Well, I really can’t say I didn’t have my chances.
I played three games on playoff Saturday, started out strong with a win and then lost both of my finals games. The bummer is that my teams had a chance to win each one but we fell a goal short in each game. Even today, I am still a little bummed out about not winning in one of those championship games. Sure, the fault is not entirely on my shoulders, but I keep thinking “what if”.
What if I would have challenged a bit more in the 6-5 OT loss to the defending champions? Yes, we didn’t have our big guns on our team, but I should have stepped up and challenged their top players more than sitting back in my net. Especially when we had a 4-1 lead in the 3rd period and then a 5-4 lead with a minute left. I suppose the loss would have stung them even worse considering they had two players that were the best at the rink. They can score at will in any division and it showed against my team especially as they played in the last 5 minutes of the game and scored or assisted on every goal in the game.
What if I would have challenged a bit more in the 4-3 loss in the other championship game? We took 2nd to the same team in the regular season, and we had no answers for them in the final game. We were down 3-0 at the end of the 2nd period and 4-1 half way through the 3rd. I was too deep in my net on the fourth goal, and I thought I should have challenged a bit more than I did.
Still, when its all said and done, I am disappointed in my performance. I didn’t let in soft goals, but I did not come up big like I used to. Yes, I stopped a couple breakaways and made some good saves, but the elite goaltenders make big saves at key times. When it was 5-4 with a minute left, I should have made the key save and I didn’t. When it was 3-1, I should have made the key save and I didn’t.
This last playoff run really left a sour taste in my mouth. If anything, I am going to work on challenging the shooter a bit more and rebuilding my confidence from the letdown that I just experienced. I just hope it is a fast rebuild.
I didn’t reach my goal, and maybe that is a good thing in the end. I was semi-promising myself when I reached my goal of 30 championships, I was going to duck out of the spotlight and stop playing goal for a while. As time has went on, I have realized that I am not quite ready to duck out yet. I have made many friends, and playing hockey with all of them has been my greatest pleasure.
For the next couple weeks, I am going to finish my MBA class, start running in order to pick up my cardio, ref as many games as I can, and keep working on my acceleration training. By the time the break is over, I will be ready to put on the skates again and embark upon another chance to achieve my goal.