Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Goalie is hard

I am in moderate pain. Let's recap.

Wildabeasts 0, Other Team 2

Hopping back into the crease in broomball is almost nothing like riding a bike. It's more like remembering the first time you fell down during a heavy night of drinking, then waking up and noticing that your knees are purple and no longer bend.

My game was mediocre. I let in a softie in the first on a rising shot that got between my arm and my body, but the second saw a penalty shot that I had absolutely no chance on. It was one of the nicest shots I've seen during my illustrious broomball history, and I'm just thankful it didn't hit me in the cojones.

Our offense expected, to be honest. We didn't convert either of our penalty shots, struggled to move the ball into the offensive zone, and spent way too much time dicking around with finesse passing instead of shooting. The penalty shots are a real problem. Those need to turn into goals 3 out of 4 times, but I'm pretty sure we're converting at a pace more along the lines of 10%. It comes down to approach, and really all that needs to be done is putting the ball on net and in the air. Most goalies are also very, very weak five-hole, so a hard low shot up the middle tends to be effective.

Anyways, I made one nice save, probably, throughout the game. I saw a lot of shots, but the save was on one I didn't see, where I managed to get the stick to the post just in time to nick the ball wide. I don't get those reaction saves very often, so it's nice when they happen.

Next game isn't for a while.

Lucic Crew 6, Mighty Ducks 9

Honestly, not a bad effort. Mark uploaded a video...I'm the goalie in white. Three saves and a goal is sorta the theme of my night.

Sitting in the locker room while strapping on my pads was one of those intense moments you tend to find only in sports and war. I haven't played competitive sports in 7 or 8 years now, and I've never actually spent time in a dressing room before a game.

It's pretty scary.

Most everyone else was focusing on the game ahead, talking about where they used to play, and whether they were gonna play wing or D. I was just worried about accidentally putting my pads on backwards. I was worried about falling down the second I hit the ice. I was worrying about the inevitable first goal and the first shot to hit me in the mask. The first to hit me in the cup. In the back. In the shoulder.

Too much thinking, for the most part. I had been hoping to skate around for a half hour or so before having to strap on the pads, particularly as I've never worn goalie skates before. No such luck, though, as the club team was practicing. I'd like to note the extreme disparity between the club team and the varsity team, and the similar drop in skill to the intramural teams. With each drop in talent the game seems to slow down.

Not so much in net.

Warmups were interesting. My pad straps were dragging on the ice and getting caught in my blades, which wasn't helping the fact that my skating was extremely suspect with enormous goalie skates and pads. Plus, the ice was all cut up from the club team practice, so my stick was getting caught on little mounds and grooves. I stopped a couple pucks during warmups, but mostly just got tired almost immediately. And seconds later, they were dropping the puck.

The first shot I saw went over my right shoulder and into the net. My form on the shot can best be described as an octopus falling out of a tree, but an octopus likely has better net coverage. It was a breakaway situation, and I was in the middle of the crease trying to shuffle over. Moreover, I didn't even realize the guy was on the other team. Brutal. Just brutal.

The second shot I saw went over my left shoulder and into the net. Another breakaway and another early bite and we were in a 2-0 hole about 3 minutes into the game.

Improvement during the first was minimal. We put two on the board, but I gave up five, with only one of those being a semi-reasonable goal. By the final third of the first, though, I was feeling a little better about being on the ice and managed to make a couple glove saves and a remarkably nice blocker save. Once I stopped thinking about stopping the puck and focused on watching the puck, it got a little easier.

The second was a good period, both for me and the team. I believe I only let in two while we scored three, moving the score to 7-5. Our offense was good when given the chance, and was aided by an opposing goalie who, despite his $2300 Itech pads, insisted on dropping to the butterfly on every shot. I think we roofed two goals and sent another in on the same backdoor play which typically mauls Northeastern. I also made my first cup save (kinda hurt, but really not bad) and had a nice poke check.

The third was a little rough, mostly because I absolutely cannot move across the crease. At this point, I had my defensemen lined up in front of me blocking shots a la Scuderi, which was nice, but also limited my visibility a little. And the opposing team managed to figure out that the wraparound was a reasonable solution to my "goaltending," so they were just moving it back and forth behind me until I got stock on one side and they could put it in. The period did have its highlights, though, with one puck hitting me square in the forehead and bouncing away, and another getting stopped by my shoulder before shooting directly up into the air and falling in front of me for an easy rebound goal. That damn puck is tiny.

It was a good experience. Most of the guys on the team were okay with my complete and utter disregard for stopping the puck, and gave Jeff lots of shifts where he played some pretty solid defense. He had a great clear from his knees on the near-side boards that I could've sworn was going to turn into a 3 on 0 situation.

My reactions are crap. My positioning is also crap. But for now, I want to work on getting post to post, either through a t-slide or the butterfly slide. Either of those will improve my game in an easily noticeable way. I just need some ice time for practice.

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