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.