Saturday, November 19, 2011

When Is A Hockey Game Not A Hockey Game

When it’s 3 on 3 (or 4 on 3) the whole time with only one goalie.

I have had the opportunity to play goalie three times in the last seven days.  Last Saturday our regular goalie was away so instead of lining up at my usual spot on right wing for the CFL Flyers I strapped on the pads and played net for our team.  I played pretty well except for one goal that I would like to have back and we won 6-4.  I figure in that game I likely faced about 30-35 shots and so I was quite happy not only with the win, but with the performance.  My team definitely helped be out quite a bit breaking up plays and clearing rebounds along the way.

On Monday I played in my brother-in-law’s place for the local regiment hockey team and again only allowed four goals in what turned out to be a 4-1 loss.  In that game I probably had about 70 shots thrown my way and so while I was not happy with the outcome, I was really pleased with how I played personally.  In this game I did not get much defensive help but at least it was exciting and engaging.

Tonight (Friday that is if you are reading this Saturday morning) I played my usual ‘game’ as goalie for a bunch of guys that play pick up out in Millbrook.  This is the sixth time I’ve played for them and it was by far the least engaging game of hockey I have been in that I can remember, at least from a goalie’s point of view.  We had so few players attending that nearly everyone played the full 50 minutes, so by the end all the skaters were tired, plays were broken up easily and if anyone even had something close to a break the defense simply gave up.  It was not all that fun to be a part of really.  I was bored for long stretches and during those lengths of inactivity I could feel my body stiffening up a bit.  I can see how commentators of NHL games say the hard games are the ones where you hardly face any shots as your mind begins to wonder and it’s easy to lose focus.

I’m glad I get the opportunity to play Friday nights as goalie each week, I’m even more glad that it’s free!  But I’d really enjoy to be in the calibre of games that I was in earlier this week as I feel that it’s in games like that that I am challenged and where I have a better opportunity to improve.  But most of all it is games like that that are fun!

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