Almost!!

March 9

Almost means the Cardinal boys hockey team came within one goal of being the class A state champion.  The journey began as the No. 3-seed in section 6A, where we dispatched both teams seeded above us, Sartell-St. Stephen and St. Cloud Cathedral, thus earning the No. 4-seed in the state tournament.  In the first round at state, we defeated the No. 5-seed, Thief River Falls, 1 – 0.  Then I drove down with Ken Howell and John Etnier for this section semi-final against defending state champion and No. 1-seed, Hermantown.  The Cards amazingly made it to the championship game (we couldn’t attend) where we lost 2 – 1 to the No. 3-seed, Orono.  Further speaking well for our performance, Thief River Falls and Hermantown won the consolation title and 3rd place games, respectively.

[Saddling up to leave town for the state tournament (Voice of Alexandria photo) . . . ]

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[I got in.  But a situation with the “TSA” at the Xcel Energy Center threw off my timing and I forgot to get a tournament program!!  So, we’ll have to work off the above roster.]

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[The Cards hit the ice at the 19,000+-seat Xcel Energy Center, home of the Minnesota Wild.  This game drew a crowd of over 11,000 as I recall, a record for a class A semi-final game . . . ]

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[Hermantown had reached the title game annually since 2010, which means adult fans on Hermantown’s side of the arena with a toddler on their lap held a child who has only known the Hawks as a fixture on the season’s final day.  The Hawks, the No. 1 seed, rode a 48-game unbeaten streak against 1A opponents and hoped to play for a third consecutive championship after six consecutive defeats.  ~  Dave La Vaque, StarTribune, 3-10-18]

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[Under the full glare of statewide TV coverage . . . ]

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[Pre-game introductions . . . ]

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[Pre-game instructions to each other . . . ]

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[And we’re off!]

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[That appears to be Jack Westlund (10) chasing after the puck.  He scored the only goal in the Thief River Falls game . . . ]

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[Westlund and likely his center, Ben Doherty (7), mixing it up . . . ]

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[Freshman Jakob Stender (27) in on goal . . . ]

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[But the Hermantown goalie gathers the puck . . . ]

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[And this looks like Shane Birkeland (25) making a cross ice pass . . . ]

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[You may note that we’re at a bit of an elevated position here.  We were in the club section, one level above level one, making number identification difficult at times . . . ]

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[Face-off in our offensive zone . . . ]

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[Jack Powell (21) scored 2 minutes after the Hawks had scored tying the game at one . . . ]

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[The Cardinal band and fan section celebrate!  I believe you can tell when I’m shooting the ice and when I’m shooting the ginormous scoreboard screen?]

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[Looking good, all even after one . . . ]

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[Cheerleaders and students exchange photo ops . . . ]

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[And then cheer!]

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[Period 2 . . . ]

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[Late in the period, otherwise controlled mainly by the Hawks, Caleb Strong (3) scored on an assist from Powell giving the Cards a 2 – 1 lead going into the 3rd . . . ]

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[Into the 3rd, the Cards broke it open . . . ]

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[Powell scored again on a beautiful end-to-end rush . . . ]

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[Then Ben Johnson (9) scored, Cards up 4 – 1 . . . ]

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[It looked like a breakaway goal here for Caleb . . . ]

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[But the defense kicked out his back leg for a tripping penalty . . . ]

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[With the Cards up by 3 goals with a little over 3 minutes left in the game, the Hawks pulled their goalie and Powell scored on an empty-netter for his hat trick!]

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[Nice post-goal knee slide, Jack . . . ]

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[The loneliness of an empty net.  Evan Lattimer (12) also scored an empty-netter making the final score 6 – 1 . . . ]

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[We had slayed the giant!]

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[On to the championship game . . . ]

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[The fans . . .  we had a ringer.  We were joined by the class of ’65’s homecoming queen, who was appearing at her first Cardinal game since high school.  When the final result was tallied, the boys agreed Kathy, in her full Cardinal paraphernalia, had to have been a good luck charm.]

