|Ill-tempered Mutant Sea Bass with Frickin' Laser Beams on their Heads|
January 7 - Practice
Didn't show. We were skiing.
January 14 - Practice
My first skating in a coupla weeks. I'm going to have to break my feet back into the skates. It took a couple of tries to get them loose enough they didn't hurt. But then I got them too loose and it felt like I didn't have the control I wanted.
About 1/3 of the team is new. Our new goalie is deceptive. At first glance you'd think he's a little old and probably biting off too much. But hearing him talk about the scrimmage at the end of the practice it's obvious he has a lot of experience.
We had one revealing exercise. One person starts a few feet off the boards, the other on the inner edge of his circle. The board guy goes forward to his circle and the other guy goes backwards toward the boards. Pass at some point during that. I missed almost every pass. I touched them, but ended up letting the by. Also, it was during this drill that my skates really gave me trouble.
I think we also did some three-on-two.
Then we scrimmaged the last several minutes. I think the coach wanted us to form lines, but we ended up rotating like in pick-up. We had problem with some of the guys staying out long after they got tired. That sort of thing showed up in the first game, too.
January 21 - Thrashers - Win 4-1
|Jacob||2nd Off Line, Center||1|
|Drake Christensen||3rd Off. Line , Right Wing|
|Scott Warren||1st Def. Line, Left|
|Bruce Allsop||1st Def. Line, Right||2|
Man, this was a fun game.
The Thrashers are a nearly all-girl team. They only had one or two good skaters and they made the mistake of putting them on offense. They had to come back to play defense a lot, so even when they did clear the puck their offense was usually way too far behind the play to take advantage of it.
Apparently this was the first game most of their team. Even I was faster than some of them. Considering that, they did a pretty good job. They got a couple of breaks. But we spent most of the game in their zone. Their goalie was pretty good.
One thing that really showed up on the tape was how our team did a very good job of following up. When one of our guys would get tangled up with one of them and the puck came trickling out it was almost always one of our team just then closing in to pick it up. Similarly, we were doing a much better job of charging the net and getting second, third and fourth scoring opportunities.
As the game started Jacob said emphatically, "I'm going to get a goal tonight." And he got one his first shift. He skated across the slot unmolested and ended up getting screened by three people in front of the goal. He threw it back at the far side of the net and the goalie didn't have time to react.
At one point Jacob got tripped up by one of the girls. She tried to make it look like an accident, but on tape it was obvious that she was reaching for his feet while looking the other direction.
Scott was playing defense for the first time. Partly from lack of experience, and partly from our obvious dominance, he spent too much time deep in their zone. Plus he pinched up a few times. Bruce was trying to coach him on that a couple of times.
On several of their breaks, Bruce was able to catch up and break them up. His penalty was on a breakaway against him. He says he was trying to swat her stick and she moved so that his stick hit her in the feet and tripped her.
I probably should have been called for a penalty at one point. I was in the crease and tried to turn to follow the puck. I felt resistance against my stick. I figured it was someone else' stick and I went ahead an pulled. It turns out I was against the back of someone's skate and I pulled their feet right out from under them. I don't know if the refs saw me, but I immediately apologized. They may have noticed me do that.
As I said earlier, I was able to out-skate some of their defense. Even though on tape it's obvious that I'm still running a little. Three or four times I skated around their defense to get to a puck that had been dumped in. One time the puck got dumped into the corner and I was in the process of passing one of their defense. At one point our skates touched and I went down and she didn't. <sigh>
I also had a couple of scoring opportunities. Early in the second period one of our guys threw it out of our zone. I tapped it forward to split the defenders, then I lost my balance. I balanced on one foot for about two seconds, then caught my balance on the far side of the defenders right behind the puck. I took it forward and had a legitimate shot from about the hash marks. I aimed low, hoping for the rebound but she turned it to the side. On the tape it's obvious that I got fairly decent speed on the puck.
Later, I was camped in the slot and my center was getting the puck behind the net to the side. I was all set up for a pass and sure enough he got it to me. I took my shot and missed wide right by about half a meter. We tried to do the same thing again, but the puck ended up directly behind the net and we couldn't connect again. I think the goalie poked the pass away.
We won handily, but it really wasn't a blow-out. Overall it was a pretty exciting and fun game. And it's obvious that we're starting to gel as a team.
January 28 - Thrashers - Win 4-1
|Drake Christensen||2nd Off line, Left Wing||1||2|
|Jacob||3rd Off line, Center|
|Scott Warren||1st Def line|
|Bruce Allsop||1st Def line||2|
Another fun game. Plenty of buffoonery on the tape.
Our teamwork is continuing to improve. Our positioning and passing has improved a bunch since last season. We do still need to work on our penalty killing, though.
Bruce, the coach, was late. He had a Pee Wee practice that overlapped our game. Shawn took charge and set up the lines. Like last week, everyone on the team showed up. So we had three full offensive and defensive lines. Jacob had Chris on his line. I was on the 2nd line with Shawn and Tim.
