Lobbyists defeat lawmakers in charity hockey game, 5-3

Led by forward Justin Beachnau, a lobbyist for IBM, and stellar goaltending from Andrew Sasinowski, who works for the United States Patent and Trademark Office, a group of lobbyists defeated a team of lawmakers and their staff in a charity ice hockey game at the Verizon Center Thursday, 5-3.

The lawmakers were led by arch-liberal New York Congressman Anthony Weiner in goal, Massachusetts Democratic Sen. John Kerry at first line center, four other congressmen and a bevy of staffers from both sides of the aisle on Capitol Hill.

Gerrit Lansing, an aide to Illinois Republican Rep. Peter Roskam, led the lawmakers’ team in skill, including a dazzling end-to-end goal assisted by Kerry.

Democratic Reps. Brian Higgins of New York and Mike Quigley of Illinois both put in decent performances on the ice, as did Weiner as goaltender with his solid butterfly-style play.

Rep. Pat Meehan, a freshman Republican from Pennsylvania, did not fare as well. Meehan, a former referee for the National Hockey League, said he was rusty prior to the game, having not played in 27 years. At one point, the only woman player for either team, Melissa Lavinson, a lobbyist for the Pacific Gas and Electric Company, faked Meehan out so badly he fell backwards as Lavinson skated right by.

The team of lawmakers started out strong early, with two breakaways in the first few minutes of the game and a goal by Andrew Mills, an aide to Republican Indiana Sen. Richard Lugar.

The lawmakers, though, did not take advantage of their many early opportunities. For instance, Brad Dayspring, a spokesman for House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, muffed a perfect pass to him in the slot from Lansing early in the first period.

(On the other hand, it was Dayspring’s birthday, and the crowd sang him Happy Birthday during the first period intermission).

Soon the lobbyists held the lead. A controversial goal as the buzzer sounded at the end of the second period put them up 3-1.

Jon Oehman, an aide to Oklahoma Republican Rep. John Sullivan, scored on a rebound to bring the game to 3-2, lobbyists.

Then Lansing took the puck from a faceoff in his own zone and raced down the ice, including right around a lobbyist defender, faking out the goalie and depositing the puck in the five hole. The game was tied with 6:28 left on the clock.

But the lobbyists struck back with a goal by Christian Gullot to take back the lead.

The seconds ticking from the clock, the game became heated in the last minute as the lawmakers strived for another goal.

So heated, in fact, that John Goodwin, an aide to Idaho Republican Rep. Raul Labrador, and Sean O’Neill, a lobbyist for the Associated General Contractors of America, exchanged punches in a scrum in front of the lobbyists’ net. The brief fight appeared serious, but only seconds later both players laughed about it.

Finally, the lobbyists put in an empty net goal and won 5-3.