My rookie ice hockey season ended in disappointment last Saturday, in a 3-1 first-round knockout loss to the Tigers. We had beaten them several times this season, but despite scoring first we failed to put them away and they ended up scoring the last three goals to take the game. The loss means that we will be staying in Div. 8 this spring.
I hadn’t played a game in about a month, not counting scrimmages. I centered the third line with Kapp on LW and Todd on RW. Despite the time off I felt like I played a strong game, with a couple of chances that I just couldn’t put away. The first came off a partial breakaway, when Kapp made a brilliant touch pass at the blueline to send me in alone. I tried a deke but put the puck right into the crest of the goalie, which was pretty much where all our shots were going during the game.
I got a second chance in the third when Bryan drew the D to the left circle on the rush while I coasted down the slot. I managed a decent one-timer, but again the goalie smothered it. I also got a few crisp passes to my linemates and generally felt like I was strong on the puck in the defensive zone.
It’s easy at this level to get discouraged because everything needs work — skating, shooting, stickhandling, passing. Forget about holes in my game, sometimes it’s just one big black hole. But if I think back to the start of the season (when I could barely get over the boards properly) it’s nice to see small improvements: learning positional play, keeping my legs moving after a pass, keeping my head up at all times. I know that I’ll be spending extra time this spring and summer working on both my shot and stickhandling. There’s a few weekends off before we get back into it for the Spring season.