Last night, Libby and I drove up to Nashua, NH to play in a game with our friends the New Hampshire Panthers. We play for them from time to time, when they need people to fill out lines, and it’s always a lot of fun.
The team we played – Chick Stix – was from Groton, NH, and one of the women playing for them was at the Dartmouth summer clinic last year. Turns out she’s going again this year, so we’ll get to catch up some more then.
After we got on the ice and warmed up, the coach let us know what lines we’d all be playing on (I think Maria was responsible for them, and to Maria I say “Thank you for putting me where you did.”) Libby was one of three centers and I ended up playing left wing on one of the two winger lines. My linemate was a woman named Kim.
The game was a fun one – not the fastest game I’ve ever been in, and thank god! I’m conditioned as a defender, not as a winger, and get tired a lot faster playing winger. We didn’t have a ref, so we just played scrimmage rules (if the goalie covered the puck, she’d throw it behind the net and the offensive team would back up a bit to let the defensive team try to break it out of the zone, call your own off-sides, don’t be a jerk and trip or do anything dumb like that, stick-tap faceoffs, etc.) We also had no clock, which was awesome – we ended up playing for almost 45 minutes solid.
Back and forth we went, back and forth. We were pretty evenly matched, and no one could manage to put anything into either net. Finally, about 5 minutes before we were due to get kicked off the ice by the zamboni driver, the coach was talking with a few of us on the bench, saying that it was crazy we hadn’t scored. I agreed, and said that I really wanted to score since the only time it seems I get goals is when I’m playing with them (true – I just checked my records!) The other winger line came off the ice a few seconds later, so over the boards Kim and I went, to play some more.
So there we are, having a bit of a battle in the neutral zone. Finally, Maria got control of the puck and started skating it over our blue line, over the center line, towards our offensive zone… She popped the puck at me (a perfect pass, I might add!) right as we both got into the zone. There were a bunch of Chick Stix players in front of the net, Kim had a head of steam and was crashing the net, and Brenda at center was coming in strong behind me.Â All of a sudden, I saw this sliver of open net and knew the goalie was screened and wouldn’t be able to see the puck coming at her. I took a wrister from the top of the right circle – probably the best one in my playing career thus far – and watched as it flew through the air into the goal, about 3 feet off the ice. Wahoo! That ended up being the only goal of the game.
So the upshot is that I really, really, REALLY like scoring. I had no idea how much I enjoyed it until the first time I did it last fall (also when playing with NH, that time against MIT.) The grin last night didn’t come off my face for a couple of hours. Playing wing is a real challenge for me still, but I’m learning more each time I do it. My head is that of a defender, but my soul? She wants to score lots of goals. And really, who knows what the future holds?
Thanks NH Panthers! Thanks Maria, both for the great passÂ last night and for letting us play with you when you need skaters.