Game number ten went into the books this afternoon, with Child Three in goal.
He stopped a good chance early, but got lucky on the rebound as he turned his back on the play but the shooter put it into his pads. We ended the first period up 1-0.
Child Three has two tendencies that really drag his game down, and I had a little chat with him during the break. He ignores or swings out his stick and he goes down on one knee. The one knee stance is fine if he’s trying for a toe save that he needs to reach for, but Child Three uses it as his default and as a result he lets in more goals than he should between the legs. I told him to pay attention to those errors, and he listened.
He made some good stops in the second period, and got a bit of help from his crossbar once, but the period ended with the score still 1-0.
Our guys scored three more goals in the third, and Child Three made one or two more decent saves, but the team fell apart. The last three goals all came on dekes. Our player went to one side, the opposing goalie went down, and our player would take the puck to the other side and pot one. The other goalie (the second as our opponents split the game between two goalies) was not bad – he stopped everything else and even stopped that move a third of the time – but our team collectively sensed the weakness.
Unfortunately, some of the skill players decided that scoring more goals was more important than backchecking and they got lazy. They waited for clearing passes instead of going in and helping the defense strip the other team of the puck. With four minutes left, I told my forwards to play defensively. The line went on and gave up a breakaway within 30 seconds – and watched the opposing players rush toward our net instead of skating back to intercept (we have some fast players who might have caught up). Child Three did his one-knee drop and the puck went in. It was a total breakdown.
That became an extremely short shift for that line.
WIth two minutes to go, one of players received two minutes for slashing, and the other team scored an almost identical goal. Breakaway, one knee, puck in net.
I’m not a big believer in the momentum cliche, but I do believe in motivation. The goal motivated the other team and they had us back on our heels, but we withstood the pressure and took the 4-2 score into the locker room.
The other coaches and I had more to say in today’s debrief than we did last week after the 10-0 win. We’re playing the team we beat 10-0 next week, and they are much better than that score indicates. My Panthers better be more ready to play and work for the entire game if they want to stay in first place.