Starting lineup for last night was Center Alex Gomez (#74), Left Wing Connor Kemp (#55), Right Wing Spencer Rudrud (#7), Defense Sean Henry (#6), Defense Keenan Johnson (#79), and Goalie Henrik Laursen (#1).
The first period saw some of the most beautiful defense-work I’ve ever had the pleasure of seeing from the Ice Wolves. The whole of the team on ice were in sync, everyone knowing exactly where they should be and what the right decisions to make were and we held the Brahmas at bay for so long time seemed to slow down. While I did hear a chorus of cries from Zone C about “try it” and “take it”, well I was just pleased to see something so well done it felt choreographed. The guys were stunning in those moments and I sincerely hope they know it.
We managed to score first, putting up a goal with the clock at 6:53, Alex Gomez (#74) sinking it in with an assist from Spencer Rudrud (#7) and we ended the first period with the only score on the board.
A few things I saw last night that are worth the mention. The first would be Noah Etter (#21) from the Brahmas appeared to have a vendetta against us or some kind of point to prove. That or he’s just a lose canon all the way around. At one point he straight up tripped Sanom (#17) before play had even resumed, which earned him some time in the sin bin and us a power play. Sanom seemed at least slightly amused by the whole thing, so I think the team and the fans took it in stride, but it was almost bizarre how #21 kept gunning for us. Trips, hitting us, a few counts of high sticking… ridiculous. Our own Michael McCosh got him back at one point and earned a roughing penalty, but it took #21 to the bin, too, and I admit, I may have yelled, “Worth it!” as McCosh entered the glass cage.
Things got fueled in the second and third periods and it was clear that all the tactics of last night and today the Brahmas were throwing at us were starting to get under our skin. The hits got harder – hard enough that at one point I was pretty sure the plexi was going to pop free over next to zone B – and the altercations got closer and closer to straight out brawls. I honestly won’t be surprised if we come in with our claws out and teeth bared tonight.
They scored three on us in the second period, one of them looking like luck from where we sat, rolling over Laursen’s leg into the net. They scored at 14:34, 12:50, and 10:42 on the clock. One thing I noticed that I think I probably need a little more research on was that once they scored while they were on a power play, our guy got out of the box 23 seconds early to put us back at full strength. I admit, this is my first season as hockey fan and sometimes the rules are a little fast and loose for me and this was one of those times. If anyone knows the answer already, hit me up in the comments, but my assumption is that once a goal is scored, it’s time served on whoever’s in the slammer.
From a fan perspective there were definitely some ‘oh god’ moments last night for both teams. Zach Frisk (#26) took a hit that left him on the ice for far longer than I like to see. He was doubled over in pain as he got off and was attended to by the medic and I’ll be honest with you, I’m invested enough in these guys that I couldn’t focus on the game until I was sure he was standing and being attended to. I know it’s part of hockey but damn. That being said, watching a Brahma go down hard (I refuse to post numbers when it’s this level bad) and watching him not get back up without help from his team was agony. It was like watching hell unfold and just praying he was well enough to get back up without a bracing board. When they got him up, there may have been tears in my eyes. Doesn’t matter what team you’re on, getting hurt that bad sucks and I was glad to see him get up. The applause to getting him up and moving and off the ice to be attended to was warming. Hockey’s violent and while we love that it is, it’s also terrifying when things go that level of wrong. So stay as safe as you can boys and my thoughts are with you, Brahma dude.