I have been getting to the rink later and later lately, so I made sure I was on time and got a full warm up. I needed it since I would be using a different stick than I’m used to. It is shocking to me how much different the stick can make a difference in how I feel the puck.
I switched back to an old Mako I had from 2012. I wish they still made this stick. I bought a bunch because I liked it so much. For the last couple of years, I’ve used a Nexus, which is a great stick as well, but the curves were slightly different. Combine that with I had chopped off an extra two inches from the Nexus, and I had a hard time carrying the puck. But that’s to be expected.
After the first period, I started getting used to it. I caught some passes that I thought I’d miss, and I also made one play that I need to use more. When I pick up the puck along the board, turn toward the center of the ice and bounce the puck behind me to protect the puck and allow me to turn and go. I’ve done it a few times, and was able to pull it off tonight.
I felt a little out of shape, but was in position for the majority of the game. During the third period, I was able to out muscle one of their defense men along the boards at the blue line. I got the puck into the zone, and just out of their reach. I kicked it forward about 4 feet, and knew I’d be alone if I could pick it up and cut across. I did just that. I put my hardest shot on net, and it went right into the goalie’s mid section.
I’ve noticed I do a lot of fly by on my fore check. I’ll skate hard, swipe at the puck and hope to deflect it or pick it up and skate on the rush. I did this tonight, and the defense-man missed his pass attempt and the puck just sat there for a good two seconds. I felt foolish. I’m going to start stopping in front of the defense-man on the forecheck because I know I can take off quicker than most.
Where I was pleased was on the face off dot. I have been more attentive taking drops, trying to focus on winning it instead of just tying up the opponent. Still, that is partially a team stat. I told my left winger that I was going to try and win the draw over to him, so he needs to cut in for it. I won, cleanly only to see it slide through his legs, and he didn’t even have his stick on the ice. This caused a large amount of frustration for me for a variety of reasons, but I tried to remain focused and positive.
I did make some good passes, and handled the puck much better as the game went on. I also feel I didn’t get outworked at all, which is always a plus for me.