By Wyatt Earp | March 8, 2010
Someone is walking on sunshine today, and it is not the members of Kartina and the Waves. Why am I swimming in the deep end of a good mood pool? Because last night’s hockey game was chock full of goodness.
We were playing the Wild in a crossover game. My team plays in the “C” Division, and once or twice a year, we have an interleague game with a team from the (usually more talented) “B” Division. From the outset we knew the Wild was fast – probably faster than we were – so our task was simple: grind them down with hard work and physical play.
The first period was full of quick rushes and scoring opportunities on both sides. I didn’t feel particularly good on the ice during my first shift, but I was playing well positionally, and my line wasn’t getting beaten to the loose pucks. After a minute and a half, we came to the bench. I took a drink of water and thought, “I feel pretty good. I need to get the Hell back out there.”
When it was time for my second shift, I didn’t hesitate. Vinnie Antonelli, who plays the left wing – I play on the right – came into the zone and fired a shot on net. I was skating in and saw the goalie give up a rebound. Amazingly, it came right to me, and my eyes opened wide. I took the puck, lifted it over the sprawled goaltender, and it hit the top corner for the score.
Now, I rarely celebrate after a goal. First, because I don’t score very often. Second, because I scoring is my job: I’m supposed to put the puck into the net. Nevertheless, I broke toward the side of the net and raised my stick in the air with one hand. My teammates came over to congratulate me, and I smiled. And that was that. No, in the grand scheme of things, it’s not a huge display, but I was excited. It was the first goal of the game and the first time I have scored in consecutive games in a year.
That goal stood up for almost two periods. Late in the second period, the Wild won a faceoff in our zone, made a quick pass, and put a shot past The Badger for the score. I immediately went up to him and said, “Thanks. Now I have to score another one for the game-winner.”
The third period was marked by odd-man rushes, lots of shots, and a few nasty checks. Scoring opportunities were there for the taking, but after fifteen minutes, no one scored. We went to overtime for the second game in a row, and started the extra session with a man in the penalty box – thank you, Randal Graves. Our guys killed the penalty and continued to fight through OT, but the game ended in a 1-1 tie. Naturally, we would rather have the win, but a tie earns us a point in the standings.
Out next game is scheduled for Wednesday night at 10:30pm. Looks like I’ll be getting the same pre-game snack I got for the last two games: a Red Bull and a Tastykake Iced Honey Bun. Good for what ails ya!
Then, as if the game wasn’t good enough, Badger brought my early birthday present to the rink:
Oh. Frakkin’. Yeah! Badger’s nephew sent out an e-mail around Christmas with a list of pro jerseys, with names and numbers sewn on. The price? $90. For the record, these pro jerseys are usually twice that much online. Any hoo, while I was looking at the list, I noticed there was a Wayne Gretzky Edmonton Oilers jersey available. Regular readers of SYLG know that Gretzky is my idol – I even wear #99 on the ice – so this decision was a no-brainer. When I took a look at it, it was better than I imagined. Now all I need is to find a hot chick to model it for everyone . . .