Alexandria – 6, Detroit Lakes – 0

The home winter sports season officially started last night.  Visitors here are undoubtedly delighted they will no longer have to read about our dining endeavors as fillers (yes, that was a play on words).

And so we begin.  This was the Cards third game of the year.  We lost the opener at North Metro, 4 – 3 – not bad considering it was the first varsity start for our freshman goalie, and we outshot the team that’s a conglomerate of 5 or 6 schools, each alone larger than Alex, by a 2 – 1 margin.  Then we won 3 – 0 at Fergus on Tuesday.  Then last night’s win against the Lakers means we had back-to-back shutouts against the two teams who are traditionally our strongest competition in the section.  All-in-all, an impressive season’s debut.  Now the team has to deal with the motherlode of high expectations.  I think we’re in for a fun ride.

[The goalies commiserate during warm-ups:  Amy Jost (33), freshman, The Taco John’s hot sauce is way too mild.  Bailey Serum (35), sophomore, I know, it needs a habenaro kick!]

That previous discussion between the goalies is indicative of the nature of goalies.  They have a fearless, try anything, gene.  It’s incomprehensible to those of us who don’t have it.  Danielle “Roadblock” Justice from our state championship team would go swimming before the ice was totally off the lakes, she would rock climb, and she undoubtedly was a habenaro pepper fan.  When she graduated from Gustavus in the spring, she and a teammate took off for New Zealand,  just to live there for a year.  I brought this all up at this time so I don’t forget again.  You can follow the adventures of Danielle in the land of the Maori at her blog:  www.2girls1van.tumblr.com.  An adventure that will give her a lifetime of memories.

Where were we?  Oh yeah, we believe our goalies will be very good.  And in general, defense will be the strength of the team.  With an excess of defenseman, several have been converted to forwards who by previous training are quick to get back and help defensively.

[I stood behind the net during warm-ups and tried to get as many players as I could while they were circling.  This is McKenzie Revering (29), an 8th-grade defenseman.  An 8th-grader, for Pete’s sake!  When I was in 8th grade I was still putting my underwear on either backwards or inside-out about half the time.  And she’s good, one of the 4 regular defenseman when they just decide to play 4.]

If you’d guess based on reports so far that we have a really young team – you’d be right!  And yet for this year, we’ll rely on the grizzled veterans, seniors Shelby Iverson (38), Becca Illies (37), and Madi Houska (12) to do most of the scoring.  And the other two seniors, Shanee’ Herd (40) and Anna Carlsen (31) will be key defenders and role models for the young teammates in their charge.

[Madi Houska (12), senior forward.  A favorite of “Weakie’s” because he likes the musical sound of her name.  😉 ]

[Lauren Niska (21), freshman defense, followed by a smiling Taylor Ellingson (24), junior was defense, now forward, and pitcher for the softball team.]

[Becca Illies (37), senior forward]

[Rachel Drew (4), junior forward; followed by Mari Wosepka (18), freshman forward; followed by Nicole Bartels (23), sophomore “wherever you need me.”]

[Shelby Iverson (38), senior forward; followed by Melissa Drown (6), junior was defense now forward.]

[Shanee’ Herd (40), senior defense]

[Happily back for her 6th year on varsity.]

[The RCC – Home, Sweet, Home]

[Yoga on ice.]

[Do you like the hot sauce on your Potato Oles’?]

[Passing drills.]

[Becca.  Her mom is also a regular at the Y in the morning.  She is not a member of the Fat Boys Walking Club.]

[The seniors!]

[Shooting drills.]

[More circling – Madi (12) again.]

[Mari (18) again.]

[Nicole (23) followed by Kaila Dewanz (7), sophomore forward.]

[Shelby (38), Taylor (24), Bailey (35)]

[Looks like Melissa (6) and Lauren (21).]

[And in the press box, the Voices of the Cardinals, Dave Harris and Bob Cunniff.  With the new monopod, I was finally able to get a sharp photo all the way across the ice.  🙂 ]

[Bob was looking for a way to burn off nervous energy.  He is one vote behind – 10,652 – 10,651 -in his race for a Minnesota House seat.  The automatic recount will begin in a couple weeks.]

[The controlled chaos that is the PA/scorer’s refuge.]

[Super Fan Roger Riley, red hat, attempts to elbow his way in to sing the National Anthem.  The Cardinals are undefeated when he and his wife Barb sing the Anthem.]

[Congregating for pre-game introductions.]

[Uncongregating]

[Shelby]

[Becca and Shelby]

[Shelby, Becca, Madi, and Shanee’]

[Shelby, Becca, Madi, Shanee’, and Nicole.  There will be a test at the end.]

