Starting lineup: Center Emil Gabrielson (#18), Left Wing Griffen Sanom (#17), Right Wing Zach Frisk (#26), Defense Brandon Holt (#5), Defense Cooper Anderson (#55), Goalie Josh Graziano (#43).
First thing I’d like to say is that I had the luck of running into the Brahma that got hurt last night upstairs before the game. Seems like he’ll be okay though his leg is jacked for the time being. I let him know it’s a relief that he’s okay and got a big ‘ol smile in return. And yeah, I did it while wearing my Ice Wolves jersey and yeah, it may have given him half a second of fear when I walked up I think, but I hope it let him know not all fans are assholes about it. No one wants to see anyone hurt like that (at least I hope not) and the last thing I ever want to see is a career ending injury out there.
So tiny bit of divergence from hockey and onto other sports (yes, other sports from the person who proclaimed not to like sports at all until like… this past year and a half, I know, hilarious). I’ve had the misfortune to watch both an NFL game and a NASCAR race where things were not only career ending, but ultimately life ending. I wasn’t physically at either event, but I was watching on TV and perhaps that’s part of what kept me from wanting to even look for a sport I liked for years. I feel things on a visceral level when shit goes down and if it’s that level of bad, it can be a deal breaker for me and to have both of those come at me so early in my trying to watch things probably didn’t help. I actively loathe NFL (thanks working for DirecTV in the past and dealing with being screamed at by angry NFL fans over shit I couldn’t change) and I just generally dislike watching sports on television. It’s dull for the most part. But being there in person for hockey is an amazing feeling and I can only hope I never have to watch something horrible happen to someone that changes how I feel about going. I’ll keep the good vibes in my heart every time I go for these boys. All of them. Both teams. That’s how this shit should be.
That out of the way, onward to game night reviews like y’all showed up for, right? Right.
You could feel the violence in the air from the get-go, all that roiling bullshit lingering from two days of basically being tormented, certain people with targets on their backs, and if you imagine a seething dragon, waking from a slumber to find its horde missing, you could imagine the tension in both the crowd and on the ice. Even the fans were snippy with each other. One dude in zone C – hello Mr. Heckler, you are back? – decided to pick on Digby on their team all night long. And I do mean ALL. NIGHT. LONG. And sitting in that zone, man, that’s either some brass ones or some issues. Either way, it exceeded amusing into annoying as shit very quickly and when he started a chorus of him yelling “Digby” and those around him yelling “sucks” at the top of their lungs, it was only funny for the first three times. After that it was like dude, shut the fuck up. Which then ended with the group to our left who were very clearly there for the Brahmas starting to yell things back. Go them. Do it. I just wish it’d made him shut the hell up. It didn’t. In fact, it got so bad that at the end they were yelling at the player as he left through the hallway and the owner had to come down to make them stop. God, get it together. You know how you say ‘some people’s children”? Well, he applies to that statement. Yikes.
On ice, it was honestly sort of a rolling (skating?) disaster. The refs started the game by absolutely ignoring every single thing that happened in front of them. Not gonna lie, I was one of the people yelling at the refs to fucking call something. Anything. Just start watching the game, damn it! Tripping, high sticking, holding, and straight up half-fights that didn’t get even a game stoppage most of the time. Violence on ice. I know that’s sort of hockey’s motto, but you let shit simmer like that, you let it overflow into what played out afterward and really, I’m surprised it wasn’t down for blood like the first hockey fight I ever saw, though the other players constantly stepping in probably helped that not happen.
They finally started calling shit after the Brahmas got a goal in around 5:01 (Eric Huss (#11) with an assist from Matthew Rickard (#6)). They ended up calling #71 (unlisted) and Matt Guerra (#53) on roughing after (unreasonably) calling Griffen Sanom (#17) for holding. From our perspective Griffen got held, returned the favor, and then ended up with several guys trying to start shit. There were several instances during which two players from their team would gang up on one of ours and cause havoc (one blatant hooking offense involving 2 of theirs on 1 of ours and no call, really refs????) and it was good we weren’t rising to the bait, but also distressing to see in a number of ways. Isn’t that kind of shit what the refs are there for? If not then get the hell out of my camera’s way all the time, dudes. (Just sayin’.)
They finally started half-ass calling things, like our captain on cross-checking with 1:31 left on the clock and happily ignoring other things (grr). This review feels as frustrated as the game felt and while I’m sorry for the read of it like that, I also feel like at least it’s honest.
Things stewed right into the second period, a lovely (not) interference call (looked like tripping to me, but who knows) wherein Matthew Rickard #6 tipped our guy over into the net, resulting in a game stoppage and overall hubbub at the goal. Drew Lorinchak (#20) got cross-checked and it actually got called. We ended up on the power play so many times but didn’t convert on it any of them. If there’s one place we definitely need to step it up on, it’s power play conversions. From my perspective, that’s how we’ll start winning more games. Not stepping up to the other team’s bullshit unless we have to, letting them start getting called on their crap, and then slamming a puck in the net every single time we’ve given the opportunity on a power play. That alone would give us a huge leg up.
Overall, I think three games in a row is a bit much for me. I was cold, grumpy, and really wanted to pop Mr Heckler in the face by the end of the game. If it’s attention he wanted, he got it. I know I’ve found him amusing in the past, but by game three, nope! Doesn’t help I have a sinus thing and my head felt like an overinflated balloon by the end of the night. Note to self, do not do three games in a row now matter how tempting the smell of ice and sweat and hard work is.
Ending score 0:4 game to Brahmas.