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The Big Game

By , Fairfield, CT
Everyone shuffled to their spot to get dressed and there wasn’t the usual chatter in the locker room. We were about to play one of the biggest games of our lives. As I entered the lock room my body was twitching, half from being worried about playing in front of the enormous crowd and half from being anxious to play the game. I could feel the butterflies in my stomach as I started to get dressed and even though I had a big meal of pasta before the game I felt like I was starving.

Our coach came in the locker room about 15 minutes before the game is going to start to give his pre game talk. He said “guys this game is ours.” “We have not lost 1 game in this tournament yet.” We all huddled up in the middle of the locker room and put our hands in the middle and said “1, 2, 3, heart!” Once our team was pumped up I knew no doubt we were going to win this game. Our team lined up and started walking out the locker room to get on the ice. Instantly after I was out of the doorway from the locker room I could already smell the fast food. I could faintly hear my parents yelling my name because it was muffed out by the 14 thousand other Canadian fans cheering and shouting. When I first hopped on the ice I could feel the adrenaline rush from being in front of all the people. I felt like I was 1000 times faster than I normally am. After a great warm up our team was 100% ready to play. But, in the first period we did not play 100%. In the first 5 minutes the other team had already put 1 goal up. We were a highly skilled team and we knew we needed to score fast to get back in the game. The exact opposite happened. The other team put up 2 more goals before the end of the first period and we found ourselves losing 3-0.

In the intermission our coach told us what we would need to do to get back in this game. He said “We need to stop them right now.” “Right when we go out we need to put up 2 or 3 quick goals to stop from losing control of this game”. In the second period our team finally woke up. We started out a lot more focused. Every single time I was on the ice it felt like there was nobody watching our game and all the noise from the fans was completely drowned out. But, after I would get off the ice from a shift I would realize how many people were just watching me. In the first 8 minutes our team managed to put 2 pucks in the back of the net from a couple of great plays. Miraculously our team got an extremely lucky goal with 45 seconds left in the 2nd period to tie the game up.
I could feel the tension in the air as the 3rd period started. After a week of this tournament it would come down to the last 20 minutes of the final game to decide the winner. Our coach said to us before we went out “Remember, whoever wins this period wins this tournament.” When I look back on the last period of the game, all I can think of is how we failed to carry our momentum over into the last 20 minutes. When the other team came out in the 3rd period they seemed entirely different. They were beating us to all the loose pucks and controlling the puck for the majority of the time. From this happening our defense was getting worn out. In the final 10 minutes they managed to score a goal. I looked at the other guys on our bench and saw everybody had a worried look on their face. Our coach called a timeout with 2 minutes left in the game to form a plan to score. But unfortunately luck was not on our side that day. The other team managed to finish the game winning 4-3 with us only getting 1 good scoring chance in the last 2 minutes. My head felt like it was spinning in circles after we lost. Even thought our coach told us our heads should be held high, I still felt terrible we lost a game we should have won.
To this day I can still hear see and smell what it is like playing in that stadium. Every day I think about the game I wonder what I could have done more to win.





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