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Cats and Dogs

20 February 2017

tUMD 2, SCSU 1/tUMD 4, SCSU 1
tUMD 2, CC 1/tUMD 2, CC 2 (SOW)

Congratulations to tUMD women on their big sweep this weekend! I’m very pleased. St. Cloud made it tough at times, but the women came through. Unfortunately, Wisconsin did not come through, so tUMD finishes 3rd in the WCHA, and will play SCSU again this weekend. By “weekend,” I mean Thursday, Friday, and hopefully not Sunday. I suppose this is not really that big of a tragedy, as 2nd place would mean playing Buttmidji AGAIN. No thank you. I don’t really like being alternatively bored and annoyed by hockey.

After the game, the team honored their 6 seniors: Crossman, Lindh (junior in eligibility but graduating), Stalder, Brykaliuk, McGovern, and Morin. As Fleisch listed off each player’s accomplishments, the Aaaahj turned to me and said “That’s a lot of talent leaving.” It is. It’s a lot of talent that could have left two years ago, but every single one of them chose to return, and to lead, and to pull others up along the way. Five of the six players scored this weekend – though they still have at least 3 (? have they clinched home ice for the NCAAs? Have they even clinched a spot in the NCAAs? Run some scenarios on BC Interruption’s PWR What-if Calculator and see for yourself.) more games to score in front of the home crowd. (Well, I won’t be there Thursday or Friday, as I will be working. As hard as I am working right now, even.)

So don’t go yet, ladies. Don’t stop til you’ve conquered St. Louis. Do not go gentle into that good off-season. Rage, rage, against single elimination tournaments.

The men, on the other hand, seemed to be playing Penalty Bingo. If you had tripping – hooking – free space – slashing – contact to the head, please come to section 101 to claim your prize. Killing penalties at altitude on Olympic ice is always a good idea. Killing a major penalty in 3×3 4×3 OT at altitude on Olympic ice is freaking genius. Look, tUMD’s PK is Not That Great (although holy crap, in-conference there are some DISASTROUS PK stats for our colleagues), so this was a nice opportunity for them to improve, but like… why. tUMD’s greatest strength is its depth. It’s pretty crappy to get a goal from your 4th line on Friday night and then keep them off the ice while you’re killing penalties (without a top PKer, Sammy Squirrel, due to a case of too many centers, not enough lines) the whole freaking night on Saturday.

I’m not really that mad about it, despite taking 45 minutes to write that paragraph and having it ooze sarcasm like sap from a maple tree in spring. This team is still a great team. They struggled against CC, yes, which is weird, but they still are having a fantastic season, and they sold out hard in OT during that extended and insane PK. Maybe I am going soft in my old age, or maybe participating in a sport myself instead of just spectating is changing my perspective, or maybe with all the terrible garbage happening in this country, a loss by a sports team doesn’t seem quite so dire.

The men are home for a Thursday-Friday series against Miami, who sucks, and who we have not played yet. This is very odd. I suggest sweeping.

The Art of War

14 February 2017

tUMD 1, Red Menace 1 (12 round SOL)/let’s pretend Sunday’s game didn’t exist

tUMD played #1 Wisconsin this past weekend without Stalder, Elmes, Mrazova, and Healey. What a massive letdown for a #1 vs #2 matchup, eh? I can’t say that I  was extremely hopeful about the result.

What I did not know was what masterful tacticians our coaches are. I sort of blew off following the game on Saturday because I didn’t want to be depressed, but came home, pulled up my Twitter feed while hyperventilating and covering my eyes while peeking through my fingers, braced for the worst. And it was 0-0! Until I tweeted about it, then Wisconsin scored and I thought it was all over.

AND THEN UMD SCORED. Sydney Brodt scored! And it was not all over! And then when Morin took a penalty in OT, I thought it was all over, and it was not all over!

