Scott Mayfield is a defenseman for the Youngstown Phantoms of the United States Hockey League. Committed to the University of Denver for the 2011-12 academic season, he also played a part in the 2009 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament for Team USA. Mayfield, who participated in the 2010 NHL Research, Development and Orientation Camp fueled by G Series in August, has offered to maintain a monthly blog for NHL.com that will chronicle his season leading up to the NHL Entry Draft in St. Paul, Minn.
December has been a little rough for the team. We opened with a home game against the U18 National Team. I think that was our best games all year as we pulled out a 4-3 win on a late goal by Quinn Smith. I felt this game really gave us the boost of confidence that the whole team needed going into a tough stretch of games against top USHL teams.
I was excited to go into the next weekend playing the division leaders, the Green Bay Gamblers. Our first game was extremely close but we couldn’t find a way to win, losing 3-2 on a third-period goal by my Junior Select teammate Austin Czarnik. This game was rough for me because I sustained a separated shoulder during the first shift of the game. The following night I was unable to play, but the boys really battled again. It was hard watching the game from the stands, especially as an empty net goal sealed a 3-1 loss.
Looking at the positives, losing two in Green Bay by one-goal margins (I don't count empty netters) isn't bad, so we looked forward to winning our upcoming games. Unfortunately, the Green Bay weekend started a string of losses that still continues. We played some tough teams (Dubuque, Muskegon, Indiana twice, and Des Moines) and had chances to win most of the games (3 one goal losses), but no wins.
I believe the coaching staff is doing a great job keeping our spirits high during our losing streak. Practices are still high-tempo and everyone still loves showing up to the rink. I know we will dig ourselves out of the hole we are in and get back on track to be a playoff team. Everyone is frustrated, and we're all trying to do too much instead of keeping it simple. It's hard to stay focused and play our game when all we want to do is break this slump. But we'll get there.
The month of December did have some positives for me as well, though. I got to go home for a week to spend time with my family during the holidays. It is the only time during the year that I'm able to go home so I really enjoyed it. Christmas was a lot of fun and I got to see all my friends that I haven't seen since summer. The week went extremely fast though!
Now that it's a new year hopefully we can start performing to our capabilities on the ice. I still believe we have a great team that has the potential to be a contender in the end. My shoulder feels much better, and I'm excited for the month of January and February because we have a lot more home games than we had the first half of the season.
Before I finished this blog, someone asked me what I thought about the Central Scouting release rankings that come out next week. I have no idea where I will be or if I will even be on it. No matter what happens with the rankings, I know there is always room for improvement and I will do my best to move up.
I hope everyone had a great holiday and a happy New Year. Thank you for taking your time to read this! My next blog will be the first Wednesday of February.