Cardinals – 4, River Lakes – 1

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3-12-07-2Just straight game reporting – whatta concept!  It seemed like it had been a long time since last we ventured into the RCC.  Our illness had caused us to miss last week’s game against Fergus.  In fact, this disease thing has been going around the country and the state for the last month or so – to the extent that the first question we ask hockey moms is, “Is everybody healthy?”  In this game, we noticed Taylor Ellingson seemed a little off her game.  Highly placed sources confirmed what we thought, Taylor was playing under the influence of . . . influenza, or a noroviris infection, or gastroenteritis – all of the wonderful little bugs that have been making life miserable around here lately.  But Taylor was a trooper and battled on.

River Lakes is another one of the those combination schools – around 7 of them in the Cold Spring area.  So, they are a class AA school (as are 4 of the 7 teams in our girls’ hockey conference*).  They have been a tough team for us over the years, playing a very physical style.  When we played them earlier at their place, we took a 4 – 1 lead into the 3rd period but they scored 3 goals in that period for a tie game.  Going into this game, we were in 2nd place in the conference and they were in 3rd.

[*Regarding the conference, only Alex, Fergus, and Willmar are “solo” schools for girls’ hockey and are the only class A (smaller size) teams.  In the “State of Hockey,” it’s interesting that there are only 121 girls’ hockey teams, while there are 445 girls’ basketball teams.  A lot of schools have to combine for hockey, because of the greater individual expense to play the sport and the need to have more players (than basketball) to field a team.]

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[Lauren Niska (21), freshman defense, above and below.  Since I found out she is an alum of Victoria Heights, I have to admit to a certain bias on her behalf.  😉  At some point late in the game, she fired off a slap shot – and Robo, amazed, said, “And she’s just an 8th-grader, right?”  Nope, a freshman (ha!), but I have to note that McKenzie Revering, the 8th-grader, also has a slap shot that would rearrange the furniture in your living room.]

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[Taylor (24) in warm-ups – we weren’t yet aware that she wasn’t feeling good.]

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[Becca (37)]

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[I seem to have pretty good luck capturing Taylor in stride.]

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[ . . . and stick handling.]

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[Ms. Niska again.  If I (could) put my feet that way, I would topple over – either forward or backward, depending on the direction of the wind.]

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[Shanee’ (40), the occasional loneliness of captaincy.]

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[Shelby (38) checks in with the boss.]

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[Mitch Loch, the state champion coach.]

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[Talkin’ old times with Vinnie, the rink manager.]

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[Vinnie . . . still hoping for that 3rd sheet of ice?]

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

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[Bailey (35) and Amy (33) discussing something possibly only goalies could understand.  Probably something like, “So, do you wanna go skydiving tomorrow?”]

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[Becca, the old pro, with freshmen Katie Bowen (26) and Mari Wosepka (18)]

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[Shelby, another old pro.  😉 ]

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[Hanah]

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[OK, ladies, let’s talk fine dining . . .]

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[I’m really not into a Blizzard tonight . . .]

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[Pizza then? . . .]

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[The Ranch or Angelina’s? . . .]

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[I don’t care – I just don’t want chicken on a pizza!  Eeee-yew!]

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[Two old pros.]

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[Let me introduce you . . .]

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[Her mom’s making a poster.]

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[The starters are 4 old pros – and the 8th grader and a freshman on the end.]

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[Let’s play hockey!!!!  Shelby centering Anna and Becca.  The team went on to play a really solid game against a pretty good opponent.]

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[Into the offensive zone immediately . . .]

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[And Becca scored before my buns even had a chance to warm my seat cushion! 🙂 ]

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[And what could be more fun than celebrating a goal?]

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[Then skate single file past the bench for the fist bump.]

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[Shanee’ and Shelby have done this a few times.]

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[Taylor’s line with Melissa and Madi.]

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[Here come the Stars.]

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[Chase ’em down, Redbirds!]

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[Lauren protects her goalie.  I think Amy had her best game!  😉 ]

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[Madi and Taylor in the Stars’ zone.]

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[Cards storm the net.]

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[Mel goes after it.  The Cards had many good chances early on – credit the Stars’ goalie.]

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[Anna ready for a face-off in the zone.]

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[Nicole, Lauren, and Madi.]

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[Always keep your stick on the ice . . .]

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[The Stars finally got out of their end.]

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[But the Cards broke out again . . .]

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[And, as usually happens, after lots of close in pressure, the Cards scored on a beautiful long shot by Shelby over the goalie’s right shoulder.   Cards up 2 – 0.]

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[Really?  You don’t like chicken on pizza?]

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[Gimme pepperoni!!!]

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[Young Ms. Revering (29), now a grizzled veteran of several games.]

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[C’mon, c’mon, pull one back to me and I’ll launch it!]

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[Shanee’ appropriately framed by the Echo Press, without which I never would have been an Alexandrian.]

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[End of 1 and we’re lookin’ good!]

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[I started the 2nd period with a video.  When I got home, I discovered it began by initially focusing on “Weakie’s” hat, so the whole thing was out of focus.  Just as well – they got their only goal during that time.  We had a mid-ice turnover and they came in on a 2-on-0 or a 3-on-1, depending on how you’re keeping score at home.]

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[Madi and Nicole.  Attack, attack, attack!]

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[Madi’s at the front door!]

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[Come to me, puck!]

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[Swarm, ladies, swarm!]

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[And now we’re swarming again in the 3rd period.  The 2nd period ended with us up 2 – 1, too close considering we were dominating.]

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[Then Shanee’ scored on a rush from her defensive position.  We’re back up by 2!  🙂  ]

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[Way to go, Shanee’!]

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[Fist bumps!]

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[Then Shelby capped off a terrific 2-goal game by blowing by all defenders and soloed in on the goalie.   🙂 ]

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[Yay, Shelby!]

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[Victory is ours.]

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Next Week:  If you are the least bit interested in hockey, you should spend a lot of time at the RCC next week!  Three home games – and all biggies!  Tuesday night is a re-match with Brainerd-Little Falls (5:00 start!).  The Flying Warriors gave us our only conference blemish this year – it’s also still their only conference win?  Go figure?  Thursday night is a re-match with Sartell-Sauk Rapids (SSR) – the conference leaders with an undefeated record.  We tied them 2 – 2 at their place, so this game likely will decide the conference championship!  And Saturday night, it looks like we jump out of the frying pan and into the fire, again.  Another Metro-area school comes to town with a very impressive record.  North Wright County is in 1st place in the Mississippi 8 conference and has beaten SRR (7 – 0!), Roseau and So. St. Paul (perennial girls’ hockey powerhouses), St. Cloud, Centennial, among others . . . in other words, they’ve been quite good so far.  So, fasten your seat belt, turn off all electronic devices, do not wander in the aisles, and get ready for a fun week!  Oh, and if you’re not doing anything next Friday night, the girls’ basketball team is hosting the undefeated and No. 1-ranked Fergus Falls Otters (and if the refs foul Amanda out of this game, I’m filing a complaint with the NTSB, OSHA, and the Better Business Bureau!)  – but before the game, go to the girls’ hockey fundraiser at the Eagles from 5 – 8:00!  🙂

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