NM Ice Wolves vs Amarillo Bulls 12/20/2019

Starting Lineup: Forward Philip Ekberg (9), Forward Emil Gabrielson (18), Forward Drew Lorinchak (20), Defense Sean Henry (6), Defense Keenan Johnson (79), Goalie Garrett Mackay (#35).

We seem to have brought our A-game with us last night. We came out of the gates absolutely revving to go and kept our foot on the gas the first period. Good hockey is glorious to watch and that was freaking amazing last night. I felt the same excitement I felt that first night I came to a game: the kind that leaves your heart beating wildly, your hands shaking, and everything in you 100% willing to scream, yell, and cheer as hard as you can. Part of it could be that there hasn’t been a home game this month until now. Sure, I’ve been watching them on TV, but it’s just not the same. It’s like watching your favorite band’s DVD versus actually being at the concert. Seeing it right in front of your face is just amazing.

It was a pleasure watching us do just as well on offense as defense. We stole the puck time and again, shuttled it back out our zone, denied the opposition enough times it became exhilarating watching it zoom from one side of the ice to the other. Sure, they scored the first goal on us in the first period (honors to Ty Black) but Mackay also made so many saves it was ridiculous. Our first goal came to us at 9:07 into the first period. A goal that goes down in my books as fucking amazing as hell. Why, you ask?

Well, let me tell you about someone. That someone being the Amarillo Bulls goalie, Charlie Glockner (#1). He’s the number one goalie in the NAHL and until that very moment, we have never scored a goal against him. He’s the brick wall to end all brick walls, has six shutouts, and is just stunning to watch in goal. It’s confusing to have him in net against our team. I’ll root for our boys to my grave, but when Glockner’s in net, I find myself discretely clapping every time he saves a goal. It’s a hard place to be in as a fan. Mad respect for skills of the opposing team. A damn pleasure to get to watch, but… can it not be against our team? So… getting to watch our guys score on this guy, yeah that was some true elation right there. I jumped up, I yelled, threw my little foam wolf on the ice, and cheered some more and had no idea how I was supposed to put my rear end back on my seat. (Spoiler, I managed because I’m nicer than just standing around in front of people blocking the view lol!)

Charlie Glockner (#1) Amarillo Bulls – This guy, right here, y’all.

Somehow we found our way through his defenses more than one time last night and honestly, that’s a blessing and an amazement and hot damn, boys keep it up. This shows what our team is capable of. That red hot iron that came out the gates last night, that persevered through the whole night, that’s the shit we live for. That’s the shit we’re cooking that’s gonna turn into a five star restaurant when we get our skates under us consistently. It’ll happen and it’ll be glorious. Our guys have all the potential in the world and I think it’s why we love them so much, why there’s always a crowd, why we all want to support them so very much.

In the second period we got another one past Glockner, Alex Dominique (#21) with an assist from Spencer Rudrud (#7), slipped under Glockner’s pads. With the Bull’s other goal, it sent us into the intermission 2:3, not too shabby and it left us all smiling and happy.

That being said, another thing that made me smiley and happy was my entry for the ugly sweater contest. I made this horrible abomination of a tinsel tree, complete with icicles and jingle bells on the front and a huge gaudy glitter bow on the back. It was just fantastically, endearingly HORRIBLE. And it won the contest for an ice wolves sublimated jersey! It made me so happy and I’ve never been less nervous about something in my life, which is so odd because I have pretty bad anxiety issues, but I felt none of them during those few minutes. Interesting development in the camp of me.

I present you the horror show, yet oddly charming abomination of an ugly sweater

In the third period, only one goal was scored… by us! Sean Henry (#6) managed to get one in past all the traffic in front of the net and right on in past Glockner, tying our score and sending us into overtime. The team tried so hard to get another goal in the third period, time and time again breaking away and making a go for it, but none of them succeeded.

In overtime both teams put up shots on goal, but it was Amarillo that got one in past our goalie and the game ended 3:4, their win. I’m so proud of our boys though and I hope they feel those three shots like pleasure in their veins, truly. It was a damn fine game and I can’t wait to see them at it again tonight.

Goalie love for Garrett Mackay – look at those splits, holy shit.
Some love for Glockner, too.
Their winner’s circle after the game
Our parting stick-tap
Edge of a fight
Amarillo Bulls on their bench

Writing, Life, Music, and Hockey

It’s been a strange couple weeks. I spent a lot of it sick and yet more of it on the road to Denver to see Dir en grey, a band I’ve loved for well over a decade. I ended up in major tooth pain and had an extraction yesterday due to a pretty severe infection that nothing else was going to solve. I can easily tell you that was the worst pain of my life and I’ve had some pretty extensive pains.

