Saturday, November 3, 2012
Center Ice Rat Hockey Session
The World Hockey Invite was going on in Chicago. That means for Friday, Saturday and Sunday, nearly every rink is taken. When this happens, kids who play during those days end up looking for ice. This was the only rat hockey session I could find in the area this weekend. There were many under 18 year old kids there who were all very good. For me, it had been a while since I had stepped onto Rat ice with a group of this skill level. Some of these guys would be better than anyone on the Goaldiggers to give you an idea of where I fit in.
Considering my lack of skill compared to the others, I did very well. On my second shift, I made an amazing rink wide pass to the other forward, who got a great scoring chance. When I have time, I've noticed that I'm able to thread the needle a lot more than I used to, and make a good pass.
I had one battle for a good 8-10 seconds along the wall in the corner against a much better skater than me. While he was able to turn, and just keep the puck away from me, I wasn't playing the puck. It kept him on the wall. Eventually he'd flub a pass to behind the net. I really like that I was able to do this. These battles are intense, and force you to play positionally, while rewarding the better skater.
Perhaps the best part of my night was the ability to handle a much more skilled player on a one on one. I was the only defenseman staying back. I read the play and saw what would be happening in two seconds, so I started going backwards. While we were in the center of the ice, I forced him to one side. I kept him on that side, and then made a good transition from backwards to going forwards. While he was much faster than me, I was able to use positioning and my stick to slow him down. I kept my stick out and close to the puck, taking away his shot. by the time he was able to get past me, he was at the goal line, and had to just go around the net.
I played defense most of the night, and it drove me nuts that no one passed or played position hockey, but what can you expect in a rat hockey session? I was pleased with how I performed. I also got a few shifts where I could skate hard the full length of the ice, so that's always nice for conditioning.