Our Weekend With Abby

Sometimes the duties of this “job” require extensive road trips.  This past weekend was such a time.  [Yes, I did plan for beer taps to be in the background.  😉   Ms. Williams is “of age” but cannot partake because of NCAA, and training, rules.  Obviously, she did not.  She did have her pasta, however, to build carb energy for Sunday’s game, as we so advised her in high school.  This was after Saturday’s game at the Green Mill in Bemidji.]  Oh, and if you look to the right of the above photo, that’s Abby in the border photo taken after the Cardinals won the state tournament in 2008.  🙂

[That’s Abby, No. 3 (her old high school number), on the program cover.]

Abby, of course, is Abigail Elizabeth Williams.  (I know the “Abigail Elizabeth” part because I was standing next to her mother, Martha, at a game one time when Abby made a bad pass.  Martha exclaimed, “ABIGAIL ELIZABETH!”  😉 )  As you recall from your readings, Abby, and her hockey classmates, are entirely to blame for this blog.  We started following them, and got hooked on girls sports, back in 2003.  They are the reason I get up at “oh-dark-thirty” in the morning and try to compose something literate, if not necessarily accurate, about the previous night’s game, in whatever sport.  In other words, they were a job creator long before the term became fashionable.

We decided, with fellow original Super Fans, Vivian and Bob “Weakie” Annen, that we had to see Abby play hockey in her final college season.  She is a 5th-year senior at Bemidji State (she had to sit out a year after transferring from U of M, Mankato, because the coaching staff who recruited her left after her freshman year).  Last weekend worked out perfectly as the Beavers were hosting the University of North Dakota (now without a nickname as they are considering a replacement for the Fighting Sioux) for Saturday and Sunday matinee games.  The weather even cooperated, for a change!

We drove up Saturday morning, taking a slight detour to check on the kids’ property – the “Harn” (combination of house and barn) – north of Itasca State Park.

[The entry to their 20 acres.  We fortunately remembered the key so we could get in.]

[The drive in.]

[I left the supervisor to trail blaze on her own.]

[Jami and Danny have cords of wood stacked wherever they have had to clear trees.]

[The “Harn”]

[The supervisor wraps up her inspection.]

Then, it was on to Bemidji where we were meeting the Annens for lunch prior to Saturday’s game.  We like Brigid’s Cross, an Irish pub downtown!  And we have to admit these trips are all about the eating!  😉

[“Weakie” has a Guinness.]

[Vivian has a Smithwick’s (for some reason, pronounced “schmiddicks”?).  Editor’s note:  The editor and staff of this publication do not condone the usage of these products by the teams we cover.]

[We were the only Alexandrians in the place.]

[Waiting for shepherd’s pie.  Mmmmmmm!]

[The supervisor models her Beaver attire.]

[Vivian jaywalks from the pub!]

[On to our lodging, the Hampton Inn on the shores of Lake Bemidji.  For perspective for those who haven’t been there, Lake Bemidji is 6,800 acres large – by contrast, our beautiful Lake Darling is 1,000 acres.]

[The views from the Inn:  Downtown (and below).]

[The University (and below).]

[The lake.]

[Then the supervisor led us to the arena for the game.  Boozhoo!  (Ojibwe greeting, “Hi!”  We have been to Bemidji many times, but this was the first time I noticed Boozhoo all over town, on the entrances to businesses . . . and at the hockey arena.  Everybody must be reading William Kent Krueger?  😉 )]

[The scarf that blocked my view of that face-off circle!  😦  The supervisor almost lost her fudge, bought after lunch and put in her purse.  The checker at the game said it’s a no-no to bring candy into the games – but unlike TSA, she let Ruthie in with a wink and a promise from her she wouldn’t eat any at the game.]

[Martha works the crowd.]

[The Beavers!]

[Finally . . . we were there to see Abby play hockey after all!  😉 ]

[Abby and the no-longer-the-Sioux’s No. 3, Michelle Karvinen from Denmark and Team Finland, always seemed to be on the ice together.]

[Go, Abby!]

[The 3’s, again.]

[No. 14 for the Beavers is Erika Wheelhouse.  We’ll get back to her . . .]

[Abby’s the center – and she has a great face-off win percentage this year . . .]

