Welcome to My Nightmare

The second goal came off my defenseman's stick, rolled up his arm and rocketed into the top corner of the net, putting us down 2-1 with ten minutes left in the third.


I'd played pretty sloppy hockey all night- not finding the smooth movement I've been working on and improving over the past month or two. I struggled my way through the game and managed to keep most of the garbage out of the net. Now we were down a goal and things weren't looking good with our team on the penalty kill.

I watched as one of my wingers picked up the puck on our blue line and put on a coast-to-coast exhibition of beer league hockey at its best, finishing with a two move deke to draw us even late in the third.

Overtime solved nothing and now I had a chance to steal the win for my team. We'd won two straight to open the season at 3-1 after a winless previous season. I wanted to keep the winning streak alive.

After making three easy stops against three shooters, the fourth round began with a push off the crossbar to meet the advancing player making his way toward the net.

Now I'm pin-wheeling my arms wildly with my feet doing a reasonable impersonation of the River Dance. Somehow I'd caught an edge with my left skate and I was within a whisker of losing my balance and landing on my ass. I felt panic as I watched the shooter, who I'm sure was as surprised as I was, lining up for a shot at an empty net.

With mere feet to go before the shooter got to the crease, I somehow managed to lunge my body in the general direction of the net and drop to attempt a save.

The puck found the back of the net. 3-2 loss.

I've allowed goals in almost every way imaginable in the year since returning to the net and now I can mark another variation off the list- losing my balance and almost going ass-over-tea-kettle during a shootout.

I don't remember the post game hand shake or packing my gear in the locker room but I'm having no problem replaying that shootout nightmare.

Playing net is a humbling experience and I was reminded of that again last night.

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