Polar Plunge

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[For the Special Olympics at Arrowwood on beautiful Lake Darling this afternoon.  It was an absolutely balmy 19 degrees ABOVE zero today . . . OK, the wind was uncomfortably strong, so we didn’t stay out for long.]

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[The walk down to the lake.  As you may recall from your readings . . . mostly from Facebook snowbird friends . . . the month of February was mostly below zero.]

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[Looking back at Arrowwood.  Why yes, it is a pretty day.]

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[A hockey rink on the lake . . . but no signs of any plungers.  I was duped!  I was told they’d be plunging at 11:00 – but that was just a time for arriving, schmoozing, eating, and beveraging  No one was going in the water until 1:00!]

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[So inside we went (well, the Super was already there – she knew what was up!).  Here the Super poses the Barrett Fire Department plunging as a team.]

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[Our old buddy, Professor Miltich, was there to provide entertainment, so my time concerns were assuaged.  A bloody mary also was good at assuagement!]

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[Get ready to saddle up people!]

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[The Anthony Miltich Fan Club . . .]

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[In the midst of serious negotiations regarding the fee the perform at a three-year old’s birthday?]

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[Hey Daddy, how much is a million dollars?]

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[This is our group . . . ]

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[As they were in relation to Professor Miltich.]

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[We sponsored them – the League of Super Heroes, a/k/a, ASK (Acts of Sincere Kindness group).]

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[Then we had to leave the Professor to catch the action on the ice.]

So, here’s the video.  You can hear the wind.  It was tough for us to walk out there without snow on the ice to provide some traction.  Plus, I was shooting blind over the top of the crowd.  Under these circumstance, unfortunately, the video of the ASK group didn’t come out (cold hands, bad blind aim):

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[I hereby pledge that I, personally, will NOT plunge again next year!]

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[And here’s the Echo Press photo, already up on Facebook.]

Don’t knock the weather; nine-tenths of the people couldn’t start a conversation if it didn’t change once in a while.  ~  Kin Hubbard

Up next:  OK, this time the basketball sections (I think).

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[Live long and prosper.]

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Conference Champs (Another One!)

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[Friday night, the last game of the regular season.  The foe was poor St. Cloud Apollo, a team that did not win a game all year.  The outcome was really preordained.  (Apollo will represent our section in the boys’ state hockey tournament – we’ll cheer for the Eagles there.)  As the last game, it was also senior night . . .]

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[And there you have it.]

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[The JV game (the above two photos) was almost identical to the following varsity game. This was the last game of the season for the JV’s, who had a terrific year (2 or 3 losses?).]

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[The pre-game stop-and-chat.]

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[Ruth (the other Super Fan Ruth) with Aria, her point guard of the future granddaughter.]

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[The Carly Dropik (# 33) Fan Club; and the student section whose sign contents were scrupulously perused by the authorities before they could be displayed!   ;-)    ]

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[Meanwhile, back at warm-ups.]

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[Good luck to your hockey team.]

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[And back to warm-ups.]

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[Shereee Saxton, whose official title (I believe) is in-charge-of-a-lot-of-school-stuff, e.g., the Cardinal Connection, chaperones the student section while really keeping an eye on the old people to make sure we don’t get out of hand!]

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[The point guard-of-the-future is back with her scouting report.]

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[Kelby Olson-Roedel (13) leads the team back to the bench, lest they otherwise get lost.]

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[The seniors gather to be introduced . . . and be feted with their folks.]

S-S-S-EN, I-I-I-OR, S-E-N-I-O-R-S, SENIORS!

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[Anna Lee (23)]

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[Brooke Heggie (45)]

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[Group shot]

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[Carly Dropik (33)]

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[The coaching staff says good-bye to Kohler’s . . . 30th group of seniors?]

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[Cheyenne Hendrickson (55)]

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[Gretchen Revering (25)]

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[Emily Korkowski (Manager)]

high school game day

[On loan from somebody’s Facebook posting.]

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[And as captured by Ms. Saxton.]

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[ESPN high school gameday hosts.  I recognize Jaran Roste (middle), our football quarterback and a guard on the basketball team.]

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[The real refs were jolly good sports and posed for a photo with their white-caned impersonator.]

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[The five seniors started.  Since that was new to some, they weren’t sure in what order and to whom to share an introductory fist bump.]

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[Let’s get ready to ruummmmbbblllleeee!]

Video of the opening minutes:

***

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[After the opening video, we pick up play with the usual starters back on the court.]

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[Kendall Kohler (3) forechecking at the center line, recognizing I’m using a hockey analogy.]

