The Face-off Phony

From the book:

Kyle passed off to Alexia, who went over the blue line with Trent at her side. In a trademark move, the two attackers crossed paths. Alexia flipped the puck to Trent, who one-timed a booming slapshot. The goalie made a stick save.
"Get the doojig!" yowled Boom Boom.
"The rebound!" I translated.
Both teams scrambled for the loose puck. Big Cal was our best digger. He was on that rebound two steps ahead of anybody else. But he tripped over Alexia's reaching stick. It was a spectacular spill -- head over heels.
For a split second he was upside down in the air. Out of his hockey pants spilled about twenty dollars worth of pennies.
Now the last thing you want to drop on a hockey rink is a penny. It's warmer than the ice because it's been in your pocket. So the minute it hits, it sticks.
Instantly, the action in front of the net turned into a clown routine, as players from both teams tripped over two thousand tiny obstacles. And while the goalie was flat on his back, Trent popped the puck over him and into the net.
I only got out a half cheer, because the referee was already waving his arms.
"No goal!" He pointed furiously at Cal. "Number sixteen just dropped a load of coins on the ice!"
"But it's my lucky penny!" Cal defended himself.
The referee stared. "All of them?"
"Calm down, Cal," called Boom Boom from the bench. "Pick up your thingamabobs, and let's finish this whatchamacallit."
But it wasn't as easy as that. Those thingamabobs were frozen into the ice. The referees had to scrape them up with shovels. After fifteen minutes of annoying delay, Cal got his penny collection back in a pail of slush.
"Oh wow," Alexia commented sarcastically. "A copper Sno-Kone."
Cal found this so hilarious that he rolled along the bench, laughing into his bucket.
All this so we could play the last forty-nine seconds and wind up in a 2-2 tie.

Copyright © 2000 Gordon Korman used by permission

It was a Cinderella story … the unwelcome step-child of the Slapshot hockey league, the Mars Health Food Stars had played well enough to keep their team in the league. They were in the right place at the right time to play a game in the All Star Championships. But it wasn't enough to save them from THE SLUMP.

Lucky rabbit feet, lucky pennies, or various other sports superstitions all failed in turning the teams bad luck around, but when team reporter "Chipmonk" Adelman shows the team the stats that prove they've still got a chance at the play-offs, the team rallies around.

Its just too bad that the road to the play-offs leads directly to Steve Stapleton. Steve is the Oilers new hotshot player, probably the best in the league. He's led the Oilers from their last-place standings to battling it out with the Stars for the number eight play-off spot, and he seems to be absolutely unbeatable … Until "Chipmonk" realizes Steve is too old for the Slapshot league. Unfortunately, "Chipmonk" has no proof to back up his claims.

So its down to the wire, with "Chipmonk" taking to the ice to try and get his proof of Stapleton's ineligibility during the last game between the Stars and the Oilers. Can the out-of-shape student-turned-reporter save the Mars Stars' chances, or has his Cinderella story turned into a nightmare?