[And she won this one!]

[I like this one if I do say so myself.  😉 ]

[No. 17 for the no-longer-the-Sioux is Jocelyne Lamoureux, who with her twin sister, Monique, are teammates and Olympians.  More on them as we go along.]

[Abby tangles with Jocelyne, again.]

[Get her, Abs!!]

[In full flight.]

[With her shadow, Karvinen.]

[Back checking against No. 63, another great Dane.]

[Line change.]

[Jocelyne ripped the stick out her hands – so they hit Abby with a slashing penalty?  Honestly!  We used to say Abby took penalties in high school just for the rest – and we were better shorthanded than on the power play anyway.]

[I honestly don’t even remember this?  The Beavers Sadie Lundquist, from Cloquet, is in on goal alone.  I don’t know if she scored or not?  The scoreboard says the Beavers had 1, and final score was 3 – 1 for UND, so unless this was the replay, she didn’t score.]

[The Abster delivers a forearm shiver to the back of Mary Loken, No. 2.  Loken is from Roseau, and was on the team we beat in the semi-finals of the state tournament in 2008.]

[Abby and Loken in a wrestling match as the Abster tries to protect her goalie.]

[Lemme at ’em!]

[Loken shadows Abs.]

[Allison Parizek, No. 6 for them, was named 1st star of the game.  From Minot, she could fly!]

[Abs and her teammate, Danielle Williams (59) from Waconia, try the ole squeeze play.  Last year they had three Williamses on the same line.  🙂 ]

[Stay away from my goalie!]

[Late in the game UND sent out a 6-footer, Becca Kohler (51), a freshman from St. Thomas, Ontario, to face-off against Abby, who is listed as 5’2″ (?) . . .]

[Well. young miss Kohler’s idea of a face-off was to simply run over Abby.  No penalty was called, to our chagrin!]

[Abby picked herself up, dusted herself off, and . . .]

[Hey, 51, I got your number!!]

[And I’m coming to get you!]

[Outa my way!]

[And then it was over.  Good game, UND just has a little too much firepower, which would really manifest itself in the Sunday game.  It was fun to watch Abby play again.  She’s mostly a defensive specialist for the Beavers – she kills penalties and plays against the other team’s top line, in this case, the redoubtable Ms. Lamoureux.]

[Post-game handshakes.]

[After the game, hockey alumni were introduced . . .]

[Including Marlee Wheelhouse on the far right.  If you recall, we previously noted Erika Wheelhouse.  They’re sisters from Crookston – and are best buds with Abby, probably because they’re all the same size!  😉  Marlee is Abby’s age, but graduated last year; Erika is a senior this year (when a sophomore in high school, was considered the top defenseman in the state).  Crookston came to Alex to play our Cards during the Christmas holiday break in either Abby’s and Marlee’s junior or senior years.  Great game!  It went into overtime and even the Alex fans didn’t want either team to lose – it ended in a 1 – 1 tie.]

[Marlee and Erika Wheelhouse (from last year) in a photo borrowed from Eric Stromgren’s “Up North Sports Report” blog.  Erika was knocked backwards in the Saturday game and hit her head on the ice.  They weren’t sure whether she received a concussion, but they held her out of Sunday’s game to be on the safe side.  She is probably the Beavers’ most important player and her absence really showed on Sunday. ]

[Then the fun part – dinner with Abby and her family afterwards.]

[With her folks, Martha and Jim.  Thanks again, you guys!  🙂 ]

[Sunday was a beautiful day – starting with heading down for breakfast in the hotel.]

[After breakfast, we went out for a drive around town.  We decided to stand on the Side of Love after Vivian experienced the angst of being surrounded by the UND team in the hotel lobby, as they were staying there as well.  😉 ]

[I believe there was some mention of “flashing” from this mural.  As the artist, Vivian wanted to see the art Bemidji usually has displayed around town.]

[Downtown corner statuary.]

[We ran into Elmer Fudd at a downtown woolen goods store.]

