The Devil and her mates have held true to the hopes of moms, dads and coaches in delivering three strong performances in their first three round robin Sharkfest contests.
The first two teams they faced, as suspected, were arguably stronger sides, but the girls were able to more than hold their own to earn 1-1 and 2-2 ties respectively. Both of the first two opponents exhibited a slight edge in puck control, overall size and aggression. The girls, to their credit, did not back down at either end of the ice. Perhaps there is something to be said about defending one’s home turf.
The Sharks were to be particularly commended for their showing in game two as they had to fight through illness and injury. One forward fought a nasty head cold while another suffered from an injured shoulder caused by an errant opponent’s stick in game one. I was told, by a reliable source on the bench, that both girls desperately wanted to play and support their team in what they knew was a tough battle. These two ties were also predicated on strong goaltending, which the team has been blessed with all year, and a couple of good bounces, which are always welcomed when the hockey gods bestow them.
Game three was slated to be another good test as the two teams would enter the match with identical 0-0-2 records. Indeed the game opened with a scoreless, but chance-filled, first period. A few minutes into the second period the opposing team would score its first goal on a deflected shot. The Sharks would waste no time in scoring to tie the game only eight seconds later. Several chances would be exchanged through the second and into the third period; until the player afflicted, yet fighting, through the head cold pounced on a rebound. She quickly deposited the frozen puck into a yawning cage behind the opposing keeper. The Devil and her cohorts held on for the rest of the period to secure the 2-1 win; thus earning a berth in tomorrow morning’s semi-final.
I’ve just checked the tourney Web site (ah the wonders of modern technology that allow us to track stats from home). The semi-final will be against the Sharks’ fiercest rival this season who they will be facing for no less than the fourth time this year. This is sure to make for an exciting, closely fought match. I will likely don my lucky red Chuck Taylors for the occasion; though the girls have been doing a great job making their own luck of late. I’ll wear the lucky hat too — just in case.