One week later

After a week without puting the pads on, I am feeling very content. I feel good about winning 2 championships a little over a week ago. I feel good that I did everything I could for the other teams I played for last season and into the playoffs. This season, my expectations are even higher. Expectations of my skills from others will also be high and expectations of the teams I am on as well. I have had a lot of time to think about this, and everytime I do I wonder where I will be at next season at the conclusion.

There are a few things I will miss this season….

All of the Groot Builders family and friends coming out to give me support during our games. Since I am not playing on the Groot Builders this season, I already know what I will be up against when I play them. I know I am going to miss playing with Groot this season. I don’t know if I will ever play for them again long term because the new goalie they got has history with that team. I will also miss skating out again. As much as I like skating out, my competitiveness continues to push me to play goal where I can make the most difference.

I am starting to get the itch to play again just thinking about hockey. I am really enjoying my time off though. With World of Warcraft, the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and the nice weather, its hard for me to get too upset about not playing. I have another week off, and it should be enough. 🙂

Another successful playoff

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.

Touchable

Both my Builders teams are in the playoffs. One of them took 3rd place with a 5-4 victory on Tuesday. The other one, Dekleine Builders, limped in with a 7-5 loss. In both games, I played below average. A couple bad goals in each game. Sitting too deep in my net on shots. Just not playing as well as I should be playing thats for sure. Especially a few days before playoffs.

This season has been a very strong one for Dekleine Builders. After finishing 7-3 the previous season they played in the division, they finished 9-1 this season. Limping into the playoffs off a bad game doesn’t bode well, but at the same time, going undefeated isn’t a good indication on playoff success.

I feel very good about my playoff chances this season. I know what I need to do. All the bad games I have had in the past will be just that….in the past. Its a chance for me to earn redemption. Its a chance for me to excel in every game I play. Then, when the games are over, I hopefully will be on top once again. It will be a long hard road thats for sure and nothing is for sure.

Maybe that is why I am feeling a little uneasy today. Two bad games before playoffs so far this week, and there was part of me having doubts in my abilities. At the same time though, I have had a bad game heading into the playoffs a few different times. Look at last season when Biohazzard lost on Friday, and yet we come back to beat them in the finals 4-0. Then there was a Fury loss in Brass to the 9-1 Black Dragons a little over a year ago and we came back to beat them 2-0 in the finals. What happened last night and tonight won’t make a bit of difference on Saturday. What happens then is remembered by everyone, including me, for a long time to come.

I will not fail.

Playoffs this week!

Saturday playoffs is not far away. In less than 5 days time, I will be attempting to win my 16th championship. I have a variety of teams to do it with, and maybe up to 3 that will be playing come Saturday. Right now, I have 2 in for sure.

Dekleine Builders has made themselves the team to beat. They have scored 61 goals in 9 games and only allowed 20 or so. Not bad for a team that took 2 seasons off and were only 7-3 the last season they played. This season, they are 9-0 so far with one game to go. My last undefeated team was with the Bulldogs, and that team got wiped out in the first round. So, with a little bit of superstition playing into my head, I am wondering if we should just lose this last game just to get it out of the way. On the same token, going undefeated and then winning the championship would be a first for me. Either way, to end my last game with a win is the goal.

Biohazard’s title defense will be a major test this year. If we want to repeat, we will have to play an undefeated team in the finals. A team that no one has beat so far this season. However, they are beatable. I am just looking forward to the challenge. Our Friday game will be a good tune up to that game since we play them on Friday. Will we come out and make a statement on Friday and Saturday? Time will tell, but I remember the last time I was in an underdog role in this league. Black Dragons went 9-1 on the season and blew my team, the Fury, out of the water in the last game of the season. The next day in playoffs, we won 2-0 in the finals. It was my very first playoff shutout ever recorded. I have forseen the same thing happening this weekend, with me winning the last game. I have no doubts we are going to win that final game this year.

The Builders are still in doubt. With one game left and our position in the playoffs in our hands, we have to win to take it. We can place anywhere from 2nd-4th place if we do. I am looking forward to this game this week. We are going to win and we will make it in.

Good things are going to happen on Saturday. I just have this feeling. 🙂

The stretch run

Last night the Builders made a big step towards the playoffs with a 5-3 win over the top team in the division. That win puts us in 4th place with one game to go. A win will put us in on Saturday next week. I am confident things will shake out in our favor and we will make a good run towards the playoffs and hopefully a deep run in the playoffs. After that big win, our team discussed what is going to happen next season. Half the of the players can’t make it. My availability is in doubt due to ice hockey this summer. So it may be our last shot this season. The Builders last shot at a championship after bowing out in the first round. My last shot with this team to do something special before we all go our separate ways. Everything that has a beginning has an end I suppose.

Dekleine goes for win #9 tonight, but I won’t be with them. I will be playing for an ice hockey championship at 9pm tonight. Dekleine is in the playoffs and with a win tonight, they will clinch 1st place overall in the division.

Biohazard/Malys already clinched 2nd so the game this Friday is a moot point as well.

Can you tell I just want the playoffs to start?