Beyond that (horrible) adventure, I’d like to take a minute to at least catch everyone up on where I’m at. I haven’t been doing hockey reviews because the boys are on the road and I feel a little weird writing reviews for games I’m watching on HockeyTV instead of in person. That said, if you’re still interested in reviews for those games, let me know and I’ll do them while I’m subscribed this month!

Writing has taken a break. I did an extensive review of my already written 71K worth of words early this month and ended up re-writing around 3K worth, which really wasn’t bad given how much I thought I’d need to change after meeting with three of the players from the NM Ice Wolves to ensure I was correct in all I was writing. (Fantastic people with so much patience. They’re truly great dudes and I wish the world for them.)

I plan to start writing again during my winter break from work and haul ass through the rest of the novel. That should give me time to pick up any lose ends, bounce any further potential issues off the hockey dudes, and shovel more of my work toward my editor for the first round in what is sure to be multiple edits.

Die from Dir en grey

The concert was amazing. It’s so hard to get the words out to describe how I feel about it and anyone that’s known me for long enough to have been right there with me when I was a huge part of that fandom knows how near and dear that band is to me. Great people with amazing talent, look them up if you get a chance (and if you don’t like the first song, skip a few years and listen again, they’ve changed so much over the years it’s amazing). I smiled until my face hurt, I screamed lyrics until my throat hurt, and I cried until all that stored up anxiety and stress had drained out of me. That’s what their shows have always done and this year was no different.

Kyo from Dir en grey

Hockey-wise, I’d like to take a second to congratulate Josh Graziano, our (now former) goalie from the NM Ice Wolves on his commit to Union College. They have a rep of feeding players up into the NHL and I have my fingers crossed real hard for him. We’ll all miss him like hell, but we always want progress for our team, so here we are. Henrik Laursen has been stepping up real well and I think he’ll shine as our main goalie and here’s hoping whoever we pull on board will steal our hearts, too!

Also… was anyone else watching that ‘come at me bro’ moment 2 games ago involving Grazino? I had some legit glee up in this joint. Just sayin’. 😉

NaNoWriMo, Sickness, and Life

We’re winding down on the month of November and I appear to be winding up on the amount of sick time I can possibly use this month. It started with my husband sharing his cold with me mid-month and while I thought I was getting better, I ended up with a sinus and ear infection that resulted in a round of antibiotics and a dang near an IV for fluids in Urgent Care. Dr did not seem happy with how dehydrated I was and it wasn’t for lack of me trying to input them as I was drinking huge amounts of water and Gatorade. I think it was trying not to snot everywhere and taking cold meds (not above dosage but for such a period of time, I’m pretty sure). In any case, now I’m getting better (again) but ugh, we’re in the trial of how many boxes of tissues can I possibly use in a single month. Every trashcan in the house overflows with white snow (running joke that when the dog gets into it, it looks like it snowed in the house).

In any case, all that crap has left me struggling to finish cranking out this book this month. I wanted to proudly say I’d finished it in one month, but perhaps that was never going to happen given I arrived at 53K on 11/12 and still hadn’t arrived at what I had originally thought was the main point of my book. I’m now at 71K and have definitely found my way to that part of the plot, but I’m starting to realize I got so absorbed in the hockey part that the romance part became secondary. That’s odd for me, a complete reversal of my usual, and it’s got me in a bit of a bind at the moment. I both want to write and am hemming and hawing around actually doing it. I know it’s because my mind if confused as to what I’m actually trying to accomplish now.

It doesn’t help all the character’s drama plots are kind of culminating at the same time and I feel like that’s a bit much, but they all progressed there at the same time and there’s not much I can do about it without rewriting around 26K of it, which, let’s face it, isn’t happening. As is stands, I have about 8K that’s going to get re-written because the last part I tried to write while really sick definitely crashed and burned. It’s disjointed and strangely foggy and just overall not quality. (I may extract it and save it for something, like to look back at and remind myself why when on day 9 of cold meds not to write.)

So, it looks like this is going to boil over into December. Maybe just as well, since I have time off and can spend some of it writing. I may also have to find my calm place to write that isn’t my breakfast place. I’m starting to strain the budget tipping per table that leaves around me since I’m taking up valuable table space over here. Writing at home is just so hard because even with rules about interruptions, I get them anyway, all the time. Dogs, cats, husbands, friends, the mailman, you name it. Here it’s a singular interruption of a lovely waitress asking me if I’d like more coffee and that’s that. I need a safe writing zone, it’s official.

