With just under two minutes left in last night's game, the unthinkable happened. The best skater on the other team, armed with steely-eyed determination, managed to circumvent our defense and poke home a rebound goal against us. From our bench rose a collective sigh, even as the foghorn blared (not a real foghorn - we had one of the scorekeepers who was Into It and cranked the horn for goals. He also played music between action. I fully admit to air-guitaring on my hockey stick to Bowling for Soup during a shift change). We had failed, utterly. Alas, our goalie Chaz would not be recording a shutout.
But we won the shit out of the game.
The first minute was misleading - they swarmed all over us and it looked like countless other games from seasons past. Except this time we bent but didn't break, and when they had stayed out too long on their shift one of our guys skated the length of the ice and juked their goalie out of her compression shorts. We tacked on two more before the end of the period and, aside from a few sloppy minutes in the second period, never looked back in a - dare I say? - easy 5 - 1 win.
Now, all the dominoes lined up for us on this one, to be sure. We were playing the new house team and for at least one of the guys it was his first game. We had a talented line-up out there and Chaz was absolutely on his game. And since we were playing with a comfortable lead, it allowed myself and my other two still-sorta-rookie defensemen to take a few more chances - to skate with the puck instead of firing it away immediately, to look for a better pass, to pinch on offense (note: this is not actual squeezing of flesh. Pinching means to attack the puck deeper in the zone than is normally recommended). We had the added bonus of two other good defensemen out here with us: Ken W, who did a fantastic job coaching us during our practice and is as steady as a rock; and new teammate Lauren, who is such a fluid and graceful skater it's amazing to watch. And so we spent a game trying new things, laughing on the bench, and protecting a lead. Crazy, right?
I ended up +1 for the game with no goals against while I was on the ice, which makes me happy. I still made mistakes - late in the game I misjudged a guy's speed and he beat me around the outside for a bad-angle stuff attempt on Chaz the Brick Wall, and also I positioned myself nicely for a pass before whiffing and falling over at the same time. Also, I FORGOT TO BRING THE BEER. That right there is a hanging offense. But overall I was happy with how I played - at least until Chaz posts the video and I see myself doing my 'Statue on Ice' routine again.
Next week we get the team that won Spring session a couple of weeks ago. They're older, smart, and play well together. Still, right now I can look at the standings and see us on top, with something other than a zero int he win column. People, we went 0-17 as the house team and 0-10 on the inaugural Scurvy Dogs season. That's 0-27. 0-27, and yet every week i can't wait to get to the rink and play. What am I going to be like with a winning record?