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[Kendall now on the offense . . . I believe she avoided a charge here and drew a foul.]

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[Macy Hatlestad (11) feeds Cheyenne in the post.]

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[Kayla Feldhake (43) at the free throw line.  She has the daunting task of replacing both our 6-footers, Brooke and Cheyenne, next year!  ;-)   ]

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[Amazingly, one game after catching Macy in an on-court figure skating maneuver, Kiyana Miller (21) looks like she’s sliding into a take-off for a triple Lutz!]

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[Kendall eyeballing the pumpkin from a distance.]

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[Brooke on the foul line.  She pretty much had her way in this game as the Eagles didn’t have anyone who could defend her.]

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[Look!  Is that Oscar-winner J. K. Simmons?  He was at the AAAA in 2012.]

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[(Just checking to see if you were paying attention.)]

At the half, the Winter Drum Line:

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[And a shooting contest.  Can you find the ball?]

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[Brooke again . . . ]

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[All five Cardinals poised for a defensive assault.]

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[Kendall and Kiyana prepare for a special ‘K’ double-team.]

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[And did Kiyana get it?]

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[Guess not, but still on in-your-face defense.]

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[Cheyenne and Brooke go for a block, Macy prepares for a deflection.]

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[Fast break!!]

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[Macy for the lay-up.]

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[Brooke was leading scorer.]

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[Carly on top as the Cards go into their motion offense.]

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[Kelby displays what I believe are the teams’ best hops.  And though running styles may affect perception, she and Kiyana appear to be the teams’ greyhounds.]

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[Clap-clap-clap, clap-clap-clap as the JV players wrap up the victory.]

Whadya mean we only got a 2 seed?  ~  Cub Reporter

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Bonus end-of-season quote:  Doh!!!  ~  Homer Simpson

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Up next:  We host Sauk Rapids-Rice in the first round of the sections on Tuesday.

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[See you at the tournament!  (Photo on loan from a no-longer-remembered social media site – apologies.)]

p.s.  The very next night . . .

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[It’s really tough to beat an evening with The Cheese Bots, an SRO crowd, and a bottle of Don David malbec at Sixth Avenue Wine & Ale!  :-)   ]

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CARDINALS – 51, Cardinals – 41

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[Hockey’s over now . . . gotta ride roundball into the spring sports season.  This was our Cards over the Willmar Cards on Monday night.  It moved us to a 13 – 2 conference record with one to go – hosting St. Cloud Apollo on Friday night.  Should we win that (and we should) we would tie for the conference title with Sartell.]

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[Driving into the high school that night – after what’s seemed like weeks of sub-zero temperatures – it was somewhat balmy with hurricane winds and starting to get the eerie glow of later sunsets.]

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[Jump!  Our Brooke Heggie against Willmar’s 6’4″ center.]

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[And then Brooke feeding from the point.]

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[The game began with matching 3’s from our matching sophomore guards, Kendall Kohler (3) (here) and Macy Hatlestad (11).]

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[Kendall has always been fire and energy, which is great, but would often lead her into foul trouble.  But as the season has progressed, she still gets her steals, but has become more fundamentally sound on defense . . .]

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[Her mom would require no less.]

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[Macy on defense . . . ]

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[And as the principal ball handler.]

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[The ball appears to be searching for an off court exit?]

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[Brooke back setting the offense from the top.  Our Cards went on a high octane offense early, jumped out to a 21 – 7, and coasted in the rest of the way.]

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[Cheyenne Hendrickson (55) had a solid, all around game.  I still kinda marvel at what a good player she has become in her senior year – good rebounder, passer, defender, and has even developed a good 3-point shot.]

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[Cheyenne and Macy going back on D.]

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[Macy with fellow sophomore, Kayla Feldhake (43).  All our bigs – Brooke, Chey, and Kayla had a bit of foul trouble this game, so they were frequently rotating in and out.]

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[Kendall with good D again.  Wendy in the background with stay with her, stay with her, stay with her, don’t foul, don’t foul, don’t foul.]

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[No where to go, No. 1.]

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[A hockey defense . . . don’t let them cross the center line!  ;-)   ]

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[Emma Ziegler (1) joins Brooke in the running forward, looking backward defensive strategy.]

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[Every once in a while you luck out.  Here I “captured” Macy doing a dry land practice of a figure skating double axle (or triple toe loop) while retreating on defense.  :-)   ]

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[Brooke and Kendall execute a trap.  A trap is legal with proper licensing.]

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[No. 3 was their point guard and best player who scored her 1,000th point on this night. She’s more of a slasher than a shooter, as she went to the line a lot but usually missed her first and made her second.]

