MLK 2014

Game 1: Team Abby

My first game with the Black Stars this season! Also my first real tournament back.*

I was pretty excited going into the tournament, but like I told Hanh earlier in the day, my goal for this game was to not fall and land on my butt again. I’m pretty sure if I injure it again before it’s fully healed I’ll have to stop playing for a while.

We came out playing like doodie because that’s what we do, especially at the beginning of a tournament. We gave up our first goal because I jumped the gun on a breakout pattern and when the other team ended up with the puck in front of our net I wasn’t there to defend against her.

I made up for it in the 3rd period when I chased someone down, rubbed her out along the boards, and sent the puck back the other way. Linda ended up with it and scored. Yeah, Linda!

Final score: 2-3. Hopefully we’ll get another crack at this team for the championship on Monday.

For coming back from IR and rubbing someone out, I was given the Most Inspirational Player game puck. Here it is on the shelf with the 2010 MLK MIP patch, 2012 MLK MIP puck, a Crash Test Barbie, and the tail of a Tremors dinosaur (also from an MLK tournament).

* The NCWHL holiday tournament was for fun and doesn’t count. That’s not to say MLK is not fun, and no I don’t know what it counts for.

Game 2: Barnaby Bears

I forgot to mention that I played center in yesterday’s game. This is a change from playing D all last season. We had 13 skaters yesterday: 2 D pairs and 3 full forward lines.

Tonight, one of our right wings was out sick. We started the game with 3 left wings, 3 centers, and 2 right wings. After the first period, I switched to right wing and we ran 2 centers.

I haven’t played wing in well over a year, maybe two. I had a pretty tough time handling the first few breakout passes along the boards. >.< After a couple shifts, I adjusted and went on to score two goals. Maybe I should play wing more often?

I was pretty happy with the first goal because it’s a play I’ve been practicing on my own for a while now. It’s not fancy, just repeating something I think will work. And it did. I took the puck behind the net from left to right, turned right to come back up while looking for (or pretending to look for) a pass with the puck on my forehand. With all the D focused on coverage, I could skate up to better my angle. Then, when I had enough angle for a decent shot, a quick backhand.

My backhand didn’t go in, but the puck bobbled to the other side of the goalie. I got there first and pushed it over the line.

The second goal was off a rebound with the goalie already down. All I could see was net up high. Part of me automatically moved to shoot high while a little voice in my head said, “OMG don’t mess this up,” and a loud voice somewhere around me said, “HIGH!” Thankfully that automatic part didn’t mess it up. Relief! And hooray for practicing my shot over and over and over. And over.

Practice. I cannot praise it enough.

Final score: 6-3.

Game 3: Pandora

Played a much closer game against a more evenly matched team Sunday afternoon. In the end the difference came down to one of their players making a great run through 3 of us down the length of the ice and putting a second effort shot into the net.

I felt pretty crappy this game. Almost thought I was going to pass out between whistles. Felt fine when I was skating, though. Low blood pressure? Weird.

Maybe it was my pre-game DMD?

It tasted as bad as it looks: Like radioactive antifreeze. How was this ever a habit? Blech!

Or maybe it’s because I was feeling off to begin with. To make myself feel better I ate a Five Guys burger after the game. Imagine my surprise when it worked!

Final score: 0-1.

Semifinal: Pandora

Rematch! We did way better on shot count this time, outshooting the other team 2:1. Then in the 3rd period some of them started playing like assholes. It culminated in a hit that took out Frannie. Frannie, of all people! That’s like kicking a puppy. Who did it? Search my blog archives and take a guess.

Years ago, after a game, maybe even an MLK tournament game, Keisha the ref said to me, “You know, when you get knocked down you can pop right back up instead of spinning out on the ice.” From that day on, I’ve adopted that approach. Today, when I got knocked down, I popped back up and into the play without missing a beat. And I said a little thank you to Keisha, like I do every time.

Final score: 1-0.

Championship: Team Abby

Another rematch! This one didn’t go as well on the scoreboard, but it was a much more civil affair. No assholes, just competitive hockey. I scored our lone goal on a rush with Margie in the 1st period. After actually remembering to holler that I’d corral the loose puck, I picked it up, approached the net on the left, saw net up high on the right, and put the puck there. No thinking, just reacting. I’d like to have more of those moments. Thinking takes too long.

Also, since one of our left wings had to work today, I played the 1st period at center while we ran 2 left wings, then switched to left wing while we ran 2 centers. I was able to make the mental switch after about a shift. Better than on Saturday!

Final score: 1-3. Normally I’d say “2nd place is 1st loser” but our consolation mini beer steins are actually the same as the ones the 1st place team got. I’d take a picture for you but glass isn’t all that exciting.

I finished with 3 goals this weekend. Not bad for my first real tournament since returning to hockey!

2 Comments

  1. I just hope you made the other player an offer she couldn’t refuse before rubbing her out. Hockey is a bit more serious than I thought.

    • It’s a standing offer. The puck, please, before I catch you.

      That said, whether I make contact depends a lot on who the other player is. If they’re better or as good as I am I will skate them into the boards. If they’re not as fast and I can swoop in to take the puck from them cleanly I’ll do that instead. If they’re even less experienced than that I’ll give them room while playing D between them and the net. And if they’re a total beginner I’ll bump the puck back to them to try again when they freak out and shoot it onto my stick.

      But yeah, this was a serious (“real”) tournament.

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