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Wrapping up:  The Cardinals only allowed 3 goals in 3 games, and both goals in the championship game were a bit flukey – on their 1st goal one of our defenseman lost his stick and was unable to defend against a point blank shot; and on the 2nd, the puck took a weird angle bounce of the backboards right to an Orono player in front of the net (that Orono player, incidentally, is the grandson of one of my Alexandria high school history teachers?).  If you toss out the anomaly of the girls Warroad game, both Cardinal teams allowed only 5 goals in 5 state tournament games, and both won 2 out of  3 games there.  Senior goalie Jackson Boline (30) had a tremendous tournament with a 96% save percentage – he was named recipient of the Herb Brooks award and was named to the all-tournament teamSenior Jack Powell (21) became a star in this tournament and was named to the all-tournament team.  They were joined on the all-tournament team by junior Jack Westlund (10), who scored our only goal in the Orono game, and by sophomore Caleb Strong (3).  Congratulations to the team for a great tournament.  Thanks for the magic carpet ride!

[Photo samplings from the mainstream media.  First the goalies from the Hermantown game from the Duluth News Tribune . . . ]

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[Two from the Pioneer Press, Powell’s great end-to-end goal . . . ]

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[Five from Echo Press of the Hermantown game, Strong here . . . ]

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[Westlund and Powell . . . ]

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[Zach Wosepka (20) . . . ]

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[Powell and Boline . . . ]

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[Shane Birkeland (25) and Powell . . . ]

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[StarTribune of a Powell goal celebration . . . ]

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[Voice of Alexandria with the Powell end-to-end goal . . . ]

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[Five from Echo Press of the Orono game, Boline and Matthew Carlsen (26) . . . ]

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[Carlsen and Boline . . . ]

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[Westlund and Carlsen . . . ]

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[Birkeland . . . ]

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[Lattimer . . . ]

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[Wrapping up with Westlund and Boline at the end of the championship game from Echo Press; and Boline from Voice of Alexandria.]

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People didn’t know the difference between a blue line and a clothes line.  ~  Al Michaels (prior to the “Miracle on Ice”)

Up Next:  Girls basketball going to state . . .

About tomobert63

The Journey Begins Thanks for joining me! This is the follow-up to the original, “alexandriacardinals.wordpress.com,” which overwhelmed the system’s ability to handle it any more. Thus, this is “Part 2.” As the original was initially described: 10-26-07-4 “It all began in a 5,000 watt radio station in Fresno, California” . . . wait a minute, that was Ted Baxter on the Mary Tyler Moore Show! Let’s see . . . oh yeah, it all began in 2003 when retirees, i.e., old people, in Alexandria, Minnesota, who had no desire to become snow birds, went looking for mid-winter entertainment here in the frozen tundra of West Central Minnesota. We discovered girls’ high school hockey, fell in love immediately, and it remains our favorite spectator sport to this day. Initially, and for several years, reports on these games were e-mailed to those who were actually snowbirds but wanted to keep abreast of things “back home.” It was ultimately decided a blog would be more efficient, and it evolved into a personal diary of many things that attracts tens of readers on occasion. It remains a source of personal mental therapy and has yet to elicit any lawsuits. ~ The Editor, May 9, 2014 p.s. The photo border around the blog is the Cardinal girls’ hockey team after just beating Breck for the state championship in 2008. It’s of the all-tournament team. The visible Breck player on the left is Milica McMillen, then an 8th-grader – she is now an All-American for the Gophers. The Roseau player in the stocking cap I believe is Mary Loken, who went on to play for UND; and the Cardinal player on the right, No. 3, is Abby Williams, the player we blame most for making us girls’ hockey fans who went on to play for Bemidji State. *********************************************************************************** Photos contained herein are available for personal use. All you have to do is double click on any of the photos and they will become full screen size. You can then save them into your personal “My Pictures” file. They make lovely parting or hostess gifts, or holiday gifts for such as Uncle Ernie who wants to see how his grand niece is doing on the hockey team. If any are sold for personal profit, however, to, for example, the Audubon Society, National Geographic, Sven’s Home Workshop Monthly, Curling By The Numbers, or the World Wrestling Federation, I only request that you make a donation to the charitable organization of your choice. You have two hours and fifteen minutes. Pencils ready? Begin! **********************************************************************************
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