I can’t believe how time flies . This actually took place over two weeks ago now and I’m back home reminiscing over a day that definitely had its ups and downs . As I mentioned in my last post , I took it easy that night at Strats and really did stick to my self imposed curfew because to start the day off I had a massive semi final match for the B squad I’m playing for which is the home club , Adelaide Tigers 🐯. They are in it to win it and are playing for all the marbles and we have to face a team that has previously competed in the A division at this tournament and rumours do go around about how they have this guy and we should worry about that guy and basically the best thing to do going into one of these games is to not be worried about the players you have to face but instead worry about yourself ! Stick to the game plan and stay focused . The game before us was the other semi final match between the ADF Strike and Beijing North Stars and I got to the rink early enough to watch that game and man oh man was Trevor on fire that day . He was a wall out there for his squad that faced the same adversity every other team put on them after we solved them out ... take out their sniper and they don’t have much chance . I had to get to my dressing room to get ready for my game and we half heartedly all were listening to the other game as the cheers and jeers floated from an almost packed arena . Our room was preparing for our task at hand as the guys went over lines and plays that they had concocted as our dressing room leaders all stepped up and made their speeches . When we were all dressed we stepped out the room to watch the final minutes of the other semi and to my relief I knew I wouldn’t have to face the tough task of out duelling Trevor once again . As much as I felt bad for him I was more happy to have to face the team that had been the only team to defeat our semi final foes which should prove to be a tough task but first things first ..... Canterbury Kings .
When the puck was dropped you could tell we were all ready to go and we struck first with the go ahead goal that we would never turn back from ! It was intense as the crowd began to grow in anticipation for the championship games to follow . The team we faced were no slouches as they pressed for an equalizer but we went into the first intermission with a 1-0 lead . The bench was pumped but knew we would have to knuckle down to win this one and when the second period started we pumped a second goal in to go up 2-0 and our opponents turned it up a notch and soon broke my shutout and tied it up soon after that . We responded to their two goals in that frame by adding a third which seemed to be the nail in the coffin as our opponents began to seem more and more frustrated and began taking penalties . We also took our fair share of minutes in the box but the controlling factor was my teams composure . Going into the third we had that 3-2 lead and when the third began the Kings came out hard .... I mean really hard , like throw everything at us including the kitchen sink hard ! I have to admit my teammates played excellent defence and kept the puck to the outside for that whole time they swarmed us then we had our chance and took advantage of it . The nail in the coffin ⚰️. After we went up 4-2 the Kings gave it their all but they seemed tired and worn down and defeated . I’m sure they didn’t expect to lose but they did . We have a championship game to play and as crazy as this sounds , it’s right after my championship game for the Sniperz . Basically I have to play one game and win or lose I will have to go to the next room and get back on the ice . Two championships for two teams in two divisions in the same tournament .
I had little to no time to do much between games but I did find the time to rush back to the hotel throw my wet gear outside to dry out in the crappy windy weather we were experiencing this day . Yeah why couldn’t it be sunny ☀️. I put my jersey and clothes I would wear in the dryer and took a quick snooze . All I can hope for is that my gear dries off a bit before I have to wear them for my back to back championship matches . When I woke up which honestly I wouldn’t even say I slept during that time as I was way too excited . I gathered my stuff and went with Nonny back to the rink to get ready for our championship game in the C division vs. a team called Aussie Heat . They seemed to have the same record as us and matched us in the scoring and defensive departments . This won’t be easy and when we arrived we noticed that the arena was pretty packed . Now I’m no idiot but if you ask me , we won’t be the favoured team on the ice this match as we are not locals . Well for the most part :) we do have locals on the squad but the team is from Okinawa .
We got to use the Adelaide Falcons dressing room as their weekend had come to an abrupt end and were not using it and that room was nice but was wierd as we had to go down a set of stairs to get to . When I got tot he room I sat beside my buddy Brandon Bailey and we chatted about some things as we got dressed and then we got up to watch the end of the women’s final which one of our team mates was playing in for the Pro Look women’s team and we all thought they would win as they went undefeated all tournament . Cheyenne came to the room with a feeling of disappointment as her team lost to the Valkyries 2-1 in a nail biter 😢 I felt bad for her and then it occurred to me that losing this game would be my first loss of the tournament .... how much would that suck to play all week and absolutely dominate to get all the way to this point and then lose ? It can happen ....
