We have a hockey player in the house.
Actually, we have two—or more—but only one who plays “professionally”.
Ian participated in a 3-on-3 tournament this past weekend. Generally, hockey is 5-on-5 with a goalie, so with fewer skaters, I was actually a bit concerned for Ian. As the goalie for one of the four teams, he was likely to face far more shots than in a normal game, and as the backup goalie for his regular team this season, he is a bit “green” still.
However, Ian ended up with perhaps the best performance of all four of the goalies in the tournament!
He was teamed with several players from the travel teams. Travel teams often are comprised of the more skilled players (but not necessarily so) and in general would be favored to out-perform the house-league players (who are Ian’s regular teammates). There was good-natured competition brewing between these house-league teammates and their goalie understudy. And he bested them all!
Ian’s first game was probably his best, actually. He started the tournament against a team that was stacked with some of the better players from his regular team—who was also the early favorite to win this 3-on-3 tournament. It was a hard-fought game by both teams, but Ian’s team had a somewhat comfortable 5-3 lead up to the final minute. It was then that one of his regular teammates put a puck past Ian to make the score 5-4. Tense moments followed—including some clutch saves by Ian Campbell—until the final buzzer sounded with Ian’s team the victors!
That set the tone for the whole tournament, I think.
Many folks were telling me that Ian not only played a great game, but everyone was saying so. (Including the players from the other teams.)
Not wanting it to go too much to his head (and see him “flop” in Game Two) I kept such comments to myself, but did compliment him on a very well-played game.
(Really! I was very impressed!)
Well, Game Two was played, and Ian’s team was able to sort of “coast” to a 5-2 win. Not bad! There was a break then for the afternoon, followed by two more games for each team in the evening.
Back on the ice for Game Three, Ian actually completed 25 minutes of ice time without allowing a single goal, including a save on a penalty shot against a fairly good scorer from his regular team. (Again… impressed!) His team triumphed 7-0, and was to face the pre-tournament “best” team for their final game—right after they finished the third game!
To my (great) surprise, Ian’s team was skating harder and faster than the rested team, and built up a 5-2 lead going into the last third of the game or so.
But then they felt the tired.
One goal, then two, then THREE goals scored in the final minutes—I can’t recall now, but it might have been the final minute—produced a tie, and also solidified Ian’s team as the top seed in the tournament the following day with a final record of 3-0-1.
Ian was undefeated! Wow! Who’d-a thunk it?!
The tournament began at 8:30am the next morning, and Ian continued his very solid play, posting a 2-1 victory in the opening game against the fourth seed. The only goal he allowed was on a penalty shot! (Are you kidding me???)
The second game to determine their opponent in the Championship Game started very surprisingly with the pre-tournament “favorite” finding themselves down 3-0 very early in the game. It turned out to be a fantastic match, however, as that team came back and scored with literally one second remaining to avoid overtime and steal the victory by one goal.
After the Consolation Game, Ian’s team took the ice, ready to try to best the pre-tournament “favorites” one more time. He was already 1-0-1 against this team, and hoped to keep his perfect record going!
The game was really back and forth, but it didn’t start well! Ian’s team were down early, 2-1. They were able to fight back and gain a 4-2 advantage late in the contest—but favorites are favorites for a reason.
Tough play netted the “favorites” a goal to get them within one. Four to three was the score until just a couple minutes remained. The pressure was on… shot after shot… Ian’s team couldn’t get the puck. A shot from right in front of the net was saved by a swift motion of Ian’s leg pad…
But then it was just as swiftly tapped into the net by the same player who scored the fourth goal in the first game (Ian’s regular teammate) … and we had a tie game!
We’re headed to oooooooverrrrtime!
Overtime was tense, with chances for both teams, until finally Ian’s teammate was able to find the net with about a minute left in the 5-minute, non-sudden-death OT. Ian stopped the rest of the shots and his team left the ice with a well-earned 5-4 OT victory—and the Championship!
How fun for Ian! He’s been working really hard this year—and enjoying every minute of it!—as a backup goalie for the last-place team in his league. His only ice time has been in “mop-up” time: when his team was either up by a lot, or more likely, losing by a lot. He did get to play in one game near the end of the year, and helped his team to a victory! Again, fun!
They finish up this weekend with another tournament out of town. Ian will play in at least one game. He certainly has the support of his teammates (perhaps even more now?) and it will be fun to root him and all of them on to (hopefully) another tournament championship!
What a way to finish the season!
Great job, Ian The Goalie!