But first . . . the preceding day on beautiful Lake Darling . . .
[Editor’s note: Blog staff subsequently (from the first publication of swan photos) received a missive from Crazy Dave in Sarasota (a place to which he flees at the end of summer every year because of a severe allergic reaction to snow). It seems CD, in his formative years, was once attacked by these large white avians. Apparently he was not aware of the birdwatcher axiom to never approach fowl with cleaver in hand. [Editor’s note within the editor’s note: We became aware of the swans in these photos because they were having rather violent “discussions” on the water. Fortunately, thanks to my two years spent in Japan, I am able to understand “swan,” and they were debating over whose shift it was to surveil CD’s place on the other side of the lake. They are all well aware of his “cleaver” reputation!] Anyway, CD said he was bitten by the “beasts” . . . and it hurt. Well, it usually does when one loses three fingers! Fortunately for CD, he had a couple of neighbors who were, in reverse alphabetic order, a veterinarian and a journeyman arc welder. They were able reattach the digits at issue, but in their haste to do so, two of them were soldered on upside down. With two finger nails now on the “gripping” side of his hand, CD has forever had trouble holding on to such things as popsicle sticks. Over the years, he has many times dropped the stain-inducing frozen delights on his dungarees, much to the chagrin of his poor mother, who had to spend a small fortune on pre-wash soaking detergents. But that’s a story for another day . . .]
[Meanwhile, back at the Thursday night hockey game, the coaches (Ashley, Blair, and Brittin) discussed strategy for the impending face-off with the Otters of Fergus Falls, our first conference game.]
[On the other hand, we could certainly learn a lot watching the swans (are you listening, CD?). The red blotches on the right are from our European mountain ash – I thought an accidental nice touch to the photo.]
[Meanwhile, back at the RCC, Mel and Mari have been introduced . . .]
[Back at the lake, the juveniles have joined the party . . .]
[Then Nicole was introduced, with Karina, as the starting defense set, rather than the juveniles (a/k/a, the “wunderkinds”). Not that it makes any difference, they all play the same amount of time . . . but it lets all receive a pre-game introduction. Well, the coaches must have had a premonition – as I commented during the game that Nicole was carrying us. And appropriately enough, she was selected player-of-the-game.]
[The flapping of wings with considerable loud honking had earlier alerted me to grab my camera!]
[And Amy, for the first time this year, was tested in goal and got a good win! 🙂 ]
[“The Voices” in pre-game prep mode.]
[And this year we have a complete turnover in PA announcing and scoreboard staff . . .]
[To include the ever delightful Donnacha O’Connor (stocking cap), best known as the father of the JV’s Onna and also somewhat known as the superintendent of the Alexandria Golf Club.]
So, I’ve been arriving early every game in hopes of a meet and greet with Ashley. No luck yet. “Weakie” and Viv arrived about 5 minutes before puck drop on this night – and had an old home week with Ashley! Ha! Mike Shaughnessy was there before us – a real Super Fan though he and Julie have become snowbirds the last few years. But until it’s time for them to go, Mike shows up for everything – sometimes more than one event per night. As a regular substitute teacher in his retirement, he knows all the kids, 😉 Dusty Johnson and Al Grundei made their first Super Fan appearance of the year, but we have lost Roger Riley on Thursday nights – that’s rehearsal night for the senior men’s choir. Karen Meuwissen is still a regular as a hockey mom, though her daughter, Beth Rindy, graduated in 2010 (as I recall?) – Beth was at a game last week. And last year’s senior co-captains, Shanee’ and Shelby, were at Saturday’s game – we always love it when the alums come by to say “hi.” I was generally too busy at the game to take many photos . . .
[So, let’s get started with Mel (6) and Mari (18). Although Fergus is always our main competition in our section, we weren’t really expecting them to be that tough this year. I mean they only suit 12 players! But we were wrong . . .]
[We’re in the Otter zone early . . .]
[We’re buzzing . . .]
[Then . . . GOOOOAAAALLLLLL!]
[Mari scored a short-handed goal! 🙂 ]
We interrupt this program for a brief commentary. Ever since we, i.e., the Super Fans, have been following the sport, we have always been amazed at our continuing futility on the power play and our continuing success when short-handed? To be fair, you seldom see a good power play on the high school level, boys or girls. (OK, I know a power-play is all about passing, a skill seldom mastered until the professional level; and penalty killing is all about individual effort.) But we cheer when we take a penalty, and boo when the other team gets one. (OK, maybe not.) But in this game, the Cards had 4 penalties, the Otters had only one. That means the Cards had one power play . . . and we didn’t get a shot on goal. When we’re short-handed, we’re all over the other team’s net? [Stayed tuned in that regard.] Maybe with just 4 skaters out there, we don’t get in each other’s way. And in this game, we knocked ourselves off the puck several times allowing the Otters to get control? We jokingly say we should start games with only 4 skaters on the ice.
[Back to the face-off circle. Oh, but we’re in the 2nd period now. I should report that the Otters tied the game 2 minutes after Mari scored in the 1st – and it was either scored by or set up the Otters Lauren Norgren, who was the best player on the ice. We held our breath whenever she had the puck and started a rush. Thank goodness she’s a senior.]
[From this center ice face-off, when ran a really cool play. Taylor did her best to make sure the puck just kind of remained where it was dropped, and Nicole, from her behind position on defense, streaked right up the middle, “grabbed” the puck, split the Otter defense and went in on goal. After a minor scrum batting it around the net, she scored – 20 seconds into the period for a 2 – 1 Card lead. When they came back to center ice for the next face-off, they almost pulled it off again as Nicole initially broke through again. 🙂 ]
[Karina, and the loneliness of defense.]
[Now we’re in the 3rd period (I really did take a break?). With about 6 minutes left in the game, the Otters scored the tying goal with a complete spin around blind backhanded shot that somehow found the corner of the net. Less than 2 minutes later, the Cards were hit with another penalty – the Otters had a power-play and all the momentum with less than 5 minutes left in a 2- 2 tie game! Oy! But, of course, it happened again . . .]
[Hanah unbelievably scored! 🙂 ]
[Girls with sticks!!]
[The Cards had another short-handed goal to take a 3 – 2 lead! 🙂 ]
[Hooray for our team!]
[The Otters pulled their goalie at the end of the game, of course . . .]
[That gave them a one-player advantage . . .]
[So, of course, the Cards kept the puck in the Otter zone that whole time . . .]
[Until Nicole finally scored into the empty net . . .]
[The 4 – 2 win makes the Cards 3 – 0 for the year. 🙂 ]
[The swans were happy . . .]
[And looking forward to the next game.]
p.s. Two days of inexplicably warm weather and the ice is gone . . . and so are the swans?
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