Monday, August 17, 2009

Monday Drop-in

Well, the poor folks who play the Monday night drop-in at Sugar Land were so desperate for a goalie, they actually let me play in goal for them tonight.

Maybe it's just me, but it's kind of a milestone when you get asked out to an ice time for the first time as a goalie. I think they were pretty much down to putting a cone in the net or using me, so it's not that big a deal, but still, I really appreciated the opportunity and the free ice.

My only regret was the timing. I was definitely fatigued from my nearly 3 hours on the ice last night. I started out strong, probably the first 10 minutes when they were kinda just rifling shots from the blue line, testing me out a bit and I was stopping everything. But then they figured out to get in close and either pick the corners or pass. And I could tell I just wasn't making the right decisions in some cases, not following the puck (visually) as sharply as I would have liked, positioning was jacked up, etc.

So, I let some stinkers in. A few where I was too deep, which was a combination of intimidation at the speed and shooting and fatigue. I kept telling myself, "Top of the crease! Top of the crease!" but then they'd pass or it would start bouncing and I'd get all scattered and bleh. Goal. (Note to self and Scott: Really need to work on my angle on shots from the circles. I'm just WAY off on judging that and leaving too much net far side. Help!!!)

The worst was in the second half, after the other goalie (who was actually pretty hot) and I switched ends, I made an initial save with the rebound going into the low slot while I'm sort of over to my glove side. I look up and I see a white sweater with his stick on the puck and I think, "Okay cool, he'll clear it." He shoots it in the net. Fuck! I'm playing for the dark team! I totally would have had that one, too. Stupid brain fart.

Anyway, on the plus side, I did have some nice saves. It never ceases to amaze me how impressed people seem to be when you stop a hard shot from the point. Those are so easy. They're coming from a mile away, so unless they get tipped, you can watch them all the way in. Had quite a few of those and I think I stopped them all. It's those ones in close that killed me tonight.

And I had what had to be my best save EVER, but of course, they don't know my game so they couldn't have appreciated what a miracle it was that I caught a screened shot in my glove (and it stayed there). It was 1 on 1, and my defenseman was screening me big time, but I was able to pick up enough body language from the shooter that I somehow knew to stick my glove out, and boom. Right in my trapper. Almost a completely blind glove save. Crazy! I'll be enjoying that one for a while. It was such a beauty.

Overall, I feel kinda meh about it, even though it was fun and everybody was very nice and cool. I know I have a better game in me and I wish I could have brought that, but I did the best I could tonight. I even fell twice and like they say, "If you not falling, you're not trying."

And speaking of which, what was amazing was how nice the ice was! Man, I knew it was bad at Willowbrook but holy crap, it's REALLY bad at Willowbrook! The ice is just beautiful at SLICE. Smooth, hard. Oh man, it was so nice. Sliding was so much easier... in fact a little too easy a number of times, as I overplayed a few sliding saves because I slid so freely. Ended up doing a two-pad stack at one point when I just meant to butterfly slide because my pushing leg just kept going underneath me. I'm so graceful. Stopped it though. ;)

And if my legs didn't hurt last night, they officially hurt like hell now. Calves were cramping all day and they didn't like being in the skates at first, but I shook that off and was fine while I was out there, other than my groins being on fire. Now that I'm home, climbing the stairs is not fun. The gams are getting the day off tomorrow for sure other than stretching. And I'm getting that sno-cone I didn't get today!

This song has nothing to do with my game tonight. I just like it.


Goody  August 20, 2009 at 6:56 AM  

It continually amazes me how different ice can be. Even here in MN there is a considerable difference from one arena to another. Summer or winter, though some that are bad in summer do improve slightly in the winter. Two of my favorites are Breck and St. Thomas Academy. Perhaps it is that they are both fairly new? Perhaps it is that they are both at private schools and their budget allows for a proper climate in the arena and the proper ice temperature?

Ms. Conduct  August 20, 2009 at 9:08 AM  

Yeah, they put new ice sheets in both rinks at SLICE this summer, but they've always had the best ice in town, presumably because the Aeros practice there.

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