So my hotel room is not the greatest but I’m sure as heck happy with my breakfast options even though there is no bacon 🥓 mmmm 😋. I wake up and Walter is off doing his steps walking downstairs from the 22nd floor as he sneaks off but the door closing wakes me up and I get down to the breakfast area before he does and we sit and have some fruits and juice as we chat about random things going on around our microcosm of international hockey players . It’s a tough pill to swallow knowing I have one game today for 5th place and I’m not playing on the Sunday . What can you do ? We are all having fun and my Slovak team mates and I are growing closer and closer together as a family more then just friends . Stephan our organizer has really done a great job pulling together a group that has become so tight knit .... soon enough the troops arrive and let us or at least me know that we will meet in a few hours to take our shuttle bus to Almaty Arena where our gear is hopefully drying . I didn’t have time to write anything this morning as I was feeling a bit groggy and opted to watch a couple episodes of Disenchanted on Netflix to kill time and pick up my spirits .
Our opponents today is a team from Czech Republic and I think you all know how these teams countries rivalry but this team is actually sharing a room with us and we are all getting along so it’s a bit weird trying to get focused on playing a team that are in the same room . The pressure is on to get the win or I might leave here and this trip without registering an official win . How crap would that be ? Still can’t shake the fact we didn’t win our first game as we find out they lost their game earlier by a similar score to our game against the same Karaganga team (I might be spelling this wrong) I thought they would get lit up with their goalie that has a tendency to drop to his knees when the opposition is in his zone which is odd but seems to work for him somehow .... don’t even know what to call this style lol 😝
Back to the task at hand ... we gotta win or fave embarrassing ourselves . We step on the ice and go through the regular routine of warming up and do the European style salute at our blue line while facing our opponents ... the old stick in the air and ice tap before one quick lap to the crease and the guys surround me and do their little cheer and we set up for the face off . The game was back and forth as both myself and my opposing tender made the key saves and kept the score tight until we potted one to go up 1-0 before half time .... yes two period games means half time hahaha 😆 at the half I could see the intensity in all my team mates faces and I personally wondered where this effort was yesterday as I could even see our elder statesmen Boshenko putting in a stellar effort and I was really hoping he would continue in the second period . Whistle blows and I skate across the ice and the Czechs came out storming but my defence was solid in stymying their attack and all the shots I faced in that second period were mostly routine saves as I began freezing the puck more and more to kill the running clock and get my team mates a rest . I’m not sure who scored the first or the soon to come second goal but I do know Walter potted one and we were all happy to see that ! When we went up 2-0 the game was fully in hand but we played without any mistakes and I kept the shutout which was the first for the whole tournament and everyone was buzzing about my big win . Heck even I was happy as we skated to the bench after shaking hands and I jumped into the shower ....only to find out as we left that there was another game ? Against the same team !
This is nobodies fault but my own as it is in the schedule but I never thought of this type of scheduling as I’ve never encountered this .... I was a bit flustered and I think my team mates are wondering why I’m pissed off when in fact I’m just trying to alter my mood from celebratory to focused . I sure hope I can keep up this play and I’m sure my team mates are still keen to kick ass . Putting that wet gross gear back on always sucks , cold and damp and trying to get focused I put my gear on and next thing you know we are facing the Czech guys again within an hour of beating them . Same routine and next thing you know the puck is being dropped . My team is on fire 🔥 and they are controlling the game as if they had played together for ages . It’s amazing how much we jelled from yesterday and everyone was playing way better together then as individuals and before you know it Walter is on a breakaway ! He scored !! Pretty sure that put us up 2-0 and then we were up 3-0 and then my ref buddy Tomas comes over to tell me I’m gonna get a shutout ....NNNNOOOOO!!! oh me oh my am I ever superstitious and I could feel those words cutting my ears off as I didn’t want to hear that and I never do especially during the game . In fact I don’t want to hear them ever to be honest , and before you know it one of the Czech players broke through and skated in on me on his own and instead of giving him the poke check I let him get close and I messed up by trying to pull off a two pad slide as he slipped the puck under me ... he deserved it and those guys were happy to pot one on me but that would be the only one they would score . We dominated them and won the game 6-1 and took 5th place and ended up 2-2 and I had given up 9 goals in 4 games which is pretty good but the rumours begin that I’m probably gonna win MVG . Personally I thought I was better then my opposing keepers but you never know , usually that honour goes to a higher ranked team even though I’ve probably stopped more rubber then all the others . Before I left the rink I gave my good friend Rene Koles from the Czech team one of my goalie sticks , he is the guy who is dressing up in the fox costume 🦊 and he is such a nice fella . He is so happy he offers me his Fox tournament hoodie which I didn’t want to take and really I didn’t want to trade and rather gift the stick but he pressures me to take it and I oblige after all it’s one hell of a sweet hoodie and I’m sure that twig was fair trade to him . I was happy that he was happy and that’s what giving is all about !
