We are moving on!

I was nervous.  I has been a while since I was this nervous.  I went into the game focused and I didn’t want to make a mistake.  My defense played solid in front of me, and we won by a final of 7-2.

We took a quick 2-0 lead, but the other team had their chances.  They just missed capitalizing on a few chances on far side passes.  They finally connected on one to cut the lead to 1.  In the second period we took a 3-1 lead and then they got a deflection a couple minutes later to close the gap to 1.

Little did I know that was as close as they would get…..

Team MOS played solid the rest of the way.  Every shot I faced for the rest of the game were either in my glove or went off me and I covered.  My rebound control was much better than it has been in a long time.  Before I knew it, it was 6-2 and we were in firm control midway through the 3rd.

The opposing team’s best chance in the 3rd came on a play in front of the next.  The shot came in and hit me, and one of the opposing players slashed me in the face not once but twice.  The puck did make its way past me and into the back of the net, but the ref called it off.  One of the opposing players got chucked for abuse of officials and that was the end of the game for the most part.

Overall, I was pleased with the way I played, but I know I am going to have to play better.  The first place team won their game and they are going to bring the fire next week in the championship game.  If my team does the same thing next week, and I play solid, then I feel good about our chances.

I just keep remembering how I had a few chances to win my first ice hockey championship years ago, and I came up short for one reason or another.  When I joined team MOS, we won in the summer and then in the fall.  For 2 of the last 3 seasons, we have won our respective league championship.  I get another opportunity to do it again.

I can’t let this opportunity pass me by.

It all comes down to this

I really do enjoy playoff hockey.  After a long season, all my teams are either in playoff tournaments or have just completed them.  One of my teams is already out, while 3 others are in for their various playoff tournaments.  Back in the day, I was all about playoff hockey.  It was a make or break time for me, and I had a lot of success in playoffs as a result.  It wasn’t all me mind you.  Mainly because I had great performances but I had a share of bad ones as well.  You still remember the good times a lot more than the bad ones.  This is true of any team sport I have ever played.

Yet, this time around I am more nervous than anything else.  It has been a full year since I lifted a championship trophy.  My team isn’t an odds on favorite to win, and being 41 doesn’t quite make things easier for me.  While I am a decent goalie, I am by far not stellar, and there are many stellar goalies out there that can steal games better than I can.  Being a little nervous is a good thing for me to be honest.  It means I will be more attentive and focused on the puck.  It also means that I will be very focused on my mistakes if I make any.  Rebounding from those mistakes will be key.

Here is to hoping that everything falls into place for my first game tonight.  If I play solid tonight, then I should be mentally ready for Saturday.

Disappointing Finish

When it comes to playoffs, I have always made a note on my calendar to really put an emphasis on these games.  These are the games that I feel can make or break a team.  Winning playoff games can bring a team together.  Especially if it has been a tough year.  I also feel they make or break a goalie as well.  Key wins in playoff games can really do a lot for a goalie’s confidence.  My Tuesday night team played their first playoff game on Tuesday and we lost 4-1.  Two of those goals were empty netters, but the other two were far side shots.  One hit the far post and went in.  The other hit the far post and went top corner.  The story of the game wasn’t the two goals I let in, because they were very good shots.  The real story was our inability to score or the other goalie who seemed to stop everything that was shot in his direction.  The only goal we got was an easy tap in on the far side of the net after a bounce went our way.  Aside from that, every shot he faced, he stopped.

After that game was over, I was more than a little bummed out.  I knew deep down inside that we were a long shot to win a title this season, but I knew that we were better than that team.  We just couldn’t score more than 1 goal.  You have to score more than 1 to win a game in most circumstances.  Needless to say, bowing out in the first round is not a high note to end on.

I really have to pick up my game before my Thursday team plays their first playoff game in 2 weeks.

Not my week

I really have to pick up my efforts because this week was pretty bad when it comes to hockey.  I really wasn’t sharp on Monday which resulted in a one goal loss.  Then tonight we lost 4-2 off a bad deflection off my own player.  Obviously, the deflection I can’t control, but through the course of the game I have to make some key stops and I haven’t done that the last couple weeks.  Either I was sitting too deep in my net or not playing the angles like I should.  It really is tough on my teams when I let in shots I should stop, and I cannot blame them for my mistakes.  I just have to play better.

The break from ice hockey and reffing is a very convenient one right now though.  Every weekend was busy with reffing, and now I have my weekends open.  Every Tuesday and Thursday was busy with ice hockey, and now we enter playoffs where I am going to get a little rest before our games kick in.  Soon the session will be over and I will be able to rest an extra day out of the week.  When it comes to reffing though, lacrosse will be starting up in the next week or two.  I really cannot wait to do that again this year for the next couple months.

My real break will be this summer.

