Sunday, February 24, 2013

Piranhas vs. Mastodons

The Piranhas were short on defense. Knowing our position in the standings, and the need for help back there, I wanted to jump back and get some experience with them. There may be a day down the road when it is needed. My freshly sharpened skates felt absolutely amazing, and I could tell I had wheels that night.

As the puck dropped, I felt really strong. I had made a point to have good communication with everyone on the ice at all times.  I felt it was working. I was able to move quickly up and down the ice without the puck, making myself a good option. I had enough speed to get back at times when I was burned. Unfortunately, I am still very green in my own zone. There was a pass from the corner to the guy in the high slot that I could have picked up but did not, and ended up screening the goalie. There was another play in the second where I had a 2 on 2, and did not pick up my man, and as a result, he received a pass and had half of the net.

It wasn't all bad though. My speed and recognition for the game came into play. I saw an official's arm go up in their zone signaling a penalty. I made sure I was as aggressive as I could be. I jumped in, and picked up a loose puck. I walked around one guy to get a clear shot of the net. As that was happening, I saw a speedy forward on my left side coming up. I passed around another defense men  putting it on the tape of that winger who was able to put it top shelf. Not surprising, I play with that winger regularly. It was a beautiful play by both of us.

I did take a hooking penalty but I felt it was a little grey. I of course didn't argue, but had I known I was going to get a penalty for it, I would have made sure I earned it and hauled the skater down to disrupt the odd man rush. The Mastodons scored on the power play.

One play that I still can't get my head around is as I was trying to keep the puck in the zone, I saw it basically slide into my stick and go out of the zone. However - it must have been just inches off the ice because it made NO contact with my stick. The goalie came out to play it, and I told him to leave it, but he hesitated. He left it, but little to my knowledge, there was a skater with more momentum than me on my tail.

I kept my game simple, made a few ok passes, and just put the puck on the wall. I should carry it more though. I'm really going to need to work on my confidence carrying the puck if I want to improve my effectiveness as a defense men at any level.

The Piranhas would lose 4-2. I believe the game was lost because we were out worked, and our defense just did not click. It'll happen when your defensive core cannot make it. I'm neutral on how I played. I think the mistakes I did make were capitalized on, making it seem worse than it really was. I think the areas I did well were a lot of the same skill set that you'd have as a winger, so that isn't too shocking.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Correcting a Bad Play

See that 17? That's me playing defense in my own zone. I'm coming back, carrying the puck. I see those two green dots (opponents) coming at me, and I cut in front of the goalie. This is a bad play. I know better than to carry the puck right through the crease. I did this one game, and recognized I was doing this. Later that week, I would apologize to my goalie for doing it. I know it is wrong, but it just happened. 

The next week, I talked about it again, saying I wouldn't do it anymore. It was that bad of a play. However, it happened again. This time, we were playing a better team. Those green dots were closer and faster moving. I stick handled in front of the goalie. I realized what was happening and immediately yelled, "Sorry!" to the goalie because I was putting an unneeded stress to the him, going against what I was telling him what I'd do. I would drop the puck and the opponent would put it behind the goalie into the back of the net. Luckily the ref was way out of position, didn't see the puck cross the goal line, and my defensive partner flipped it out from the goal.

I deserved every comment I got that night about it from my team. Why did I make the same mistake twice?

The next night, I was playing forward for the Piranhas against the second place team in the division. At one point I was covering for the defensemen as he pinched in. The opponents dumped the puck into our zone, and I again went back and picked up the puck, and the same play was developing. As I was coming up behind the net, I realized I was doing it again. I stopped, and turned and went back behind the net. As this was happening, I heard the goalie say, "Squirrel....!" as if he was saying don't do it!

I corrected my mistake. It is a good thing. I played awful on that second night. I was responsible for the only goal against, missed several easy shots at the goal, but the correct execution of this scenario made it a really great night for me. I like learning from my mistakes.