Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Phantoms Studio Ice 2012-06-26

It was time for the Phantom 3 Studio Ice. I missed last week, but was excited about this week. My back was really sore going into the night, so I was concerned about it. It has been bothering me on and off for a while.
The rink was like a pond when I the zamboni got off. Luckily the group was smart and waited for it to freeze. As a result, the ice was great. I made a change to my stick. Typically, I do a spiral tape grip down to about half way down the stick. That is where I would grip with my bottom hand. Unfortunately, that isn't what you're supposed to do (from what I'm told. I grip the stick way too low, and as a result I don't have a lot of ability to stick handle. I gripped the stick a lot higher, and then taped down to that part.
I felt it really helped me. It definitely made my shot a lot harder, but less accurate. I felt that I was able to stick handle faster, but it'd take a some time to get used to.  It also enabled me to bend my knees a lot more, which helped my skating so much, which is again something I'm trying to do more.  I felt that I was able to skate a lot faster, stop easier, and make tighter turns.
When I play defense against an individual player I take away their options. I keep my top hand on my stick to take away their passing lane. If I can, I try to knock the puck off their stick. I need to use two hands more so that I can lift the stick, and then take control of the puck rather than just whacking it away. I do a great job of keeping up though because I do deflect a lot of passes with my stick, and skates.
For highlights, I had one great play where I picked up the puck off the boards, went around a stronger skater than me, cut to the middle and had a good scoring chance. I was very happy that I got around him as he knocked the puck off my stick all night. It looked like I knew what I was doing!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Pond Hockey at Glenview

I wasn't too sure of the rules, the talent level, or anything else with this group. I knew of only one other player from the Piranhas going into this skate.  Studio ice though has a tendency to allow weaker players to contribute, and still be a part of the game.
However, I felt that I was not on the bottom in terms of talent. It felt really balanced except for about 3 guys. And as a result the teams were really balanced. We had 9 guys on studio ice to make 3 teams of 3. If your team gets scored on, you sit out. So if your team keeps scoring, you can e on the ice for a while. At one point the two other teams were on the ice together for a few minutes, while our team rested up. Then our team stayed out there for a while because the other teams were exhausted.
There was one guy who was really talented. He skated extremely well, and handled the puck very well too. I liked playing against him because he would give you a chance. He wouldn't give you the puck, but he would give you opportunities to tie up his stick, or knock the puck away. He did a lot of tight turns for me because he saw I was weak in them. By the end of the night, I felt fairly confident on my skates playing with him. When he wanted to score, he'd just cut through the middle and get his shot.
I worked on my skating a bit tonight, and I also focused on making good passes to team mates. On studio ice, you can't work too much on positioning because it is so drastically different. But passing and stickhandeling are a must for this type of skate.
I had an absolute blast and want to keep skating with this group every chance I get.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Friday Night Scrimmage

It has been a long time since I've been to one of the Friday night scrimmages. Friday nights were tough for me last year, and while it is a great way to introduce the weekend, I have been using them to relax at home. It is a shame because Friday night is a perfect time to play. I don't have any business playing with about half of the players here, but they allow me to play anyway. Everyone is really cool and gets along.
The scrimmage lasts for about 90 minutes, and there is only about 12-14 skaters per side, allowing me to work on my endurance. Typically endurance isn't an issue for me. However, ever since I started to bend my knees more when I skate, I need the work on endurance. I think in the past when I did not bend my knees as much, I never had a chance to use all of my energy, hence I could last a lot longer. Tonight though, I definitely felt it after the third shift.
There was a lot of time contained in one zone. Either the forwards would be attacking the whole time, or we'd be playing defense the whole time.  There was one shift where we continued to try and get it out on my side, but I was too tired, and not skilled enough to get it past the d-man.  The shifts were 90 seconds - 2 minutes, which is too long for me, but that is how you build endurance. The problem is when you're at the end of that shift and you can't get it out, everyone else gets exhausted.
I had a couple of decent break outs, but I should have had more for how long I played.  I would recieve the puck in the neutral zone, skate it up, and look for options. If I found another forward and made the pass, something would go wrong. Either it would get picked off, it would bounce over their stick, or it'd go right past them. I don't think I connected on one neutral zone pass all night.
I had a couple of good scoring chances. The first was about 4 feet away from the crease. The winger blasted a shot and the goalie gave up a rebound. It came out right to me on edge. The goalie was on all fours, and still on the way down. I knew I could just lift it over him and in. Unfortunately, with it being on end, it went wide, and I was about a foot to the outside of the post. The second was more upsetting. While standing in front of the net, trying to screen the goalie, the d-man wound up for a slap shot. I knew I had to get out of the way, so I went to the far side. The shot hit the back of the boards, behind the net, and back out to the goal line. I was standing right there. All I had to do was retrieve it, pull it in, and back hand it in. The goalie was still recovering from committing to the initial shot. Unfortunately, I went wide again.
I felt good about the skate, and it was about what I remembered it to be. A lot of talented, and fast players. I like playing against them but it helps my endurance more than anything.