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[Their center does execute a height advantage.  I’m not sure what year she is, but if she got the ball in the low post (most often from an offensive rebound) she was pretty much unstoppable.]

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[Kendall is pretty much automatic from the line.  She did miss one in this game, which elicited gasps from the crowd.]

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[Run back, run back!]

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[Macy tries her hand (and feet) defending No. 1.]

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[At the half, the pace had slowed and for us . . . too many fouls were being called.]

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[The 2nd half, Macy inbounding to Emma.]

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[If you listen closely . . . ]

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[You can hear Kohler shouting defensive instructions from the bench!  ;-)   ]

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[Macy walks it up (well, that’s pretty obvious).]

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[Brooke has the chagrined look of someone who finally got a call . . . ]

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[And went to the line accordingly.]

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[Kendall’s handling the ball out front . . . ]

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[Which means this is the stretch in the 2nd half when Macy was sitting with 4 fouls.]

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[I believe either this one . . . ]

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[Or this one was her one miss.]

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[We win!  Macy, Brooke, and Kendall all in double figures as usual to lead the scoring.  See you Friday for senior night!]

It turns out, the girls varsity was the only team to escape the tear in the zeitgeist on Monday and Tuesday.  When I arrived at the game halfway through the JV game, the regular crowd (already “shuffled in”) were aghast at what was happening in the game.  Our 20 – 3 JV Cards had poured in a total of 8, yes 8, points in the first half. Apparently we were having a tough time throwing the ball in the ocean.  While things improved in the 2nd half, not enough to get a win.  On Tuesday, the red hot Gopher women’s team, particularly in the 2nd half, couldn’t throw the ball in the ocean either and suffered a 20+ point loss to Nebraska.  Then, also on Tuesday . . .

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[This was the halftime score of our Cardinal boys game against Little Falls in the opening round of the section tournament.  And it took a bit of a rush late to get it this close.  The Cards (the No. 2 seed) couldn’t throw the ball in the proverbial ocean either, while the Flyers (the No. 7 seed?) just couldn’t miss.  At one point in the 2nd half, the lead ballooned to 27 points – the crowd was mostly just stunned.  To the team’s credit, however, they never quit.  They continued to press and work hard the whole game, started making some shots, and closed it to 11 at the end.  The season-long problem of free throw shooting prevented closing the gap enough to worry the Flyers.  But it was a pretty good season after losing 4 starting seniors off last year’s state tournament team.  There’s talent coming up, particularly on the freshmen team I’m told.]

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[Dave Hartmann, Activities Director, was announced as retiring after 22 years.  He was responsible for more 50 extra-curricular programs, and the Cardinals won 140 conference titles, 94 section titles, and 12 state titles during his tenure.  Congratulations, Dave . . . and see you around the water cooler.]

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[Chad Duwenhoegger, principal; Mark Ripley, The Competition]

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[Forrest Witt, head coach; Wayne Elton, my high school principal, in the stylish Rick Santorum sweater vest, on the left]    ]

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[Kris Setterstrom (3), senior guard]

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[Joe Gorghuber (5), senior forward]

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[Ben Corson (13), senior guard]

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[Travis Krueger (25) senior guard]

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[Jaran Roste (31), sophomore guard]

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[The only time the game was tied.]

The following is offered free of charge as a public service:  I’m in my late 60’s now, but just a couple of years ago on my daily morning foray to the Y I would not begin my alleged workout session until I had made 10 free throws in a row – and I hadn’t really ‘touched’ a ball in 40 years.  I could usually do it within 15 minutes.  Pretty soon, 10 in a row was too easy, so I upped the target to 20 free throws in a row.  It took a little while, but pretty soon even 20 was becoming routine.  So, I upped it to 30 in a row.  Over the course of two months, at 20 minutes a morning, 6 days a week, I was routinely making 30 plus free throws in a row.  Now I know it’s not the same as making them in a game situation, and when you’re tired, but all you players on the boys’ and girls’ teams are better athletes than I ever was.  I’m challenging both teams to at least shoot 70% from the line next year (75% would be better) – you’ll win a few extra games each year if you do.  Just concentrate, follow through down the line, and go get a Blizzard when you’re done.

p.s.  Jami’s teaching a Comm Ed class at The Nest:  So, last night was the 4th day in a row I’d been at the high school.  I’m thinking about leasing a room.