And then ALL OF THIS HAPPENED, and it was regrettably all over.

shootout

tDogs got the crap kicked out of them on Sunday, but who cares? They got a tie. Let’s say they don’t completely sell out for that tie on Saturday, and lose 1-0 or 2-0 or maybe 4-1 or something, not sure. And then they don’t lose 8-0 on Sunday, but does that really matter? A 1-0 loss is the same as a 2-1 loss is the same as a 1000000000000-0 loss when it comes to the PWR and the league standings. Yes, it was a meager 1 point out of 6 available for the weekend, and eking out a shootout win would have been nice, but it is a heckofa lot more than any of us expected. Well, I don’t know, maybe some of you out there are unmitigated optimists.

That tie was important, PWR-wise. The only team with a better record against Wisconsin is UMTC, and they have their second series this weekend to close out the season. We, ahem, would like for the Badgers to be sweeping that, although I think tDogs would still come out in 3rd place. The Goofs would tie us in league wins, they have the H2H comparison we are tied in the H2H comparison, and they have more goals for. So unless the tiebreaker was something odd like league losses (it’s not it is, holy crap), tDogs are in 3rd place. (Update: I made some horrendous errors and corrected them.)

I really never thought I’d be so happy with a tie, but when your team is missing the WCHA’s best player and three other key skaters, a tie against the #1 team in the country (to whom your team has already handed one of their stingy 2 losses on the season), a tie is pretty freaking groovy.

Empty Chairs at Empty Arenas

6 February 2017

tUMD 2, Fhawks 0/tUMD 2, Fhawks 1
tUMD 2, Red Cows 2 (tUMD SOW)/tUMD 5, Red Cows 0

Sports-wise, an excellent weekend (Sunday excluded). It would have been nicer if tUMD men had managed to win in real time on Friday night, but strangely it did not bother me. The women had already won and the men’s PWR is pretty solid. It’s so weird, having two great, entertaining teams at the same time.

So why doesn’t anyone go to games?

Let’s start with the women. This weekend was Cram the Am. Tickets were $1, or free with a food drive donation. The Am was not crammed. It probably never will be, until things start to change. Why don’t people go to women’s games?

  1. Misogyny
  2. Internalized misogyny
  3. General stupidity
  4. Outrage over Title IX (which is really a repeat of 1, 2, or 3)
  5. Ignorance
  6. Working weekends (or working Friday afternoons, like me)
  7. Kids’ hockey tournaments
  8. Broken hip
  9. So angry Miller made more than Sandelin that they will have “Shannon Miller sucks” on their tombstone
  10. “Economic anxiety” (If you desire to go to a hockey game and cannot afford to go to a game that costs $1, I will take you to the game and buy you groceries as well.)

Ok. Well, what about the men’s games? Why aren’t people going to men’s games? From the previous list, we can rule out 1, 2, 4 (possibly), and 9. But unlike with women’s games, those empty seats are sold. And why is it always the people in the yellow (they’re not gold) seats that never show up?

  1. General stupidity
  2. Ignorance
  3. Working weekends
  4. Kids’ hockey tournaments
  5. Broken hip
  6. Economic anxiety ($25 to see Miami on a Thursday night???)
  7. ???????????????????????????????????????????????

Now, damn it Jim, I’m an engineer, not a marketer, but something is messed up here. Why don’t people want to go to games anymore?

I’m generally not a person who asks for reader interaction, because I don’t have any readers, but if you are a person who doesn’t go to home games anymore, or you know someone who fits that description, holla at ya girl and let me know. Just another free service I’ll provide to tUMD’s athletic department.

Oil Country

1 February 2017

I am in Edmonton all week, and was fortunate to have attended the Wild game last night. I was pretty excited, considering this was the view from my hotel room:

rogersday

My colleague and I purchased tickets off the secondary market just a few hours before the game. We thought about waiting longer to see if prices would drop, but I wanted to veg out at the hotel and she had a prior commitment. We agreed to meet at the arena, which was a poor decision on my part.

