SteadfastSeveral of you guys have asked for an Eli hockey update, so here you go.
I never thought I'd describe Eli 14.6, but he is steadfast.
The regular season for his travel league finished on Saturday. His team won 2-1, and he had 24 saves. For the season, he's 17-2-1, with a 1.63 GAA and a .925 save percentage.
This season, he's incorporated two incredibly important qualities.
This first is to use his technique for almost every save. He makes far fewer athletic saves than he ever has before, because his technique is so precise now that he doesn't need to. He still has that freakish athleticism, when he needs it, but he doesn't have to rely on it anymore.
What that's done is made him consistent. He's only given up 4 goals once all season.
It's impossible for a goalie to be consistent if they're relying too much on their athleticism. Actually, that's not quite correct. It's impossible for a goalie to have excellent technique without a high degree of athleticism (and flexibility, and strength), but as far as making saves goes, a goalie wants to avoid the desperation save situation whenever possible.
Why? Because even if you do everything right in a desperation save situation, the chances of making the save are low. The goalie will usually be off-balance, and being off-balance is death.
Eli's had many games this season where he was never off-balance. Those are the kinds of games where a goalie can establish control and suck all the life out of the rink.
The second quality, as I mentioned, is that he's steadfast.
Many of the goals he's given up this season have been strange edge cases with knuckling pucks or deflections off his own team.
He doesn't care.
Doesn't get rattled or bothered. Just gets back to business.
His team does a hard dryland workout once a week, but Eli always adds a second, either with me or a trainer, and what he does alone is much tougher than what he does with the team.
No drama. Just getting his work in.
Same goofy kid he's always been. Biggest smile around. Nice to everyone. Just focused at a different level when it's time to work.
He knows what he wants.
Playoffs start this weekend, and his team has a chance to win the state championship in their division. Then high school playoffs. Then tryouts in Michigan.
He's done a terrific job of getting himself to this point. And I know he believes he has much, much further to go.
I know this: I'm not betting against him.