We were halfway through the third period, still down 3-2. Stormy did an amazing job on my ankle, to the point where I could skate on it for short bursts before needing to come off. It was enough to help give my teammates breathers and keep them fresh.
At the start of the third, Spike set Darren up for a great goal. I looked up to see my cheering section going crazy, except Casey, who now was putting away a hot dog. Where did he keep getting food? The rink didn’t have a concession stand…
“We’re playing great out there guys, keep it up!” Darren’s voice echoed through the arena as he yelled at the guys on the ice. The rest of us were banging our sticks on the bench, creating a real lively atmosphere.
Brian Ryan, one of our defensemen, stole the puck from a Rubber Pucky and passed it up to Paddy Shamrock. The little redhead skated by two more of their players and made an amazing shot right over the goalie’s glove. We tied the game 3-3!
With the game tied, the Rubber Puckies picked up their physical play. A few times one of their players hit one of our guys hard, put nothing that was illegal. Ref Donna Tello kept a close eye on it and we all knew she wasn’t afraid to call penalties.
I looked up at the scoreboard, there was less than two minutes left in the game. It’d be awhile since the team needed more to come out, but Spike looked really tired. “Spike, get over here! Line change!”
I don’t think he wanted to come off the ice, but Sunny yelled from the stands, “Let Jimmy in the game!”
The big guy skated over and I hopped out. Before I left, “Score the game inner Blades!”
I smiled and skated off. Darren had the puck and passed it up to me. Even with a bad ankle, I was still lightning fast. I put my head down and skated as hard as I could. I got into their defensive zone and skated behind the goal. Darren and Paddy where following me and I passed it out to Paddy.
Darren banged his stick against the ice to get my attention. “Jimmy, get in front of the goal!”
One of their guys tried to rough me up, but I ducked under and got to position. Paddy was winding up his stick and hit the puck as hard as he could. It was coming right at me!
Doing the only thing I knew, I put my stick up in the air and the puck deflected off of it. Their goalie had expected the puck to be going high, but on the redirection, it went low and right by him. As it hit the back of the net, the red light above the net lit up and the crowd went nuts!
With 22 seconds left, I’d scored the game breaking goal! Darren and Paddy rushed me, as well as half the team. My ankle was throbbing, so after being stormed by my teammates, I limped back over to the bench and watched the game end, with us winning 4-3.
After celebrating and changing gin the locker room, I found a group of people waiting outside for me. My mom, Phil, Casey, Sunny, and most importantly Stormy were all there waving. I limped over, with Darren and Spike helping me.
After getting hugged by mom and congratulated by Chuck and Dean, everyone seemed to back up to give Stormy and I some space. “Nice game Jimmy!”
“Thanks, but it wouldn’t have happened without you. You’re the best Stormy.”
“I know.” Then she leaned in and kissed me.
My ‘friends’ all started cheering again behind me. I’m pretty sure Darren said ‘it’s about time!’ but I let it slide. This was too cool of a moment!
“Hey guys!” Stormy and I broke away and looked back at Casey. “I don’t know about you but we should keep celebrating! Besides, I’m still hungry!”
**The November Reign were victorious! Jimmy scored the goal and got the girl! A season doesn’t end any better than that! Come back in February of 2016 for Season 2 of The Puck Stops Here! Jimmy will be at it again, this time in a foreign country! Wait, what?! He has a passport?!
You can find all my published work at http://www.amazon.com.author/jeremycroston