The Boy and his mates opened a home tournament last night with a severely lopsided victory. It was 2-0 three minutes into the game and you could just tell it wasn’t going to be pretty. The next couple of goals were both scored while the team was killing penalties. It got worse from there. The opposing coach switched up his goalies after the third goal, but to that point it hadn’t really been a goalie-issue. Our boys were taking it to them pretty hard. By the end of the second period it was 10-0. Our home side fans stopped cheering goals after about the sixth tally. The score clock never went higher than 8-0 in an effort to minimize the blow.
You do start to feel a little uncomfortable as each goal goes in. Unfortunately, one of the determining factors in the round robin standings is goals for and goals against so it is really in the teams best interest to make the victory as lopsided as possible. But that sure doesn’t make for a fun game to watch or, for that matter, play in.
There was a break for the Zamboni to clean the ice between the second and third periods. I believe everyone would have just rather that the game continued without the break. As the teams left the ice, the Boy was pulled aside by the head referee. The referee properly suggested that the team ease up in the third period, particularly from a body-checking perspective, so as not to provoke any retaliation borne of frustration from the other side. There had already been a few penalties that you could tell were a result of the uneven goal margin.
In the third period the clock was set to run without stopping for the entire 15 minutes as opposed to stopping after every whistle, which is the normal course. The tournament rule stated that this be the case if the goal difference was six or higher.
The Colts for their part certainly took their proverbial foot (or skate in this case) off the pedal. One more goal would be scored in the third period after a perfect setup of a player in the slot, the offensive zone sweet spot, to make the final 11-0. The Boy told me after the game that the team had been challenged by the coach in the change room between the second and third periods. Their task was to keep the other team from scoring in the third to preserve the shutout for their goaltender. As an added incentive, or deterrent if you will, if a goal against were to be scored, the five players on the ice would owe the rest of the team a round of Slushies. They obviously all got the message as only a couple of relatively harmless shots managed to find their way through to the victorious netminder.
While a strong victory is a good way to start a tournament, such an overwhelming win can also be a tad dangerous as it can breed over-confidence or a lack of attention to detail.
We assume the next two round-robin games today will provide stauncher challenges, preparing the home side for a likewise more difficult playoff round. I should know better than to even utter the word playoff prematurely, but the boys are playing well, so I hope I am being prophetic in my analysis. Add to that a bit of cheering from the stands and a sprinkle of luck from the ever-present hockey gods to find my next post, late day Sunday, declaring a home town championship.
There…I’ve jinxed them but good now.