Oh, and let me say, trying to rename a character 71K into a story because you realize you did a truly dumb thing with their name is like fighting with an angry badger. And that’s a background character, god help me if it hadn’t been!

NM Ice Wolves vs Lone Star Brahmas 11/23/2019

Drew Lorinchak (#20) and Brandon Holt (#5)

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.

Don’t ya love those pesky glass scratches? Ahh, they’re part of the game, too!

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.

Really liked how this shot came out, so here, have some Brahmas.

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.

This one’s for you, Digby. This is for owning that dude’s bullshit with a wink.
Actually really liked this pic of our boys, so here!

NM Ice Wolves vs Lone Star Brahmas 11/22/2019

No ice needed! Gomez on liftoff~

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.

NM Ice Wolves vs Lone Star Brahmas 11/21/2019

All smiles, all the time ❤

Starting lineup: Center Michael McCosh (#10), Left Wing Jackson Wille (#23), Right Wing Drew Lorinchack (#20), Defense Brandon Holt (#5), Defense Cooper Anderson (#25), Goalie Josh Graziano (#43).

Last night started off phenomenal. The first period gave us three goals, the first scored at all of 3:17 into the game by Zach Frisk (#26). The second went to Connor Kemp (#55). After that second goal the Brahmas pulled their goalie and put their secondary in. (I believe it was Baily replaced by Persson, but I could be mistaken.) But we still managed to get one more in even with that change within the final minute of the first period, a beautiful pass from Spencer Rudrud (#7) to Drew Lorinchack (#20), coming in on a power play.

The Brahmas were bringing the heat in the second period and honestly we may have gotten a little cocky around the edges scoring that quickly. My own thoughts on us getting so many in the first period left me sucking air in through my teeth, fearing that would be the result. It would be hard not to get a bit inflated knowing you managed all that in twenty minutes on the ice and the guys are just as human as the rest of us. We fell apart a little in that middle period and you could see some of our old habits slipping back in, passes to nowhere, people not where they were supposed to be or players passing to wrong places. Whatever it was, it wasn’t the team we saw in the first period and after the Brahmas got three goals through on us in 11 minutes, I think Coach saw it, too. He pulled the team for a timeout and while we can only guess at what might have been said, it brought us around a bit and we shut them down for most of the rest of the period.

Pure luck gave the Brahmas the fourth goal in the final period with barely 0:37 of the period. The puck went over and tumbled down, didn’t make the goal but it slipped and one of our players skates hit it and boom, there it was, number four on the roster for the other team. The moment was sort of a collective gasp from zone A and really, I feel for the guys on that one.

Another goal to the Brahmas and things got dicey for a while there, desperation showing on all sides. The Brahmas got handsy but I think we kept our tempers better than usual. No one got called for roughing, though there was a close call that involved players from both sides yanking the respective participants apart before the refs got involved. So I think that may have stopped it from getting called. Close though!

Free hugs? (I think I’m funny with my captions, clearly…)

We earned our last goal of the night with dang near nothing on the clock and it was honestly amazing to watch us try to come back, even with Graziano pulled from the net. Someone ended up in the glass house, but I honestly forget who it was (I blame Thursday night, honestly) but it ended up with us shorthanded and yet, here we went, sinking another puck into the back of the Brahmas’ net, courtesy Griffen Sanom (#17) and Alex Gomez (#74).

We ended 4:5, Brahmas win, but it’s okay, we have two more nights to sort this shit out. Not to mention four points on the board!

I would like to call out one moment I saw that was downright sportsmanlike and was honestly a little bit of a ‘wow’ moment. The Brahmas were coming hard at us, pulling shit behind the scenes that the refs weren’t calling, apparently putting an unregistered numbered player on the field, and generally harassing the shit out of us. For the most part our guys weren’t biting and that’s probably best with three games in a row to play. At one point, one of the Brahmas slammed our guy into the boards behind the net, another set doing the same thing a few feet away. Everything ended in a tangle of skates and confusion and by the time three of them got back up, the Brahmas guy didn’t immediately and I actively watched our dude reach out a hand to help him back up instead of taking the opportunity to do something like push him further back down or skate off and leave him, and it was the kindest thing I’ve ever seen in hockey. I’m here for it. Here for it as much as I’m here for the good ‘ol rounds of rock ’em sock ’em robots, to be honest, and I just wanted to bring it up. So while I couldn’t see your numbers from the other side of the rink, good on you, dudes! (Do we give out a free pass on a penalty for sportsmanlike conduct? No? Maybe we should!)

