The ATX Spades (captain changed our name, since "this isn't the same team as last season") finally won our first game, 4-1. On the way to the game, Jenny was telling me things she'd noticed about the last game. "You don't challenge enough," "you guys don't look before you pass," etc etc. I don't know whether my teammates psychically heard her or not (I know I found her suggestions helpful), but we did a lot better job of playing as a team tonight. We still had trouble making good, solid passes (some of our guys have a bad tendency to make blind passes, especially breaking out of our zone), but we got a lot of good shots on goal and, just as importantly, the forwards were crashing the net. We got one goal off a beautiful deflection of a shot from the point (from my defensive partner) and the other three were all rebounds put in by forwards pouncing on rebounds in the slot.
I played pretty well again; no toe loops this time. Our forwards did a great job backchecking; I don't think there were more than two or three times where the defense was all alone. Unfortunately one of those times led to a goal, off a mistake I made; the puck slid into the zone behind me (last person back) and it turned into a race with a forward from the other team. I beat him to the puck clean, got to it right about at the faceoff dot, but when I tried to backhand it into the corner I fanned on it. The forward picked it up and put it through the goalie's five hole. :(
After that, though, we really lit up the other team. We were playing a very close defensive game; they had a lot of trouble getting into our zone with any kind of speed, with the exception of their star forward, who came down my side both times. He telegraphs his shots, though, so both times I was able to get my stick blade in front of his and deflect the puck away from the goal. :)
I had a couple of chances for points; an open shot from the right point that turned out to be a pretty nice wrist shot. It missed the top right corner of the net by a few inches, which is too bad (need more practice ;)). I also had a shot along the ice that a forward tried to deflect in and missed the net. Ah well, we won, and maybe I'll get a point next time. I also had a nice play where they tried to flip the puck out of their zone, except that I reached up, caught the puck at the blue line, and played it back deep. Jenny maintains that that should be illegal; fortunately, the refs don't agree. ;)
All in all it was a great game for our side. Getting pressure down on the goalie and getting second/third shots is really key, and we need to keep it up. I'm not sure where we will end up in the standings after the last few games yesterday--but we're not last, which is awesome. :)
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