There were a few girls on the other team, and a couple of them were really cute :-) Similar to last week, this team put their fast skaters on offense. And also like last week, we were often skating past their defense. Their fast skaters ended up coming way back on defense so that even when they did get the puck out of their zone they were way too far out of position to do anyting with it. They did get a couple of breakaways, but most of the time our defense was able to catch up with them and spoil the play. They also had a lot of trouble with offsides.
Scott and Bruce in particular are working well together. There was one set of consecutive face-offs in their zone. Twice, the other team poked the face-off forward pretty much straight to Bruce. He scooted it across to Scott. Scott took the shot while I was trying to screen the goalie. As the shots came by I could tell they were going to be wide and I tried to redirect them. I got them on goal, but they didn't get through.
Bruce' penalty was a high stick. He was deep in their zone and as he was turning around one time he clipped a guy in the head with his stick by accident. The ref saw it.
But later in the game a guy was leaning on Bruce in our zone. Bruce saw that the ref was looking the other way so he cross-checked the guy and pushed him way out past the high slot. It's pretty funny to see the guy disappear out of the frame on the tape.
Bruce was also the victim of their goalie chopping his legs out from under him after play had stopped, once. The ref was already stopping play for a penalty on them, so I guess he let that slide.
We also got a penalty shot. Our guy was breaking and was nearly to the net. One of their guys fell while trying to catch up and as he fell he slid his stick between our guy and the goal. Our guy did okay on the penalty shot, but wasn't able to get the goalie moving from side to side. So the goalie did a pretty good job of cutting the angle.
Chris is still having trouble. He has no concept of position. Basically, he simply chases the puck. He did get in a couple of passes and a couple of swats at the goal. But he needs to take some time to learn the sport. For example, while we seem to have gotten the idea of offsides through to him, he appears to not understand icing.
I had a fairly busy night. Including my first penalty.
That was a questionable call. A guy was making a break and was a bit faster than me. I stuck my stick in front of him and he skated through it. The stick didn't get anywhere near his feet, so I didn't trip him. On the tape it's obvious that he got away from my stick, then he fell. I think the ref called me for obstruction. It was very borderline.
And that's when they scored their goal. One of our defensemen threw a lazy pass out from behind the goal just past the side of the net. The goalie didn't expect that, so he didn't have his foot against that post. The pass got picked off and the shot snuck in.
Early on, I was following someone, Tim I think, on one of our breakaways. He took a shot that glanced off the goalie's stick about three feet in the air and landed in the crease. I was coming in just right to take the shot. I managed to lift it, but it bounced off the goalie's shoulder. A legitimate scoring opportunity, though.
Our second goal was interesting. A shot went in to their goalie and he stopped it. But he left it sitting on the ice a couple of inches from his pads. I was a good 30 feet away and headed in. I didn't hear a whistle, so I kept going. I kept expecting him to put his glove down. Eventually I got up there, and Shawn was right behind me. By this time there were a couple of defensemen mixed in there, and we ended up fighting for the puck at the goalie's knees. I finally pulled it away from his pads and moved it toward Shawn who poked it in.
Shawn and I both commented on how we didn't crash into the goalie or anything like that. We just skated up and took the puck. The other coach was upset, thinking there should have been a whistle. I guess he couldn't see that the puck was not covered. It was the right call.
Shawn had a second goal later in the game. The goalie came way out of his net and then didn't clear it out of the zone. Shawn gathered it along the board and threw it into the empty net. I was getting into position on the far side of the net if he had centered it instead. I'm not sure I could have handled it on my backhand, though.
There was one time when Bruce had momentum and took the puck past me, so I played defense. I kept it in one time, but the second time I pinched up about 15 feet inside the zone. I threw a weak pass toward the goal that got picked off, leaving me way behind the play. Scott was in position, and Bruce caught up, so it ended up not costing us. But it's pretty obvious I don't have the defender's eye for this, yet.
Late in the game Tim and I nearly connected again. He tossed it from the corner and I got it on goal this time. But it was low and weak and the goalie blocked it easily.
Just a minute before the end of the game, there was a puck that stopped on the boards just outside their zone. I was headed toward the board and Scott was following the puck and had a head of steam. I yelled at him to go, take the puck, and I dinked a nice little backhand behind me and into the zone. He didn't really set himself up for a clean shot, but we both were proud of the combo.
I need to watch the tape again, but I think I'm getting better about running. But I still need more practice stick handling. There were a few times I got the puck on our side of the red line and couldn't get enough of a handle on it to pass it or skate it forward and dump it. Also, I'm still reaching for the puck sometimes when I should be skating to it. I wasn't quite as aggressive this game as I was last week. I need to work on that.
And practice skating more. At one point me and another guy were headed right at each other and neither of us could turn aside. We collided head-on.