That said and done… have the usual goalie love!

More pics than usual today, but I couldn’t help myself so… here have a few more awesome shots I managed.

I’d love to know how I got this shot. I’ll never know, but dang! 🙂
Blurry because of glass scratches, but dude, I don’t think the goal is for YOU to go in the net!
I feel like you posed for this. Did you? Did you not? lmao, thanks Griffen!
One more, for posterity!

NM Ice Wolves vs Amarillo Bulls 11/17/19

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.)

Gameplay Bulls vs Ice Wolves

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.

Go, Laursen, go!

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.)

Graziano’s new pads are freaking AMAZING. Look at those beauties ❤
Charlie Glockner #1 (Amarillo Bulls)

NM Ice Wolves vs Topeka Pilots 11/09/2019

Alex Dominique #21 (F) and Henrik Larson #1 (G)

There are two major things I want to say about last night’s game, right up front. 1) We shone like diamonds, our teamwork was square on and we are finally a cohesive unit. Fuck yes. 2) This is the first time I’ve seen Larson #1 (G) in the net and if I’m not mistaken his debut game for us actually being in net and not backup and I’d just like to say, holy shit, bro. We’ve been hiding a gem. With two solid goalies like this, we’re golden.

Henrik Larson #1 (G)

That said, onward, upward, hurray! I think I’m getting better at this note-taking during a game thing with the exception of when my fingers start to get too cold and I seem incapable of writing actual words. Alas, part of the game I suppose. At least I didn’t have to rewrite my entire five pages of notes this time!

Starting lineup: Griffen Sanom #17 (LW), Emil Gabrielson #18 (C), Spencer Rudrud #7 (RW), Keegan Langefels #4 (D), Mitchell Becker #2 (D), Henrik Larson #1 (G). I admit, I may have winced at the beginning seeing it wasn’t Graziano in the net as I had no way of knowing what a shining star Larson would turn out to be. I’d never seen him actually play and knowing he was a rookie this year may have led me to some very faulty conclusions. I take every wince back and shall never judge a hockey player by their rookie status ever again, because holy freaking shit. He’s good. Real good.

Moving on from unabashed goalie praise, let’s get into the game. The crowd tonight was a little more silent than usual, odd for a basically sold out game, though I will say we had high school ID night, so perhaps it was just the more subdued high schoolers (yeah I just said that, lol) that led us into being so silent at first. The guy behind me said maybe it was because no one had fought yet and we had a good laugh at that, but you know, I think he may have been right because the crowd really picked up after the first ruckus on the ice. Who knows, maybe we are all just bloodthirsty at heart. Or maybe we were all as drained as me. (I’m coming down with a cold which I hadn’t realized at the time, but the flush in my cheeks and the half-night spent shaking say otherwise now. Grr.)

Last night was spent in as much awe as Friday night was. Passes were made to real players, we actually got to toy with the other team instead of them just playing with us, and we were working as a solid unit out there. It’s beautiful to watch hockey when it comes together like that. It was still scrappy and you could tell everyone was at one anothers throats from the get-go and honestly I think the Pilots held a burning fear in their hearts after Friday’s solid trouncing.

Penalties burned hot all night long on both sides, my solid count for the night holds Ice Wolves with 11 penalties and the Pilots with 10 penalties, though I think I may have somehow missed a few as I know for sure the announcer was confused as shit about the revolving door that was our glass houses of shame. I’m pretty sure the Pilots decided they were trying to beat us at something if not the game and they stuffed their box with three of their boys at the same time while we had two in ours. Add that to one penalty call for us that even the announcer had no idea what we were being penalized for and players looking confused on both sides and, well, sorry boys, we beat you on quantity of penalties, too. 😉

If you can’t beat us, fit as many as you can in the glass house instead? Nice try, boys!

I would like to say this was the result of a fight that damn near included all of both teams in some way (sans goalies because whooo boy that is not a penalty a goalie wants!). Some major shit went down behind the net next to zone C and what started as one big clump of fight resulted in two fights being yanked apart by frantic refs. This being the third? fourth? fight of the night, I’m betting tensions were higher than any kite has ever been. Two boys got so far as to get gloves off before the refs stopped them from their scuffle. There were so many fights behind the refs backs that were all started and ended in the span of a few seconds, usually by one player leaving the other floundering on the ice and skating away. Straight up watched one of theirs yank one of our boys by the shirt and our boy trip him right back and then skate off. Twice things got heated in a corner far behind where the puck was and no one on the ice seemed to notice. All the better for fan-watching, I suppose!

