OK, we may as well get this over right up front. We lost. Both games. At Mound-Westonka, 6 – 3, on Friday night; and at Orono, 5 – 2, on Saturday afternoon. They are both ranked in the Top 10 in class A. There were extenuating circumstances, as will be discussed as we roll along.
Extenuating Circumstance 1: The “Black Cloud” syndrome, as described and defined by “Weakie.” The theory is that Super Fans inherently bring bad luck on road trips. And there is history, obviously, for that claim. Any time we have planned a road trip, the weather forecast for that travel date immediately changes from fair and mild to the storm of the century. And the reason for road trips, e.g., great play in recent home games (see the Moorhead game), is impossible to sustain on the opponents’ home ice.
It was a late decision to go down for the games. We noticed that our calendar was blank, incredibly, for Friday and Saturday – the apres Thanksgiving lull? Of course, the beautiful weather the day before Thanksgiving became winter as soon as our travel plans became a matter of public record. Uffda. And the “Black Cloud” manifested itself before we even got out of our driveway on Friday. We stopped the car at the end of the driveway to pick up the mail. I was holding a handful of papers with directions to our various venues in the Cities – our motel, our planned restaurants, the two high schools – when I unloaded a surprisingly full mail box. While juggling all this stuff on the way back to the car, a gust of wind tore our “directions” out of my hands – papers flew everywhere. So, the trip began with me lumbering through the yard, without a jacket, through the snow (OK, it wasn’t much), under evergreens, trying to grab the elusive trip tiks. Once back in the car, cold but undaunted, we hadn’t gone more than a half mile down Co. Rd. 22 when I saw a dog running full speed up a side road heading into our flight path. I hollered at the supervisor, a/k/a, my chauffeur, to watch out for the dog – she hadn’t seen it coming. She slammed on the brakes as the dog sprinted across right in front of us. Everything that was piled up in the back seat hit the floor. We should have recognized then – mere minutes and two mishaps into our adventure – that maybe this trip wasn’t meant to be.
We interrupt this broadcast to report that by doing a Black Friday road trip we missed the Christmas decorations lighting on Broadway for . . . well, the first time since last we missed it. [Disclosure: The photo at the top of the page was taken when we got home Saturday night.] It does seem, however, that the Friday after Thanksgiving is traditionally the coldest day of the year, and it was no different this year. I later heard from those who stayed behind that they didn’t go down for lighting either as the wind chill was reported to be in the “freeze your heinie off” zone.
[The supervisor having a psychedelic experience at Sawatdee.]
The plan when we got to the Cities was to eat at Sawatdee, a Thai restaurant in Maple Grove. From all our years of big city eating snobbery, we miss ethnic food – and Thai was always one of our favorites. Every once in a while I feel the need to eat food spicy hot enough to singe my nose hairs – always remembering that spices created international trade in antiquity, and were responsible for introducing curry to lutefisk, and vice-versa.
Maple Grove is an extenuating circumstance unto itself. We have often been lost in its bowels and had to call 911 to be led out. This time we were also dealing with the “Black Cloud” of a road trip. It had snowed in the Cities the night before and into Friday morning – not a lot of snow, but with wind caused 200 car accidents. The “storm” was over well before we got there in the afternoon – but there were lingering after effects. Every street sign in the metro area that faced West was entirely covered with snow, i.e., unreadable! We can’t find our way around Maple Grove when we can see the street signs! How we found Sawatdee, and then our motel in Golden Valley, is beyond me?
[Mound-Westonka hockey arena]
Mound-Westonka seemed farther from downtown Minneapolis than is Alexandria. We drove for what seemed like forever through totally dark wilderness. We could get our bearings only when we could see the glow of the Cities off to the east. We should have known this was a hockey set-up when we got the arena and locals were ending their sentences with, eh?
[Our 1st view of the ice. The JV was having a tough game. They’re dealing with numbers issues this year. Many of the best 8th and 9th-graders are already on the varsity, and this is the 1st year that Alex has had a U-14 girls’ team.]
[The varsity takes to the ice.]
[“The Voices” were in fine fettle. Fine Fettle, to my knowledge, is slightly east Hale and slightly north of Hardy.]
[Marnee’ addresses the hockey moms. I’m placing the onus on her to have all the moms in place for a photo shoot at the next home game. 😉 ]
[Extenuating Circumstance 2: . . .]
[Bailey was on her own in goal . . .]
[Amy, fresh off shutouts of Fergus and DL . . .]
[Had to stay home with strep.]
[Mari, above and below]
[Nicole, above and below]
[McKenzie. If you take enough photos, you may finally luck into one. A full slap shot in all its glory! ;-)]
[JV goalie, freshman Taylor Coker (30), helps out in warm-ups.]
[Shelby, above and below]
[The coaches. I’ll go anywhere for a post-game snack, but no turkey!]
[We looked everywhere for a DQ on the way in here . . . but didn’t see anything?]
[The closest one is in Pickle Lake.]
[Saddle up, ladies!]