I need to try to figure out how to bend my knees more. On the tape I'm standing very tall and rounding my back. It's pretty obvious why I have so much trouble balancing.
February 4 - Sirens - Win 3-0
|Drake Christensen||2nd Off. Line, Left Wing||2|
|Scott Warren||1st Def Line|
|Bruce Allsop||1st Def Line||2|
Another satisfying win. Especially since we didn't want to get beatten by the chicks :-)
The coach came in after the game and told us that we had been out-skated. He insists that when someone on the other team had the puck we just stood there and watched. I'm not sure I agree with him. There were a couple of times that happened, but most of the time we had someone near the puck. The only time they got a breakaway was when one of our defensemen bobbled the puck. And even then we usually had at least one person dogging them.
Andy commented that we were battling hard along the boards. Like last week, we seemed to be getting most of the bounces. We think those battles were why they had trouble clearing the puck and doing anything in our end.
They did have a few good skaters, and they seemed to be good at looking for passes. But it seemed that most of their passes got picked off or knocked off course. They weren't able to put together any combinations. They got a few chances in front of our goal, but for the most part we were keeping them tied up.
Most of the time we were pressuring them pretty hard. Even when they did knock it out of our zone our defensemen would be right there, working well together to keep the puck away from them. Our offensive line would quickly clear and we'd be right back in.
Bruce and Scott traded sides. In earlier games they played with their sticks away from the boards. So whenever they went to hold one in along the boards they had their backs to the ice and had to try to handle it backhand. A few that Bruce got this time made it obvious that he's much more sure-handed. But Scott still isn't used to the switch. On one pass from Bruce in particular, Scott was trying to take the shot before the puck got to him, which is necessary when he's turned the other way. Now that he's had time to think about it I'm sure he'll adjust.
Our first goal was a lone effort. Brian took the puck in, poked it past a defender, got spun around trying to chase it and then poked it past the goalie.
Early in the game I was camped in front of their net when Bruce took a hard shot. The rebound landed right in front of me, and if I had quicker reflexes I likely would have scored. On the tape it's obvious that there's plenty of room between her skates that I could have poked it through. But their defense cleared it before I could get my stick on it.
Halfway through the game, the coach was telling Shawn and Tim that they were hanging back too much. I was staying near our blue line when the puck was in our zone, so I had a big jump on everyone. That meant that I was going into their zone by myself much of the time.
Late in the game, I was chasing a puck that had been dumped from our end, but wasn't going to end up in icing. There were two defenders in front of me, but they were skating slow enough I could catch them. I figured I might be able to mess with them enough to generate a turnover. Then, I noticed the goalie was coming way out to the far end of the face-off circle. The defenders slowed more, and then Tim came up on my right. He took the goalie on and she fanned on the puck. The puck went between her legs right between me and Tim. With both of us falling, he managed to tap the puck into the goal. If he hadn't gotten it my stick was literally four inches behind his, and I would have gotten it.
I think it was closer than the score indicates. Lots of fun.
February 11 - Practice
February 18 - Practice
February 25 - North Stars - Loss
The coach was saying that we should have been in this game, but that we weren't pressuring them. I didn't feel that I was playing any less than normal. But it seemed like every time we tried to dump the puck into their zone they stopped it four feet beyond the blue line and got it right back out. We just couldn't sustain anything.
The only line that did was Scott's line. They managed to score a goal. Most of the rest of the time was spent in our end.
March 3 - Brewers - Loss
And in this game Bruce said we played them much better, but they simply out-skated us.
We had one ringer who scored a goal that was denied. The ref called a penalty on us and was slow to stop play. Our ringer skated across the net and put it in.
March 10 - Lone Stars - Win 3-1
This was a fun game. We expected to get blown out. But since it was the last game of the season, at midnight, and we didn't get signed up for next season, half our team didn't show up. We ended up recruiting three from the Brewers, who played the game before us. Plus the refs took turns playing for us. That was pretty cool.
I forgot my gloves for this game. We've started using sticks in our hockey skating class, and I left them in the bag I carry my other pads in. So I borrowed the coaches gloves. He's a hefty guy, so they were pretty roomy for me. I ended up not noticing, though.
I'm not quite sure why, but we out-hustled these guys. They should have skated rings around us. They were making some uncommon mistakes. For example, one time I followed one of their defensemen behind the net and he ended up losing the puck back there. I don't think I was able to do anything with it that time, but that sort of mistake kept us in the game.
On one shift I had three legitimate shots from the crease. One was from a pass from behind the net. I think the others were rebounds. One was even a decent backhand attempt. I'm probably going to get my first goal sometime soon.
I guess we were just getting all the lucky bounces.
|Nov-Dec '00||3-2?||Decepticons||The season of the Big Fight|
|May-July '00||6-0||Absolute Zero||It was great watching the team improve|
|Jan-Feb '00||4-2||Sea Bass||I gained a lot of confidence|
|Nov-Dec '99||2-3-1||Sea Bass||My first season|
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