For some reason, once I get into an elevator, I lose my bearings completely, so I ended up going the wrong way in the Pedway and ended up wandering around the streets of Edmonton looking for the arena. It’s truly amazing that I could not find an arena that I could see from my hotel room, but this story would be a lot more boring if I had arrived at the game without incident. My colleague called me to tell me she was on her way (she was also running late), and when I told her I was by the RBC building on Jasper Ave, she was perplexed. I could barely work my phone at this point as my hands were freezing, but we managed to meet up outside a Tim Horton’s (of course) and got back into the Pedway. And then once we exited the Pedway from the same doors I’d used to get into the hotel Monday evening, I realized the profundity of my gaffe.

The Wild scored right as we arrived and climbed the stairs to security screening. We went through the metal detectors and held our breaths while our ticket were scanned, hoping they were legit (they were). My very first impression once we were inside was: the arena is spacious. Most arenas feel cramped, and I feel like I’m amidst a herd of cattle trying to navigate through concourses, but I could have driven a freaking tank down the Rogers Place concourse. It did feel very removed from the game – the concourse is closed off from the action, so we couldn’t see the game clock or any other action. We did see a giant escalator, which I learned is the longest escalator in North America. I desperately wanted to ride it up, but it was going down. It was actually quite complicated to find an up escalator.

Before we ascended to our seats in the upper concourse with the rest of the plebes, my colleague wanted to take a picture with a larger-than-life bobblehead. I recently established my new motto as “What’s one more regret?” (thank you, Brian), so we got in line and had the promotional woman snap some pix.

rogersnosepickcensored

Some identities protected

I love being me.

We finally found an up escalator (the huge escalator was going down), but were probably as far away from our section as possible. We made it to our section with just a couple minutes to go in the period, during a stoppage, so we couldn’t get to our seats due to the number of people coming up to get their beers. We ended up having to stand at the top of the section until the end of the period, but I was able to see the Wild score their second goal, with about 4 seconds left in the period!

We had to wait until practically the entire section emptied before we could get to our seats, but while we were waiting, another colleague came up the stairs. It turned out he was in our section. Probably half of our department was at the game, since most people are either Wild fans or Oilers fans (with a few exceptions – my director is a Flames fan and my boss is a Red Wings fan). We talked to him and his wife for a little bit before we were finally able to sit down. It turned out we were in the very top row, which was a little disconcerting, because the upper deck is really steep. I felt a bit dizzy for awhile before I adjusted, between that and the fact that I could feel the floor shaking a bit. I trust structural engineers, but at the same time, it was disconcerting to feel the concrete moving underneath us.

I can’t be mad about the view, though.

rogersice

The video board is HUGE, the picture is extremely clear, and that sucker is bright. It’s SO bright that when my colleague and I were trying to take a selfie, the white background of the video at the time was so bright I was glowing in the photo. We had to wait until the picture changed.

The Wild scored again in the second period to make it 3-0, and I discovered I was the only Wild fan in the section — or anywhere nearby. But I stood up and cheered and made a bunch of noise anyway. The arena was pretty dead, probably because the Oilers were down 3-0, but there were still moments of crowd noise. However, as I looked around the arena, no one seemed to be moving or cheering. For this purely scientific reason, I conclude that the Oilers pump in fake crowd noise.

The Oilers finally scored with just under 9 to go in the period. Their goal song is awful. The Wild scored less than 2 minutes later, so that quieted the fans for awhile. I stood up and cheered again. I don’t think I was a very popular lady. The Oilers made it 4-2 on a PPG toward the end of the period, so the game wasn’t completely under control at the second intermission, though I felt fairly confident. However, the last thing I wanted was to be in a hostile arena during a massive comeback from the home team.

