I went into this week fully prepared and ready to improve on the last performance. I switched back to my old stick during warm ups after having a difficult time with my stick last week as well. As the pucks were dumped out, I went there, and just tried to get used to the stick again. I forgot how big of a difference a light stick makes. I fumbled the pucks pretty quickly but I kept improving. It is a drill I'd like to keep doing, but rarely do I have a pile of +25 pucks just sitting to my left.
Interesting that I focused on that during warm ups because we focused on stick handling this week. It's strange to think that a year ago, I had a hard time carrying the puck all the way around the rink. Last night, during the scrimmage, I felt like I had the puck on a string, and went through two or three defenders.
The teacher gave a great tip in that, no one is ever going to pass to your back. As a winger, you think I'd apply that when getting the puck out of our own zone, but I rarely do it. We focused on transitions a lot. Skating towards the defensemen, transition to going backwards, receive the pass, turn and go. So I have to remember to not have my back to the play. Just going blindly up the boards never works. You're going to drop the puck anyway.
Perhaps the most interesting part of the night was a result of lack of goalies. They brought out a shooter tutor, with some of the smallest targets I've seen. I picked up a puck, skated in to about twenty feet, and fired top right corner, off the post and into the net. A beautiful sound. Picked up another, and did the same thing, without hitting the post. Third time, I went top left, and it went in off the post. It felt nice to be accurate again. I think by shortening my stick, I kept bringing up my bottom hand up on the shaft. Lowering it has given me more control. The fourth, I went five hole, but missed by a few inches. I started to work on my slap shot a little. I'm starting to feel I could take one in a game and have it be beneficial.
In the 4 on 4 scrimmage, I played with three members of the Flames. The Flames are the team I'd be joining if I went to this league, more on that later. I definitely feel our team was stronger than the opponents' squad. I had made a few really solid passes, and at one point I went through three of the opponents. Eventually, I gave the puck up to the fourth opponent - but only because I thought he was on my team. Stupid jersey colors. I demonstrated a lot of speed and confidence in the scrimmage. I got to a lot of loose pucks, and made some outstanding passes.
A solid night of transitions, and skating backwards practice. I gained a lot of confidence tonight. I want to play. Need to build up endurance.