Detroit Lakes – 2, Alexandria – 0 (including an empty net goal at the end). Upsets happen. It’s why they play the games. It’s why fans attend the games. But when it’s your team that gets upset, the preceding explanation is not the least bit comforting. Stuff happens! Phooey on stuff!
It wasn’t quite the same this year. It should have been an omen. The Super Fans have been spoiled. We are getting quite comfy in the idea of heading to the MAC for the sections each season and having a pre-game repast at Anton’s. But recently Super Fans have fallen victim to snowbird malaise and aren’t around at tournament time anymore. At it’s peak, we attacked the Anton’s menu with up to 14 participants – this year, it was only the supervisor and me, so we just dined on hot dogs and fish baskets at the MAC. 😦
Then there’s the factor of playing a team you recently dominated. This is the upset part. The Cards were playing Detroit Lakes for the section finals. And the Cards are the more talented team – so displayed when we played the Lakers last month. This is a situation that has vexed coaches since time immemorial. It’s the section finals, the Cards played as hard as they could . . . but still, something was missing. That something is what was on display when we scored 6 goals against Fargo South, an undefeated and No. 1-ranked team in North Dakota, when we beat big school powers Moorhead and St. Cloud late in the season; but not when we struggled in two games (including the section semi-final) against Pequot Lakes. It’s a crispness – I can’t think of any other way to describe it.
So, in the DL game, I think a combination of the above led us to play with uncharacteristic . . . nervousness? It would be natural – it was a game to go to the state tournament. I have never seen a game where we were called for so many penalties? And they were legit calls. For the 1st two periods, we had to coordinate our line changes with whoever was going into or coming out of the penalty box. One time we were called for a penalty and before we could gain possession of the puck for a play stoppage, we took another penalty. At least two times in the game we had to kill off 5-on-3 situations. And in the last one , we really didn’t. DL’s 2nd period goal was called an even strength goal, and technically it was, by the play had already entered by Cardinal zone before the two Cardinals in the penalty box could actually join the fray.
Because we were playing short-handed so often, some of our best scoring chances actually occurred in those situations. But if you spend the 1st two-thirds of the game killing penalties, you will get tired. So, in the 3rd period, which we actually dominated from beginning to end, we couldn’t score despite dozens of shots because we were tired and anxious.
[Bailey in warm-ups. Her white jersey was “on loan” to Melissa for the game. 🙂 ]
[Kalley fires a warm-up shot. She had only played one game since being out for about a month with a concussion. She had several had collisions with the boards in the first period – we were concerned. Later in the game, in what was apparently a mid-ice collision, she went down again and had to leave the game – she was very woozy. Her family said after game tests were good – but it’s just as well she now has until next season to fully recover.]
[Looks like Kalley.]
[Part of the team]
[“Voices of the Cardinals” (they love it when I do this).]
[Where we were.]
[Readying for introductions.]
[Let’s play hockey!]
[Shelby and the opening face-off.]
[On the other MAC rink, St. Ben’s was hosting Bethel. Alex alum Ally Nielsen stars for St. Ben’s – that’s her shoulder in the bottom photo! Had a nice, if short, visit with her mom, Jeanne.]
[Goalies commiserate, as only goalies can. Bailey left Steph laughing -no doubt with another Kim Kardashian joke?]
[Shelby and Shanee’]
[Kalley and Rachael]
[Rachael and Alia properly stationed for tips or rebounds.]
[Kalley trying to get the puck to Alia.]
Individual medals from Alex AD Dave Hartmann:
[The hardest thing to do in sports – hold up the runner-up trophy.]
[In other news: Those are Super Fans Gretchen and Don Nelson on the right. Don golfed this week, and he has plans to golf again today! If he can play in March, he will have accomplished that rare feat of golfing in 12 consecutive months in Minnesota!]
Oh, regarding the trip to St. Cloud. The supervisor and I don’t venture far from the shores of Lake Darling anymore. So, we were quite taken aback that I-94 @ 5:00 pm from here to St. Cloud was bumper-to-bumper all the way! What’s with that – we need more lanes! And I think I figured out the reason for it on the way home – do you realize you can see Alexandria’s ambient light glow from 20 miles away now!
And a couple more hockey things, while we’re on the subject. David Francey performed in Alex on Wednesday night – much to our delight. David is Canadian, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that one of his songs is “Skating Rink.” We bought the CD, and found the following video on YouTube:
And although I was initially attracted to this story because of the connection between angst and writing, it’s also about building a backyard ice rink 😉 :
And now to put the onus on the team for next year. Based on who we have coming back, and who’s coming up, we should be the section favorites again next year?
[Editor’s note: I can only hope this satisifies the Super Fan who called from Florida wondering why this report wasn’t posted . . . YESTERDAY! 🙂 ]
THANK YOU LADIES FOR ANOTHER FUN AND EXCITING SEASON!