After the 7-1 beating we took last week, almost any game would be better. This time, we played a team that we were more evenly matched with, narrowly eking out a 2-1 victory.
I also decided to try my hand again at defense. Surprisingly, I did pretty well. I assisted on our first goal, and was on the ice (though uninvolved) when my defensive partner scored our second goal, which was the game-winner. I helped kill a penalty and blocked a shot. By far, I was the least experienced defenseman in our six-man rotation, though statistically I had a pretty awesome game.
No one is perfect. I made some “rookie” mistakes, too:
- An attacking player got around me and had a good shot on our net. I quickly whacked his stick so that he’d miss the shot. Nice! I thought to myself. Sadly, the player was still dangerous, as he got the puck right back and put it past our goalie. Lesson I learned here: don’t let up on the attacking player. Keep dogging him!
- Later, an attacking player snuck around me and got a pass (see a pattern here?). He got around my defensive partner too, who in turn had to take a holding penalty to stop him from taking a shot on net. That was a penalty he would not have had to take if I was covering my guy. Lesson learned here: forwards can be, at times, very sneaky bastards.
I made that second mistake early in my shift, so I stayed on the ice to kill off the 1-minue penalty against us. I felt guilty, and used that guilt to try and play my best while we were shorthanded. As an opponent wound up for a shot, I quickly closed my legs, blocking the puck with my left shin.
The rest of the night, I didn’t make any more mistakes, and neither did my team. We even managed to keep offensive pressure on our opponents late in the third period, preventing them from pulling their goalie for the extra attacker.
I am really starting to enjoy playing defense. Sure, everyone wants to score ten goals a game, but I know that I can’t do that. Not now, probably not ever (though I’d settle for one goal every three games). But playing defense is fun. I get this weird satisfaction from ruining the other guy’s scoring chances — and hey, someone’s gotta do it. Hopefully, I’ll be back on D again in my sixth game.
Sal’s Stats: Game 5
Blocked Shots: 1
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Filed under: Hockey Games