We played against the “Casket Store Grave Diggers” this past Sunday. It was an “early” game, putting us on at 7:20p. I got to the rink with enough time to get ready, but it was closer than I’m used to – the drive up from Chattanooga pushed the schedule tight, but it was for a very good reason.
I went into the game figuring we’d be blown out of the rink, losing by double-digits just like every other team these guys have played against this year. The lines weren’t quite how I wanted them to be, with the guy I’d like to have at center out and one of the wingers showing up late because of the time change.
From the drop of the first puck, though, the game felt fantastic – I was playing wing instead of my normal center position and the face off put me on the puck, on a course toward the goal! I was even able to put to use one of the tidbits I’ve done over and over again in my hockey classes – I held the defenseman off with my left arm with the puck dangling on the end of the stick with my right arm outstretched. I didn’t pull the trigger quick enough as I crossed in front of the goalie, but it was still an amazing way to start the game.
The sportsmanship was awesome, with plenty of “hockey” playing, but no attitudes. You could run shoulder to shoulder with an opponent, jockeying for position on the puck, but as soon as the play was over, you’d turn to each other to say, “good hockey,” and then skate off with a smile.
We entered the 3rd period scoreless on both sides, something no one really expected. From here, they scored first, we tied, they scored second (should have been waved off, but wasn’t…), and then we tied it up with 3 minutes remaining.
That last goal was wild – I was centering (we changed some things up) between our two most seasoned forwards. The face-off was to the left of the goalie, in their zone. I don’t recall if we won the face-off, but the puck stayed in the offensive zone for certain. I believe nearly every member of each team (except for 1 of my defensive players because she’s a smarty!) was standing in an area that would fit between the face off circles – no higher than the dots, and back to behind the net.
We shot the puck, somebody collected the rebound, sent it behind the net, then they passed it through the crowd (how? we don’t know!) to a defenseman standing in the face-off circle. He settled the puck, shot it, and scored. It was great to have the tying goal come so close to the end, plus in such a dramatic fashion.
The game stayed tied through to the end, so we headed into a shootout. (We don’t have sudden-death overtime) One by one we sent 6 shooters down the ice, including me, which isn’t normal. No one, on either side scored until their 6th man, ending the game.
We headed off the ice, happy with our performance and with the flow of the game.