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It’s never just a game when you’re winning.  ~  George Carlin

Up next:  More roundball

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STATE 2015 (Consolation Champs)

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[Saturday morning, heading back to the Cities down I-94.  The quintessential Minnesota winter driving photo, blowing snow with an eerie sun.  We were going down to Ridder Arena for the girls class A state hockey consolation finals, our Cards v. Hibbing/Chisholm. We weren’t going to go, lots of things on the docket at home that day, but how could we not?  For the seniors, their last game.]

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[The Voices of Alexandria miked and ready to go.]

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[Actually kinda cool how I have to angle the shot to get everybody in with a telephoto lens.]

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[LET’S PLAY HOCKEY!!]

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[The Blue Jackets were the 5th seed in the tournament.  They lost to So. St. Paul on day one and beat New Ulm in the consolation first round.]

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[Some early pressure from the Cards, with Leary (26), Wosepka (18), Heckert (20), and Ellingson (24).]

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[The Rev (29) swoops in from the left flank.]

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[Niska (21), Trosvig (15), and Rev in center ice.]

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[Oooo, I see the puck, get out of the way No. 18!!]

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[The scrum is on . . . I lost it?]

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[Wosepka (18) swoops in on the right flank.]

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[We had pretty good pressure from the beginning . . . ]

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[Which made us feel like we had the better team.  Now it was just a matter of getting more goals than them.]

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[When you’re all by yourself, you might as well shoot it.  :-)    ]

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[Another year on the weight room we’ll be able to smash the puck through all these goal mouth scrums we get involved in.]

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[Niska chases as the puck just goes wide right.]

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[DeWanz (7) and Klimek (37) doing their part.]

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[With Niska and Trosvig, is that one in?  Nope.  Drat.]

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[Amy Jost . . . all alone and blue . . . ]

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[Period 2 begins, lots of action but no scoring in period 1.]

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[Another Ooooohhhh goes up from the crowd.]

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[Soooo close!]

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[OK, face-off over there!]

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[Here comes Rev.]

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[@#$%&* pole!]

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[Kristin driving in on goal.]

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[The Blue Jacket goalie is down again.]

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[Rev’s trying to stuff it.]

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[Get in there, d**ned puck!]

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[And again the elusive disc flies by.]

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[Kristin’s hot on the trail . . . ]

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[Now Mari . . .]

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[And even Karina Carlsen’s giving it a try from her defense position.]

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[Then, finally, late in the period, Kaila sent a pass from the far boards that Lauren was able to one-time in on the goalie’s far side.  Sam also got an assist on the play.  ]

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[That may have been our best offensive period I saw all year . . . we were just flying throughout.]

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[Still, it was just a one goal lead after two periods.]

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[This old play worked (to some degree) a couple times in the tournament because these teams don’t usually play us and hadn’t seen it.  Nicole charges through immediately from her defense position at the face-off puck drop, splits the initial forward line and has, in times past, been able then to also split the defenseman and take it in on goal.]

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[Lauren’s crossing the blue line so of course we’re all yelling, “Slap shot!”]

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[Mari, Hanah, and Karina trying to keep the Blue Jackets bottled up.]

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[Then Kaitlin, Micaela, and McKenna.]

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[McKenna again – she had several nice rushes in the game.]

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[Lauren in one-on-four.]

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[Even the Blue Jackets thought they saw Kim Kardashian?]

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[That, I believe, is what’s known in the language of the sport, an empty net.]

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[And then it was over.  A fine all-around game for the Cards; a shutout for Amy; and the consolation title.  For those keeping score at home, you may recall that the 2008 championship team won the consolation title the preceding year.  Something to think about, ladies.]

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[Good for us!!]

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[Fist bumps all around . . . ]

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[Team captains Micaela Swenson (34) and Nicole Bartels (23) pick up the team hardware.  Nicole was also named to the all-tournament team, so another big congratulations to her.]

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[Look what we got!!]

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[Woo-woo!!  Now can we go to Cossetta’s for a hero?]

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[Pick your favorite.  You could tell this was a team that had done this before.  Without coaxing, they skated over to the Alex fans’ section and took their positions for the photo ops.  :-)   ]

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[Mari’s mom says “Over here!  Give us a ‘We’re No. 1!'”]

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[To which the team responded, “But we’re No. 5 (consolation champs).”  Ha!]

