Something weird is happening with the Ice House Raiders. No, we're not winning. We lost 8-0 this week. Victory is something almost mythical to us right now. Getting dressed before the game there was some joking around and talks of a practice during our back to back bye weeks (yeah, what?), and after a disorganized first period we settled into three set lines of forwards and five defensemen rotating among themselves.
In other words, we started to act like a team instead of sixteen or so random dudes tossed out on the ice. Wait, make that fifteen or so dudes and one dudette. Can't forget Stephanie, our captain. There's something reassuring about having the same two guys hitting the ice with you each shift. Given time, we'll get used to how each of us lays and knowing where we're going to be. It reminds me of playing a season with the same scrum in rugby - you get used to the guy locking in next to you, the flanker on the other side, the two guys in front of you whose hips your ramming your head between, and so on. It's cool.
It's also not a perfect scenario, for two reasons. One of the guys who takes FOREVER shifts is on my wing, although to be fair that was markedly better when we were a set line and the others - me and a guy of course named Chris, because the Council of Chris thing is going to follow me forever - went off, so he'd follow. He doesn't appear to know what he's supposed to be doing in the defensive zone. I may have yelled a little. It's pretty simple. Right wing covers right point. Don't go below the dot unless the left defenseman does. At least the bench was yelling along with me.
The other issue is that I've been made the center. Not that I have years of experience as a winger, but centering is a little bit different than what I'm used to. There's the faceoffs, of which I managed to win one of six or seven. I like being the guy camped out in front of the net looking for tip in, deflections, and rebounds, and almost had one on a twice-deflected pass. But center? Like my learning curve needed a deeper bend.
The game wasn't as bad a blowout as the score might indicate. Our first goalie gave up a few he'd probably like to get back, and two were powerplay goals as well. In the second period we came thisclose to our first goal as it was through the goalie but ticked off the heel of his skate and went wide. We also had two posts. There's going to be a goal one of these games, and we're all chipping into a pool - a buck a guy a game, with the pot going to the first one to put it in the net. Like a team does.
We still have other issues - too long shifts, especially by one guy, and we're waiting for Jeff to get back from dislocating his shoulder, which he evidently didn't tell his wife about for a week and a half. Such is the life of a hockey player.
Writing: 741 words. I need to wrap this chapter up.