Sunday, July 29, 2012

Piranhas vs. Chaos

When I was told who I was playing with for the night, I was fairly excited. The left winger, I've played with a lot in the past and really like playing with. He's smart, and plays a defensively responsible game. If we end up on opposite sides, he's smart enough to recognize it and stay on the other side. The center is a very intense player who I haven't played much  with, but I have played against at a few scrimmages.

The first few shifts were mediocre. We weren't doing well, but we weren't doing bad. Then we had one solid shift where we generated a decent scoring chance. From then on, it snow balled. We really started to click.  I tried to really up the pressure on my fore check since I had the legs to do so. Their one d-man did not like that, and had some interesting words for me. After that, I had an extra gear, and played extremely well.  I was able to use my speed in lots of situations. Especially on the face offs. Multiple times I was able to beat the opposing winger to the puck off the drop, and pick the puck up and skate away with it. This lead to puck possession time for the Piranhas. At one point in the offensive zone, I picked up the puck off the draw, and no one was moving, and I've got a clear shot at the goalie. I back handed it without even looking, trying to catch the goalie off guard and I did. Unfortunately he made the save.

As the game went on, our line generated a ton of scoring chances. Our speed and patience would cause us to win battles to loose pucks, make crisp passes, generate traffic, and regain possession.  Our line had at least one goal, with the left winger having a really nice tip right in front of the net.

I had one play coming down the left wing, with two d-men in front of me. I watched the closer d-man try and stop and start to come towards me. I immediately cut to the middle and saw a shooting lane open from 30 feet out. I fired it and hit a post.

Then we had a small parade to the penalty box. It wasn't an easy kill for me as we were always scrambling. I tried to stay on the points, but there was just so much room to cover, and passing lanes open, that I was just scattered. Shortly after that, the play returned to even strength. But it was clear that the Chaos had the momentum. Trying to get something going, I somehow ended up below the goal line in the defensive zone. I lost the puck battle along the wall, but I saw who beat me, and it was the same guy who yelled at me earlier. I played that much harder because of it. I was able to tie up his stick, but then he broke away again. I instinctively gave him a one handed shove from behind. He fell and gave up possession. Once the piranhas got possession though, the whistle blew and I wasn't surprised that I was called for a penalty. In my defense, I did cause the Chaos to take at least 3 penalties. I got a cross check off the face off, a hook, and I believe an interference.  All of them (except the hook) were soft calls in my opinion, but the refs were calling everything.

I ended up back on the PK. We were in our box formation, and my other winger blocked a shot and it bounced right up the middle. I was alert, and jumped on it and had a clear break away. I had it from the red line in. That's a lot of time. I knew what I wanted to do. He was far out so I was going to fake left, and skate to the right and just skate around him for a poor angle shot. I totally dropped the puck and didn't even get a chance off.

I had a few more solid defensive plays where I disrupted the rush by back checking, or taking away lots of passing lanes. I had used my stick more than once. Towards the end, there was another penalty called on our team, and I'm killing again. I was able to pick the puck up in our zone, and I saw that the dmen were backing up. I turned on the jets and they just continued to move back and let me enter the zone. I couldn't understand why they would be so conservative when they were down 3-1 with 2:00 left in the third period. Then I saw - they pulled their goalie. I went around one of the dmen, and fired it at the empty net. I missed wide by about a foot or two.

The Piranhas would go on and win the game 4-1. I would have loved to bury my chances, but I didn't this game, and compared to recent games, I laughed these off. I enjoyed the game and the competition. There were lots of Chaos sticks flying everywhere, but it was expected. They use their sticks a lot more than most teams. Our line played very well and I felt great. I am very pleased with how I played, and how the team played as well.

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