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[Echo Press photo.  The team recovered nicely after a mid-season lull and were playing pretty good hockey at the end of the year.  In the tournament, I thought only Blake and Thief River Falls could be considered better teams.  So, wait for next year!  It was fun this year, got to know more parents (and grandparents) who seem to tolerate us.  ;-)  On this day, we also got to reunite with a member of the 2008 team, Caitlin Murphy and her dad. We came home to events in the “Complementary” blog so couldn’t catch the boys’ section semi-final that night hosting St. Cloud Apollo.  The Cards had a great year, conference champs and No. 1 section seed, but on any given night – Apollo won 4 – 2 (with an empty-netter), which was the third down-to-the-wire game between those two teams this year. It’s a shame the boys’ couldn’t also have made state – it was looking like a banner year for the Cardinals.  On the plus side, both teams should be very good again next year.]

Up next:  Now roundball, all the time.  Oh, this marks another blog milestone.  It’s the 650th posting, which I believe makes me eligible for Medicare’s carpal tunnel supplemental insurance.

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STATE 2015 (Complementary)

Comings and goings betwixt, between, and after the tournament . . .

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[After putting the finishing touches on the Hutchinson game, it was time to head home.  It was Thursday night date night at SAWA after all.  On the way home, we stopped at the Albany DQ.  We hadn’t for a long time (?) and were delighted to discover the new indoor biffies (well, you used to have to walk outside around to the back)!  Anyway, not only was it Components night at SAWA, WCCO was also coming to “the place where everyone knows your name” to cover life in Alexandria in winter.   The sign on the wall behind His Worship tells it all.]

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[Let the good times roll . . . ]

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[The ladies seem to think Vascellaro (r) is some sort of hottie.  I have no idea who the two ladies in this photo are?]

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[Friday night marked the annual Wine & Beer Fundraiser for the United Way.  As usual, a cast of thousands appeared on the scene, ultimately raising the temperature in the room to about 100 degrees . . . not so good when you have to go out into double digit sub-zero temperatures when it’s all over.]

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[Two semi-known ne’er-do-wells celebrating having their names recently removed from TSA’s “no fly” list.  A Congressional investigation has been initiated.]

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[Terry Kennedy and Al Lieffort, a/k/a Emergency Stop, were staged for the music.  Thanks again, guys.  Al seems to really be enjoying being into his 2nd month of retirement.]

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[Known to be less than two months apart in age.  Apparently are related in some capacity to the ne’er-do-wells.]

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[Ahhh, there’s really no need to travel anyway.  I’m perfectly comfortable right here.  Oh, garcon, another Malbec, s’il vous plait.]

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[Speaking of retirement, this will also be Corliss Stark’s last year at the helm of such United Way festivities.  And a many thanks to her for all her years helping make the Douglas and Pope Counties United Way the dynamo that it is in providing help and caring for our community.]

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[My supervisors, off and on the job.]

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[Jessica Boyer and Corliss form a great one-two punch for United Way.]

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[Jessica makes sure one of the ne’er-do-wells doesn’t sneak off with any of the prizes.]

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[This was at least a couple such events in a row where the Supervisor didn’t win anything? Time to call for an overall lottery audit!!]

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[After the Cardinals wrapped up the consolation title Saturday morning.  A “selfie.”  At Vescio’s.  In Dinkytown.  Where we go to celebrate good things happening at Ridder Arena.  Sid Hartman still noshes here.]

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[Public Service Message:  This is what can happen to you if you overdose on marinara sauce!]

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[Waiter-in-training at Vescio’s.  We asked him to take our picture.  His trainer told him to take a “selfie” of himself as well – it’s restaurant policy.  Ha!]

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[After the Vescio’s nosh, we bolted for home to meet the kids for Jess Lourey’s signing session at Cherry Street Books.  We’ve been buddies with her through social media from the beginning of her murder-by-month mysteries.  Since she has now struck out to be a full-time writer, we promised her dinner (starving artist syndrome, don’cha know?) on this visit  . . ]

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[Well, Raapers was right across the street so across we went . . . seven of us had a repast, a beverage, and a spirited discussion of stuff right up until . . . ]

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[We literally had to run to make the play.  Well worth the physical exertion as David Christman and Colin Hearn were hilarious.  :-)   But again, everything comes with a price, If we could have stayed in the Cities, we would have gone to the Gopher women’s basketball game.  The Gophers won again with another monster performance by Amanda Zahui B, 27 points and 27 rebounds, which made her ESPN’s national player of the week (Doh!  D’ya think?).]

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[Sunday morning dawned bright and clear.  The temperature over beautiful Lake Darling was 19 degrees below zero, the wind chill was a balmy minus 41 (I did notice that going out to get the morning paper in my bathrobe).  But we didn’t care . . . we were going to the symphony/ballet, a collaboration between our own Central Lakes Symphony Orchestra (CLSO) and Twin Cities Ballet!]

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[The setting . . .]

