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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