Hang on to your hats, folks. We’re going to recap the 2018/19 playoff season today and it’s a weird, bumpy sort of ride. The season wrapped up the last week of March but thanks to a weird April, I’m going to do my best to recall exactly how the two weeks that were playoffs went down.
Let’s cover each boy’s playoff season one at a time, shall we?
We’ll start with Boy #3 because he didn’t really have a playoff season. Our association hosts a “Fun Day” at the end of the year, so he played in that. Three games in one day. And the first game started at 7am. It was a long, exhausting and totally wonderful day. My littlest player came off the ice with the biggest smile on his face. And that’s the whole goal (pardon the pun) of participating in sports in our house.
For Boy #2, we went into playoffs on a high note. Just a few weeks before we faced off against the second place team and won. For context, we had spent a good portion of the season in the bottom three. So to walk out of the rink with a win against a second place team was a very big deal. Of course, this was only the second game my newly minted goalie played, so I spent a good portion of that game in blind panic.
But that’s a story for another day.
So into playoffs we went. We tied our first game. We won our second game. And that’s when it dawned on me that I might be watching my goalie in nets for more than the three round robin games. I might have been a little nauseous at the thought. We lost our last round robin game and I spent the better part of a day stalking the playoff standings. Sure enough, we snuck through to quarter finals.
As it turns out, the night of quarter finals for my Novice goalie player was the same night of semi finals for my Atom defense player. I made arrangements to get my Atom player to the rink so that I could maximize my time at the Novice game.
And oh, what a game it was. We came out strong and scored the first goal of the game. And we held our own for the first two periods. Then I had to leave and get to the Atom game. And at some point in those last 12 minutes, the wheels fell off. That quarter final finished with a 5-2 loss for my Novice player and his team.
And we were thrilled. Parents, coaches, even convenors. Because on paper, we shouldn’t have made it to quarter finals and we did. I have said it before and I will say it again, lower level hockey is where you really get to see skills progress fast. The team that played in the quarter finals this year was very different than the team that hit the ice at the beginning of the season in September. It was a solid finish to a wonderful season.
For Boy #1 and his team, they came in to playoffs riding a serious high. They had one of those seasons that I will remember for the rest of my life. In our five years and 8 teams worth of hockey, I have never seen a group of kids come together and play together so well, so early in a season. We came back from our away tournament in January and they ran through the next 8 games. In the last half of the season I think they only lost one or two games. And we finished the season in first place.
Because of this standing, we had a “bye” for the first game in the round robin. Meaning, we only had two round robin games to play and they were back to back during one weekend. We lost the first game and tied the second, 0-0. Turns out we just snuck into semi finals for them as well.
Not what we expected, but ok. Pressure is on. They can do this.
So after the mad dash between arenas, we were fresh from the Novice quarter final and ready to cheer on our Atom team. I mean, we had done it all season, we were going to cheer them through this. It took a couple of periods for us to realize that things were going pear shaped. And suddenly pucks were flying past our players left, right and centre.
Our Atom coach (who I will always appreciate and respect for his approach to coaching) had us parents brave the smelly dressing room because a season like that needs something more than a loss in semi finals.
A brief pep talk, a reminder of exactly how amazing the season really was, a few tears and a couple hugs later and that was it.
After countless hours, stress, cheers, laughs and wonderful memories, we wrapped up our 18/19 Season.
And I can’t wait to do it again.
See you at the rink,