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>Two Minutes in Heaven

17 January 2011


tUMD 2, Red Menace 0
tUMD 2, Red Menace 3

Oh, yes, blogging. I still do that?

I’ve got a case of the Januarys, it seems. In fact, I even wrote a post on Friday in anticipation of the series, but I was so tired it was completely incoherent and I couldn’t be bothered to edit it.

I guess the title can refer to either the two minutes at the end of Saturday’s game or can refer to how much fun the penalty box was as our players seemed to end up in there a lot.

Friday I was stressed out. I just wasn’t feeling the team, I was back in that “We’re never going to win again” mode, even though the Dogs beat Clarkson and played a fine game against the Minors. Also it snowed again and it took me an hour to drive ten miles, and I missed the first period and thus both goals in the game. But what an awesome game! Everyone was raving about the complete team effort and how great everyone played and other things. I’m sad I didn’t see the game.

So then I was too tired to post on Friday night and then Saturday I had to go buy breezers with my dad so I didn’t have time to post. It is very hard to find breezers that are not for adolescent boys or gigantic men. They are a little bit big on me still but they don’t come up to my armpits or down to my knees so I’m pleased overall. I also got some new elbow pads that don’t cover my whole arm. Success! Thanks Dad!

Saturday we drove up to Duluth for the night and be it known, I did not get in a fan altercation! Amazing!

tUMD got down 2-0 fairly early on, and Justin Faulk decided to hit a guy from behind just before the period ended and was given the night off by our friends, the referees. Not a good choice, Justin. But you are young, it happens. Wisconsin scored early in their major power play and tUMD hung on.

Some interesting things occurred in the second period. A conspiracy theorist might say these things occurred because of the controversial officiating from our series in Wisconsin. I’m not a conspiracy theorist, though. Mike Connolly was ejected from the game on a contact to the head major penalty. It happened in the corner I can’t see as well, and the replay was sort of poor, so I can’t really say one way or another what I think happened. Some folks have said it was b.s. but until I see it for myself I’m not going to comment. What I did see for myself were some world-class, Robbie Earl would be proud, Academy Award winning dives.

I don’t understand why diving is never a point of emphasis. There is a whole subset of penalties that can be called in relation to diving. Embellishment, unsportsmanlike conduct, I think I have even seen unsportsmanlike diving. Every team does it, because players constantly get away with it. Refs love to call penalties. Why not call the dive, too? I mean, they are all paid per whistle, right? It is not as dangerous as hits to the head or hits from behind, plays that put players in danger when they are in a vulnerable position. But it damages the sport, and it discourages hard work. Why fight through a check when you can fall down like a sack of rocks and your team is rewarded with a power play? Why work to get to the puck when you can deliberately skate over your opponents stick blade and do a pratfall? The way WCHA games are officiated right now actually encourages diving and embellishment.

So tUMD is already down one guy and some sad pathetic little Badger, who is already falling, draws a penalty on Joe Basaraba for cross checking. Though Joe’s stick didn’t contact him. And though he was falling already. tUMD went down 5 on 3. Then Jack Connolly was called for hooking forty seconds later. I was staring right at the play. No hook occurred.

What makes this so suspect is it is so far away from the typical WCHA officiating. We usually know what to expect. Even-up calls, whistle-swallowing in OT, those types of things. We don’t like them but they are predictable. One thing referees normally fear doing is putting teams down two players. So to put a team already killing their second major penalty of the night down on an extended two-man disadvantage? That’s the complete opposite of the officiating philosophy of the WCHA as we have all witnessed.

Not to worry, though, because the Red Menace didn’t score on that little bonanza of theirs. And of course we got a couple PPs of our own (although I was yelling at Shepherd and Beaurline “You’ve got the wrong team? You’re supposed to call it on the Bulldogs!”) and were content to fanny around with the puck for 30 seconds before shooting it directly into the legs of the defender. (At this, I yelled “Stop doing that! It never works!” and then once they started shooting at something other than a player, I yelled “No! You’re doing it wrong! Shoot it into his legs!” I have to entertain myself somehow to keep from going insane.)

Wisconsin took a major penalty of their own… except tUMD had to play the first two minutes 4 on 4 because Kenny Reiter tripped someone. Poor Max Tardy had to serve that penalty too. He spent 34 minutes in the penalty box though he committed only one penalty of his own. tUMD finally took a timeout after they iced the puck on the PP and then converted the next power play on a funky goal that demoralized the jubilant Red Army comrades in my vicinity. Then tUMD scored again with the extra attacker and then just ran out of time. It was an exciting finish though!

So, to sum up Saturday’s game: Two pipes + two crossbars + 4 zebras + 1 lethal UW PP unit + 5 terrible tUMD PPs = a 3-2 loss and an overall 3-1 advantage in the season series. Not the end of the world. Now, if tUMD doesn’t take care of biznass in the UP, then we’ll have issues.

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