[Lake Bemidji.  “Weakie” really had his heart set on a Maid-Rite for lunch.  But the place was closed on Sundays.  Almost ruined his entire trip!  Then we spotted a Mexican restaurant – hey, a soft shell taco is almost like a Maid-Rite!  But it turned out to be a Mexican coffee shop.  Strike two!  We then stormed – is it the Blue Ox Grill?  The old train station.  Bring Bloody Marys as soon as possible.  Well, the girls had to sample them first to see if they were too hot.  They were for them – not for me!  And then a wild rice burger!]

[Fishermen on the lake on November 18!  And Bemidji really is . . . Up North!  Boats and docks come out of the water in Alex usually no later than the 1st week in October.]

 [Abby warms up her slapper for game 2.]

[The future of the sport – what a cute bunch of little peanuts!  😉 ]

[One of these oughta go in the net?]

[“Weakie” said the Maid-Rite is closed today?]

[I was thinking about a steak anyway.]

[Checking on the future again.]

[Marlee Wheelhouse on the left, Dad Wheelhouse on the right.]

[Bring ’em out, bring ’em out,  bring ’em out . . .]

[And here comes the Abster!]

 

[This was a really weird game.  Here the Beavers celebrate a goal on their 1st shot of the game.  UND responded by scoring on their first shot of the game.  It was 1 – 1 less than one minute into the game!]

[Somehow the photographer hit a wrong button the camera here . . . and didn’t notice it.  So we have a bit of an artsy effect for a while!  😉 ]

[The chaos that is the face-off circle!]

[The dad of a hockey playing daughter always has to find a lucky seat off by himself.  I think it’s a rule.]

[Hockey dad Wheelhouse appears to be uncomfortable being this close to other family and fans.  😉 ]

. . . and Our Weekend With Beth

[Beth Rindy also played on our 2008 state championship team.  She was a sophomore defenseman.  Now she is a junior at BSU.  We were happy she was able to join us for the Sunday game.  Beth played her last hockey game in high school – it’s unfortunate but apparently two good knees are necessary to play the sport and Beth was playing in braces at the end.]

[Back to the game, the weirdness continued in the 2nd period.  On the Beavers first shift, they were just looking for a line change and shot the puck into the UND end.  A linesman raised his arm indicating icing was going to be called.  The UND goalie seeing that must have relaxed just enough that when the puck took a weird bounce she wasn’t able to defend it – GOAL!  UND scored immediately thereafter.  As in the 1st period, two goals within the first minute.  It didn’t stop there for UND . . .]

[That’s Abby on the right in a crotching defense against a UND power play.  It was unstoppable.  UND was ranked 5th in the nation prior the Lamoureuxs going off to play for the national team.  They’re on a roll again.  I didn’t realize UND had recruited the latest Marvin out of Warroad and also Sam LaShomb out of South St. Paul, who was a finalist for Ms. Hockey last year.  They are a very talented team.  The Beavers graduated their excellent goalie, who plays for the Slovakia national team, and lost all their defenseman except for Erika.  It really wasn’t a goalie issue that UND scored 6 goals in the 2nd period.  Absent Erika, they couldn’t defend the UND power play.]

[Here’s a goal by UND.  I would guess of the 7 UND goals, Jocelyne (17) must have had 4 or 5 of them, and Monique, who is now a defenseman, must have assisted on every one of them.  They’re not on the Olympic team by accident.  Even though we didn’t like the outcome, we had to admire the precision of their power play.  The point people would one-time the puck back and forth until the left point would one-time it to the right face-off circle (one or the other was Monique) who would one-time it to the left side of the goal mouth where Jocelyne would one-time it into the empty corner of the net.]

[We and the Annens left after the 2nd period to have as much daylight driving as possible.  On the way out, Martha introduced us to Abby’s “friend,” on the electronic bulletin board.  The supervisor met him on our last trip up for a game and reminded Abby that she thinks he’s a hottie.  Abby giggled.]

[Because we missed the Emmaville sign last trip.]

We made it to Parkers Prairie before it got dark.  The supervisor has become very concerned about deer – and we did see three cross our road (had to brake once) on the way home.  But we made safe and sound.  Thanks again to Abby, and Jim and Martha, for a fun weekend.

p.s.  Our girls are hosting Moorhead tonight!

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One Response to Our Weekend With Abby

  1. Jami says:

    Great to see Abby in action – wish we could have made a game during her tenure. We will be fans once we get moved up to the area!

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