Friday, July 18, 2014

Moment's Over

(bonus points if you name the movie the title is from)

I guess the best cliche to haul out would be that hockey is a game of inches. It's not a box of chocolates, that's for sure. With about 10 minutes left and our plucky and courageous heroes down 4-2 to the reigning 8W champions Gary picked up a loose puck and headed up on a partial breakaway. The defenseman was on his left, so when Gary crossed the blue line he drew a little to his right, which got the goalie moving to cover the near post. Gary promptly rifled a rising wrist shot back across to the opposite side of the net, beating the goalie cleanly and ringing off the post with a loud and heartbreaking clang. A one goal deficit would have been nice and we carried the play against a tiring home team, but in the end the pucks either didn't bounce our way or were gobbled up by their goalie. And thus our winning streak came to an end at one.

They were the better team, but we weren't dominated. I have to give them credit for playing as a team - everyone took care of their assignments, and in was is odd for an 8W game there were maybe 4 breakaways total. Unfortunately they scored on two of them, including one where I made an ill-advised pinch. Their other goals included one off our defenseman's skate (let it go, Jeff) and one at the end of a way too long shift. Final was 5-2, and it wasn't like they got up 5-0 and then took it easy on us. While they didn't have any superstars, they also didn't have any bad skaters (such as your esteemed author). Still, we had our chances and it was a fun, clean game. Our sub goalie did a pretty good job, and in a 'what' note the first goal was scored by a player he coaches - she's very good and skates like she's turbocharged.

As for me, I had my usual game: some mistakes, some good plays, some pretty awkward moments. I continued my role as puck magnet, including one sequence where I blocked/was inadvertently in the way if four shots on the same shift. Jeff, Ken and I, the rookie defensemen, continue to try to push ourselves by not just freaking out and shooting the puck away as soon as we get near it. Of course that sometimes leads to me trying to stickhandle between two players (poor decision) or clear up the middle by lifting the puck (became a poor decision when the second guy plucked it out of the air with his stick like it was a beach ball instead of a puck), but there were also a few decent passes and puck lugging. I can;t be too upset with a -1 rating for the game, which leaves me at even for the season. Even more encouraging is the improvements I can see in my teammates - for instance, one of our forwards is finding his scoring touch and I think by season's end he's going to be deadly.

It's not entirely unreasonable to think that we could finish in the top half and make the playoffs. It's not a given, either. We'll have to earn it on the ice, inch by inch.

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