Some quick thoughts on our 6-4 loss against the Snowballs last night...

These guys weren't great skaters, but I don't think we gave them as much credit as we should have. They might have been a bit shaky on their skates when they got jammed up in the neutral zone or when stopping and starting, but once they had some forward speed, they were pretty stable (and even able to skate around opponents). They also had a habit of smacking at the puck like they were swinging at a baseball, so there were few weak passes to pick off. They generated scoring chances by sending a cherry picker in motion behind our D, and then passing up to him. Once he got going, our D couldn't catch him. They scored at least two goals this way.

After starting off 0-2, the second period went pretty well for us; we bounced back from the two cherry picker goals (and I got Even) with goals from Hoche and Baldwin. Both were pretty nutty (or amazingly skillful, depending on how you look at it); I prefer to think that it takes a certain amount of talent to hit the inside of the post while flailing wildly near the boards at the blueline (Hoche), or to redirect the puck into the net with your chest (Baldwin). As for me, I didn't have much to do with either goal, except to be around as backup in case either of them missed. See? For every minus that wasn't your fault, there's a plus you had nothing to do with, either.

That same period, the tone of the game turned nasty when Hoche was boarded rather viciously behind the net, and he came out screaming. The other player got a penalty, but Hoche was rightly (and mightily) miffed that he'd been hit so hard as to royally torque his back. Unfortunately, a red sock-wearing teammate (what is it with red socks?) of the boarder seemed to morph in the face of Hoche's anger from a harmless jerk into a venom-dripping thug. I swear, when he started drowning out Hoche's protestations with his own string of profanity, it was like he transformed before my eyes into a fresh-from-the-grave-and-oozing-virulent-green-goo zombie. I didn't want to get near him. (Al said later that he felt the same way.)

Our now super-chippy opponents scored two more goals on attempted-clears that should have gone around the boards but instead went around the net, right onto the sticks of two Snowballs. Unfortunately, I was on the ice for these two flukes, so my time being Even, gained so recently in the second period, ended in the third.

Rather than recount *all* the bad blood, cheap shots, and lame refereeing (hello? can you at least make some kind of announcement when you send someone to the box? what the penalty was for and how many minutes it would last would be a good start...), I think I'd rather record a few things that went well, so I can remember them for my next game.

One nice thing for me was that I finally started clicking with Wilson. Maybe it was talking (and writing) about our expectations after the last game that did it—I'm not sure—but I managed to pass back to him a couple times off the faceoff, and to get out of his way when he charged into the offensive zone. (Well, except for one time, when I got caught in the wrong spot and had to leap over his stick.) I did some more leaping, this time over an opponent who went down in a hip-to-hip fight with me for the puck, later in the game. While I was able to stay upright, I was not able to take the puck with me. He managed to keep it between his body and the boards, and knock it back out of the zone (good play on his part, especially from his sprawled-on-the-ice position).

My goal at the beginning of the game was to stay on an even keel, both emotionally and physically. Be calm, don't fight, don't burn any extra energy that isn't going into skating, passing, or shooting. I was pretty much able to attain that goal, except for one overexcited moment in the third period, when three Snowballs converged on a breaking Jim and brought him down in the slot... and Felicia got called for roughing (apparently when she put her hands up to protect herself from a charging opponent, away from the action in the slot). I couldn't stop myself from shouting at the ref, "ARE YOU FUCKING *KIDDING* ME? **FELICIA** GETS THE PENALTY???"

Al played D in this game, and he was pretty darn good at it, too. He kept moving (with speed!), and his passes were crisp and on target. When he passed nice and hard and hit the tape on my stick in the early minutes of the first period, I thought, "wow, all that practice passing we used to do before games at Ice Oasis really paid off!" Playing D meant that his point streak ended with this game, though he did have one really great chance when the puck popped out to the high slot, and he was there to shoot it.

Posted by Lori in Gang Green ~ Summer 2003 | May 20, 2003·06:16 PM