A not-too-bad day
I had my third hockey game yesterday. Our first two ended in 2-2 ties; the team we were playing had won both their games (one of them 6-1), and is in first place in the league, so we knew it was going to be a challenge. To add to the difficulty level, our captain (who works for SXSW) wasn't going to be there, and as it turned out we were actually at least 3 people short of our full team. Jenny and several of our friends came to root for my team. They apparently had quite the party up in the stands, with cider and rum, beer, chips, etc. They also yelled quite a bit, especially at the referees (who were terrible--missed several really blatant calls, including a trip on what would have been a breakaway). It was fun playing in front of people I know and getting cheered on. :)
Nonetheless, we started the game working hard; we haven't been getting many shots on goal, so we tried to step that up and just shoot the puck more. We had some great chances, but nothing was going in. Fortunately we were doing a good job holding them off as well; they scored once, but all in all we were playing well. The second period we actually kind of took over; we spent a lot of time playing in their zone, getting some good passing and some great shots. Unfortunately their goalie made a lot of good saves and we just weren't getting to the rebounds.
In the third period things kind of fell apart for us. You could tell we all started to get tired; all of a sudden they were getting lots of chances, including rebounds, and they started piling up the points. I think we were down 3-0 maybe halfway through the third when we got a bit of a break; one of our forwards was getting pressured by two opponents in the neutral zone; he'd drawn them to the left side, so the right side was wide open. I yelled at him to put it off the right boards, and he banged it perfectly off the right side. I picked up the puck and skated in, along with two teammates, for a 3 on 1 chance. I stickhandled around the last guy, who challenged me rather than just trying to slow us up and give his teammates a chance to backcheck. This time when I broke in on the goalie I made sure to get the shot off, a low wrister that rebounded to the left--where my two teammates were waiting. After a flurry of shots and rebounds, I circled back up to my right defense position, since I didn't want to give up a goal. Our forwards kept pounding away, shooting the puck and retrieving it, and about 20 seconds later it finally went in.
Unfortunately that was pretty much the last hurrah; after a wicked wrist shot beat our goalie from an impossible angle :-P to make it 4-1, I ended up as the defender in a 1 on 1 break. Unfortunately as I tried to transition from skating backwards to skating forwards so I could keep up with the guy, I tangled my feet and, in Jenny's words, turned some kind of crazy double toe loop thing and crashed to the ice, leaving him to go in and score.
So the game ended up 5-1, but for all that I think that if we'd had all our players it would have been a lot closer. We just got too tired to keep up with them anymore, and they took advantage of it. Hopefully next time we play them things will be more even. :)
Overall I think I played well; I made a number of good passes and heads-up plays. I did take one hard shot off the inside of my calf that stung a bit, but as I'm ordering sturdy new shin pads today or tomorrow, that should take care of that. :)
After the game I showered (though I wish the rink had hot water...) and we all hit Opal Divine's for drinks and snacks. Then Jen and I came home and had fried chicken (yum...) for dinner, and watched Jeopardy until Jen fell asleep, at which point I rocked the board. :)
Overall it was a lot of fun; I wish every Saturday could be that good. It was especially nice after this week; Jen and I keep finding things around the house that are related to Neil, which is really hard. There are a couple of our better pictures of Neil up on top of the TV cabinet, which I think is nice even when it hurts to look at them. I wish we had more pictures of him, but he was a little camera-shy. I've gotten to the point where I can mostly discuss it with random people without feeling like I want to crawl into a hole and cry for a while, which I guess you could call progress. I still kind of feel like he should be here, though; like I should walk into the bedroom and his cage should be there, with him hanging out on top of his castle. He never is, though. Which sucks.
Edit: Actually, looking at the stats online, it looks like maybe we were only missing one person (the captain), and we actually had the same number of players as our opponents. Jen said it looked like they had more people, but maybe not. Of course the stats aren't perfect; our goalie is listed as getting an assist on our goal, but that's because one of our forwards was wearing the goalie's spare jersey. :)
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.