Hey everyone, welcome back to the blog. This time, I’m doing something a little different to the usual. As you can probably see by the title of the article, I’m covering an ice hockey match. That’s right, we’re delving into a different world of sport this time. Get excited for this.
So early last week, the Mascot Jets played the Trash Pandas in the coveted Beerginners League at Ice Zoo in Alexandria. Both teams had played each other the week before, with the Pandas emerging victorious from that game. The Jets went into this match 2nd on the ladder, with 14 points, only separated from 1st by goal difference. The Pandas meanwhile were sitting at 3rd on 12 points. So it was do or die for both teams in this match, the Semi Final, with the winning team having the opportunity to progress to the Final next week.
The Jets were back at strength in their defence this week, and had Captain Ash Moore back in action after a week off in the previous week. Now for those of you reading this who aren’t all that familiar with the rules around ice hockey, the thing you need to know is this: The match is played in 3 periods of 15 minutes. In these periods, there are 6 players on the ice for each team, consisting of a Centre, 2 Wingers, 2 Defenders, and a Goalkeeper. If the match is tied at the end of the third period of regular time, a 3 minute period of extra time is added on, and only 3 players plus the keeper are on the rink for each team. If this fails to resolve the score, the match goes to a shootout. I’ll analyse and recap the match by going through each period.
Period 1: The Jets got off to a strong start in the first period of regular time, keeping most of the play in the Opposition half. The Pandas began to make some quick breaks, getting up into the Jets half and taking a number of fairly good shots on goal, however the Jets keeper Girdo managed to make some top quality saves, keeping the puck out of the goal. The Jets made sure to make the most of their opportunities on goal in the first period, with a relatively early goal coming just 3 minutes and 36 seconds in, with 11:24 on the clock. The Jets had a fairly solid defence, keeping the Pandas at bay, particularly after the first goal was scored. To wrap up this period in a few words, both teams took a multitude of shots and had a number of opportunities to score, however, the Jets managed to capitalise on their attempts on goal a little more than the Pandas, which ultimately put them in the lead.
Period 2: The Jets were 1-0 up in the match, and they weren’t going to let the Pandas come back and take the lead from them too easily. The Pandas made a good quick start to the second period, however, the Jets kept up their defence, holding their opposition off from getting forward and scoring any goals to level the scores. The Jets pressured their opponents well, spending a lot of time in the opposition end of the rink, and created many opportunities to score, particularly in the first 5 minutes of the period. However, the Pandas keeper made some great saves, and managed to keep the Jets from scoring again and taking even more of the lead. This period was one where both teams were on the defence, and both just held each other off from getting in on goal. There were chances to score for each side, but neither team could capitalise. All in all, a tight fifteen minutes. The scores remained at 1-0 to the Jets.
Period 3: The final period of the match. This was where each team had to give their all, and had to make it count. The Jets just had to hold the lead. The Pandas had to score at least one goal to take the game into extra time and give themselves a chance to win the match. The Jets started the period off well, taking some good shots early on in the last fifteen minutes, but were unable to put any in. They held their opponents well for the first few minutes of the third period, but, 5 minutes and 33 seconds into the period, the Pandas scored to put themselves level with the Jets at 1-1. Both teams now needed to score a goal to win the match outright in regular time. And whilst both had some great shots on goal, neither side managed to score, and remained level for the rest of the game. This meant only one thing: extra time.
Extra Time: The Jets and the Pandas were both level at 1-1 at the end of the third period of regular time. And so the game would ensue, progressing to a 3 minute period of extra time. The number of players on the field for each side was now reduced from 6 to 4, with three outfield players plus the keeper. Both teams played valiantly, with each of the two taking every shot they could get, and falling back quickly to defend their own goals. And as the clock began to wind down, it looked more and more like this game would be decided by a shootout. But then, with just 6 seconds remaining, the Jets were outdone when the Pandas scored, and it was all over. The Jets has lost 2-1 in extra time, ultimately putting them into a third place playoff match with the Hounds, while the Pandas went through to the Final against the Drunks.
So, what a game. It was a really close one, almost too close to call. The Jets almost had it, and they almost made it to the Final. But the Pandas just made it all happen right at the end, and talk about last minute goals. The Jets played a great match overall, and were unlucky not to win it. But in the end, it was a highly entertaining match. Best of luck to the Jets for their remaining match, and for the next season.