We were prepared with a full lineup aside from missing Craig Meharry which we could have used but the rest of the squad are no slouches and the team fully agreed to shorten the bench if need be . When we got on the ice you could tell the crowd had filled even more as teams getting eliminated were joining in to watch and I don’t know if they were friends or foes of the Sniperz but I sure as hell know the majority were cheering for the Aussie Heat . When the puck dropped we seemed too nervous as the guys all gripped their sticks a bit too tight and immediately I could tell we weren’t playing the game we had played all week .... maybe it was us ? Maybe it was the pressure from the opposition ? Or maybe it was nerves .... I don’t know but immediately it seemed as though we were certain to be outshot and outplayed in our own zone as we didn’t play the puck properly and turned over the puck way too easily . Our breakout was non existent and I was getting frustrated . I don’t even think 5 minutes had passed when they took a shot which I stopped and didn’t control the rebound and made that save also only to have a third skater pot the puck into a gaping net as I saw my team mates all watch going in . That killed me . I didn’t know what to do . Do I get angry with them ? Will that change things ..... well I did get angry and I don’t think it had the reaction I wanted as it seemed to make things worse . When we switched ends I didn’t say much to the bench and I do remember a certain player being angry at me for being angry at him and I could feel the teams frustrations . It was only 1-0 but that feeling of needing to get some positivity rolling was definitely not there . Unfortunately it reared it’s ugly face to begin the second period as we gave up two more quick goals and the nightmare I had wished to never happen was upon me . Losing that one game that meant everything and the lost key moment is the last thing I had wished for but I was almost ready to prepare for it after the third goal got by me . Going into the third period we were down 3-0 and I just skated across the ice as I had nothing positive to say to the guys and figured it’s best to keep my anger penned up . That’s when Brandon Bailey steppes up his game . That feeling of helplessness became a feeling of hope when I saw my buddy break the shutout and get us to within 2 goals . Before this we had little to no attack at all and I don’t know what happened by it was like having a sleeping giant awake ! That first goal sparked the whole squad and soon after Marc Daigler potted the second for ya to come within one goal of a comeback . With under two minutes left I rushed to the bench to add an extra attacker and then I saw one of our players circle back into our zone and lose the puck . One of the Heat skaters gobbled that shit up and deposited it into the empty net to put them surely ahead with a 4-2 lead . We were doomed .... or so it seemed ? I was kept on the bench and with the blink of an eye Brandon got us back to a one goal deficit and you could see us attacking like a pack of sharks that smelled blood ..... those last two minutes felt like twenty minutes and we pressed as hard as we could only to be stymied by a post and a couple lucky breaks for the opposition ..... unfortunately we lost . Our first and only loss of the tournament 😭 when we all got on the ice there was a sense of relief that we at least gave it our all and didn’t pack it in . I was proud of my team mates and we all seemed to put aside our momentary differences as we shook the victors hands and congratulated them as the crowd went wild . They definitely got their money’s worth watching this one . I would have been happy to watch it unfold also . No time to waste though .... I have another championship game to play !
That fuck we fucking lost feeling didn’t have time to settle before I was dragging my ass into another dressing room where my team mates were asking how we did . Yeah we lost .... I don’t think they expected that answer and at the same time they brushed it off . Time for our big match . The thought of losing two games in a row and the only two games to be lost crosses my mind and what a horrible thought that would be . I didn’t even consider the fact that Cheyenne has to deal with that and I feel bad she had to as we really should have won . It will always and forever leave a bad taste in my mouth knowing that if we woke up sooner that final game we would have , should have and could have went home with a trophy which until the end of time I will say we fully deserved . A team of misfits that really didn’t know each other came together , partied together , won together and grew together and made it all the way to the final out of 12 teams . I would be more then happy to play with this bunch again and I hope it happens next year but for now I should get back to the task at hand and that’s finishing this story ....
Now playing for the home team after playing for a team from abroad does have its differences . First of all the crowd is in your favour and by this point it was a fully packed house ! I hope I’m not exaggerating when I say there was probably around 500 + spectators for this game and the only thing you have to do is block it out . When we entered the ice the refs looked at me and said you’re back again ? Hahaha yeah what can I say I’m a glutton for punishment . This was my tenth game of the week and all I could wish and dream of was winning at least one of these championship games . When the puck dropped the crowd roared and the ADF Strike swiftly jumped into attack mode and I had to make a few saves and then we attacked and it was back and forth action until I let one in .... oh no ? Is this it ? Will I buckle now and shy away from a win ! WTF ! This isn’t really happeneing is it .... well hell no . There is no way I’m letting this happen and neither are my team mates who were there to carry the team as we struck back swiftly and tied it up 1-1 before the end of the first frame . I wasn’t playing badly but I really needed to block out that earlier game and get back to my game .... winning and stopping pucks . Half the game for a goalie is mental . Not mental as in crazy but mental as in focus , shut everything out , play the game , stop the shots and eat up the rebounds and that’s what I aimed for . Unfortunately things weren’t going my way and the second period must have left all the onlookers wondering if I was that same goalie earlier this week that was so dominant . I didn’t have my best period and gave up two goals which I would like to have back as ADF pushed hard and got what they wanted .... a 3-1 lead going into the third . I really tried to stay focused and when I got to the bench the guys reassured me that I was playing well and I guess everyone will forget about everything now but this really wasn’t great . Losing one final after making a comeback and here I am in another final down 3-1 going into the third .