Penalties seem softer for fights when there’s no blood drawn and no one slams the other to the ice and keeps on beating. (Lookin’ at you my first hockey fight!) The most anyone got was one of the Pilots with 4 minutes, 2 for roughing and 2 for unsportsmanlike conduct for starting it.

Our crowd heckler was back and versus the game before where he picked on #81 the entire game, he picked up on giving #6, the Pilot’s Captain as much shit as he could. My favorite of the night was “Hey Captain, does that C stand for C-team?” to which the entirety of Zone C cracked up. While some of the guy’s insults were a complete miss and I think he knew it, he found the occasional gem that no one could help but laugh at. He also yelled at one player about being off-sides and if he wanted to play for the Ice Wolves, all he had to do was ask, that one got us in stitched again. Keep coming to games, buddy, you’re making my writers life easy in the future!

Puck-drop action shot

Goals last night were beautiful. First period, 11:48 left on the clock, Philip Ekberg #9 sank our first one in on a power play with an assist from Keegan Langefels #4. The second came to us in the form of Spencer Rudrud #7 getting out of the penalty box and nearly immediately scoring a goal for us with only 21 seconds left on the clock. That one earned him every player in our box holding their hands out as he skated past and received high-fives. Part of me wishes I’d caught it on film, the other part thinks it was better to have actually seen it through something that wasn’t a 3.5″ screen.

In the second period we ran down the clock all the way to 5:16 left and Alex Gomez #74 slid one in for us, completely unassisted. By then the crowd had once again reached insane levels of cheering. (Another note on the crowd, it only took us until the third save by Larson #1 before everyone would clap every time he blocked a shot on goal. Bless that boy.)

We entered the third period with three points and the Pilots with a big fat zero on the scoreboard. Man it felt good for it to be them! Things got messy as the Pilots got desperate. They pulled their goalie to get an extra man on the field which proved to be their detriment as we sank another one in with 1:54 on the clock, Michael McCosh #10 doing the honors with Zack Frisk #26 with an assist. My camera caught this final moment of bliss before the batteries died and I’m so glad it saved it!

Group celebrations after final goal by Ice Wolves!

Two things happened after that I believe. I think the Pilots got desperate as shit and the Ice Wolves got cocky. The combination of both ended with two goals scored on us in the final 48 seconds of the game. The first came at 00:47:08 on the clock and the second with exactly 23 seconds left. Mr. Heckler Guy informed the Pilots “You’re welcome!” and for the final seconds of the game, the running joke became we gave them some goals to make them feel better. Thanks, Mr. Heckler Dude, you make sitting in Zone C worth every second!

Overall, we played a stunning game. Larson saved 40 of 42 shots on his goal in one night, we played like a damn team instead of a bunch of crazy-pants, and I think the boys are finally figuring out where they stand with one another. It’s beautiful and it’s a damn pleasure to watch. Stay gelled, boys!

(As usual, here’s some goalie love and some stretching love for Topeka.)

Topeka Stretch
Goalie love. Count your Blessings: I see one, two, three, four, five, six.

NM Ice Wolves vs Topeka Pilots 11/08/2019

Trying to score on the Pilots again 😉

Last night was a great game from the very start. First I’d like to say that my cheeks hurt from smiling so much. The Ice Wolves brought down their A-game from the very first second and it was like watching the team we all knew they could be and I can only hope they keep it together like this!

Technically-speaking the Ice Wolves were bottom of our division and if I’m not mistaken the Pilots arrived in Albuquerque at the very top of it. #1 vs #7 in the South division. If I’m being honest, I expected a solid trouncing, but that’s not at all what happened. In fact, I’d like to say we brought the beat-down upon the Pilots and I can only imagine the reaming their Coach must have given them afterward despite their game being pretty damn on point, too. It couldn’t have felt good for them, though it felt fucking amazing for us!

Our starting lineup was Griffen Sanom #17 LW, Spencer Rudrud #7 RW, Emil Gabrielson #18, Keegan Langefels #4, Max Tobin #2, Josh Graziano #43 G. (I could be wrong on Max, I didn’t see him on the game notes paper but it’s what I had written down in my notebook, so apologies if I’m wrong there!) I decided to do a thing and track our lineup changes for the first few times, but I won’t give them away here. Mostly it was more information for my hockey-absorbing mind and let’s say my notebook is filled with half-intelligible scribbles at the moment that definitely need some help!

