Hockey Headlines

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Without Some Kind Of Fight

There's a million clichés that I could toss out about overcoming adversity. Young teams often find themselves in a battle against experienced teams when the playoffs arrive, and our favorite Danish Metal Ligaen team is embroiled in a winner-takes-all battle as the Aalborg Pirates and the Gentofte Stars are tied 3-3 in their series after Gentofte avoided elimination with a 1-0 win on home ice today. There are some factors as to why the top team in the Metal Ligaen needs a seventh game in this series, but this adversity may prepare them for what awaits in the next round if they survive Friday's game.

The Pirates could claim that injuries to their defencemen have made life more difficult as they're missing a few key players, but in speaking with head coach Brandon Reid he felt that was no reason they shouldn't be able to close out this series. "We'll figure out a way," he messaged me when asked about the injury troubles. Brandon also mentioned the play of Gentofte's eight international players as being another reason for Gentofte's success, but he still found no reason why Aalborg wouldn't be successful.

It's interesting to me that the Pirates and Stars have both gone 3-0 on home ice in this series. Aalborg won Game One by a 5-2 score, but the defence has tightened as this series progressed. The Stars won Game Two 3-1, the Pirates won Game Three 3-1, and the remaining three games were all one-goal victories with Aalborg winning Game Five with the Stars grabbed wins in Games Four and Six. If you're seeing a trend, Aalborg hosts Game Seven on Friday where they're 3-for-3 this postseason, so I'm hoping the trend continues!

Teemu Virtala is the player doing the most damage for Gentofte as he leads the Metal Ligaen Playoffs in scoring with two goals and nine points. Joonas Riekkinen has four goals to tie for the lead in goal-scoring in the playoffs. Despite the balanced scoring from the Pirates, they aren't getting the lights-out production from their go-to players as only Julien Jakobsen is anywhere near his regular-season scoring pace with four assists. There have been good games from individual players, but Aalborg needs to put together a few of those good games in Game Seven.

It's said that nothing worth having comes without some kind of fight. Rose Kennedy stated, "Prosperity tries the fortunate, adversity the great." Malcolm X famously said, "There is no better than adversity. Every defeat, every heartbreak, every loss, contains its own seed, its own lesson on how to improve your performance the next time." In each of these statements, there's a chance for Aalborg to stare adversity down and rise above it.

Game Seven demands it.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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