We walked around the arena to find another colleague, who is a Duluthian (freshly returned from a VIP All-Star Game excursion he won) and of course a Wild fan. Another Wild fan found us while we were talking. “Ok, all three of us are here, good,” he said as he stopped for a moment. Check check. After that, we circumnavigated the concourse to meet up with my former boss, then went back to our seats. The Oilers fans were not super happy to see me, and I was met with several “BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOs,” to which I responded “YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY!” I know that’s tame for me, but this is Canada. In an attempt to assimilate, I said “Sore-y” when stepping past people to get to my seat.

In the third period, the Wild took an annoying penalty as Darcy Kuemper floated the puck over the glass. I was concerned a power play goal would start the Oilers comeback, but instead Chris Stewart (serving the penalty) scored coming out of the box, after sending Zucker in as a decoy. I could feel the passive aggression wafting off the Oilers fans around me as I cheered.

The Wild appeared to score one more time, but after a lengthy and confusing series of reviews, the goal was waved off. While we were waiting, the Edmontonians became restless and started yelling “BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO” in my general direction, so I yelled “It was me! I did it, I challenged the play!” I’m a friggin’ ambassador.

We stayed til the end of the game, then walked out, running into several more colleagues, including my friend’s boss and our director, who told me as a Flames fan, he was cheering for the Wild. How courteous. Unfortunately the Wild are stinking it up in Calgary as I write this.

I regret not eating any of the fancy concessions they had at the arena, but I had already eaten some dicey Thai curry from the food court near my hotel, so I was not interested in tempting fate. (The dicey Thai food ended up being fine, I was just being paranoid.) Or spending my own money. I had an absolute blast with my friend and I am so glad I was able to see the Wild live! I haven’t been to a game in a long time, since I no longer live in the Twin Cities.

rogersnight

Goodnight suitcase. Goodnight Rogers Place. Goodnight reflection of my face.

Hockeypolitik

23 January 2017

tUMD 5, BSU 1/tUMD 2, BSU 2 (SOL)
tUMD 5, FHAWKS 3/tUMD 4, FHAWKS Trump’s IQ

tUMD women started out great, with an absolute thumping of the defensively stifling and horrifically boring Beavers. Lara Stalder, queen, had a hat trick on Friday. Thank you Shannon Miller & staff for recruiting this woman – we are lucky to have her on the team! Unfortunately, tDogs could not pick up the sweep as Bemidji scored with less than 5 minutes remaining, and then scored 2 goals to our none in the shootout.

As for the men…

Look, we are living in a dystopian nightmare right now, which officially began on Friday, but which has been a specter over our lives for months now. And no, that’s not the last you’re going to hear about it, and no, I do not care if you unfollow/stop reading, although listening to me might teach you a few things about being a decent human being.

There’s probably no one more representative of the worst of the people who brought this nightmare upon us than the stereotypical North Dakota fan. A person who yells “SIOUX YEAH YEAH” and thinks that honors Dakota people. A person who attends hockey games at a gauche, vulgarian arena built by a Nazi. A person who goes onto the UND fan forum and makes dog whistle posts in a thread called “Fargo is the new Detroit” about the scourge of Lutheran Social Services. A person who whines about how badly they suffered under “Barry Obummer” but they “didn’t complain,” so now we should shut up and submit to the fascist dictator demanding we heap praise upon him, or else. (Note: some of my best friends are UND fans, not all UND fans, etc etc etc.)

Of course it also doesn’t help that their captain, Gage Ausmus, was incredibly disrespectful to a college hockey reporter (and woman of color) who asked him to consider the impact his overt Trumplove had on others.

So, while fully aware that 1. many UMD players are also Trumplovers and 2. many UMD fans are also Trumplovers, I really wanted UND to lose. Like, I personally wanted them to lose, because it would make me feel slightly better about the awfulness of Inauguration Day (which is now re-named as some kind of Mussolini-esque holiday). I usually have a low-level buzz of annoyance for UND fans due to their singular, maniacal obsession with their team, inferiority complex over being from a state of no importance, and of course, the stuff I already talked about a couple paragraphs ago. I just really, really needed North Dakota to lose.

