Sunday was circled on the schedule for a while around our locker room. Both Providence and ourselves had been up high in the league standings for quite some time and we knew we were going to be in for a showdown.
We had talked all week before we went to San Antonio about preparing for the week ahead culminating against on Sunday. It was to be our third game in three nights, and our fourth in five, but I think everyone knew that it was going to be a playoff type atmosphere, which isn't always the case finishing off a busy week.
The game definitely did not disappoint, and while Providence seemed to control the first half of the game, the guys seemed to be able to
take over and keep up our game plan of attacking their defense, wearing them down, and dominating the game in the last period and a half.
We had noticed the goaltender for Providence had been going down on his knees on a lot of the shots, and the coaches came in between periods and made a point of telling us to shoot high when we get in close to the goal.
Coming out in the third period our forward knew what to look for and Jesse Schultz was able to capitalize and put two goals in the net, both up high.
The time in between periods of a game seems long to the crowd in the stands, enough time for the Zamboni to clean the ice. In reality the locker is a pretty busy place, guys re-taping sticks, re-hydrating with water, Gatorade, and protein shakes, and coaches adjusting
the game plan from what they saw in the last period.
We have a meeting with the coaches between each period, always at the same time, seven and a half minutes before we go back on the ice. Everyone knows when to be back in their locker stalls to hear what is
changing in the game plan. Sometimes, Coach John Anderson will simply tell us to keep playing the way we are. Other times, he'll change our breakout if the coaching staff feels that our opponent is closing off
our passing lanes and reading our attacks out of the
We did this on Sunday after the first period because we noticed that Providence was covering our wingers on the boards, closing off our initial option on our breakout. Little changes like this in the game might not fool a team for long, but it only has to work once or twice to catch them off guard and score a goal.
The defense sits against the back wall the locker room, all in a row. We tend to talk about what we see the other team doing in our zone to create scoring chances. Boris Valabik, my usual defensive partner, sits next to me. We always seem to talk about how we can spend less time in our zone, telling each other what we think we can do on breakouts and where we should go as outlets for each other.
Before the two-minute mark, all the guys line up in the tunnel, wait for our goaltender, whoever is playing that night, to lead us out on the ice. Oystrick always gives all the defense a tap with his glove on his way out, always the first one lined up in the hallway. John Anderson will announce which line is starting the period and when the goalie is ready we head back out to the ice for the next period.