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[The hole in the floor . . . and it was quite a hole!  This was the first event at the performing arts center where the orchestra pit was used.  The buzz in the crowd was that it was the 2nd largest such pit in the state.  As I recall, Maestro Brad told me it was designed for 42 – 44 musicians but that 55 would be “down there” today.  Hey, watch where you’re sticking that bow!]

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[Sandy Susag makes formal introductions, thanks Trumm Drug for its sponsorship, and turn off your phones and no photos!]

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[A ne’er-do-well, ever on the move, visits with Greg Donahue, CLSO officer and violin performer of some repute, after the event.]

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[You never get more sunshine than when the temperature is below zero!  Beautiful!]

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[Photo from the Twin Cities Ballet website . . . ]

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[As are these, of the rehearsals with the local folk who would be performing with them.]

The ability to have our own way, and at the same time convince others they are having their own way, is a rare thing among men.  Among women it is as common as eyebrows.  ~  Thomas Bailey Aldrich

Up next:  Hockey is over.  :-(

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STATE 2015 (Part Deux)

Consolation bracket . . .

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[So, the next morning – after a good night’s sleep to digest the Pazzaluna pizza – we checked out of the Hotel 340 and headed for Ridder Arena at the ‘U.’  We were the first game in the consolation bracket, taking on Hutchinson who had been steamrollered by Blake on day one.  In fact, the Alex – Red Wing was the only competitive game in the first round. We were pretty confident.  I forgot to mention we visited with Ashley Holmes at the ‘X’ on the first day.  Ashley, of course, played for our state champion team in 2008, played 4 years of D-1 hockey at North Dakota, was an assistant coach at Alex last year, and is now an assistant coach for Augsburg.  She was there scouting for future Augies, loves her job, and looks great!  We also saw alums from last year’s team, Melissa Drown and Taylor Ellingson.  There were probably more, but the mind is weak and the memories fleeting.]

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[When your telephoto lens does not allow you to capture the entire team in one photo.]

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[The coaches show “good spacing” on the bench.  It prevents the other team from being able to double-team them individually.]

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[Amy Jost (33), junior goalie]

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[Nicole Bartels (23), senior defense]

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[Kaitlin Leary (26), sophomore defense]

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[Kristin Trisvig (15), freshman forward]

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[Lauren Niska (21), junior forward]

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[McKenzie Revering (29), sophomore forward.  It’s actually rather depressing to realize that I have undergarments older than most of these kids!]

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[Yay, team!]

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[I still haven’t a clue about what goalies talk about?]

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[Back to Cossetta’s for heroes after the game!!!]

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[And we’re off – the Cards on the attack.]

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[Hanah Hansen (11) and McKenna Ellingson (24) fight to keep it in the zone.]

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[If that’s a ‘7,’ it’s Sam Klimek (37).]

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[GOOAAALLLL!  Nicole Bartels scored 17 seconds after Tigers had scored, about 4 minutes into the game.  Assists went to Niska and Leary.]

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[Oooooh, Hanah was right there!  And the pesky puck exits, stage left.]

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[Ye olde defense pair of yesteryear, now forwards, McKenzie and Lauren are in deep.]

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[Kristin forechecking (I think banks charge a user fee for that now?).]

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[Not another goalie standing on her head!!!]

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[We appear to be in the 2nd period now.  The first period ended at 1 – 1, Hutch was giving us a tougher time than I thought.  I obviously forgot my scoreboard responsibilities.]

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[Go, McKenna!]

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[Lauren’s on a 1-in-5 attack mode.]

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[Oooops, low and outside.  Ball four!  The Cards took 4 penalties in the 2nd period, the Tigers scored two power play goals.  We were down 3 – 1 and not playing very well.  And yet . . . it still seemed like we would win if we just cranked it up a notch.]

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[We started the 3rd period still short-handed for almost the full two minutes.  We thought if we could just get a “shortie” then, we’d be within one goal and game on!  We had had some solos in on a goal but hadn’t scored on them.  But this time, probably our best at this, Mari Wosepka (18), got a steal and . . .]

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[GOOAAAAALLLLL!  We’re back in the game . . . and then some, as the goal really opened the flood gates.]

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[The Cards started flying all over the ice.  It was really fun to watch!]

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[McKenna’s in . . . ]

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[Then Sam . . . ]

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[Lauren . . . ]

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[Alexis Heckert (20) . . . the Cards were keeping constant pressure.]

2-19-15-41 - Copy[A crowd at the goal . . . ]

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[The Super is screaming, “Keep it in!”]

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[And then Rev blasts one . . . right down our sight line.]

