I came in with three teams, and left with two playoff championships. Every game except one was a battle to the finish and I was just seeing the puck well all day.
My first game of the day was Groot Builders vrs Happy Jacks Show. I made some really good saves, but I had a one get by me that I should have had. One of them was a 4 on 2 for Happy Jacks when I didn’t cover my angles well and I was beaten on the short side. Otherwise, it went back and forth all game and it was tied 3-3 with a minute left. One of their players had a wide open net chance when I came out to take the angle on a shot. I dove over stick first and made a big save off a slapshot towards the empty side of the net. I heard a collective groan after I dove over, but I assumed they had scored. It was probably one of the best saves I have ever made thats for sure. That led to a fortunate bounce in OT for us when one of our shots hit the stick of their own defenseman and deflected into the top part of the net to give us the 4-3 OT win. It was one of those wins that never should have happened though. Without that big diving save and then our fortunate bounce that led to the win, we would have lost that game in regulation.
Dekleine Builders was my second game when they played against the Vipers. Both teams really worked hard, but it was the goaltender on the other end for the Vipers that really held their team in the game. I had two goals scored against me that were very unfortunate bounces. One of them went off my glove, then my helmet, and hit the back of the net. The other goal went off of my own defenseman. After those two chances, I was sitting a little deep in my net and a little more cautious while my team tried to break the 2-2 tie. With under a minute to go, a shot from the point either deflected or snuck into the net and we took a 3-2 lead and won the game. I had a couple good saves, but by far, my team really worked hard to get that win.
Biohazzard/Malys played the Brass house team for the right to play the undefeated team in the finals. I had some good saves and really came out to take the angles as we rolled to a 4-0 win. Winning the next game was going to be the big challenge though. I was looking forward to it.
Groot had the first finals game against the Lightning house team who upset the top team in the division and earned the right to play for the championship. We scored on our first shot in the game and then the game switched over to a very defensive game. Both sides had their chances, but the opposing goaltender and myself put on a clinic. I had 4 helmet saves, one deflection save, and a couple glove saves which are a rareity for me. With a minute left, they pulled their goaltender and we scored in the empty net. It was my 2nd consecutive shutout and my first championship of the night. I have the trophy sitting in my office right now and I was proud of my accomplishment. The sad thing is that I won’t be back for Groot next season. I am taking some time off on Tuesday in favor of playing an extra night of ice hockey. I would like to return to the Builders eventually…..but who knows if that will work out.
Dekleine Builders had their finals game against Village Bike Shop. Village beat us on Wednesday by a final of 7-5 and I didn’t play well so this game was big to me. Dekleine came out strong and netted the first 3 goals of the game. I was elated, but I only made one save up to this point. After the 3rd goal, their 2nd shot on net was from center ice. I came out and just missed making the save. It was my first horrible goal of the day, but also the first goal I had given up in almost 8 periods of hockey. Dekleine kept rolling though while Village folded early. The score got as bad as 7-1 before they got a goal off a screen shot from the point to make it 7-2, but that would be the final score. Aside from that bad goal I gave up from center ice, I played very well. Village had some chances, but just couldn’t convert. It was my second, and last championship of the night.
Biohazzard could not complete my perfect day though as we fell to the undefeated team 4-0. It was a great game for them, and for me for that matter. It was 1-0 up until under 2 minutes left in the game and we just could not get anything going. After they scored to get the two goal lead, my team just stopped playing hard. They got 2 more goals in the final 2 minutes to win the game. Once again, not a bad game, but could have played better.
I subbed in for the Rabid Wombats the last game of the night and lost with them 4-2. Once again, not a bad game, but not my best. I feel I should have had one of those goals that I gave up. Maybe one at the most. In every other game I played, I came up with a big save or two. The last game I didn’t have that big save though.
Overall, I went 5-2 on the day, played my last 4 games in a row, and captured my 16th and 17th championships in the Beginner/Intermediate divisions. It was probably the best I have ever played though. I remember my last few playoff days and I feel that this was my strongest. I was seeing the puck well all day. After the day was over, all I could think about was going home to sleep. I went out for a quick bite to eat with some friends and teammates first though. When I got home, that shower felt so good. My body was sore all over, and even today, I am a little aching.
However, for the first time in a while, I had problems sleeping when I woke up at 4am and couldn’t sleep. I thought about my day and what happened. I thought about what will happen next season. I was pretty happy with my performance, but I just couldn’t get the memories out of my head.
It was a good day.