‹ Prequel: Chances Risked
Sequel: Life's Chances

The Three C's

Chapter Twenty

I looked down the line of the Russian’s in front of me and I just couldn’t help but think about how big and intimidating they looked, ‘…This was going to be a tough game…’ I thought as we all slammed our sticks down on the ice and everyone but the first line headed for the bench.

I looked towards Geno; he nodded his head towards me as I climbed over the board and then took a deep breath. I knew that this game was an important one for Russia, their President was here and everything, Russia needed to look good and win the game against Team USA, so they were most likely going to act desperate.

The game started and the sound of the crowds’ cheer, blades on the ice and the puck being shot towards the boards filled my eyes. A little over ten minutes into the game I cursed when Blake Wheeler was going to the box for a two minute penalty. Coach called for the penalty kill line, Pat, Kessel, Orpik and I, to go out onto the ice, he called my name and I turned just in time for his to tell me to do the ‘Quickie’ play.

I didn’t a double take to make sure I heard him right and he nodded his head, ‘…Is he serious? That’s a powerplay move- Not a penalty kill!...’

“What did he say?” Pat asked as we skated towards the faceoff, Kessel, Orpik and Pat surrounding me.

“We’re doing the ‘Quickie’,” I said and they looked at me confused, I sighed, “’Behind the net’, Coach just renamed it,” I said and Pat looked at me.

“Ooooh, got it,” he said and smirked, “Wait- What?!”

“I know,” I said, Pat realizing that we were doing a powerplay move for a penalty kill.

“Confused,” Phil said and the ref yelled for us to go over to the face off.

“Let them get it to the net, I’ll get the puck and you three create an opening for me,” I explained quickly and they nodded their heads and Phil went to the circle, ‘…Please work…’

The Russian got the puck and like I predicted, shot it down towards Quick, I flew after it and went behind the net, quickly turning to find a path. I found one and moved my feet, I twisted and turned my body to get through the boys without being touched, when one of the Russian’s tried to steal the puck from me, I bounced it back against my skate and then left if on the ice to be picked up by Kessel, knowing the Russians wouldn’t see that coming. The puck went back and forth between Orpik, Pat and Phil and I looked up at the clock to see that this we had seconds left.

The clock counted down, Kessel shot the puck but it was blocked and quickly picked up by a Russian, he came right at me and I attempted to steal the puck, but just as I was about to, I was checked into the boards. I groaned and pushed myself off of the ice and headed down the ice, chasing after the puck. The whistle blew and Russia was called for offside, I breathed a sigh of relief and climbed over the boards, taking my helmet off and rubbing the back of my neck and then squirting some water into my mouth.

“You all right?” Praise asked and I nodded my head, “Good.”

“Gotta ask Geno what the hell they feed these Russians, they’re fuckin’ huge,” I said and the guys around me snickered.

“The bigger they are, the harder they fall,” Praise said and I smirked at the Captain.

“All right Captain America,” I said and he smirked towards me.

No one scored throughout the first period, other than a few penalties, it was surprisingly uneventful. However, in the second, that’s when the game was alive, four minutes into the second, Russian Captain Pavel Datsyuk scored the first goal of the game and Quick was kicking himself because it was an easy goal. We made up for it with less than four minutes left in the second; Cam Fowler tied the game at one with Kessel and Van Riemsdyk. Other than those two goals during the second, it was filled with penalties; both teams were picking up their game and getting serious.

When our blades stepped onto the ice for the third period, we automatically felt the different in the atmosphere. The seriousness was sensed and I took a deep breath, preparing my body and mind for feeling a lot more checks in this period. I started on the ice with Praise and Backes, we managed to keep the puck on the Russian side during our shift, but that’s pretty much it.

Halfway through the third period, Joe Pavelski scores a goal against the Russians and allowing us to be up by one. Our lead celebration was short lived when three minutes later; Russian Captain Pavel Datsyuk scored his second goal of the night and tying the game. As the clock clicked down, I knew we were going into overtime. The horn sounded, the sixty minutes were up and another five were added to the timer, that’s all we had to pull off a goal or go into a shootout.

When the five minutes were up and the score was still tied at two, Russia and USA were going into a shoot out. Quick was over by the bench as they prepared the ice for the shootout, I stood next to him and watched him take a drink. He placed his mask back on and was about to skate over towards the net, but I grabbed him by the netting of his mask and pulled him down, since he was taller than me, “Whatever happens, whether we win this game or not- You played awesomely,” I said and he looked at me and nodded his head, “Go get ‘em, Quickie,” I said and patted his chest and watched him skate over towards the net.