[Amy joins the starters.  Shanee’ checks to make sure I got the shot!  😉 ]

[My 1st grade class photo.  (Just checking to see if you were paying attention?)]

[LEETTTTTSSSS PLLLAAAYYYYY HOOOCCKKKKKEYYYY!  Opening face-off.]

[Nicole crosses center ice.  Here she’s playing defense.]

[Lauren hunkers down.]

[What do junior high kids discuss on the ice?  We get to go to the new high school!]

[Taylor readies for the draw.]

[Shelby shoots . . .]

[Becca looks to keep it in DL’s zone.]

[Another Taylor face-off.]

[Hey, ref!  I’ve got the puck right here in my glove!]

[Shanee’]

[Shanee’, part deux]

[Melissa (6) scores on a backhander, giving the Cards a 1 – 0 lead after one.]

[The face-off after the goal.]

[No. 11 is Hanah Hansen, listed as a freshman defenseman, but here playing forward.  Hanah’s great grandmother, Pat Perkins, was at the game and Ruthie had a visit with her afterwards.  Oh, Pat is also known as John Hawkes’ mom!  😉 ]

[The redoubtable Ms. Revering again.]

[Taylor looks for a break-out.]

[At the end of the 1st period.]

As a change from previous years’ coverages, this is a video of the beginning of the 2nd period.  There is no particular reason for this – although the supervisor and I did arrive at the arena later than planned because of the “stop and chat” aspects of an event at SAWA preceding the hockey game.  It proved fortuitous, for seldom do we capture a goal.  This time team captain, and homecoming queen (another shout out to our HQ 🙂 ), Shelby scored for us.  Oh, at the end, Rachel took quite a hit – she did continue to play the rest of the game, but I bet she’s pretty sore today:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5cuhRpeiyHQ

[Period 2 – apparently I decided to do the rest of the game without the telephoto.]

[Cards are in the zone.]

[And storm the net.]

[Shelby, Becca, and Madi keep the pressure on.]

[Some time around here Becca scored a short-handed goal making it 3 –  0.]

[The puck in flight from McKenzie.]

[There is some celebrating here . . .]

[And again, so it must be . . .]

[After they moved Nicole to forward on the 3rd line (chronologically) for a shift . . .]

[She scored two goals on that shift . . .]

[Within a span of 15 seconds!  🙂 ]

[The 2nd period ended thusly.]

Odd game to that point.  The Cards were hit with numerous penalties – most we didn’t see.  But, we’re old and miss stuff.  So it’s surprising that we did all the scoring in the period because we spent a good portion of it playing short-handed.  The penalties also continued into the 3rd – I’m not sure how many we had but it seemed a lot.  One time it seemed like Becca was out there the whole time fighting off a 5-on-3 Laker advantage.  I don’t think the Lakers had many shots in the game when the teams were playing full strength.

[Between periods puck shoot . . .]

[The Cardinal hockey mom in the dark top put one through the $25.00 hole.  I’m sure someone will remind me who she is.]

[On to the 3rd . . .]

[Jailbreak!]

[Here we come again, ooh ooh ooh!  Catch us if you can . . .]

[Boom!  Dynamite!]

[Big crowd!  Good turnout by the students.  Saw the girls’ basketball team there.  And the Super Fans almost filled our section!  Good to see everybody again!  Robo was back from the East, Bob and Vivian, Mike, Mitch and Jeanne re-joined the group, Karen, Roger, Ted and Jerry were standing above us, newcomers Jeanne and Ken, and the supervisor and me.  I wanted to get shots of us – and the hockey moms – but I couldn’t get out!]

[Mari got her first varsity goal in the 3rd to round out the scoring.  Cards win!]

Next up:  Tuesday night at the RCC v. the mighty Spuds of Moorhead, a place where hockey trumps all and where people skate to their dental appointments.  We have nothing after that until the following Tuesday, which presents our first scheduling conflict – on the 27th, both girls’ basketball and boys’ hockey have their home openers.  What’s a fan to do?

p.s.  Unfortunately, we also got word yesterday from her folks that Kalley Kragenbring has been advised by her doctors she should not play hockey anymore.  Kalley suffered two concussions last season and missed the last part of the year.  She was really hoping she’d be ready to play again this year.  When that was ruled out, she hoped she play next year, her senior year.  Now that has been advised against as well.  We wish Kalley all the best and hope first and foremost that she gets healthy again.  She plans on staying with the team to help manage – and skate with the coach when she can.  Here are some photos from last year – Kalley is No. 10, a terrific goal scorer, and the girl in the glasses on the left at the team banquet.

[One of my favorites.]

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