I don’t even know where to start. I suppose I should start with the game, but I almost don’t want to with how amazing the entire night ended up being. So, fuck it, I’ll start wherever I want. Backwards it is! Skip the first few paragraphs if you’re just here for a game once-over but stick with me if you would rather read about the extras and then get to the game.
So first off, I had my three friends with me and at the last minute, hubby, too. It was great having friends surrounding me all night and I’m thrilled to have attended a game with them and have some people saying they want to come back. More support means more likely we get to keep our team this time. (We’ve lost how many from NM so far? Oi! Let’s keep them this time, guys!)
From friends to friendly people we go. After the game was a skate with players event that we had the pleasure of attending. I tried out skating that morning, but let’s say it didn’t go so well. I skated once before in my life, when I was probably under 12 years old and all I recall of the incident was falling, busting my rear, and wailing loudly. (I was a kid, man…) So add that to my balance somehow being shit and my fear of heights including curb-level events and then stick me with two blades on my feet and oh lord, recipe for terrified! So I went to the learn to skate event in the morning and they have these metal frames to help get you on the ice and moving around and while I did not fall, I also legit could not convince myself to leave the wall even with the frame. I couldn’t get the hang of moving my feet correctly to go anywhere and 100% could not convince my brain to let me lift a foot off the ice, so there was basically no way I was ‘skating with the players’ that night. (I did, however, manage to walk around very slowly on the rubber matting and get up and down the stairs with my skates on, so progress?) It’ll be slow but maybe I’ll keep trying.
That said, I obtained permission from the wonderful Outpost staff to be able to wear my YakTrax for the event since it’s just metal coils and not actual ice cleats and I managed to be a-ok with those and make my way out all the way across the ice to the benches and wander around to get to the players and talk with them and get signatures and stuff. No falling involved, yay!
The event itself was fun and while this author did not accomplish actual ‘skating’ whatsoever, I did accomplish a thing I would have been sad about not getting to do without that permission from the rink. (Anyone think I owe those guys a thank you basket? I do.)
On to the players themselves. These are a fantastic batch of guys, all of them interacting with everyone, seeming happy to be there to see us even though I’m sure they were incredibly tired coming off two nights in a row and post-game. But they were all smiles. I noticed how great they were with the kiddos and it made me happy to see them concentrating on them so much and I think they genuinely did care about the conversations they were having with the kids. Heartwarming doesn’t begin to cover it. These guys are grade-A and it’s fantastic.
As for me, I managed to get my shiny jersey signed, obtain a couple photos, and hold a few full conversations. Overall, it was a blast. Oh, and hubby had me ask Griffen Sanom what he should get on his jersey (his username or gamer tag) since the Ice Wolves’ shop opened up online! (Griffen was such a good sport about it and seemed actually amused to be answering the question and gave it some serious consideration. Thanks, bro!)
Onwards to the game! (PS forgive the lower quality in shots this times, I had my camera with me instead of the one I’ve been borrowing and it doesn’t do so well at action shots.)
Starting lineup: #1 Henrik Laursen (G), #55 Conor Kemp (LW), #74 Alex Gomez (C), #7 Specer Rudrud (RW), #4 Keegan Langefels (D), #2 Mitchell Becker (D). (I believe there was an announcing error stating #74 was Dominique, but he’s #21, so I’m confused as I was busy scribbling notes with my head down but I was pretty sure when I looked up #74 was the one out there, which is Gomez.)
The night before (game I missed) we kept the Bulls out of our net entirely and beat them 1:0 in overtime. Last night they came back with a vengeance and possibly a vendetta. There was at least one Bulls player who was seriously head-hunting out there and it showed. For a team that, from my understanding, is very rarely penalized, they certainly had their fair share of mucking it up. I wouldn’t call it the level of rowdy we had last week (will anything top those packed penalty boxes?) but it wasn’t a one hundred percent clean game of hockey either. At one point a Bull’s player straight up punched one of ours in the face next to the goal, after play had stopped. Everyone stepped in too fast for it to any further than that, which given our rep for ending shit that gets started is probably for the best.
From the stands, I felt like you could still see where we’ve fallen in sync with each other, come together as a team instead of individuals out on the field. It just wasn’t our night. Sure there were some missed passes, a few times someone was doing something that no one else was ready for, but that’s the nature of any game, I think. I still didn’t see anything sloppy like the beginning of the season where we were still desperately trying to find our feet.
We had #1 Laursen between the pipes and he had 51 shots put on him by the end of the night and only let 4 through. Let’s just say that’s impressive and let it be right there. We had penalties called on us a lot last night and for a game played against a team that does damn good on the penalty kill, it wasn’t good for us, but we were playing a cleaner game than we usually do. (Do you ever wonder what our rep is on the other side of the line? Are we known as the enders of fights? Do people say we’re fighters as much as players? Maybe, but man… makes for a good game to watch, so who the fuck cares if they do!)
We ended the first period with 0:0 and the second and third periods with 0:4 to the Bulls and one thing I did notice was that the stands held a LOT of Bulls fans. Maybe the short drive had something to do with it. I admit, I’m considering making the short drive up to Amarillo to see our boys play an away game in December. (It’s such an easy drive it’d be a tragedy to waste it if it lines up with my winter break anyway.) As it was, it was a pleasure to see them in their away jerseys last night.
Let’s see what next week holds. I have tickets for two of the three games. (Have some goalie love in the meantime.)