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[GOOOAAAALLLLL!   From Hanah and Lauren.  The game is now tied.  :-)  ]

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[But we’re not stopping now . . . ]

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[Kristin’s in again . . . ]

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[The Tiger goalie is under fire . . . ]

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[GOOAAAALLLL!  Nicole’s 2nd of the game and the Cards have the lead!]

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[Woo-woo!]

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[Not done yet?]

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[Uffda, that was close!]

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[Nice photo, Obert!]

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[Kristin again . . .]

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[The Cards work ole Phil Jackson’s triangle offense . . .]

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[A Tiger is double-teamed behind the goal . . . ]

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[Alexis and Mari with pressure . . .]

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[Who dat?]

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[Hanah and Kristin awaiting the arrival of the little black disc.]

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[Storming again . . . ]

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[The goalie’s sending out SOS signals!]

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[Another nice shot, Obert!  Somewhere in all that I lost a GOOOAAALLLL by Allison O’Kane, from Hanah, giving us a 5 – 3 lead, safe enough with time winding down. ]

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[Nicole got an empty-netter, length of the ice shot with .7 seconds left, for her hat trick and a final score of 6 – 3.]

2-19-15-64 - Copy 2-19-15-65 - Copy 2-19-15-66 - Copy[The Cards were more than impressive with that 5-goal 3rd period.  We would now be playing in the consolation final on Saturday morning.]

I put a dollar in a change machine. Nothing changed.  ~  George Carlin

Up next:  Even more STATE.

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STATE 2015

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As it turns out, this seemingly annual event (the Cardinal girls’ hockey team has now made the main event 10 out of the last 12 years) is often in conjunction with a myriad of other things of local and international interest.  For example, this year’s tournament started on my sister Gretchen’s 66th birthday, so as she celebrated in Alex way back when and with Mohamed this year on a walking tour of their hometown, Washington, D.C.

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[Yes, D.C. has more snow than we do . . . so they were able to scout possible local hockey talent for our Cards (?)  You may recognize the Watergate Hotel (left) and the Kennedy Center on the Potomac River behind Mohamed.]

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[Prior to the tournamant, there was also some conjecture from out-of-state constituents as to whether the above headgear is really considered Minnesota chic.  It is.]

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[The Sunday before the tournament, the Super decided it would be a good idea to redeem one of the products she purchased at the girls’ hockey fund raiser – a gift certificate to D Michael B’s.  Yes, “Weakie,” that is the meat loaf, and I got four more meals out of it at home!  And I discovered that as I have aged, my arms are now too short for a food-included “selfie.”]

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[On the Tuesday night before the state tournament possible options included our boys’ hockey section quarter-final game (figured to be the easy win that it was) or to go down to the Cities a day early to catch the Gopher women’s basketball game against 11th-ranked Iowa.  If we had done the latter, we would have seen sophomore center, Amanda Zahui B, set a Big Ten rebounding record with 29, to go with her 39 points, in the Gopher victory! But we were scheduled for an evening of Native American Cooking with Matthew Jensen at Broadway Bistro (in conjunction with the library’s “Community Read,” Neither Wolf Nor Dog, by Kent Nerburn).  Matthew told us about Native American foods, the preparation and storage thereof, and how he loves to apply those “natural” principles to his restaurant, including scouring his local woods for mushrooms.  He prepared a venison stew in the way the local Indians would have, and also an Indian dessert.  Both were declared delicious by the attendees.]

And then we were on the road:

***

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[So by now, of course, you realize this is all just about EATING.  We drove down to the XCel Center in St. Paul on Wednesday morning.  The driving weather was surprisingly good, considering our usual luck, though the temperature was somewhere in the teens below zero.  After checking into Hotel 340, we skywayed our way to the XCel and then braved dangerous wind chills for two more blocks to make it to Cossetta’s, the ultimate destination for any alleged hockey trip.  The Super and I split a pastrami and pepper jack hero on bread-to-die-for, and the Super also was able to polish off a cannoli, her favorite dessert.  And we were disgustingly cute in our matching 2008 State Champion hoodies.]

Oh yeah, the game . . .

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[The paperwork . . .]

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[And we’re on the ice.]

The team introductions:

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The first game v. Red Wing:

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[They seed five of the eight teams in each class for bracketing purposes.  We thought we had a shot at a seed because of some upsets in other sections.  We didn’t get one.  In hindsight, we should have been no worse than the 4th seed, maybe the 3rd.  Stuff happens. But we drew #3-seed Red Wing in the first round.  We thought that was a good draw for us.  The Wingers had a 24-4 record, but we thought we had a good shot against them.  And we did.  The Hanah Hansen (11) line here.]

