Playoffs! I had to skip a Piranhas game to play in the Goaldiggers first playoff game this session. Again with a short bench, and against a team with a decent record, we'd have to work hard to get a victory.
All night it seemed I was always playing against giant defense-men who could move really well. What did surprise me was they weren't as physically strong, or didn't use all of their strength against me. More than once I was able to pin their bigger guys against the boards for a few seconds. I wasn't playing the puck at all because I knew I couldn't control their body and play the puck at the same time. What I didn't do was call for help in this situation. I just assumed it would show up, but it did not, and we would lose those battles.
Several times I was able to skate the puck out of our zone, and push the defense-men back. Once it generated a decent scoring chance, and the other, I blew a great opportunity for the player coming down the wing. I knew he was coming, I heard him calling for it. I knew he'd be alone, but I didn't look and put the pass 10 feet in front of him. I was kicking myself for that.
I think the short bench really hurt our team. Guys were taking 3:00 shifts. I understand they feel fine, they're trying to give more rest to the guys on the bench, but most of the time, players are ready after just a minute of sitting. I can play the entire game without coming off. I've done it before, but I didn't play hard or effectively in those games. When I don't play hard, I'm useless, so why do that? Unless we had an issue where we didn't have enough guys to come out for subs, I changed every minute like I normally would. I was also ready every 45 seconds of rest, just like a normal game. I can't play 2:00 shifts hard. When I can't play hard, I get off the ice.
I'm also noticing a small trend in the past couple of games. I'll be turning, and just lose an edge. Am I leaning too much? What am I doing wrong? Maybe a recent change in my skating stance/stride?
The opponents generated all of their goals on shots from in the slot. There was no real rebound goals. It was just a simple pass from the corner into the slot and in. Their defense-men would jump up into play constantly and burn us. Our team has had issues with this in the past. It was hard to get the puck out of our own zone, and made us so tired that we couldn't generate any real shots. We'd end up losing something like 5-2, and being eliminated from the playoffs.