I knew this was going to be a difficult game. The Coyotes had too many players dressed, many hadn't been on the ice in a while, and our opponents had been on the ice twice a week as a team. That said, I was 100% ready, focused, and prepared to get the win.
I was immediately strong and aggressive. I clogged up their entry into our zone. I had to actually hold back as I didn't want to take a roughing penalty. Playing on the Coyotes is difficult because our opponents' individual skill levels vary so greatly. I don't want to lean on a player who can barely stand on their skates.
That hesitation would come back to bite me later. I would pinch in, and the puck would come out of their zone for a 2 on 1. I came back as hard as I could. My defensive partner got beat but it was ok because I was there to put pressure on the puck carrier. I went to knock the puck away, missed and he scored. Had I played it the way I would at a higher level, I would have attempted to bump him off balance, and the puck would have just kept sliding. I was not happy with myself.
Later that period, I would get the puck on the blue line. There was no traffic in front of the net, no forward to pass to because they all had their backs to me. I skated in a bit looking for a shooting attempt. I would be cut off. I saw the winger with his back to me wide open. I knew I could bounce it off the wall in front of him, have the puck come back to right in front of him. So I shot it against the wall as hard as I could right in front of him. He saw this, picked it up and shot. The rebound went to the other side, where the other winger was able to easily put it in. One assist for me down.
Because of having too many guys, I basically took most of the second period off. I would play center in the third. Playing with a full bench means extremely short shifts for me, which I did. I need to slow down with the puck. I think I will handle it much better. I didn't carry it in as well as I would like.
A few shifts into the period, I fore checked in, clogged the puck along the wall, and then kicked it into the corner. Allowing my winger to dig along the wall with it. He slid it behind the net, to the other corner. I went to chase it down, but saw the other winger there ready for it. I went to just between the circle and the crease. I saw it kicked out and I was able to circle, see that no one was between me and the goalie from about 8 feet out. I shot it up and beat him top near side. One goal down in addition to my previous assist.
I liked how I played. I played hard, I saw my players open for passes, and moved the puck well. I was able to read the play very well, and make a big difference for our team, especially on the scoreboard. I would like to start carrying the puck more, but I'll start working on that in my training sessions.
The Coyotes would lose 5-4. This is a tough loss for the Coyotes.