Rødovre Mighty Bulls' canadiske forward Mike Daugulis er tilbage med sæsonens sidste klumme.
Læs her om afslutningen på sæsonen og om, hvordan Mike Daugulis oplevede flere af de omdiskuterede situationer i den syv kampe lange serie mellem Rødovre og AaB Ishockey.
Another season has come to an end for me here in Denmark and it has been extremely tough to get over our game 7 loss. As the last seconds ticked down and with our fans giving us a standing ovation chanting “We love you Rødovre”, I couldn’t help but to tear up wishing we could have given them a little bit more. I walked around like a zombie for a couple of days after the loss just devastated knowing we were that close to moving on to the semi-finals again.
When our last game of the regular season came to an end, we sat watching the television to see who the teams above us would pick. When it was announced that we would be facing Aalborg I knew that it was going to be a tough series. I also thought that having home ice advantage was going to be huge. We have struggled to win up there in both my seasons with Rødovre, and we had played well at home all year. Little did I know it would turn out to be more of a “home ice disadvantage” situation. After both teams won their first home games as expected, the road team went on to win every game for the rest of the series.
Game 1 was a great effort for us and we took home a 3-0 victory. About half way through the game I had an opportunity to finish a good hit on one of the Aalborg defensemen coming out of the zone. I finished what I thought was a big clean hit on him and he lay on the ice injured. The refs then got together and decided that I should be kicked out of the game and given a 5+20 minute penalty. Fortunately the boys were able to kill off the penalty and grind out the win.
We then went up to Aalborg for game 2 and lost a hard fought back and forth game. In the dying seconds, with the game out of reach, I tried to finish a big hit on their Swedish import, Robin Bergman. I caught him with his head down cutting to the middle with the puck. I delivered a solid check and knocked him to the ice. Unfortunately I ended up getting the worst of it as when I hit him his helmet went directly into my mouth, knocking out a couple teeth. This basically poured salt on the wounds from losing such an important game.
After going on to loose the next home game, we headed up North for game 4 with our backs against the wall, knowing that going down 3 games to 1 in the series was not an option. At the end of the first period I was hit with what was the hardest I have ever been hit in my career. You can see the replay here: http://tv2sport.dk/slam-en-tackling-der-kan-maerkes
I thought it was a bit of a dirty hit as I was without the puck for a good 10 strides and he then let the puck go behind him and seemed to target my head on the play. The referees did a good job by giving him a 2+10 minute penalty for a check to the head.
I would never lie on the ice and fake an injury, but it makes be think if I had stayed down it would have been 5+20 and game misconduct like I was given in game 1. I do not like that they judge the penalty on if the player is hurt or not. If it is a big clean hit and a player gets injured, that is part of the game and there should not be a penalty. The referees should look at the actual hit to determine the penalty, not if a player is injured or not.
After taking that huge hit, I tried to stand up right away in an attempt to show him that he was a soft hitter and it did not hurt at all saying to him, “come on, is that the best you can do?” When I first got to my feet, I seemed to have Bambi legs as they wobbled a bit below me but I managed to put on a good face. I thought I was going to have to go over to him and let him know that he couldn’t do that, but then to of my teammates went to him and did the job for me. That showed a really good team concept with everyone sticking up for each other out there. I was really glad they helped me out because I was still a little out of it at the time. It was great seeing Mikael Christensen, who is about half my size, go and stick up for me in that situation.
I really wanted to get back at him later in the game with a big clean hit but winning the game was definitely more important. I was able to stay in the game and managed to get him back on the scoreboard by scoring a powerplay goal as we went on to win the game.
After losing yet another game on home ice we went up to Aalborg facing elimination, with what seemed like the impossible task of winning again on the road. You could really feel the intensity in the locker room before the game. Looking around the room, every single player had a stone cold look with extreme focus. After seeing that I knew we were going to do something special. We hit the ice and delivered arguably one of our best performances of the entire season, winning the game 3-1 and heading home with a huge amount of confidence.
In the first period I scored a goal but they ended up calling it off after video review. We were on the powerplay and I was driving hard to the net. Our defenceman got the puck in the slot and fired it on net. It bounced off of their goalie and was flying right at me. The puck hit me in the chest and bounced directly into the net. It was not the prettiest goal I ever scored, but it should have counted.
The initial call on the ice from the referee was a goal. The camera angle that they used was so far out that you could not actually see where the puck hit me so the ruling on the ice should have stayed. I was extremely mad at the time, as this call could have cost us the game. If they are going to use video review there has to be conclusive evidence to change the call on the ice. Fortunately we went on to win the game so it did not matter in the end.
Coming back on home ice for game 7, I was
sure we were going to be able to carry that momentum from game 6 into our barn
for a big win. We came out flying but then got into some early penalty trouble.
They scored on their first 2 powerplays and game 7, which should have been the
most intense game of the year, seemed to be over before it even started.
In playoffs, and especially in a game 7, I
would like to see the referees put their whistles away a little bit more and
let the players decide the game instead of making soft calls. For my penalty I
pushed an Aalborg player’s stick out of the way and took the puck. He dropped
his stick and I was called for slashing. If the stick was broken I could
understand the call, but it was not. I had never been called for a slash in my
career before, so I was pretty disappointed.
Aalborg went on to win the game 3-1 and just like that the season was over. I had really expected to win that game so I was in a state of shock when I realized we were done for the year. Looking back on the season now I am proud of what our team accomplished, finishing in the top 4 and coming so close to being in the semifinals for a second year in a row.
Personally it was a very up and down year. I was feeling great on the ice and felt that I improved a lot from last year to this year. I was just starting to hit my stride when I suffered the worst injury of my career. I missed 11 games but managed to come back and finish the year strong.
I also lost my best friend Andrew Wade in a plane crash and that is something that I am still having trouble believing. I think it is really going to hit me when I get back to Canada as I usually spent almost every day of the summer with him. He was my workout partner but now I am even more motivated to have a great off-season and come back next year better than ever. He was an amazing friend and I will never forget him.
I am extremely happy to have resigned with Rødovre. I love playing here, love our fans and we have a great group of guys coming back for next season already. I am really excited to continue working with Heikki Karvinen as I can feel a huge improvement already after only a couple months of training with him. I want to finish this column by saying a huge thanks to our fans who have supported us all year through all of the ups and downs, they have been amazing. I also want to say a big thanks to my personal sponsors, Skulls.dk and Thorkild Larsen/E-Line.