I have always thought of myself as a playoff goaltender. Someone who comes through in the clutch to win big games. Coming into my ice hockey finals game tonight, I had the same feeling. This was going to be my night. I was brimming with confidence and felt like I could take on the world.
When the buzzer sounded, I felt the worst I have ever felt.
With a 5-2 lead going into the last 5 minutes of the game, I was feeling like this game was ours. They put their last 4 shots behind me to win the game. 3 of them went 5 hole on me, and one was pushed in with a glove. Still, I will address the goals that I should have stopped.
A butterfly goaltender’s strength is his ability to cover the bottom of the net. I was not dropping very fast into my butterfly, and I got torched with 3 stoppable shots.
I remember being on the winning side of some of these combacks before. I have never been in a situation like this, so its new territory for me thats for sure. I turned in a horrible performance and now I have the challenge to rebound before my games tomorrow, and the playoff tournament this weekend.
I keep reminding myself of Cody, a goaltender that used to play against a few of my teams. He was a great goalie, but one day, he gave up 3 goals in the final period of play and his team was eliminated from playoff contention. A game they needed to win. After that, he never rebounded. He stopped playing a season later.
The key for my rebound is to tuck this experience into my belt and move on with my goalie career. A career that has had a lot of success, but not on ice. A career that has been very enjoyable, but with my age creeping up to 36 this year, its going to come to an end eventually. I estimate in the next 5 years.
Putting this loss behind me is going to be tough though. To know how close I was to a championship, only to see it slip away is just painful. Especially considering my attitude towards how I am a winner and money in the playoffs. Step one of my confidence rebuild will be getting a good nights sleep tonight and coming out strong tomorrow.