I scored a goal, but didn’t like it

After winning our first five games of our Oldtimer’s season, CSI was 5-0. We had won our last two games, 8-0 and 9-1. We were on a roll. It seemed like we might never lose.

That came crashing down the next week.

We jumped out to a 1-0 lead against Calumet Electronics, but found ourselves in a 1-1 tie at half time on Nov. 20. In the second half, the proverbial wheels fell off our bus.

We surrendered five more goals in a row, and lost 6-1. It felt like nothing we could did worked. We stopped shooting. We stopped skating. We just struggled collectively.

The next weekend, we took on Monte Carlo Bar in what ended up being a very strange game.

So, Monte took the ice to start the game without their goaltender. They were stuck without one for about 15 minutes.

What should have been a laugher for us with a bunch of goals, turned into a nightmare. We could not get control of the puck. Monte played a hockey version of “three-card monty” where they had three guys possess the puck deep in their own end.

The three guys would just pass the puck between them over and over again, and that kept us from getting shots at the empty net. We had maybe two shots on goal during that stretch, and one of those hit the post.

When their goaltender did finally show up, he was a fill-in, Ryall Purdy. Purdy held us off the scoreboard from the moment he slid between the pipes.

To make matters worse, Monte scored once before the end of the first half.

In the second half, we continued to struggle to find ways to score goals. As the game wore on, we trailed 1-0 until a shot from the slot snuck through our goalie, Dustin Jaehnig. I was covering the forward on the back door, but I could see the puck sliding behind Dustin.

In that moment, I had two choices: stay where I was and hope it stopped before the goal line, or reach out for it in an attempt to knock it away. The second choice had two possible outcomes, knock the puck away to safety, or accidentally knock it into the net.

I chose what seemed like the safest route, and did not play the puck at all. Naturally, the puck rolled over the goal line, putting us down 2-0.

We surrendered one more goal with Dustin pulled for an extra attacker late to lose 3-0.

After that game, I struggled with a crisis of confidence over the next week. I am playing defense this season, which did little of growing up, but is a position that I enjoy the challenge of playing. I was a center growing up, so I spent a lot of time playing close to a 200-foot game because of how coverage in our end worked on the travel hockey teams I played on.

So, defense is not a huge step for me. However, there are nuances to the position that I sometimes struggle with, like gap positioning.

This past weekend, we were looking to bounce back as a team, and I was looking to bounce back with my play.

Facing Re/Max, this was going to be a tall task. Re/Max has a number of smooth skating forwards who can make life difficult. We held them in check the first time we played them, but there is no guarantee that we could do it again.

Former Finlandia women’s hockey coach, and current men’s assistant coach Matt Marchel beat me very early on in the game. I was covering for my defensive partner, Micah Stipech, and I thought I could pinch in and keep the puck deep. Instead, the puck got past me, and Marchel got loose, skated in and scored.

Marchel burned me a second time along the other boards, as again, I pinched in an attempt to pin him deeper in his own end. Again, the puck got past him, and he was off to the races.

Trailing 2-0, I had to make a decision, do I keep pinching on pucks I should be able to hold in the zone, or do I back off and play it safe.

In a situation similar to the one that led to Re/Max’s second goal, I saw the winger on my side of the ice in what I felt was a bad position to play a pass from his defender on the breakout. I jumped down, and this time I kept the puck in the zone with my skate. The puck bounced to a teammate, and two passes later, we were back in the game at 2-1.

From there, my confidence along the boards increased. Later, I made a play to stop a clearing attempt and moved the puck down to a teammate, who passed it front for another goal, and we were tied, 2-2.

We were later tied 3-3 in the second half, when I found John Erickson along the boards in the neutral zone. He made a pass that led to another goal, and suddenly we had our first lead.

Leading 5-3, we had a play in our end that I now wish I had back.

Remember when I mentioned that in the previous week, I had a choice whether or not to play a puck behind Dustin, and I chose not to? Yeah, that happened again on Sunday.

Ryan Grey fired a shot that hit Dustin, got through him and slid to the post where I was defending against a forward. Determined not to allow the same thing to happen that happened the previous week, I reached out to play the puck. I missed it the first time, because I was also trying to keep the forward I was defending against from getting to it.

So, naturally, I tried to play the puck a second time. This time, the worst outcome that could happen did: I knocked the puck into my own net.

Fortunately, we held on for a 9-6 win in the end, but I felt so bad for my misplay on that own goal.


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