SENIOR NIGHT!

[Hi!  Did you miss me?  We’ve had a few days off – a lull in the winter sports home schedule, and the Alaska cruise posting was completed (some people actually said they liked it).  The supervisor and I went to a couple of movies, a couple of meetings, a caucus, and I sent my feet out for their annual mid-winter sandblasting and belt sanding so they can keep going round and round and round at the Yp.s.  I did notice readership tended to drop off without new postings?]

Last night was Senior Night for the girls’  hockey team. Their last regular season home game.  Always a bitter sweet time.  We say good-bye to young ladies we have been following for four or five years – back when they were still girls!

We arrived early – in time to catch the last two periods of the JV game.  The JV team has some seniors on it too.  And we were playing Moorhead – the Spuds always draw a big crowd.  The JV game was 0 – 0 after the first period, but the Spuds had a 20 – 6 shots-on-goal advantage.  That didn’t sound good, we thought.  But our Cards played great the last two periods and won the game 1 – 0.  Bailey Serum pitched the shut out from goal.  With about 8 minutes left in the game, Sara Schmidt (who will be featured below) won a face-off back to Ellen Lanman, a senior on defense (also featured below) – Ellen’s slap shot was tipped in by Madi Houska for the only goal in the game.  The JV’s finished the season with a strong 16-4-3 record.

[And really closed the shots gap too.]

[Ellen Lanman (11), senior, and Taylor Bollman (9), sophmore]

[Rachel Drew (4), sophomore, and Chelsey Klingbeil (29), senior]

[“Where’d it go?”]

[“It’s under there!”]

[Rush hour traffic at the RCC.]

[Rachel starts a break.]

[Sara Schmidt (27), junior, gets off back-to-back shots from the point on the power play.]

[Micaela Swenson (34), freshman, played a terrific game, and Madi Houska (12), junior, was the goal scorer.]

[But at least there’s no checking in girls’ hockey! Collisions, however, are optional.]

[Madi and Micaela have a puck exchange amongst the Spuds.]

[“Let go of me!”]

[Bailey Serum (35), freshman, tends goal under the watchful eye of her bodyguard, Marisa Larson (25), freshman defense.]

[Bailey had a great season.]

[Congrats to Ellen on her hockey career.  Maybe the best slapshot on the team, JV or varsity.]

[And then with only 3 minutes left in the game, she took a penalty!  😉 ]

[Madi sneaks up on the Spud goalie with the hidden puck trick!]

[As someone who just points the camera and hopes, I have to admit to being particularly happy with the above three photos of Sara.]

[Ellen and Marisa make one last stand for the defense.  Then Ellen turned the keys over to her freshman teammate, who will maintain them for the next three years.]

Senior Night festivities began with a slide show of each of the nine seniors.

[Then their teammates skated over to the fan side of the arena.  Each senior came out one at a time, and Marc Illies, PA announcer and father of Becca, read a short bio written by their parents.  I tried the best I could to get photos, but the in the dark arena with a telephoto lens, I wasn’t very successful – some didn’t come at all.  The girls were uncomfortable out there and tended to look at their feet.  I hope the on-ice photographers got some good shots.]

[Brooke]

[Steph – yeah, I know, but it was the best of several.]

[Rachael]

[Heather]

[Chelsey]

[Alia]

[Quinn]

[Saddle up, ladies.]

[The background poster says thanks!]

[ . . . and the band played on.]

Six seniors were introduced as starters:

[Alia]

[Rachael]

[Quinn]

[Brooke]

[Heather]

[Steph]

Oh, we won!  We ended the season with a 12-12-1 record.  Not bad after an 0 – 6 start, where we went on the road against big schools (Moorhead, a 6-2 loss) and Twin City schools like Orono and Mound-Westonka (lost to each by one goal), both now ranked in the top 7 in the state.  Last night Alia and Britni returned from injuries – and Alia scored two goals!  Kalley was in full-unform and went through the pre-game warm-ups but was held out for one more game.  We learned the Cardinals received the No. 1 seed in the section, meaning we will have a bye in the first round.  We will host a semi-final game on Tuesday, and Kalley is scheduled to play in that game.  With everybody healthy, we could do very well.

The opening 5 minutes:   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g_MXBOLpj1I

As it turned out, if I had let the video go for another minute or two, I would have captured the first goal.  Melissa Drown on a break down the right side put a shot through the 5 hole.

[Celebrating Melissa’s (6) goal.]

[Shelby (38) and Shanee’ (40), junior training buds and tracksters.]

[Alia’s 1st gooooaaaaallllll!!!]

[Heather]

[Shelby and Becca (37), a winning combination all year.]

[Becca]

[Brooke gets off two shots from the point on a power play.]

[After one.]

[Taylor (24)]

[Alia]

[Alia and Taylor]

[Brooke keeping close contact with a Spud.]

[Quinn raises her arms – goooooallllllll!]

[Celebrating Quinn’s goal making it 3 – 0.]

[Rachael (15)]

[Heather (22), this shot went in!  Goooaaaaallllll!]

[After the Spuds scored, Alia got her second goal and the team’s 5th.]

[After two.  Good, fast paced game.  Through two periods, the Cards were passing as well as they have all season.  Things are looking good!  🙂 ]

The 3rd period began as it so often does in such circumstances.  The Cards came out to protect the lead – by playing defense.  And play defense they did – for the 1st 10 minutes of the period, the Spuds kept them locked up in their own end, building a shots on goal advantage.  The Spuds scored a 2nd goal on a shot that must have deflected off 4 or 5 different shins.  The Spuds also had two very fast skaters – and we were nervous whenever they were on the ice.  With a 5 – 2 lead, the Cards had a power play – and they had worked them very well all game.  This time, however, a puck came loose in center ice and one of the Spud speedsters scooped it up and swooped in on Steph to make the score 5 – 3, a short-handed goal with plenty of time still left.  That kick started the Cards to realize the game wasn’t over, and Becca scored late for the final tally.

[Good game, Steph.]

The girls’ basketball team was at Willmar last night.  We only beat Willmar by two points at home, so it figured to be a tough game.  Our Cards won 54 – 23!!  Our record is now 16 – 3.  Three more road games before we’re home for the final two.  More after postings by the staff photographer.

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