Chelsea Challenge 2007 wrapped up this afternoon with my team, the Purple Panthers, taking the Gold in the Developmental Division! The team was great with a mix of people I’ve played with before, some people I knew but hadn’t played with, and others that I had not met. It was a small reunion of some people I’d won the gold with back in 2004 (Mike, Laurie, Dave and Jeff T.) and it was great to repeat with those friends.

Our four Challenge games each built successively on the other. Our first game at 9am Saturday morning was close (a 1-0 loss against Orange) but because of the way the tournament scoring works we only got 2 of the 8 points available in that game, leaving us tied in last place with Gray Thunder. Our second game at 1:40pm was a complete tie against Gray. The game was 1-1 and we split all the points, so that got us to 6 total, but still left us tied in last with Gray. Our last game at 4pm against Teal Terror was a win for us and we took 6 of the 8 points (winning the game 3-2). That tied us in points with Teal at 12 each. But because we beat Teal, we won the tie-breaker and passed on to the finals against Orange.

The final this morning was a well played game. We only had 3 defensemen because one of our D couldn’t make the final. Mike, Dave and I held strong so we didn’t have to break up the forwards that were performing so well. We took the game 3-2. In particular it was great how we worked together in the last couple minutes as Orange brought out all their best players, and pulled their goalie, in an effort to tie it up.

In the midst of all this, there was an Ordinals game last night against a very tired Wizards team. The Wizards, with 11 players, had about half of their team as well as their goalie in the Challenge so they were on their fourth game in about 24 hours. Meanwhile, there were only three Ordinals in the Challenge, Ed, Peter and myself. The Wizards picked up the first goal of the game, but then the rest was all Ordinals.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen the Ordinals play such a cohesive game. We were playing really strong, moving the puck, passing, really strong D. It was a great 4-1 win for us and that brings us back to even in the stats, 2-2-0-1.

I credit Bluestreak with my ability to play well in five games that happened within 26 hours… and four within 13 hours. There was a bit in the Ordinals game when I was having to double shift at center that I thought I wasn’t going to survive, but once a couple latecomers got there and I was going out every third shift it worked out well and I pulled some hustle out of the reserve tank. I also woke up feeling better than I thought I would this morning. I expected to feel a bit on the broken side, but it was okay… and even with three D today I felt good in the game this morning.

Overall my playing felt solid too. I felt strong in skating and the shots I was making as D for the Panthers and as a wing/center for the Ordinals were mostly good. Still some issues with the shot, but it’s so much better than it used to be.

Bluestreak wraps up on Thursday… so I have to find away to keep my stamina levels where they are because it’s a good place to be!