With Regular Season Hockey Done…Cue a Playoff Run and Flow
This week we marked the end of the regular season schedules for both the Boy and the Devil. The Boy it should be noted, despite Hockey Momma and I making a decidedly concerted effort to forget, played his final regular season minor hockey game ever….EVER?…NEVER EVER??..and the liver spots literally exploded on our hands. Coincidentally, the Boy’s final game would be versus a team from the town we used to live in and against one of his best friends. I realized it was his last game just before he pulled his gear from the back of the van to head into the arena. I noted there was little fanfare despite the fact that an at least 13-year tradition was entering its last chapter. I didn’t expect fireworks or a ice cream cake, but it seemed to me there should be at least a moment of silence or something, so I sat and reflected by myself after I parked. The Boy’s minor hockey career is fleeting as is the Devil’s for that matter. All efforts to date to freeze time have fallen short so we need to savour all the moments we can. In short order, we will only have one minor hockey player left to transport from rink-to-rink. Feel free to colour me nostalgic if you must, but a pretty significant chapter in our family experience is drawing to a close.
On the ice, the Colts closed their season on a relatively unceremonious note with a couple of losses, thereby backing into the playoff round. In their Major Midget division only the top four out of eight teams in the league qualify for a shot at the provincial championship. The squad was fortunate to have made some hockey hay in the middle of the season to compensate for a slow second half, brought on mostly by a bunch of injuries; which unfortunately come with the territory in the Midget game. It took until the very last game of the season, a 0-0 tie between two rival opponents to lock the Colts into the fourth and final playoff position; which in turn signals a first round matchup against the first place squad. As chance and the hockey gods would have it, first place went to the same squad the Boys closed the year against and a team they have yet to beat. No time like the playoffs to start a new trend.
Heading into the second season, the team is pretty happy to see a couple of those on medical leave coming back to help boost the team moving forward. The Boy, in particular, welcomes back a couple of former line-mates (one from concussion and the other from a broken collar bone) who can hopefully provide some scoring punch in support of a long and prosperous playoff run. The team, when on their game, has certainly shown its ability to compete with the toughest of opponents, but have rarely won a game lacking some level of drama. In the interest of my heart-health, here’s to a few games with less anxious moments; though I doubt this is a wish to be readily fulfilled.
The Devil and her mates likewise finished on a bit of a rocky note, if the word rocky can honestly be attributed to a dazzling 16-3-2 regular season record and second place overall in the standings. The only real blemish being 2 of the 3 in the L column occurred in the last week; one to the first place team who went undefeated on the year and the second to Sharks closest geographic competitor and perhaps biggest nemesis. This second second loss of the week was the most troublesome as the girls will need to find a way to beat this team, who stand in the way of a berth in the provincial championships. In two games this year, the Sharks have yet to defeat their nemesis after clawing back for a 3-3 tie and the aforementioned loss (3-0 in a game they dominated early on, but couldn’t find the wherewithal to score). Despite the temporary setbacks, which put them in 2nd instead of 1st, they did conclude with a 5-0 triumph over the 9th place squad. This capper on the year included a unusual three short-handed goals; one of which left the Devil’s stick and quickly found its way to the top corner where grandma keeps the peanut butter. I suggested this one was delivered specifically for her brother’s benefit as he and a buddy were onlookers while manning the score clock.
And so, the second season is set to start in a week or so; once ice is redistributed and new schedules are defined. 52 games down and maybe another 20 or 30 to go, depending on level of effort and the ever-important moods of the hockey gods.
In keeping with post hockey season tradition, the Boy and a few of his cohorts have adopted fancy new playoff hockey flows; a startling combo of bleach blond and a few inches of blue to hang out the back of their on-ice buckets or off-ice caps.
The jury’s still out on whether or not the more image-conscious female players will don hockey hair-dos of their own. We certainly wouldn’t expect anything quite so dramatic as what the Boys are doing. For that matter, it has yet to be seen whether even every lad will take the plunge as the Boy was among the first. What the hair tells me is two things; the Boy’s fashion sense is questionable at best and he is still having fun as a kid playing a game, which I sincerely hope never stops even if the “minor” is dropped.
So let’s get these playoffs underway already. I’m just itching to have my heart skip a few beats.