, but they went anonymous right before the match. Although they, having been overtaken by a new manager in the last minutes before 18.00, did show a serious resistance, Eaglets still managed to convert this chance – 6:2 and here we are.

Ruhrpott Icetigers from IV.1 will be the next team that comes to Angelo d’Arrigo Ice Forum with the firm resolution to kick the hosts out of the tournament. In terms of stars the Eaglets have a slight but firm advantage, yet the manager of the Icetigers cares well for his team, so the tactical schemes are adapted on a regular basis. I’m flirting with the idea to send my Eaglets in the fight with high importance for the very first time. Unfortunately, I have some good arguments both pro and contra, so it is going to be a tough last minute decision for me.

Sometimes I wish I could transfer the success streak in friendlies to the league. In the last 5 weeks Eaglets have won 15 of 15 friendlies, thus winning the Group D in Libertadores Cup with a considerable margin. Now we can prepare for the play-off rounds in series of best of 3. Hoping for more than just one round.

Players. Still waiting for the first blue wonder from our Sports Academy. We already have 5th level for a while, and still waiting for the first youth player to come with an OR over 160. The only serious addition to the roster was the defender Rainer Buhs. The french goalie Gary Florin was the second addition to the team. There have been no big transfers to report.

Facilities: HR 4, REG 4, TF 5, SA: 5 (6). Team strength (a.k.a. Stars): GT 15, DF 16, OF 16, SH 15 (16). Overall team rating 69.49. Place 90 in a out-of-date world ranking table (there are over 25 000 active teams around) thanks to the lucky streak in the National Cup, and place 2 in German ratings (out of date as well).

June 2, 2009

Wir sind Herbstmeister!

Filed under: GVE chronicles — glanvalleyeaglets @ 1:14 pm

Press release.

Glan Valley Eaglets have finished the first round of the first season on the top spot in the German division III.7, scoring 44 points in 19 games (total record 14-2[0-1-1]-3, goals 130:53). Five players can be found in the top 6 scorer list of the league. Captain Jonathan Schirmer leads the list with 29 (11+18) points, Gunar Ihle has 26 (12+14), Mark Umbeck – 24 (13+11), followed by the top defenders Arno Karsten (11+11) and Timon Schürrle (6+16) with 22 points each.

With overall team rating of 53.24 points the team has reached its highest spot ever in the World rankings of PPM. At the moment Glan Valley Eaglets are ranked number 175 in the PPM World! (The total number of PPM hockey teams is 26922 currently.)

The manager speaks: “Yes, it is nice to be a Herbstmeister, it is an important moment in the young history of our team. I want to congratulate the players, they have done a great amount of hard work during the last months and the team play has improved enormously. Yet I would be more happy if we played like this in the last rounds of the season to reach the play-offs and spare our best hockey for the last games of the season.”

May 17, 2009

The first Moon

Filed under: GVE chronicles — glanvalleyeaglets @ 9:53 am

The slowness of one day per day has certainly changed my perception of the game flow. It`s a nice feeling to be up to date with the virtual events and to sense the pulse of the first season. In particular, the short-term tactical aspect gets much more meaning than it was thinkable in the four-times sped-up beta.

Among the reasons why I started this weblog was to try catching things that otherwise would be forgotten far too soon. This is the first article for the Glan Valley Eaglets chronicles.

Glan Valley Eaglets can now look back on the first four weeks of the first full PPM season. In terms of rate of development this is the most exciting time as much can be done with relatively small amount of ppm money in a short time period.

The league. I had chosen to start the full version in a high but not the highest possible league, so the holy Random chose to put the Eaglets in German league III.7.
Having lost three games out of four in the pre-season preparation period, the Eaglets started the regular season with four straight victories. The goalie Uli Nock who joined the team from 2nd level SA recorded his first two shootouts 3:0 and 7:0. The streak of victories was stopped by an accidental overtime loss (5:6) against Berlin Capitals, but the next three league games were won again. After the furious start we got a 5 days long crisis during which the Eaglets lost two friendlies and, what is more important, two league games. Nevertheless, the Eaglets face the second Moon while leading the league both by points and team rating, two points ahead of another team from Kaiserslautern.

In German National Cup Eaglets are the lucky seed no. 13. The first round was free, and the second opponent was a TeamNoname. In the third round Eaglets face the first real opponent, Red Devils Berlin from II.4. Although Eaglets have the home ice advantage and slightly higher reserves of seasonal energy, nevertheless it is a K.O. round, so wing it or leave it.

Libertadores Cup. So far the Eaglets have played 7 games and lead the group D with 16 points (5-1-1). A top-notch result indeed! All the games were extremely close, all but one ending with less than 2 goals difference.

Development. Angelo d’Arrigo Ice Forum was extended to offer places for 550 spectators, and from Monday on will also offer snacks and drinks in three sectors. The training facility is on Level 4, the same level of regeneration is under construction, we have the 3rd level of human resources department and are building the 5th level of sports academy. The 275.4 k from the general sponsor cannot possibly cover these costs, so compromises must be gone into.

The team had to sell the top forward Dario Noack with OR 160, Off 37, Sho 37 with high qualities. The transfer fee was 1.7 millions. A second top transfer was the great coach Kenny Hartung, with OR 28; this brought another 1.5 millions ppm money. Finally, there was essentially a swap – Mathew Greis left the team for Mojmír Vávra. The second legionar is the Latvian forward Vents Vīļums who is a good substitute player for that transfer fee (50k).

In a word, Eaglets have had an excellent start in the dangerous new world. We shall see what the future brings. The development of the players and facilities certainly is a race with the Red Queen. Remember, you gotta run as fast as you can to stay on the spot. If you wanna move forward, ya gotta run still faster. I believe there is a second important rule. While the long-term strategical development is very important, we are not ready to disappoint the fans by selling everything of value in the market.

Team rating 31.14, world ranking no. 1110, goaltending 13, defence 13, offence 14, shooting 15

Blog at WordPress.com.