Adelaide Tigers don’t give up so easily . That third period ended up being a real barn burner as we turned up the jets and I knew that the guys in front of me would do anything and I am dead serious when I say anything to win this game and right off the bat we scored our second goal which was soon followed by a third . We were met with some opposition but I’m sure they were in awe as they watched the inevitable happen as we tied it up . It was one of those things where we seemed to solve their goalie and get in his head and it felt like every opportunity lead to a goal as the ADF Strike team buckled under the pressure . We were fierce and then the magic happened ... I made a routine save which I steered towards the corner and Joey MacDougall ( hope I got the right guy ) picked the puck up off the boards and just fucking gave it his all and barreled his way up the boards cut in on goal and totally undressed their goalie to put us up 4-3 . That was amazing 😉 it blew my mind how amazing that play was and how great this team can play . Soon after the pressure mounted against us and that’s when I heard the stands erupt .... the whole ice shook like an earthquake when I made what others call the save . Possibly the save of the tournament. The puck went to the point and the D man drifted towards the middle of the ice and blasted a shot that I freakishly saved with the ultimate windmill glove save . Now I don’t mean to brag but I shit you not when I say to this day I still hear about it and it sends shivers up my spine thinking about it and that wasn’t all as I had to pull another big save out of my repertoire to make a heel save that was sure to equalize as I stymied our opponents and finally came out of my shell . I still can’t believe the way that game had ended . We went on to win the title . It was a great feeling but I could still not help thinking about the loss with the Sniperz team I had travelled with .
After the game we received our hats and banner and the crowd was cheering and everyone was feeling great as we went back to our room to celebrate . The beers were flowing and we drank out of both cups we received . One was the tournament trophy which will end up staying in Adelaide and will have a plaque with our team name on it and the other was given to us to take home which my team mates gave to me as a gift which will surely end up with my collection of trophies from around the world . This was my last game of the trip and I ended up with a 9-1 record at the tournament and an overall 10-2 record over the last 6 weeks . I don’t count the games that were scrimmages or practises but in total I skated on the ice 19 times on the continent down under . As the beers flowed I thought of my friends that I had travelled with and went to the other room to have a beer with them and grab my bag .... they were not there 🤔 only a couple fellas were there with one of the Sniperz and they said the beer was all gone and congratulated me and I went back to the festivities 🥳 we had to get out of the room to allow the Adelaide Tigers A team to go play their championship match and we headed to the rink bar which was rammed . The whole rink was rammed ! Everyone was drinking having fun and sharing hockey stories as we all watched the big final together which the Tigers went on to win as well . In fact that Tigers club dominated by winning A,B and C2 division only missing out on making it to C1 which we had lost with the Sniperz . As I was in that bar I felt conflicted ... do I hang with my Sniperz team mates or carry on celebrating with the Tigers ?
The tournament party concluded upstairs where there was a feast of food prepared for us and I decided to enjoy some time with the Tigers . Unfortunately some people were a bit unruly as they came to our table to eat the food we had gathered and there was some weird shit particularly with one of the Beijing North Stars players who thought it was a good idea to come snatch as much pizza from us as he wanted without a thank you or excuse me and this only solidified the way I had been thinking about those guys for most of the week . They are dicks ! Not all of them though as I did have a few friendly words with Trevor who is their goalie and is a class act who congratulated me and was happy to see one of us win . I told him how awesome I thought he played and I’m sure he knows that he is one helluva keeper ! The time soon came that my Sniperz team mates were getting restless and they wanted to go back and shower and get the town for one last hoorah as they were all flying out in the morning . I left with them after saying by to the Tigers and that’s the last I saw of them .... before I carry on I want to thank each and every one of them for accepting me as one of their own and letting me be their goalie . It was truly an honour playing for you guys and hopefully I can come back next year to defend that title with you again .
We got back to the hotel . Opened up our bags and showered then met in the lobby where we decided that we wanted to find a bar with good drinks to sit down at and hang out . We settled on that bar down the alley from Hungry Jacks and when we arrived the bartenders remembered us and we got a table on the patio which continually grew as more and more people joined us . Eventually even tournament organizer Glenn Foll joined us for one last drink and we all thanked him for putting on such an amazing tournament . Glenn you did a great job , thanks again ! I highly recommend this tournament ! Good people , good hockey and good drinks 🍸. Alas that deep sadness inside was growing as I knew I had to leave in a few days and I didn’t want to think about it and as we sat there we planned to spend the day with Steve Meharry tomorrow and do some sightseeing after Nonny and myself will have to move hotels . Those gin drinks I had were really good but I couldn’t drink enough to get a better buzz then what I had achieved from playing in this tournament this week as that feeling of camaraderie and winning and all that goes with participating in a great tournament like this sure do overcome any amount of alcoholic beverages . Regardless we stayed until last call , grabbed some grub on the way back to the hotel and said our good byes . I will sure as heck miss you all .
I almost forgot to mention that thanks to my friend at Infinity Hockey I was able to bring some goalie sticks and leave them behind and seeing as how I’m leaving and didn’t have to play anymore I found Greg Harrison who is the goalie from the Darwin Evolution team and left him one stick and left the other with Cody Vogel who was a defenseman on my Sniperz squad but plays goal in Okinawa . His wife seen above messing around with one of the sticks . Cheyenne you’re hilarious and Greg is below and the last I saw of him he was carrying that stick around like a trophy while we were all drinking at the rink . Today two weeks later he has let me know he had two wins with that stick since beginning to use it :) I think this tournament really brought a lot of people together for different reasons and I hope and pray I can make it back next year to have fun with you all again !