March 22, 2019

Another Shot at Beer League Glory

I've been lazy with updates so far in 2019 but today I'll jot down a few random thoughts that have been with me recently.

Once More Into The Fray

Tonight the Puck Hawgs are back into the playoff bracket with another chance at securing a championship. Since moving to a new rink 4 seasons ago, we've been in the running and lost 3 consecutive finals in what has become the toughest division we've played in our history as a team.

Our lineup is impressive with potent scoring and terrific defense and I struggle worrying that I am the weak link. Scanning the stats in the division, I sit mid-pack in GAA and no goalie has recorded a shutout but tonight as we take the ice for our first round game I hope that I can elevate my game to keep the pressure off my guys. I don't want them to have to score 7 just to have a chance at the win.

Not-So-Big-Al

Lots of people call me "Big Al" in net but recently another team in the Puck Hawgs division added a new goalie– a transplant from up north I've heard. The kid is massive. 6'6" is my best guess and he plays a style not that different from my own. I think I will try and reach out to him and see if he's interested in a profile on this blog.

Responsible Skaters

I got absolutely destroyed in a game this week. A player on a break away skated full speed into me as I met him at the crease. The main point of contact was my head and two days later I'm still not feeling like myself. Whether or not I have suffered a concussion isn't the point. If you are playing beer league hockey knowing that every single one of us has to get up and go to work in the morning, why would you risk injuring yourself and someone else by skating out of control? Do me and every other player who pays to play hockey a favor. Play within your skill level.

New Bucket

I was lucky enough to win a raffle prize from GGSU (Goalie Gear Sluts United)– a Facebook group for tendies– who raise money for good causes every year. My prize was a custom bucket from New Image (http://www.newimagegoaliemask.com/) and I've reached out to them to ask for some photos of the mask in production. My hope is to share some information about the build process along with the final product. I'm really excited to see how it turns out and I may need to reach out to Skinfx (https://www.facebook.com/Skinfxwraps/)for a new wrap once it arrives.

December 21, 2018

11 months

"Shut out" **&&**&!!$%@!@#!!

Any game that I get through a period or two without letting a puck past, these two simple words pop into my head followed by silent cursing for once again jinxing myself because inevitably, usually sooner than later, a goal gets scored that wipes away the chance for a shut out.

I titled this entry "11 months" but honestly it could be even longer since I've registered a shut out in beer league hockey across multiple teams, good and bad.

This week I was between the pipes for a team that probably (I'm being kind here) is closer to the bad side of the scale and one that I've been lit up for as many as 7 goals in a game this season. As usual we needed to grab sub players from an earlier game which left half the team gassed before the puck dropped. We were playing one of the top teams in the division and although they were also short-benched, I gave us 10-1 odds of getting a win.

The first puck I faced that night was a break away by one of the best players and after biting pretty hard on a deke, I stuck out my right leg as he cut across and the puck bounced harmlessly away. After that, it was the usual workload of shots and constant pressure in our zone.

At some point in the second period we were up 2-0 and once again my brain does its thing... "Shut out" **&&**&!!$%@!@#!!. I tried to ignore my inner voice but I knew I was once again doomed.


The game rolled along and we scored two more. I wasn't sure how exactly this was happening but somehow I kept stopping pucks and my team kept scoring. Now the clock ticked down to a minute left but I knew it wouldn't hold. Sure enough a turnover in the other zone led to an odd-man rush with a shot rocketing to my blocker side. I made the stop and my guys cleared the zone.

It was happening! A shut out after so many months and countless games. I let myself believe and with 5 seconds left, the other team dumped the puck over our blue line as both teams waited for the final horn.

Almost like a nightmare, a buddy and former team mate now playing on the opposing team decided to make a rush for the puck. With nobody on my team still skating, he came in on the right side and with just a couple of seconds left he wound up for a slapper that screamed low to my glove side and... I made the save.

Shut out recorded.

Last year when I had my mask wrapped by Skinfx, I decided I'd leave the backplate empty. I plan on recording my final shut out back there when I retire from playing net. Will it read, "Hockey Team 5 - MIB 0 12-19-18"? I really don't know but I know I'm writing that down now because for this Ancient Netminder, shut outs don't come along very often.