My goaltending during playoffs has been consistantly strong. Sure, I have had a few weak games, but when the chips are down it seems that I just kick things into high gear. Maybe it is just the nervousness factor or the fact that I don’t want to make a mistake and more people knowing about it. I don’t know. All I do know is that I came into this playoff Saturday with the same mission that I do every playoff game. Come out, play hard, and do the best I can to help my team win.
This day was one of the strangest I have experienced.
Game 1 – Hurricane 3 – Main Street Pub 1
My first game of the day was with the Hurricane. A team that had no goalie any my brother was going to play for them. My brother couldn’t make it so I played their first game. I had a solid game stopping all but a top corner shot that I could have had if I came out far enough to take the shot. As it was, it was a solid shot. Still, I helped get them the win and that was all I cared about.
Game 2 – River Yaks 3 – Malys 2
I played the next game for my Malys team which is in the same division. We jumped out to a 1-0 lead right off the bat and then it was one of those games that just locked down. They tied it 1-1 off a deflection off my own defenseman. Then they went up 2-1 off another deflection off my own defenseman’s shin guard that popped over me. We tied it 2-2 later in the second period. With the game tied, the River Yaks capitalized on a 2-1 chance. With me playing the shooter all the way, they got the puck across to a wide open forward who made no mistake and pushed the puck in the open net. We had so many chances to tie it in the 3rd period, but we just couldn’t score. After capturing 2 titles in a row, this would have been the 3rd, but it just wasn’t meant to be.
Game 3 – Marketlab 5 – Why do we have Jordie 3
My Marketlab team needed to really play a solid game against the team with just as good of a defense as we had. We roared right out of the gate in the 1st period getting a 3-0 lead. Then, Jordie’s team started their comeback. Pawlik, one of their forwards, put the team on his back and scored on an odd man rush. It was a 2 on 1, and I reacted to the pass to the wide open forward, but Pawlik put it far side on me. Then Pawlik got a great deflection goal in front of me off a shot from the point. They tied it in the 3rd period off a shot that I just missed making a save on. Still, my Marketlab team came back strong getting 2 more goals in the final frame to seal the victory and a trip to the finals.
Game 4 – River Yaks 1 – Hurricane 0
There is a simple rule in hockey. You have to score to win. The River Yaks scored off a shot that deflected off my defenseman, but I didn’t react to it at all. Either I was caught flat footed or something. I don’t know. Still, I stopped every shot other than that one. The Hurricane had a lot of great shots on net but just couldn’t capitalize. The finals game ended 1-0. The River Yaks earned it, and they beat me with 2 different teams. They earned this championship thats for sure. Their goalie just stood on his head.
Game 5 – Marketlab 2 – Ellis Sales – 1
It was a hard fought game between an Ellis Sales team that beat us 4-2 earlier in the season and Marketlab who finished with the best record. It was #1 vrs #2 and Ellis started out on the offensive. They scored the first goal off a nice shot in the slot that went top shelf on me. Ellis Sales hit the crossbar and post in the first period but the score remained 1-0. Marketlab tied it up 1-1 off a rebound chance and then took the lead with 8 minutes left in the 3rd period off an odd man rush. Those last 8 minutes felt like 80 minutes as Ellis threw everything at the net. I played an excellent game to retain the lead. The last 2 minutes of the game I stopped about 6 shots to preserve the lead. In all actuality I let up a couple rebounds that I should have had. I was also very fortunate as the crossbar and post were my friends earlier in that game. If the puck is a fraction lower on the crossbar shot or a fraction to the left on that post shot then its a 2-0 lead for them and we would have had a harder time coming back.
Its my 24th championship, and I am 1 shy from my goal that I set for myself at the beginning of the season. I am going to crash and post more reflections tomorrow sometime.