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Stick With It
It was a cold night, but inside the locker room everyone was sweating. It was the Finals for our hockey and several of our best players were out due to sickness. Our best player was out because he was in a car crash several days ago and he didn’t get better by the game. We had just received word that he had a broken arm and a broken nose. We knew we didn’t have a chance to win without our players, but I knew we had to try.
Then suddenly the buzzer sounded for all players to go out onto the ice. We hesitantly walked out of the locker room, depressed that we were going to lose. Our head coach, Coach Benson had tried everything to cheer my teammates up. But nothing worked. Connor our best defenseman was playing horribly because of his lack of self-confidence. Several of our offense players were starting to believe that if we tried we could win, but unfortunately the defense had let 1 player slip by, unfortunately the infantile player scored, leading their team by 1.
The game was a 1-0 lead for the other team and it was getting worse. By period 2 the game was 2-1. Our offense assistant captain Marshall had scored a goal with Dan, our left-winger receiving an assist.
I finally decided to encourage our team and win this game. I had no idea how though. Then I saw my chance. A deviant left-winger from the other team had deaked all of our players, but he had no idea how to get past me. I saw a chance to line up a perfect body check and sent him flying.
The puck went spinning away to our right defense man Connor. He quickly passed the puck back to me as I started to skate up. 2 kids closed in on both sides of me, they were faster than me I knew this, but I used my body weight to keep them from throwing me off balance. Staying low and out of the way I passed the puck to our right winger Ethan. He skated quickly toward the goal dodging players the whole way. He passed it toward Jake our left-winger, but another kid from the other team quickly scooped up the puck and threw it toward our goalie Andrew. He quickly caught it in his glove and passed it toward Connor. He skated quickly up the ice and passed it toward Marshall. Marshall then used all of his speed to get inside their blue line. Then he passed the puck to Ethan. There were 5 minutes left in the game and it was still 2-1. Hoping that would change quickly I charged toward the other team’s blue line. Keeping the puck in Marshall finally scored on the top right of the net.
The game became a matter of life and death to most of us. Most of us were exhausted from playing without our teammates, and sporadic plays appeared more often. With the score tied 2-2 and only 2 minutes & 30 seconds left in the game we tried to at least keep the scores tied for overtime.
Our coaches were fumed at our lacking performance. They thought we could do better if we tried. One of our players started ranting uncontrollably toward Coach Mike, our assistant coach. The kid was thrown out of the game, leaving us with even less players to play with.
Then on the ice another tragedy occurred. Dan our second line defenseman was hurt in a play. He had gotten the puck off of a kid who was checked hard. He skated toward the other end of the ice, but always looked at the puck. A kid nailed him in the chest blowing the breath from him and leaving him with a shoulder injury. He was escorted off the ice by the officials and Coach Benson. We were down to 2 lines of offense and 3 defenseman, hardly enough to keep the other team from scoring.
At 1 minute left in the game tension was rising. Our parents tried to cheer all of us on, but we had little hope to keep it up. We were so tired that we had to switch in and out every 30 seconds just to keep fresh kids on the ice. We even had to switch out Andrew our main goalie for Michael, our backup. He was good but he also didn’t have much practice, and needed to be warmed-up. After what seemed like hours of playing to keep the puck out of our goal the buzzer sounded. The game was over but over-time had just begun.
We picked the 3 best scorers on our team. Marshall, Ethan & Me. The other team picked their captain and their 2 assistant captains for the over-time. We had 3 chances to get more goals than the other team. Marshall was up first. He curved to the left side of the goalie. Instinctively the goalie moved with him. Marshall then deaked him to the right to the left & to the right again, Scoring a bottom right hand corner goal.
The other team’s player skated straight at Michael intimidating him and scoring a top right wrist shot.
I was up second. Starting with a slow steady pace that curved from side to side, I decided to use a trick my father showed me. I skated toward the goalie and started a deak, but curved around in a circle throwing a backhander into the net which the goalie hadn’t expected.
The captain of the other team scored a humiliating second goal to us by deaking the goalie 4 times.
Finally our final player was up, Connor. He was a fairly large kid that packed punch. He charged toward the goal, skating as fast as he could. He scored a goal by throwing a slap shot at the goalie. All tension had risen. The other team had 1 chance to keep us from winning. The skater raced toward the puck. He deaked our goalie 2 times digging hard into the ice. He threw the puck full force toward the net. We heard a cracking sound and all watched intently at what was going to happen. The puck fell out of the goalie’s glove, and everyone cheered. Soon after we made acquaintances with the other team
After the game we all went into the locker, room washed up and changed our clothes. Our parents congratulated us and after a party we all went home. I learned that day that no matter how good we are at something, we just have to stick with it, and love it.