I started off playing defense for Biohazard. We had 7 skaters for the game. I played really well. I figured I was going to play the whole game because of the few players, and conditioning our players, but I was probably on the bench more than most. That’s fine because I got to go all out when I was out there.
I made a few good passes, but a lot of what I was doing was getting the puck out of the zone. I’ve really started to like using behind the net. I would pick up the puck, take a quick look, and launch it into the opposite corner. As the game went on, I gained some more confidence, and really started pushing it. I would jump up on the rush and help out. Other times I would stay back and be a bit more conservative. I did better as the game went on. I would read plays in the offensive zone, and pick off passes. It was just natural to me. I would pick up the puck off the boards regularly, and just make a subtle move from side to side and shake an attacker. It was weird being able to dance through players.
In the second, I would intercept a pass at the blue line. I took a second to look on who to pass to. The corner? Covered. Across? It would get picked off for a rush. In the slot? Too much traffic. I took a small step in and saw a big hole for the goalie. I leaned into it and shot top left corner. The traffic in front distracted the goalie and I saw the net jump and knew it was in. Felt awesome. It gave us a 2-1 lead, and in the third, we mostly clogged the neutral zone and just kept it out of our zone. It ended up in no goals against, and we’d win 3-1.
Sunday night 9 skaters against a team we can beat, but we had only one of our regular defensemen. I jumped back and pulled back someone who I’ve played with D before as well, hoping to reignite some chemistry there. In the first period we were probably outplayed. But we outlasted them. We just needed some time in their zone, and fast because our blue line was getting tired. We had a guy show up late and it helped a ton. That’s when we started really getting moving.
I made some silly moves to start the second, such as changing on a 3 on 1 against. But then I calmed down. I had one great shot from the blue line off the face off that was just a couple of inches off the ice, hoping that someone could get there for the rebound, but it went between the goalies leg pads and just bounced a little bit for an easy cover for him.
I started jumping up on the rush to get 2 on 1s, I carried the puck end to end, looking for passes, and it worked because of our short bench and our centers would stay back. After the game, one of them said to me they were happy to do it because they were exhausted. Playing defense with one other full pairing is actually a less intense night than any night I’ve had with the Piranhas or Biohazard this season. Or maybe I’m just in better condition than I’ve been all year.
All night, I knew who was coming at me, and their strengths. It is an advantage of playing the same teams and players every year. I know their tendencies and what is coming next, so I like to use that to my advantage.
In the second period, I would jump up on the power play, get in real tight, and see no options to pass or shoot. I saw a winger joining me getting close. I put a low shot on, hoping for a rebound, and sure enough the rebound went right to the winger, and he didn’t get all of the puck, but just enough for it to gently slide across the line and in. I was thrilled for the guy to get his first goal in a while.
We’d go to overtime. 40 seconds into overtime, I stood up a player carrying the puck. I just stopped and he ran into me. I got called for interference. I’m still not sure why. I took my time getting to the box, hoping to run out some of the penalty because it was running clock, but the time keeper wasn’t running it. It is one of those gamesmanship things you do. If you can make the actual play time of being shorthanded less, then you do it.
We killed the penalty, I jumped on the bench, and then our goal scorer would assist on the game winning goal to another player who hasn’t scored much lately. I was thrilled for both of them. I was happy for the whole team since we won last week too, and it has been a while since the Piranhas have won back to back games.