Tournament weekend in Detroit against the best AAA hockey teams in the world.
Our first game was against Victory Honda 07 AAA in which we won 6-2. Before the game got started there was trash-talking among the players and the parents. Kicking our player’s bags, “were wasting their time,” oh yeah, today’s lunch special “Duck soup.” I loved it because all it did was fire us up. At the drop of the puck, we were flying. Passing the puck beautifully and skating with power and speed. We dominated the game. Maybe next time they will learn to respect their opponent, and for us, play with a chip on your shoulder.
The next game was against Chatham Kent from Ontario, Canada. We lost 0–8. My job was to make sure the players were focused to prove something but to no avail. They were given a dose of humility and learning work ethic takes you greater lengths than talent alone. Our overconfidence was apparent from the drop of the puck and was never able to regain competitive momentum because our mindset was not right. We had our opportunities to score goals in the 1st and 2nd but due to our misplaced mindset, we were not able to capitalize. Learn how to mentally prepare yourself after a major win or loss by letting the past be the past whether it was good or bad. When you win, remember the process that leads to success but continues to strive to improve. When you lose, learn from your mistakes and focus on what you are going to improve the next time around. Either way don’t dwell on it, learn and keep striving to be better.
Our third round-robin game was against Florida Alliance AAA, we lost 3 to 5. This one was a heartbreaker. We were winning 3-1 going into the 3rd period. Complacency is not a one-and-done lesson to learn or experience. It’s like a caged wild animal. You have to learn how to tame the beast and you have to learn the hunting patterns of the beast. Because the beast is waiting for you to let down your guard and strike you down. The beast struck us down. We let down our guard because we controlled the pace of the game. At the AAA level you can never let down your guard, there is no room for error because the will of the opponent is resilient and stops at nothing. We let down our guard and let them strike us down with 4 unanswered goals in the 3rd. There were a lot of wet eyes in the locker room after the game because we had a legitimate chance of qualifying for the quarterfinals.