Extenuating Circumstance 3: Anna was moved up from defense to play 1st line forward because Becca is out (we hope not for too long) with concussion symptons (?). That move reverberated all through the usual rotation patterns. Nicole played D the entire game, whereas before she could take some shifts as a forward on the 3rd line, with success this year.
[Shelby. We had hoped to get together with the homecoming queen, class of ’65, while we were down there and whisk her away to a hockey game just long enough to get her photo with the HQ, class of 2012. Nah, they both would have hated it! 😉 ]
[Oh say . . .]
[Can you see . . .]
[An empty net? SHOOT!]
[ALL FOR ONE, AND ONE FOR ALL!! Well, that’s what the Three Musketeers said.]
[Shelby again gets the opening draw back to Shanee’.]
[This time Shanee’ took it wide (and below).]
[Taylor (24) in our zone.]
[Mari and Rachel (4)]
[Shanee’ and Nicole present the last line of defense.]
[Taylor takes a draw in the Mound end.]
[I think this was Taylor’s goal which tied it at the end of the 1st period.]
[Kaila helps out the coach while adjusting her contact.]
[Taylor in their zone. She had a terrific two games – and was player-of-the-game in this one.]
[We tied it up here, shortly after they scored. I believe this was Lauren’s on a power play.]
[After our goal . . .]
[Still tied after two. We were hanging in there! 🙂 ]
Extenuating Circumstance 4: We were traveling the day after Thanskgiving and had to play two games in 24 hours. The tryptophan in turkey caught up with us in the 3rd period.
[Shelby drawing back to Lauren.]
[After they scored, Shelby scored immediately to tie up again. We couldn’t match their goals after that.]
[Not bad. We can play with them when healthy.]
[The Voices try their hand as sound technicians.]
[Dave wanted to interview player-of-the-game, Taylor, and Coach Randy.]
[Let’s thread it through here. And then could you please let us out of this cage?]
Well, the highlight (some would say lowlight) of the weekend occurred at the motel as we were getting ready to check out. The supervisor had gone out to move the car as I was showering. As I was packing at the foot of the bed, the door opened – I thought it was the supervisor. It was the maid. I was only wearing a smile – and a Dopp kit appropriately positioned. After I revived her with smelling salts, we exchanged personal information – either in case she wanted to file a workers’ comp claim . . . or ask me to coffee?
Orono – not quite as far into the sticks as Mound-Westonka. I couldn’t figure out why the school is called Orono because the town of Long Lake is between the town of Orono and the Orono high school? I also couldn’t figure out (OK, I really can) how both Mound-Westonka and Orono can have more students in their high schools than either of their towns have in total population. And they are both to some degree, especially Orono, home to the camel hair coat/cashmere sweater crowd, as “Weakie” likes to call them. It takes one cake-eater to know another – “Weakie” was a vice president for Honeywell and his kids went to Wayzata, and then to St. Thomas and Carlton. 😉
[The defense plays catch.]
[Your guess is as good as mine?]
[Kaila. Just shooting randomly, I got her both games.]
[A fan . . .]
[The players were really having fun with her. 🙂 ]
[The supervisor returns with a hot chocolate – undoubtedly to help digest the lunch we had at Mort’s with brother Cam and sister-in-law Karen. Remember, it always comes down to eating!]
[Bailey. From all reports the team crashed early in their motel and slept late.]
[Shelby. I didn’t get everybody as late arriving Cardinal fans (slept in, too?) kept blocking my sight lines.]
[Boy, I need a nap!]
[Here we go . . . again.]
[The Shanee’ play must not have worked this time.]
[Taylor takes the draw, with Hanah to her right. It’s daylight out there.]
[The defense tandem of Nicole and Shanee’ chase down the puck.]
[Madi and Shelby]
[Cards on the defense. If there was a theme for the weekend, it was the aggressive forechecking of both the teams we played. They made it difficult to get out of our own end at times.]
[Nicole gets pinched.]
[Melissa’s in position for a shot.]
[Cards score – Anna from her new wing position! 🙂 ]
[Shanee’ and Shelby showing their track speed.]
[Shelby doesn’t lose many draws.]
[Is that Madi?]
[Madi and Shelby keep it in the zone.]
[Hanah, Taylor, Melissa]
[The race is on!]
[We’re in the offensive zone. We had several quality shots in both games – we have to learn (if scoring can be learned?) how to put those away.]
[A time-out before a final push.]
[I think the team picked up some valuable experience – and we all had fun!]
[Did you know you can see the glow over the metropolis of Alexandria from 25 miles out? We’ve noticed it before coming in on I-94 – this weekend we came home on 55 (it was close to Orono and we don’t have to battle the 18-wheelers at night) and same thing.]
[To make a long day longer, we stopped at SAWA before we went home.]
[Al Leiffort, bass; Lizzie Leiffort (home for the holiday), flute; Mel Lamar, guitar; and Bill Riggs, trumpet, were the entertainment. It was good! 🙂 ]
[The happy, yet zombied, couple.]
[Good-bye talent, including Bruce Kelly looking out at us from the audience.]
All the other winter sports begin tonight. Uffda!