Eases IceBats Way
By Jason Cohen
-- Luch Nasato gets his paycheck from the Memphis RiverKings,
but Austin management may well owe him money. In Game
2 of the Central Hockey League President's Cup finals,
he gave the Ice Bats fans top-notch entertainment. With
apologies to Clint Cabana, Dan Wildfong and several
San Antonio Iguanas, the Travis County Expo Center hasn't
burned with this much hate since the Central Texas Stampede
went out of business. That Nasato was one of several
undisciplined Memphis players who helped Austin even
up the series with a 4-2 win was really just a bonus.
RiverKings defenseman had Austin thinking about him
right from the first face-off. He'd gotten away with
a spear of Jeff Greenlaw in Game 1; tonight, he continued
to hack and whack, and started a fight between Eric
Labelle and Brian Tucker that he somehow backed away
from without penalty. Labelle treated Nasato to a chicken
dance as he skated to the box.
By the second
period, Nasato had the Bats so worked up that normally
even-keeled Gerald Tallaire taunted the Memphis bench
after giving Austin a 2-1 lead. A full-on fracas developed
out of that.
the game 2-2 on a Don Martin five-on-three goal at 11:20
of the second period; there were four Bats and three
RiverKings in the box for that one. But when Nasato
went for tripping at 13:23, Greg Willers made him pay
with an unassisted goal. When Dan Price made it 4-2
at 19:23, Nasato slashed him after the lamp had already
been lit. By the end of the night, he had accumulated
seven penalties: slashing (twice), roughing (twice),
unsportsmanlike conduct, unsportsmanlike conduct-diving
he was pathetic for a hockey player tonight, I really
did," Ice Bats coach Brent Hughes said. "I
don't think that stuff belongs in the game. If I was
his coach, I'd be disappointed."
he didn't help us tonight," Memphis head coach
Doug Shedden said. "I don't need to yell and scream
at him. Usually, one game in a long series, he crosses
the line and takes dumb penalties instead of creating
them. But he's a great player, an All-Star defenseman
in this league. He's loved in our rink and I love him
-- he's a winner. He needs to stay on the ice."
all CHL defensemen in the playoffs with 16 points, and
had 40 in the regular season, along with a plus-minus
rating of +23. He won a United League championship with
Shedden in Flint two years ago, and also has 39 International
Hockey League games on his resume.
Last time the
two teams met in the regular season Nasato attacked
Price, who received 30-some stitches from a flying puck
the game before, with an under-the-shield face wash.
He was out of the box about a millisecond when Greenlaw
retaliated. Then, according to several Bats, Nasato
skated to the Austin bench and began clawing at his
nose and face, trying to produce blood to draw an extra
remember a lot of the stuff I do during a game,"
Nasato said when asked if this was true. In any case,
the Kings scored two power-play goals with Greenlaw
in the box that night.
Bat Cave crowd jeered Nasato long and loud and hard,
with as much enthusiasm as they had for Austin's goals.
An hour after the final buzzer, Nasato was talking quietly
with a few RiverKings supporters outside the Memphis
bus. Austin fans on the balcony above continued to make
fun of his hair, question his sexuality and remind him
which team won.
He wouldn't have
it any other way. "If people aren't talking about
me or saying anything I'm not doing my job," he
said. "I feel good that everyone's out there giving
me - crap let's say."
his job, he does it well," said Ice Bats forward
Ryan Anderson. "What can you say? If you asked,
would you want him on your team, anyone would say yeah,
in a heartbeat."