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[Hanah chasing it in the Wingers zone.]

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[Looks like McKenzie Revering (29) with Kristin Trosvig (15).]

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[McKenna Ellingson (24) with . . . well, either Hanah or Alexis Heckert (20) as her center.]

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[The Rev!   The new scoreboard at the ‘X’ is amazing.  This was a photo of . . . the scoreboard big screen.  In hindsight, I wish I’d taken more scoreboard photos because the close-ups were unbelievable.]

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[The Rev and Kristin with likely Lauren Niska (21) on the far side.  That line of a freshman, sophomore, and junior, respectively, will be back in its entirety next year.]

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[Looks like Hanah (another junior) with senior Kaila DeWanz (7).]

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[Hanah with senior co-captain Micaela Swenson (34).]

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[Ooops, looks like a touch up is needed – both to the photo and to get onside.]

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[Uffda, thought we’d changed periods – but this is a scoreboard shot.  McKenna and junior Mari Wosepka (18) making a run.]

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[The defensive pair of sophomore Kaitlin Leary (26) and senior Nicole Bartels (23) defend the blue line.]

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[Big screen again of freshman Allison O’Kane (36), Kristin and Rev.]

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[The play that may have changed the whole outcome of the game.  McKenna launched a nice wrist shot that hit the right goal post, slid all the way across the goal mouth and hit the left goal post, and popped out.  They ran it on the big screen from above.  If that had crossed the line, we would have had the first goal and then . . . who knows?]

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[The Winger goalie lost her helmet flopping in an attempt to block that shot.  Moments later, McKenna had a point blank backhand shot that the goalie did make a nice save on.]

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[Face-off in their zone.]

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[Another good effort in the zone.]

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[Nope, close but no cigar (except maybe in the lobby of the 340?).]

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[It was a dominating first period by us.]

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[Between periods, hockey moms discuss the finer points of the blue line forecheck.]

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[Period 2 . . . begin!]

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[Lauren ponders whether or not she should cross the blue line.]

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[Wingers double team Micaela’s teammate.]

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[An opportunity?  Lost.]

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[Rev in a chase down mode.]

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[Kristin, in search of . . . ]

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[Ooooh, another scrum yields no goal.  :-(  ]

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[And the Wingers counter attack.]

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[Gotta give her credit . . . we had plenty of good chances.]

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[And the Wingers thwart another offensive zone foray by the Cards.]

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[Yup, we basically rested this period.  The Wingers took advantage of a weird turnover by the Cards in front of our own net to score the first goal, and then got a power play goal here on a deflected shot from the point.]

2-18-15-40 - Copy[The Heckert line with Wosepka and Ellingson, and the defensive pair of O’Kane and junior Karina Carlsen (31).]

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[Karina with a 1-on-4 rush!  ;-)  ]

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[Nope, the side door wasn’t open.]

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[Hanah’s line working it.]

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[A Card looking to turn and fire!]

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[Ooooh, Hanah’s in the goalie’s lap.  The fans all stand in anticipation again.]

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[Kristin and Lauren are right there looking for a rebound!]

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[And here comes that line again.]

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[Again . . . an almost.]

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[Cards take a time-out, still down 2 late in the game.]

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[Our net is empty – we have 6 attackers out there.]

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[But no, they got an empty-netter at the end.  Final, 3 – 0.  I think we ended with a shot advantage, and for the game had the more and better scoring opportunities.  But Red Wing got three to go in the net, and that’s how they keep score.]

After the game:

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[Just like last year, the Super got us a room (well, a suite) in Hotel 340, the top three floors of the classic St. Paul Athletic Club, at 340 Cedar.]

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[We took a glass of wine down to the lobby to drown our sorrows.  It’s the kind of place where you expect to see gray-haired gentlemen in tuxedos sitting around in leather chairs with brandy snifters and fine Cuban cigars.  Last year, we unexpectedly ran into Tami and Kim Bredeson from Carlos Creek Winery here; this year we unexpectedly ran into Sara Schwabe of Theatre L’Homme Dieu fame here.  Amazing.]

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[The Super and I couldn’t find any locals who were willing to brave the elements to join us for dinner.  Wimps!  So we skywayed our way to Pazzaluna for a Rustica pizza.  Outstanding – that EATING thing again.  In the morning, we would be off to Ridder Arena on the U of M campus for the first game in the consolation bracket.]

There aren’t enough days in the weekend.  ~  Steven Wright

Up next:  More STATE.

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