In the first of several games the Devil’s Sharks will have with previously mentioned rivals we’d all really like to beat, our girls were able to dominate play for all but the last five minutes of the second period. Unfortunately, that was also all the bad guys needed to score a couple of goals in support of an eventual 2-1 victory. Their second goal with under a minute left in the second frame was a killer. It was a close game as games against this team will all most likely be.
Our Sharks have inexplicably had a few second period let downs this season, which have ultimately resulted in their demise in those games; something we certainly need to address moving forward. One of our assistant coaches quipped “We had a fart that smelled just a little too long”. Indeed, our girls dealt and smelt it, but it took the full 300 seconds to clear the air. We’ve talked on several pre and post-game occasions about having to play three full periods of hockey. I’m fairly certain momentary lapses are something nearly every team in every sport struggles with Winning teams are those who are able to limit their let downs; mitigate their mistakes. These messages will continue to be delivered and hopefully sink in as the team progresses against this opponent and all others.
One odd occurrence from yesterday’s match was sporadic whistling by a coach on the other bench. Whistling which closely mimicked the a referee’s own whistle and subsequently had our players stopping in their tracks on more than one occasion. A couple of our players, including the Devil, came to the bench after their shifts complaining about being confused and distracted by the opposing coach. I’m not sure what would possess a coach/adult to employ an obviously questionable tactic like this, but it will definitely be brought to the attention of referees in all of our games against this team moving forward. I did make mention of the incidents to an official between the second and third periods in yesterday’s contest, yet reports came in that the distraction continued. If all else fails, I may find myself approaching the opposing staff directly to call their sportsmanship into question. I hope this does not need to be the case.
And so, we look forward to the next meeting with these particular foes, which comes in just one week at a tournament a couple of hours to the North. We will go into that game knowing our charges can play at, if not above, the level of these rivals. They just need to be committed to doing it from the first drop of the puck to the final tick of the clock. Drop the puck on Round Two.