“All right, listen up! Maggie- You’re up first, Oshie, you’re next, then Pavelski!” Coach said and we nodded his head, “If we need to go on after that, we’ll decide then.”

“U.S. goes first,” the ref announced and I took a deep breath, feeling my teammate’s pat my shoulder and back as I skate out to the center of the ice, hearing the cheers of the fans supporting their countries. I looked at the ref, to the goalie, to my teammates, to Russia’s team, to the puck placed in front of me and the back to the goalie. As I looked at the goalie, waiting for the go ahead from the ref, I couldn’t help but think back to my conversation last year with Dana about shootouts, this being my first one in a while.

“Make sure you pay attention to the goalie throughout the game, try to notice what he does when players get close to him- What are his techniques when he’s trying to make a save,” I said and Dana looked at me and nodded her head.

“What about a shootout?”

“When it comes to a shootout I like to use a fake out,” I stated and started to bounce the puck at the end of my stick.

“What’s a fake out? Like, I know when we were watching your game the other day, the announcer said that that was one of the moves you do during a shootout,” she said and I nodded my head and then dropped the puck and backed up as if I was doing a shootout.

“You come forward, and try to make it seem like you’re going in one direction, when at the last second when the goalie is lean over to block you, you change your direction and go in through the other side,” I explain as I skated towards the net, “If we take the Bruins, Rask seems to know that Sid likes to come in from the left, so Sid will come in through the left and then at the last second, he’ll turn right, not giving Rask enough time to move.”

“I get it, so the move you do during a shootout all depends on the goalie?” she asked and I nodded my head.

‘… I haven’t had the chance to watch him a lot during this game…’ I thought as I skated back and forth, just waiting for the ref to tell me all clear, ‘…Would a fake out work? Would he see it coming?...’ I looked at the ref, he pointed towards me and blew the whistle, ‘…Worth a try…’

I grabbed the headed down the ice, the goalie was moving back and forth, trying to figure out
which way I was going to be moving. I was leaning more towards the right, so that what he was leaning, at the last second, I moved to the left and shot the puck, but he moved too. I cursed, thinking that he blocked it, but the puck bounced off of him and hit the ice and I shot it again and watched it slip into the five hole. I threw back my head and pounded into the air, happy that the rubber puck hit the back of the net.

Geno shot for Russia and Quick saved the shot, Oshie went for USA but it was saved, Datsyuk went for Russia and it was saved, Pavelski went for USA but it was saved, Kovalchuk went for Russia and made it in. We all groaned because if Quick would have saved that shot, then we would have won.

“All right, we’ll go again, Mags, go,” Coach said and I looked at him and nodded my head.

The rule for the Olympic shootouts were different than the NHL shootouts, instead of all different players being used, in the Olympics, after three different players shoot in a shootout, for the fourth and after, you can use whoever you want, even if they already shot. I went to the center of the ice the puck was placed in front of me and I took a deep breath, ‘…Slow and steady, slow and steady…’ I reminded myself as the whistle was blown and I picked up the puck and headed down the ice, slowing down once I got close to the net and instead of shooting the puck straight back, I took the risk and snapped it up and watched as it went right over his shoulder and landed passed the blue line. I smiled and pounded the air, getting a goal and then heading back to my bench, hearing the roar of the crowd.

Kovalchuk went again and scored, and I cured, if Quick would have gotten that one, than we would have won. Oshie skated forward; we were starting the fifth round of the shootout. Oshie scored against the Russians and we waited for Quick to save the goal so we could win, but he didn’t and went into the next round. Coach called for Oshie to go again, he scored, so did Russia, Oshie went again, he scored, Russia went, they scored.

“Oshie,” Coach called and Oshie chuckled.

“I’m running out of moves,” he said as he climbed over the boards and I grabbed his jersey and pulled him back.

“He’s expecting you to go in slow and steady- Don’t,” I said and TJ looked at me, “Start off slow, but push in there and go for the five hole, he has a tendency of leaving it wide open thinking that no one will go for it,” I said and he nodded his head and then head for the center of the ice. Oshie took my advice and scored the goal; he hugged me and then pounded fists with everyone. We all stood on the ice or along the boards and looked at Quick, “Come on Quickie, save this.”