For the first time in many years, I thought I would be sitting at home for Saturday playoffs instead of playing in them. As it turns out, I was playing and playing very well for that matter. Day started at a bright and early 6am as I got up, did the daily routine, packed quickly, and drove to breakfast. The usual crowd showed up, ate, and talked about just about everything. My first game was at 7:45 so I ate and left pretty fast.
My first game of the night was with the Penguins as they took on the #8 seed Ionia Skateland team. The game was deadlocked at 0-0 until the 3rd period when Penguins scored to go up 1-0. They added an empty netter to win 2-0. I played very well this game and even came up with a nice glove save in the 3rd period to retain the one goal lead.
Next game I played for the Dingos as they took on the 3rd seeded “Da Bears” team. I was not as strong in this game as I gave up a couple goals early, one of them was not a very good shot and we were down 2-0 early. Dingos came back to take the lead, but the Bears tied it back up with 2 minutes to go. Dingos scored with less than a minute left and we went on to win 4-3. I played stronger as the game went on, but I didn’t play as well as I did in the first game.
The Penguins second round game was against the Dragons and it was once again a very good game. I let in the first shot on net in the first minute of the game off a nice shot in the slot that went five hole. Otherwise, I kept them off the board for the rest of regulation. We scored to tie it up late in the 3rd, but bad penalities and a frustrated team that was being outhustled really added into their demise. The Dragons scored a few minutes into OT to win the game off a nice 2 on 1 passing play. I just couldn’t get over in time to get the shot. Either that or I went down to quickly when I got over. Either way, it was the only game I would lose and 2-1 at that. Anytime a goalie lets in only 2 goals like that in rollerhockey, you have to figure if your team can put a few in, the game should be won. We just didn’t do that. Hats off to the Dragons who outhustled us for that win.
Last game of the night I played for the Dingos in the finals and that game was a story of bounces. For us, we got some very good bounces but they didn’t come at the beginning. First shot of the game by the opposing #1 seed Ski Town Shockers team went off my glove and fell behind me into the open net. Otherwise, we started taking advantage of our chances and good fortune. One goal we had went off their own defenseman’s skate. Another we got went off the post and in. We were up 5-2 in the game and I stopped a point blank chance. The forward tried to deke around me and I fell on the puck and smoothered it just as he shot it. It was a very fortunate save. Then, as if karma was biting me in the ass, I let in a weaker shot from the right side that knicked the far side of the net to make it 5-3, but that was as close as they got. It was my 20th playoff championship, a true milestone.
Overall, my day was outstanding. I went 3-1 on the day. My only loss I let in 2 goals, with 1 coming in OT. The team I won a championship with I didn’t play my best game and we still won. If you let in 8 goals in 4 games, there is usually a lot to be happy about. I was very happy with my performance.
Afterwards, we all went out to BW3s and had a few drinks and food. We watched most of the Michigan football game before I just had to bid my friends farewell and head home. I watched a little of the Wings game before I just had to get some sleep. at about 11:30. Wife woke me up at 8:30 and I was still exhausted. We worked on a lot of small projects around the house and visited my parents. All the while I was sore and exhausted. I wanted an extra couple hours of sleep, but I didn’t get that until I got home around 4pm and crashed for two and a half hours. I felt much better after that.
Today, I feel even better. The soreness in my joints is almost gone. By Wednesday I will be ready to play some ice hockey. It will be my only game in 2 weeks as I will be gone all week next week on vacation in Dallas, TX.
Next season in rollerhockey will be a big change to me. I will not be playing for any of my old teams. The Stickheads will be returning again and the Dragons on Wednesday/Thursday night invited me to play with them. I am excited about the prospect of returning in net for both of these teams in a few weeks. All I hope for is a strong return in net.