We spent the entire first period completely on point. Our passes were made to actual players instead of thin air as we’ve been seeing in the past. It seems everyone stepped up last night and boy did it show! We ended the first with nothing on the scoreboard on either side and it was only 26 seconds into the second period when Griffen Sanom #17 (F) scored our first goal! We came out of the gates flying!

It took the Pilots until there was 8:35 left on the second period clock to bring in their only goal for the evening, sent in by Quinn Green #9 (F). After that I took note that our team has certainly stepped up their defense in regards to actually helping Josh Graziano #43 (G) protect the net. There was at least one point where our boys formed an impenetrable wall between the Pilots and Graziano. Makes me wonder who had the ‘come to Jesus’ talk with the boys about helping him defend and not wearing him out on game one of two in a row. Whoever did it certainly did their job as our boys were out there in full-force, doing what they should be!

Second period, one for us, none for them at time of photo!

We ended the second period, tied 1:1 and the instant the boys hit the ice for the third period the crowd went from sparse cheering to full-blown hellish. One guy in zone C continued to heckle #81 of the Pilots. Perhaps he had a grudge or perhaps he really was banging the guy’s girlfriend, who knows (he was yelling “Scotty doesn’t know” – Eurotrip reference anyone? – and “number eighty-one, you suck!” repeatedly). There were multiple yells at the refs about not calling things despite the multiple calls of roughing and unsportsmanlike conduct that ended up on the boards, though we did manage in most cases to keep our penalties on the lower side in comparison to the Pilots. Impressive given our history in this regard. Overall they went from a crowd of people clapping at saves and goals to a crowd that was screaming at the top of their lungs, chanting with enthusiasm, and basically begging our boys to win us one on home ice.

Which they did with 11:17 left on the clock in the third period. Jackson Wille #23 (F) tucked one home with an assist from Drew Lorinchak #20 (F) and it was gloriously beautiful. It lefts fans (myself included) on our feet longer than usual, antsy and unable to sit down. Given my front row seats, I had to tell myself to sit back down and be nice to those behind me after a good thirty seconds of being completely unable to sit my rear down due to how overwhelmingly happy I was. The cheers were deafening.

Nearing the end of the third, the Pilots pulled their Goalie in an attempt to get some payback in the form of another person on the ice. They tried but we fought them like our lives depended on it and it paid off because by the time the clock reached 0:00 we were had won 2:1, our first home ice win. People screamed, a few remaining foam wolves were thrown on the ice, and the crowd began hugging the people around them in excitement. I must admit, I may have cried a little in my excitement. I one hundred percent could not stop grinning as the boys lined up for us and later, watching the video the Ice Wolves posted of them leaving the ice left me feeling that special feeling all over again, seeing all of them grinning just as hard.

Fingers crossed we bring it just as hard tonight. I want to see more games like that from us. Watching hockey should always have my hands shaking, my heart racing, and my cheeks hurting from grinning too hard.

This is the game we’ve had in us from the start and here’s to many more. ❤

Stretching pre-game
How about some Ice Wolves Goalie Love?
And to be fair, some Topeka Goalie Love, too!

Character Creation

Short writing post here as I need to focus on my NaNoWriMo word count this month as I try to grind this book out as fast as humanly possible and at least beat the 50K deadline by November’s close.

Thought I’d post something amusing up here about characters and how peevy they can be for no apparent reason. Maybe the third character I had a name and pseudo-bio for decided to be a pain in my rear end. In that he would not tell me what the hell he looked like for nearly a month of dreaming up plots and trying to figure out my boys.

That being said, we finally ended up doing random internet image searching for nearly two hours while I tried to make him tell me what he looked like. Are you a ginger? Maybe. Are you a blond? Who knows. Bro, I need to know what’s going on! Are you tall? Silence. Buff? Sorta scrawny? Beard? More silence.

Two hours later I find out he’s 20, around 6′ tall, a blond with a nice 6 pack hidden under all that gear. He tells me this after he tells me all about his Engineering degree he’s going for, that he has no regrets, and likes high-fives. I had two pages of character bio and not one word about what he looked like until he finally mentally pointed at an image and quietly informed me: That.

I’d post the image but I don’t own it and have no idea who it is as it was reposted to Pintrest it seems. But he’s adorable and 100% not my usual type, but can I just say damn.