And UMD obliged, sweeping their first four game season series with North Dakota ever. And that schadenfreude was so delicious, my friends. Even though it was all made up in my head and made no difference in the state of the world, even though it is totally stupid and petty and makes me look like a total idiot. I do not care. I relished those victories and I rejoiced in the defeat of my enemies. All those sad angry dudebros and “forgotten men and women” who enabled the monster in the White House and who tie their self-esteem and self-worth to a college hockey team drove home unhappy.

Then I went back to planning how I am going to work toward defeating fascism, because even dual national championships from tUMD men and women in 2017 won’t actual affect any real change.

Let’s Forget Our Troubles With a Big Bowl of Sweeping the Gophers

19 January 2017

I sit here, on the eve of destruction, watching the news and feeling my heart sink lower and lower as I ponder weak and weary over the frightful reality of what is about to begin tomorrow. I hope that sometimes soon I can feel as good as I did last weekend, in the third period, when Kate Schipper took a slashing penalty to negate a Gopher PP with under 2 minutes to go in the game. At that point, I finally allowed myself to exhale, secure that my Bulldogs were going to sweep those rodents for the first time in far, far too long.

Thank you, Doggies. We all needed that.

The Bends

9 January 2017

tUMD 2, Tiggers 2 (tUMD 3v3 win)/tUMD 1, Tiggers 2
tUMD 2, All-Stars 5

When one has been deprived of hockey for such a long time, one has to be slowly acclimated. Just like a deep-sea diver must slowly return to the surface, a hockey fan cannot go from zero hockey to, say, a blow-out sweep, or else they will get decompression sickness (aka the bends).

So I was in no danger of nitrogen bubbles bursting in my brain after a weekend of lackluster hockey.

This is not to say there were not any hockey highlights of late. Just none that I witnessed in person.

Team USA beat Canada in the WJC on Thursday, that was good. Joey Anderson was an integral part of the team, showing up on the ice in nearly every important situation.

This is pretty awesome.

The Wild are playing well and winning games in regulation sometimes even. Unprecedented!

Bulldog alumna Meghan Huertas signed with the Connecticut Whale and scored a goal in her professional debut.

First pro bingo, dream come true. Huge thanks to my teammates and staff

A post shared by Meghan Huertas (@hueyy43) on

Look at that Florida tan.

Anyway, after a very cold week, I was very happy to return to the rink for some Bulldog action. Instead I got… Bulldog inaction, with the exception of a few minutes of excitement courtesy of one Neal Pionk, who took tUMD from 0 to 2 points in dramatic fashion.

The highlight of the game, I couldn’t even see from my vantage point: Squirrel making a Tiger look foolish.

Avery Peterson had Avery eventful home debut, with his first goal as a Bulldog and his first ejection as a Bulldog. Congrats on that, I guess, but you’re the only hope for Riley Tufte to ever get a goal so maybe don’t get ejected again.

Saturday was a double-header of sadness. I arrived (late) to the Bulldogs vs. the Whitecaps. It was kind of not a very good game, but look. The Whitecaps are an All-Star team. They have Kendall Coyne, Shebbly Ebbly-Bebbly (Shelby Amsley-Benzie’s real name, according to BC fans), and Bulldog killer Stephanie Anderson. This weekend tDogs play UMTC and I would like a win so this was not exactly a confidence booster. tDogs were at the men’s game Friday night, so maybe they caught The Suck from that.

The men’s game was just terrible and depressing. It was a nightmare of missed connections and flubbed shots and all the little things that usually have gone right for this team going wrong. There were moments of excitement but tDogs could not get anything going. The folks in my section were getting extremely antsy and annoyed. I think I have found my people.

The men take on St. Cloud this weekend, a team who also had a disappointing weekend, so I’m hoping for a couple of good games (good games = Bulldog wins), but tUMD’s sweep of St. Cloud in November was not easy and involved a significant amount of “puck luck,” which they may have run out of, temporarily.