Not to thrilled about playing, I headed to the rink. Maybe it was my long weekend, crappy weather or sore back. I just wasn't excited. The team was better than last week because we had 10 skaters opposed to last week's 9. Additionally, we knew this was a team that we had the potential to beat, and have beat in the past.
I think I had my best first period ever. I had energy, took my time and was solid on the fore check. Defensively I felt I did a good job too. Most of the night, I had this big d-man near me. He wasn't heavy, but he had to have been about 6'6". It made it difficult to get pucks past him because he had such a long reach. I remember anything I'd throw even remotely near him, he had the potential to knock it down, or did knock it down. I put pressure on him whenever he had the puck and learned he wasn't an agile player, and couldn't handle the puck very well. I would disrupt him, and cause him to rush his pass, and it created good opportunities for our team. They had another defense-men who was smaller, and had similar issues but was a better puck mover. The best chance of the game for me came from a hard fore check behind the net. The d-man threw it up the boards and it just caused a little havoc. It caused some scrambling in the neutral zone, and a d-man jumped up in to the play. I called for the puck in the slot, knowing I was wide open as both d-men were on him on the wall. He put it toward the net, and I had two or three good knocks at it. I was standing in the paint, and the d-man lifted my stick so hard that it spun me around. It was a great chance but no luck. It amazes me how big the crease is when you're standing in front of it, but how small it is when you're moving even remotely quickly.
One part of my game I think I struggle with, and so do some of the other Goaldiggers is moving in our own zone once we have the puck. Typically I stay on the wall and look for a pass standing still. I've been trying to move towards the net and get a better angle for a pass. I'm trying to pick the right times to do this so we can generate more chances on the rush by getting behind the -man. At the same time, I have to watch to make sure I get back if there is a turnover. It worked a couple of times tonight, so that is something to be very positive about.
At one point we had a bad change where players were changing with the puck in our end. I saw the pressure on the d-man, on the left side, and even though I was right, I raced as hard as I could to the left to help out. He got it about 4 feet from the blue line and then I tried to get it out from there. I was able to use my speed to knock it out of the zone, and create a rush. I didn't take my time though. As soon as I could, I shot it thinking I was about to lose possession. I got back to the bench, and the center said I had a good extra second or two more.
I loved my game tonight. I had energy, I disrupted their breakout passes, and helped our team get the puck out of our zone. I think the breakout part is big as I feel useless most nights in this area. For me, I think that will help the team out a lot in the future. Even though we lost 5-3 or something, there were still lots of positives to take out of it.