Back to Winning..and Scoring..Ways
The Boys team had a busy, but successful, weekend this past weekend as the previous photo foretold. We traveled a couple of hours down the road to play in a tournament. The first game was at 6:50 pm on Friday, but the Boy somehow finagled getting a full day off of school. He hitched a ride down with a teammate’s family as I decided to not miss another full day of work to his hockey schedule. Of course, that backfired as I hit rush hour traffic and got a little mis-directed on my way down with another father. We arrived late, catching only the third period of that first game.
The team got off to a slow start against what seemed to be a “weaker” opponent and were showing signs of continuing their goal-challenged ways. They came up empty on several power play opportunities and were behind 2-1 when I arrived. But they would bounce back to tie the score at 2-2 and that’s how the first game would end. Game one did see a casualty as we lost a player for three games due to a what many felt was an over-zealous call by a ref, who would in turn toss the coach as well for a game. Interesting start to say the least.
Another pre-game development saw the Boy receive the honour and responsibility of a Captain’s “C” on his jersey. The news was quickly reported back to hockey mom and we both swelled with a sense of pride and accomplishment for him. Post game he likewise expressed his gratitude for having been selected to take on this leadership role by his coaches and peers.
Having stayed at and paid for a couple of hotels with the Boy and the Devil in the last month, we decided to accept an invitation of accommodation from a friend who lived relatively close to the tournament location. I hoped the Boy didn’t feel he was missing out on any team activities or team-building opportunities, but know there will be many more over the next 4 or 5 months. Not staying in a hotel would also ensure that he would be well rested for his games.
Games two and three on day two would see the team play somewhat better. They would break the invisible seal on the opponent’s net with 4-0 and 4-1 wins advancing them on to the semi-finals on Sunday.
In the semis they raced out to a 2-0 lead, which they in turn gave back by the end of the second period during a five minute lull. They would, however, regain their composure, add two more goals and advance to the Final game. Not that it should be a highlight, but with about a minute left in this game, the Boy pinned the puck against the boards deep in his own end and was immediately set upon by two opponents, one of whom decided to hit him in the back of the head. The Boy immediately spun and threw a strong left hook into the face mask of the slightly smaller player. This was luckily the end of the exchange, which earned the two players minor roughing penalties, as I had visions of my kid watching the final game from the stands. Hockey mom, who was receiving play-by-play from me via text, simply replied “Oh Dear” and “He didn’t get kicked out of the next game, did he?”.
Coincidentally, the combatants in the final game of the tournament would be the same two teams who faced each other in the first game of the tournament; which you will recall, ended in a 2-2 tie. The make-up of these two teams would be a little different though as our previously suspended player would return after his three-game penalty. A player from the other side unfortunately suffered a broken leg in their semi-final tilt. Our boys dominated the play for the most part in the final and the returning (understandably rested and enthusiastic) player contributed three goals in a 4-1 win.
Following the game the two teams lined up to receive t-shirts (short sleeves for the finalists and long sleeves for the champions), a plaque and the obligatory hand shakes. In the change room, there was no doubt some celebration and much needed showers before the two-hour ride home.
On our ride, the Boy quipped, “I guess we’ve decided we’re a tournament team” as they all realized this was their second tournament victory in two attempts. The coaching staff no doubt hopes this win and the breaking of the goal-scoring slump carries forward into the team’s regular season games, which begin again versus a tough opponent in a couple of days.
As usual, a weekend away had me missing one of the Devil’s games, though I received a similar text-based play-by-play of a 3-2 loss from hockey mom. The Devil is having some hockey-related issues of her own that may need to be addressed before too long, but that’s another story and I need to get to work so I can help pay for all this hockey.