I felt kind of rushing getting to the rink. It was requested that I get there an hour before the game, but between the dog, and getting a nap in, it didn't happen. Still, I was the 3rd guy there, so I didn't feel bad about showing up when I did.
It turns out, I've only played with the goalie. One guy was the teacher from a class I was in, another guy I practiced with once or twice in the past, and the other two, I've never met. None of us have ever really played together so I expected us to have chemistry problems.
We had four games, all evenly spaced apart, so we were not waiting too long, and never hitting the ice really fast. Six teams meant we didn't face one of them. This year, they mixed all of the divisions, and genders because they didn't have enough sign ups. This meant that frequently I'd be playing against females.
The first game I watched, I felt we may have had a good chance at beating both teams.
I knew our team was more talented than last year, and I'm always optimistic. Our first game gave us no reason to not be optimistic. We won 4-0, and the other team didn't have any shots. It was nice to just see how each other works, and their abilities. Our D jumped up towards the end as they started to get bored. I burned myself out early, forgetting about subs and I had three other games that night. My first goal, I was coming up the left wing, and pushing the d-man back. I had tried to slow up to give up a pass, but I said forget it, and just shot it. I had a great shot from about 20-25 feet out, and it went in short side. I was surprised it went in, as I didn't get as much on it as I wanted. It was good for my confidence though. The second goal, I pounded in from right at the top of the crease after the other winger through it on net.
Our second game was a bit of a blow out. They were good friends with the goalie, I had played with a few of them before, so they knew each other's weaknesses. We lost 5-1, but it could have been worse. There was a lot of good joking around and such, so once they became in control, we were just out there to have fun. I played fairly well, and kept my head up as I knew there was a lot of drinking going on all night as well as tired players.
I didn't know much about our third team, and I easily got confused about their players to watch. They beat us, but I believe that had our team not been so exhausted, we would have beat them. With about 10 seconds left, down by one, I knocked the puck out of our zone, and raced up the boards trying to tie it up. My goal was just forward, and cut to the middle to bang the goal in. I thought I had gotten past the defenseman, when all of a sudden, I got hammered into the boards harder than I can remember. I was fine, but I fell to the ice the puck and my stick kept going, and I saw the clock with about 8 seconds left, took a look where the winger and center was, and knew that the game was over. It was definitely a checking penalty, but because of the nature of the tournament, it wasn't called. I didn't play as well as I could have.
Our fourth game, I felt I lost for our team. We tied 2-2, but I feel both of their goals were on me. We were up 2-0, and I know our team was gassed. I knew I had nothing left when in our D zone, I had the puck. I through it up towards the center of the blue line, where I didn't see anyone to just get it out, and maybe an icing. The puck came out but then a player brought it in. I saw it go out and the referee was behind me. It lead to a goal, but still, I should have made a better choice. If it wasn't clear enough to leave the zone, then it wasn't the right play. The second goal was scored while I was still at their blue line because I was too lazy/tired to get back.
Two goals and an assist isn't bad, but I needed to be in better shape. I really showed how bad my conditioning was tonight, and it was embarrassing. I was too stupid and burned myself out after the first game.
I had a blast though, and can't wait for next year. I will be in better shape, and better prepared.
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