STATE 2015 (Consolation Champs)

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[Saturday morning, heading back to the Cities down I-94.  The quintessential Minnesota winter driving photo, blowing snow with an eerie sun.  We were going down to Ridder Arena for the girls class A state hockey consolation finals, our Cards v. Hibbing/Chisholm. We weren’t going to go, lots of things on the docket at home that day, but how could we not?  For the seniors, their last game.]

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[The Voices of Alexandria miked and ready to go.]

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[Actually kinda cool how I have to angle the shot to get everybody in with a telephoto lens.]

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[LET’S PLAY HOCKEY!!]

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[The Blue Jackets were the 5th seed in the tournament.  They lost to So. St. Paul on day one and beat New Ulm in the consolation first round.]

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[Some early pressure from the Cards, with Leary (26), Wosepka (18), Heckert (20), and Ellingson (24).]

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[The Rev (29) swoops in from the left flank.]

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[Niska (21), Trosvig (15), and Rev in center ice.]

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[Oooo, I see the puck, get out of the way No. 18!!]

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[The scrum is on . . . I lost it?]

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[Wosepka (18) swoops in on the right flank.]

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[We had pretty good pressure from the beginning . . . ]

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[Which made us feel like we had the better team.  Now it was just a matter of getting more goals than them.]

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[When you’re all by yourself, you might as well shoot it.  🙂    ]

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[Another year on the weight room we’ll be able to smash the puck through all these goal mouth scrums we get involved in.]

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[Niska chases as the puck just goes wide right.]

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[DeWanz (7) and Klimek (37) doing their part.]

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[With Niska and Trosvig, is that one in?  Nope.  Drat.]

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[Amy Jost . . . all alone and blue . . . ]

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[Period 2 begins, lots of action but no scoring in period 1.]

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[Another Ooooohhhh goes up from the crowd.]

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[Soooo close!]

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[OK, face-off over there!]

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[Here comes Rev.]

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[@#$%&* pole!]

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[Kristin driving in on goal.]

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[The Blue Jacket goalie is down again.]

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[Rev’s trying to stuff it.]

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[Get in there, d**ned puck!]

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[And again the elusive disc flies by.]

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[Kristin’s hot on the trail . . . ]

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[Now Mari . . .]

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[And even Karina Carlsen’s giving it a try from her defense position.]

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[Then, finally, late in the period, Kaila sent a pass from the far boards that Lauren was able to one-time in on the goalie’s far side.  Sam also got an assist on the play.  ]

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[That may have been our best offensive period I saw all year . . . we were just flying throughout.]

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[Still, it was just a one goal lead after two periods.]

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[This old play worked (to some degree) a couple times in the tournament because these teams don’t usually play us and hadn’t seen it.  Nicole charges through immediately from her defense position at the face-off puck drop, splits the initial forward line and has, in times past, been able then to also split the defenseman and take it in on goal.]

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[Lauren’s crossing the blue line so of course we’re all yelling, “Slap shot!”]

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[Mari, Hanah, and Karina trying to keep the Blue Jackets bottled up.]

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[Then Kaitlin, Micaela, and McKenna.]

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[McKenna again – she had several nice rushes in the game.]

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[Lauren in one-on-four.]

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[Even the Blue Jackets thought they saw Kim Kardashian?]

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[That, I believe, is what’s known in the language of the sport, an empty net.]

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[And then it was over.  A fine all-around game for the Cards; a shutout for Amy; and the consolation title.  For those keeping score at home, you may recall that the 2008 championship team won the consolation title the preceding year.  Something to think about, ladies.]

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[Good for us!!]

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[Fist bumps all around . . . ]

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[Team captains Micaela Swenson (34) and Nicole Bartels (23) pick up the team hardware.  Nicole was also named to the all-tournament team, so another big congratulations to her.]

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[Look what we got!!]

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[Woo-woo!!  Now can we go to Cossetta’s for a hero?]

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[Pick your favorite.  You could tell this was a team that had done this before.  Without coaxing, they skated over to the Alex fans’ section and took their positions for the photo ops.  🙂   ]

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[Mari’s mom says “Over here!  Give us a ‘We’re No. 1!'”]

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[To which the team responded, “But we’re No. 5 (consolation champs).”  Ha!]

cards by echo

[Echo Press photo.  The team recovered nicely after a mid-season lull and were playing pretty good hockey at the end of the year.  In the tournament, I thought only Blake and Thief River Falls could be considered better teams.  So, wait for next year!  It was fun this year, got to know more parents (and grandparents) who seem to tolerate us.  😉  On this day, we also got to reunite with a member of the 2008 team, Caitlin Murphy and her dad. We came home to events in the “Complementary” blog so couldn’t catch the boys’ section semi-final that night hosting St. Cloud Apollo.  The Cards had a great year, conference champs and No. 1 section seed, but on any given night – Apollo won 4 – 2 (with an empty-netter), which was the third down-to-the-wire game between those two teams this year. It’s a shame the boys’ couldn’t also have made state – it was looking like a banner year for the Cardinals.  On the plus side, both teams should be very good again next year.]

Up next:  Now roundball, all the time.  Oh, this marks another blog milestone.  It’s the 650th posting, which I believe makes me eligible for Medicare’s carpal tunnel supplemental insurance.

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