Back in the room I take another shower and pack my bag as a few Kozel beers fall into our hands and we have a quick drink before leaving the rink with our opposition as we pile into our shuttle bus and get evicted from our room . It’s almost a blessing that we don’t play tomorrow as I’ve got to dry this gear out as much as possible before my disgustingly early Monday departure ... 2 am flights rock , NOT ! Back at the room I decorate my room with goalie equipment and the sweet scents of sweat fill the air and we all go down for a bite to eat at our favourite place to eat next door called Noodles . We had dinner there the last couple nights and every meal I’ve gobbled has been delish 😋 tonight we are having our tournament party and there will be a stripper there to entertain us . Apparently it was either this or go karts .... I’m good with whatever the team wants as we are enjoying spending time together . At dinner Tomas and Peter who are our amazing refs tell me the dance is later so let’s hit the sauna ... I’m so down with that and excited I bolt before them or Walter who also was interested in a little detoxing . On the way to the sauna I find out that the dancer changed the schedule and was coming earlier which gave me a little time to hit the sauna and I messaged Walter who didn’t respond immediately and when I came out of the sauna I received the message telling me that he had left ???
I’m not really down with travelling around alone as taxis don’t drop you exactly where they are supposed to so frantically I message everyone and find out that some of the guys are still in the bar and the refs are now opting out of the strip show so I rush downstairs meet the boys and off we go ... we went to this karaoke bar called Aura and our taxi is 400 tenge which is about $1.50 CDN lol 😝 makes me feel more angry about this scammer taxi driver I had the pleasure of being ripped off by grrrr 👿! When we get there it’s just our team and the Czech team and we begin to drink and I order some sheesha to share with everyone which I was told was 2,000 tenge . I order a round of gin tonics also and the dancer comes out and shows us her boobs and leaves within minutes ... I was disappointed because she had a snake in her photos with her and I really wanted to see the snake 🐍 but she didn’t have it with her boo !!! Where are all the other teams ? Talk about anti social . Oh well fuck em’ , we are gonna have fun on our own anyways and guys begin singing karaoke and dancing and we really had fun until I got my bill of 37,000 tenges for 6 gin tonics and sheesha which is about $130 CDN . Yeah wtf , so I botch for a moment then I swallow my pride and pay up and walk away defeated as the guys all are shaking their heads . What’s with the scams here , that’s twice now .
The guys gave me our 5th place trophy to take home and I got this sweet bottle of Jameson’s from Stephan and his family for yet another birthday gift 🎁. Unbelievable how generous they are , every minute we grow closer and closer to each other as our bond is strengthen with positivity in the eye of despair ... I’m saying that because we both paid a kings ransom at that bar . Oh I forgot to mention that the stripper gave a quick lapdance with her clothes on and then left and we definitely didn’t love that . What a money grab that was .... shoulda went go karting but that’s water under the bridge now eh . We opted to walk back to the hotel and we got cozy with some well poured gin tonics at the upstairs bar as we all hung around telling jokes and watching dirty videos together . It doesn’t matter where we are or what we are doing , we are always having fun as long as we are together . Who says team bonding sucks eh lol 😝
Time to hit that slab of bed or is it a rock ? Definitely questioning the piece of cloth that looks like a pillow .... at least it smells nice in here hahaha 😂