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First Season of 2012 Recap

The league I play in has a 9 game schedule with guaranteed playoffs. For some reason the last game of the season does not count towards your record for the playoffs, so there is very little room for error when 8 games determine your fate. Our team has been working very well together and we were pretty confident going into this season. We figured out what our best line combinations are and even improved our pre-game warmup routine. We even made sure those who didn’t have one, got a team jersey. I think the last time I had a team jersey was well over 10 years ago. There is just something about having matching jersey’s with your name and number on the back.

The season overall was a success and we came within one game of reaching the finals. Our defense worked well together and it was evident by our 6-1-2 record including a 6-0 shutout in the first game of the season. No one keeps track of save percentage, but my Goals Against Average (GAA) was under 2.50 in a 4 on 4, no offsides environment. The division our team is in has a two-tier playoff system. The top half of the league gets to play for the actual championship and the second half plays for best of the worst. With our excellent record we made it into the top tier.

The first round of the playoffs was a tough matchup for us. We have had a few close games with this team and some pretty bad blood at times. On top of this I had already played in 2 other games that same night, with the last one going into overtime and then a shootout. The game was so evenly matched that I had to pretty much be perfect and stand on my head the entire time. We scored first and a few minutes later they tied it up. It wasn’t until the last few minutes of the game that things opened up for us and we sealed the game away with a 6-1 victory.

There was one play in the game that really stood out for me. A winger got past my defense down the right side and came in on a sharp angle breakaway. I timed my retreat just right and shut the door with my goalie stick right in front of my five-hole. The puck ricocheted up the stick and was moving up and over my shoulder into the net, but I had such focus on it the entire time that I watched the sequence in slow motion. I was able to lift my stick up and bat it down into my glove before it went it.

Right on the Doorstop

After the game we were so pumped up and ready to take on the next round. Unfortunately when it came time to execute the following week, the spark and cohesiveness that we had for round one was not present. There were bad puck bounces, botched passes, and poor save attempts. What completely destroyed the little momentum we had was an overturned goal that would have tied the game late at 3-3. Our teammate had a breakaway and as he scored brushed into the other goaltender. The goalie fell down and the ref called goalie interference on him. We were back to down by a goal with a few minutes to play. When it was all said and done we lost 4-3 and missed our chance at playing in the championship game later that night.

On one hand losing hurt pretty bad. I know that we do not have an 84 game season like the NHL, but we still put a lot of hard work into reaching the semi-finals and now just like all sports when you lose in the playoffs, have to start again at 0-0-0. The thing that stung the most was the fact the team we beat in the first round of the playoffs was better than the team we faced in the second round. The other side of the coin is that our seasons are so short, that instead of having only one shot at the title each year, we have four. In fact, the next season started the following week and we started off strong again with a 10-4 win. I feel confident that we will hoist that trophy in 2012.

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