Staying Focused

After last week Thursday’s semi-decent performance where I lost my focus through the course of the game, I went out last night to be more focused in my game.  It worked until the 2nd period when I let in a pretty crappy goal from an angle I should have had.  I pitched that out of my mind and went out to play solid the rest of the game and let in nothing else in a 5-2 win for my Monday team.  Overall, I was very pleased with my performance, especially the final period and a half when I held them off the board.  My team had a lot to do with that as well as they hustled and worked hard to help me out.  It is an effort like this that will equate to more confidence and more success down the road for us as a team.

Now I just need to pull through tonight in my final regular season game on Tuesday ice hockey before trying to get another win in my final regular season game on Thursday as well.

Playoffs are just around the corner.

Its going to be a different summer

This week I found out that I am going to get a semester off from teaching.  That is a full semester off after teaching for a full year and a half.  It just surprises me that I have been teaching this long without a break.  At first, I like the idea of a break.  Now, I am wondering how I am going to keep myself occupied over the summer in that time slot.  I have always prided myself on being productive.  Now, I am faced with some downtime and I really don’t know what I am going to do.

This week was great to me for the most part.  I really didn’t play well on Thursday, but I didn’t need to when my team dominated the top team in the division.  I really have to continue to pick up my game with playoffs coming up in ice hockey.

No reffing for the next couple weeks.  Lacrosse reffing starts up in the next three weeks.

And its over….

It really was a great season.

I got done reffing my last hockey games of the season last night when I finished a trio of sled hockey tournament games.  I reffed 7 games over the weekend, which was a lot of fun, but the end of the season signals the beginning of lacrosse reffing in a couple weeks (after the snow melts).  Lacrosse reffing is nothing like reffing ice hockey though.  Right now, it feels great to be done.  In the summer, I will be looking forward to the ice hockey season starting out again in September/October.  I am sure I will get some ice hockey games to ref in the summer, but in the meantime, I am going to enjoy the small break before lacrosse.

The lacrosse scrimmage that was scheduled for this weekend is looking like it is cancelled due to the snow and the field conditions if the snow was cleared.  This means I can relax and probably do my taxes which will be a blast to complete.

As for hockey, I have 4 games this week.  I really am looking forward to playing, especially after playing so well on Thursday last week.

Great to end on a high note

After playing a great game on Monday, I had a very bad game on Tuesday followed by a bad game on Wednesday.  I really can’t fault myself too much for the game on Wednesday as we were outplayed and out chanced, but a loss is a loss and I didn’t play great.  Tonight, I turned things around with a 3-1 victory, keeping my team in 2nd place in the league with 2 games to play.  Overall, I am very happy with my performance tonight.  I was seeing everything.  The only goal I let in was a breakaway.  At the end of the game, I had zero regrets, which is why I am happy.  On Tuesday and Wednesday my mind was filled with doubt and uncertainty after those games were over.  Tonight, I am filled with confidence.

It really is amazing what a win will do.  Especially leading into the weekend when I am going to be reffing most of Saturday and Sunday.  I really should have a shorter memory after a loss or a win.  Especially a loss as I do believe that sometimes they haunt me a bit more than they should.  Well, now I am concentrating on the positive, and I believe I am ready to ref and rest this weekend and then start next week with confidence.

A solid rebound

After playing a subpar game in net on Thursday, I came out and played solid on Monday.  It helps when your team gives you a 5 goal advantage after the first period and we cruised the rest of the way.  Hailstorm now sits 2-2 on the season with the rest of our games in the season being very winnable.  The overall problem with the team still remains.  The two top teams in the division we have never beaten because they pass so well and play positionally a lot better than we do.  Beating them come playoff time will be a challenge, but it is doable.  We need to make a couple small changes to the way we play and remain patient.  In time, either a team gets how to beat teams like this or they don’t.  I have played for many teams that just lacked the drive or the resolve to change their play style and found themselves on the outside looking in season after season.

I believe Albert Einstein said it best.  The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.  Its my hope that Hailstorm will learn these lessons.

Over the weekend I refereed a couple youth hockey games and really just rested. The youth hockey season is all but over, but lacrosse will be starting up in less than a month.

After getting the crap slashed out of my hand on Thursday night, I needed the rest.  Today, its still a little sore but not like it was.  I really didn’t need to have my wrist or hand broken in a rec league hockey game.  Glad I avoided that pitfall.

Ice is my best friend

As I sit here icing my hand down and trying to half ass type on the keyboard, there is one thing going through my head.  It wasn’t the bitter 6-6 tie that my intermediate team had tonight.  It also wasn’t the clinic that my team put on last night that helped lead us to a dominating victory.  It is the fact that I am hurt and I am wondering how my hand is going to feel tomorrow.

Tonights game was a tough one, as every Thursday night is.  Every game is a battle in this league, and if I am not on top of my game, then my team suffers.  I let in a couple garbage goals tonight and that was the difference in the game.  The other goalie played solid.  If I would have come up with a few more saves tonight, this game would not have even been close.

For now, I am going to keep this short and sweet because I hate trying to type with one hand.  I am hopeful I will feel better this weekend and be back in the saddle on Monday night.