And then there were eight

The round robin is finally over. Nine games over six days for six wins, two draws and a loss means that we finished third in our side of the draw. A quarterfinal appointment with Colombia is locked in.

It has been fun thus far. We have had some tough games and a couple of easier assignments. One of the most enjoyable parts of coming away to a competition like the World Championships is testing yourself against the different styles played by other countries.

The general standard of hockey is quite high back in Australia but our geographical isolation mean international competitions are few and far between. We play a trans Tasman series against New Zealand every other year. They are fiercely contested affairs but coming up against the same faces year after year does wear a little thin.

Each time I come away to World Championships I am amazed at how much time the puck spends on the wall. The other countries seem to love that shit. I’ve never been averse to a bit of biffo on the wall but keeping it there for the entire game saps the interest out of the contest. It stifles imagination and creativity and turns the game into a bargefest.

The other obvious difference is the amount of time the puck spends on the back of player’s sticks. Some of the guys from other countries have mad skills: they use smaller sticks and attempt all these amazingly complicated and elaborate moves. They use the reverse flick far more often.

That type of play is very effective but I only know the Australian way. I try to get tight to the bottom and hit the puck hard. I’ve got a push-pull, a swerve, a flick and a curl.  Most of my teammates have a similar toolkit. What I like about our style of play is that there’s no bullshit. It’s basic and it’s effective.

Finals start tomorrow and there is no better way to test our style of play against the best in the world.

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