State! (Day 1)

HELP WANTED:  This blog is 5 hockey games and 2 basketball games behind!  Help!

February 17

[As we head out, hope the sunrise is a good omen!  The girls’ hockey team is in the state tournament for the 4th year in a row, 6 out of the last 7 years, and 11 out of the last 14 years.  We’re kinda spoiled.  We almost make reservations in advance.  This year’s senior class has not ever not been to the state tournament (sometimes a double negative seems to work best?).]

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[On the road to the games . . . ]

[Why I love women’s hockey. They make it so simple – “get the puck to No. 4!”]

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[Beautiful day for a tournament at the Xcel Energy Center, downtown St. Paul, Minnesota!]

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[“Hey, look who we ran into!” The Super wanted to hit Cossetta’s first (a block down the street from the ‘X’) – I didn’t notice Marc Illies (father of the Cards’, Kaia) was sneaking up the aisle as I snapped her pizza photo.]

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[Mr. Excitement at the ‘X’!]

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[And, of course, Abby and Ashley won it back-to-back, 2007 & 2008!]

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[Consolation champs last year – didn’t want to be in that bracket this year.]

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[A little action from the 1st game of the tournament – Northfield v. Warroad.  We would be playing one of those teams the next day.  It was Northfield’s first ever state tournament – they brought a big crowd that helped set an attendance record for the first day of the class A tournament.  Good for them!]

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[Hey, it’s on TV!!  (Well, not yet for the girls’ first round.)]

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[Warroad won 3 – 0.]

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[Cardinal student fans, in player jerseys.]

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[The band.]

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[Cardinals take the ice.]

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[“Hey, look who we ran into! (Part 2).”  Ashley Holmes, all-stater on our 2008 championship team, who is now an assistant hockey coach for Augsburg.  So her appearance at the tourney was job related!]

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[Player introductions at the ‘X’]

[The long black and red line.]

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[Cardinal student fans apparently not interested in seeing United (they have no nickname?) introduced?]

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[McKenzie Revering (29) and Amy Jost (33) discuss post-game dining options.]

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[It’s unanimous then – Cossetta’s?]

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[And we have lift-off!  St. Paul United was the No. 3-seed.  My crack research staff noted they are a private school co-op composed of St.Paul Academy, Visitation, and another whose name escapes me, and the annual tuition is 32,000/year (I didn’t fact check that because I didn’t feel like it).  They are basically Ivy League prep schools – not that there’s anything wrong with that!]

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[The Cards are in the zone as Hanah Hansen (11) pulls it back to Karina Carlsen (31).]

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[A face-off scrum at the blue line.]

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[Mari Wospeka (18) closing on from the right wing.]

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[The Cards trying to clear our zone, from the big scoreboard screen.]

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[That Uffda moment.  Mari solos in with McKenna Ellingson (24) right behind for support. Mari has been our best player all year in these situations.  She deked the goalie, a Ms. Minnesota Goalie finalist, but . . . her backhander just missed the open net.  Arrggghhhh! Probably an omen?]

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[Cards protecting Amy on our zone.]

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[Alexis Heckert (20) attacking with a teammate.]

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[Kristin Trosvig (15) fires a shot that ricochets off the goalie to the left corner.]

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[We had scoring chances, but overall we spent most of the period watching them. Like we were scouting them, but forgetting to move our feet?  Their goal came on what we thought was a slow whistle – we all lost track of the puck as it was sitting on the back of Amy’s calf.  Amy, to her credit, said it was a good goal because the whistle didn’t blow before a United player came by and knocked it in.]

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[2nd period face-off from the big screen.]

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[In this period, and in the 3rd, I thought we played as well as we had all year.  United had fewer shots in the last two periods combined than they did in the 1st.]

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[And we had more good scoring chances.]

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[Racing back on defense, I don’t recall us ever giving up an odd man rush?]

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[Nice tackle by Rev at the goal line (from the big screen).]

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[TV time out – nope, not till tomorrow.]

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[Lauren Niska (21) displays the old adage – charge hard to the net!]

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[Oy, but again a goal escapes us.]

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[What is this – Mystery Science Theater 3000?]

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[Another good shot by the Cards . . . ]

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[That apparently ricocheted into the 2nd deck for a ground rule double.]

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[Here we come again . . . ]

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[Drat, escaped to the corner!]

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[Start of the 3rd period, still down 1 – 0.]

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[Touching up to head back into the offensive zone.]

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[Cards stack the line of scrimmage . . . ]

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[The puck is snapped, players crash into one another . . . ]

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[Cards again charge the net . . . ]

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[Shoooooott!  To Allison O’Kane (36)]

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[Or stick handle in further . . . ]

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[No, that was not Kim Kardashian!]

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[McKenna draws the puck back to Karina.]

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[McKenna coming in with Karina.]

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[Another offensive zone face-off, with Sam Klimek (37).]

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[Time out!  We need a score!]

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[Kristin tries to draw it back to Rev.]

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[Mari shoots!]

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[Crash for a rebound!]

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[They got an empty-netter at the end.  We scored a goal, by McKenna, but they quick whistled it no good when they lost sight of it.  It happens.  Very good game, and I think most would think we had the better opportunities – even the Warroad coach thought they should be playing us in the semis.]

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[We went back to Cossetta’s to drown our sorrows in . . .  sightseeing!  We got the pizza slice before hand as a hold-me-over until after the game.  But we still weren’t hungry – those pizza slices could have fed a small country.  But we sat and waited for the team and coaches to come in.  Hockey is a high-calorie intake sport.  When the players came up the stairs, I don’t think I could have lifted their trays for . . . well, look what’s available in these photos . . . ]

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[We laughed, of course, knowing the girl hockey players probably average about 2/3’s the size of boy hockey players – and yet their equipment probably weighs the same. So, the girls throw these 100-pound bags over their shoulder wherever they go.  And if you have a goalie for a son or daughter, fuggedaboutit!  I couldn’t lift one of those things off the floor – and there are no vehicles large enough for them to fit in, you have to strap them on the roof like a Christmas tree!  Weaker sex, indeed – I remember dear old mom could flip a queen-size mattress with one hand tied behind her back!]

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Four out of five dentists surveyed recommended playing hockey.  ~  Author Unknown

Up next:  More state.

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