I had an empty net tonight, from no more that six feet in front, with the goalie down and out (and by down and out I mean on his back somewhere closer to the corner of the rink than the net). This wasn’t an empty net with a guy all over me, nor was there a last minute stick being being stuck out by a defender just as I shot. (Those conditions are not excuses for not scoring even when they exist, but like the 12 inch gimme putt with a tricky little break and your buddies chirping at you to miss, they do add to the chance that you’ll get a hockey version of the yips).
No, this was just a yawning cage (a great hockey phrase if there ever was one) with time as my friend. I wasted no time and fired. Alas, the riddle I’ve yet to solve is whether it’s even mathematically possible to shoot any object from there on an angle that would have it sail over the cross bar so high as to hit the glass about 6 inches from the top. We were down 2-0 at the time and this would have put us back in it. Next shift, playing a little steamed, I got short breakaway down the left side, cut across the crease and after waiting the tender out, I fired back across into the empty cage. Revenge!
Only I hit the post this time. I coasted back to the bench with steam coming out my ears, skates and pants. Never got another sniff all night and we lost 4-1.