We got back into hockey in the New Year in a pretty major way with a total of nine games over three days this weekend past, which included a hometown tournament for the Boy, an exhibition game/event with some ex-NHLers and two regular season games for the Devil. All of this rink activity provided opportunity for each of our young players to grab a bit o’ the household spotlight.
The weekend started slow with the Boys team skating to an uninspiring 2-2 tie in their first game of the Glen Bellerby Memorial Tournament; a game they dominated for the most part and against a team I think their fans in the stands all thought they should win. The Boy bounced between Centre (which he hadn’t played all year, which was somewhat apparent) and Defence, as a couple of players were lost to injury. Those injuries certainly didn’t help the Colts’ cause. A draw in the first of a three-game round robin would necessitate wins in the following two matches if they hoped to move on to defend their turf.
Game two would follow a few hours later and the Boys would flirt with playoff danger as they trailed by a goal up until about five minutes left in the game when they would become the fortunate beneficiaries of a penalty shot, which was thankfully converted. A couple of minutes later the Boy would take his first shot at the home hockey crown by scoring what would be the game winning goal; their playoff spot was secure for the moment.
Immediately following their tourney match, the team made its way over to the big rink in town for a skills competition date with a roving team of former NHL stars. The ex-pros were in town as part of a regular Alumni charity event, which would typically see them playing a full three periods against local minor hockey alumni. However, it was decided this year to let some younger legs take on the pros in feats of stickhandling, target shooting and penalty shots. The Boy, for his part, would draw the latter assignment, which would pit him against Mark Andrew “Trees” LaForest, who had a cup of coffee with the Detroit Red Wings, the Philadelphia Flyers, the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Ottawa Senators. The Devil joked she was just glad he wasn’t in a skating competition cuz that would be embarrassing for him. His spirits, and that of his teammates, were no doubt buoyed by the young guns taking a lead in the first two rounds of skills; though their opponents may not have been fully invested in the competition. I’ve unfortunately no video or photographic evidence, but can attest to having witnessed the Boy making a pretty sick move on LaForest, faking a move to his forehand and tucking the puck in the net a la Henrik Zetterberg.
Ok, so his wasn’t quite at the Zetterberg level, but I for one was surprised he even tried and completed the move. Maybe LaForest was surprised too. In all, the event was a lot of fun for the Boys who got to share the ice and some laughs with some great guys.
The third and final preliminary round tourney tilt started just after noon on Saturday. This match would see the Boy notch his second goal and first assist of the tournament in a convincing and semi-final clinching 5-1 victory. The game had even been taped and was set to be featured on the local 6 o’clock news. Returning home, the Boy would announce his exploits plenty loud enough for the Devil to hear and a challenge was not so silently waged.
Off we went to the Devil’s game; one which needed to be won in order to keep her streaking side atop their league standings at an impressive 15-1-1. Early on I could tell my youngest had a little extra jump in her game. She’s skated well all season, but there was some added fire on this particular night. About halfway through the second period, she would grab a loose puck and make a furious dash between two defenders. She was tied up only momentarily, would not be denied and raced in on the goalie all alone. A quick deke to the left froze the keeper and the Devil deposited the puck in the back of the net. Already she’d scored a prettier goal than either of her brother’s, but she wasn’t done. After the flood and with her team tied 1-1, she again rushed the goal with a defender in tow, hitting the goalie with her initial shot, then pounding home her own rebound for marker #2 on the evening. You can likely sense where this is going. Before the game would end with the visitors on top 4-1, our competitive little bundle of joy would secure a coveted hat trick (her second of the season vs. none for a certain older brother). And yet, in my mind the actual highlight of her game was a 5 on 3 penalty kill situation where the Devil held off three opponents deep in enemy territory for about 20 seconds capped with a scoring chance; something she’s seen her brother do a time or two in the past. Post game, the Devil was beaming and more than set to text her brother with her superior news. Hockey Momma would steal some of her thunder by pre-emptively notifying the Boy of his sister’s impending gloatfest. And gloat she would in quipping, “So how many goals did you score today?” as she walked back in the front door an hour later.
Cue the Boy and his team’s semi-final match on Sunday. As chance would have it, the Boy was able to match his sister’s weekend goal tally to get things started for the Colts. He wouldn’t get another, though he sure as hell tried to break a 1-1 tie at the end of the second period as he brought the puck crashing into the net, drawing the ire of his foes and a few swift shots to the back of the head. Unfortunately, he ended up with both an interference and a roughing penalty for his efforts. I questioned the latter as his only rough play involved his trying to avoid his oncoming aggressor. The good guys would break the tie in the third period, hold on for a slim 2-1 win and a spot in the tourney final against a well-known rival from their league.
However, before the Championship game arrived, we would hustle across town as the Boy and I had committed to running the game clock for the Devil’s second match of the weekend; another must win against a formidable foe. As they have been so many times this season, the Devil and her mates were equal, if not superior, to the task in skating to a 3-0 triumph and a 16-1-1 record. She would not factor into the scoring in this one, but it wasn’t for lack of trying. She knew her brother was watching, stealing the occasional glance over at the timekeepers’ booth, and she skated her butt off at both ends of the ice. The Devil did manage to get on the score sheet via a roughing penalty of her own after a little skirmish in front of her goalie. Apparently, even PIMs would be challenged this weekend.
After a quick run to a local burger joint (where the Boy responsibly had a salad, while yours truly inhaled a Banquet Burger Combo), it was back to the rink for the culmination of the weekend tournament. The Colts recently lost to the team they would be facing in the Final and are being chased by them in the league standings, so there were a few things on the line in this game. After four previous games in two days, including one each earlier on Sunday, both teams were a little sloppy, playing to a 1-1 tie late into the contest. Fortunately, the Colts would find a way to strike one more time to secure the tourney title on home ice. The Boy would have a medal to cap off his weekend.
He would also secure some bragging rights; at least for a few days. The Devil’s next game is in less than a week’s time and she may just have another trick up her sleeve (pun fully intended) to grab back some of that thunder.
As for me and Momma, this little sibling rivalry stuff is all a lot of fun to watch.