The weekend unfortunately ended on a semi-sour note with a 3-0 loss and a silver medal in the championship game versus the host team. As in previous games, our players came out with guns a-blazin’ registering several good scoring opportunities in close. We were literally all over them for the first half of the first period, but our scoring woes continued. Looking back we were able to win two games and tie one other with only three tallies in total. To their credit, at the other end of the ice, our goalkeepers kept us in each one of our five games holding the opposition to a total of only five goals. Yet the opposition would bounce one past us near the end of the first and another partway through the second period. Press as they may, our shooters would come up empty…on at least a couple of occasions inexplicably.
I believe there were a few contributing factors to our loss in the final game including having to play the home team (who got to sleep in their own beds last night as well as play a meaningless game as a warm-up this morning) and perhaps a hangover from last night’s tumultuous victory. No matter I contend the loss was only semi-sour because the girls get full credit for the effort they gave this weekend. Though the players’ post-game faces would tell a different story. I’m selfishly happy they were disappointed at the loss. Someone along the way has said you have to lose before you can really learn how to win. Losing in a final like we did today may benefit us down the road.
If tournaments are about growing as a team, practicing team tactics against some different competition and having a little fun, I believe I can successfully say, “Mission Accomplished”. At the same time, I’m confident the girls themselves recognize there is still much work to do to get this team to next level. While there was no lack of effort, there was still some questionable decision making, and some selfish play with the puck – stuff we will continue to address in practices and games. While both are important to success, you can teach skills or systems to follow, but you can’t instruct desire or effort – that has to already be flickering inside just waiting to be ignited. We certainly saw some flames burning over the last three days.