When the buzzer finally rang, signalling the end of the game, Rick was mobbed by his teammates. He looked up toward the stands in time to witness the Maplewood Cougars fans giving him a standing ovation.
One of the fans yelled, “Thank goodness you’re back, Rick. You really dug us out of a deep hole in that one!”
Rick waved back to his fans and shouted back, “Thanks a lot man. I really appreciate it.”
“Way to go Rick. If you keep playing like this, we may have a chance of making the play-offs.”
Rick was almost walking on clouds as he walked the rest of the way to his team’s dressing room. He could feel the pats on his shoulder as he neared the visitors dressing room door.
Miles Myers was the first player to enter the dressing room. He abandoned his usual routine of slowly getting out of his hockey gear and changing into his street clothes.
Tonight Miles was in a hurry to get out of the dressing room and leave the arena as quickly as possible. He hadn’t played a role in tonight’s victory and this game made it obvious that the Cougars were a much better team with Rick Miller in goal. Miles turned to Rick as he was leaving the dressing room, “You’re the man. You played great.”
Since their season started, this was the
first time that the Maplewood Cougars were really excited about their chances. This was an amazing change from the beginning of the season. The present cadre of young players had never experienced what it was like to play for a winning team. During the previous years, they could hardly dream of making the play-offs. They were now in a position to take the last open play-off spot in their division. What they now needed to do was win three of their next games and have Winakwa lose all three of their remaining league games.