It has been a long time since I've had a smile this big on my face. The Piranhas won tonight, breaking their +20 game winless streak but that isn't why I'm smiling. I'm not smiling because I played well. I'm not smiling because of the events after the game. I'm smiling simply because I'm having fun.
The Piranhas were playing a new team, the Maroons. No one knew much about them, their talent level, where they came from and so on. The league put them against us as a measuring stick from what they saw. The league believed that they should be in our division. During warm ups, a few of us just studied them and didn't see anything alarming. No standout players, no players glaringly weaker than the others.
We scored 28 seconds into the game, and continued generating chances in the first. It really felt like I should skate all over these guys. I was faster, I was stronger on my skates. Their defense had weaker skaters which I'm not a fan of. But because of this I was able to help the defensemen out a little bit and come lower. I'm not sure if that was a good idea. I was playing the right side tonight, so as the puck is going along the runner, I have to turn and try and stop it with my backhand. More than once did I stop it pick it up, and drop it. But that's what I need to work on. I had many opportunities along the boards to work for pucks, and skate with it.
At one point when I was working along the boards, I got checked fairly well. The hit felt like an eternity, as did the fall. The guy was playing the puck, it was accidental and he just wasn't a strong skater. I think we got tangled up, so I tried my best to push off from the boards to get away from the guy and get back to the other end. This makes the hit look worse than it really is, but there is no question that it left a mark.
I am pleased with my offensive performance. I had three great passes. The problem is when I make these great passes, no one is ready for them, so are they really that great? The first period, I had a great pass to a guy standing in the slot. I had two opponents skating right at me and I was able to put it right on his stick. The puck hit his stick and knocked his stick around, meaning he wasn't really looking for the pass which is a shame because he was five feet in front of the net. In the second period. I had a pass from below the goal line to right to the center. He caught it, but couldn't put it past the goalie. In the third, I had a backhander off the faceoff to the center as he was cutting right to the net. As he was cutting from the dot to the crease, he picked it up and put it right into his glove. But a common theme is that I carry the puck as fast as I can, and don't cut to the middle, putting me behind the goal line frequently. I need to start pulling up to get the pressure off, cut to the middle, or do something other than go into the corner. We'll figure it out.
Defensively, I did a fair job at getting the puck out, but there were times where I didn't. I would do a poor job. I think this happened for a few reasons. A big one was I was at the end of a long shift, and tired. I didn't feel the need to just blindly move the puck like I usually do. Another time I waited too long for the center to come out and pass to him which caused a turnover.
After the game, needless to say the Piranhas were happy with their 3-1 victory. But the Immortals, my last team, had the game after us. I hadn't seen them in a while, so I sat and talked to a few of them as they were hitting the ice, and then watched a period of their game. Afterward, I stayed in the parking lot and stayed there for a while. After their game, the Immortals came out and I talked to them for a while.
It made me realize how much life has changed since I last played with them. I'm healthy as ever and that is a huge part of it. When you aren't feeling well, depressed and so on, it just weighs on you. I finished school, and I've improved my play so much. I've put on weight, I eat better, and I've got a better job. Life is just a higher quality now. I am on two great teams to top it off. I enjoy being around both the Goaldiggers and Piranhas.
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