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First Time For Everything

15 October 2012

tUMD 2, Red Menace 0

Confused? I hope not. The UMD women played Wisconsin this weekend at home, and swept them 2-0 Saturday and 1-0 Sunday. Saturday afternoon I went down to the game to cheer on the Dogs.

This is the first time I’ve written a women’s game recap. I don’t really know how it’s going to go. You see, this may come as a surprise to you, but I don’t really know that much about hockey. Sometimes I think I’m getting to be a better hockey mind, and then my brother makes some observation I never would have seen and I realize I’m pretty much useless.

So most of what I do is a lampoon, and I don’t feel much like lampooning women’s hockey. Not even the opponents. There are plenty of people who make fun of women’s hockey, and they are not light-hearted about it. I don’t really want to add to that, even though when I’m writing silly articles or using Photoshop in evil ways, I’m doing it with love. (This love applies only to Bulldogs, of course.) I feel compelled to try to cover women’s hockey better than I have so far, but I’m not quite sure what that will look like.

Well, we’ve got to start somewhere, so I guess a game recap will suffice.

Attending a women’s hockey game is different than attending a men’s game in a lot of respects. One can sit pretty much wherever one chooses to sit, as it is general admission (although there may be some assigned seating, it wasn’t clear.) The student section is empty, so if there were any student fans present, they weren’t making up cheers about prophylactics or Michael Vick or Journey. No one booed the Badgers when they took the ice, and to MeanEgirl’s delight, the fans did not shout BULLDOGS over the end of the Star-Spangled Banner. People still booed the refs. Some things never change.

UMD scored very early on into the game, when Comrade Rigsby fell down and Brienna Gillanders tapped it past the frantic Bucky defenders. At intermission they played the clip of the goal over and over again, and it was quite comical. Ok, here I am, already making fun of someone. I am really mean. But, watch for yourself. It’s always funny when goalies fall over.

A little more than halfway through the first period, tUMD got a too-many-women penalty (see? No difference between the men’s and women’s teams here!) and a little over a minute after that, Jamie Kenyon had a SOMEWHAT IFFY hooking call. And by SOMEWHAT IFFY I mean not at all a hook and if anything a trip and it wasn’t even that. So the last thing I wanted was to see the Dogs go down 2 players to Wisconsin and the very dangerous Brianna Decker. So, I panicked. Then I panicked more when Zoe Hickel was called for a CFB and kicked out of the game. The major PK was split between the first and second periods, with just over three minutes in the first. It was so nice to be able to panic all through the intermission! Lovely!

But, the Bulldogs killed off that penalty, but still had to face 38 more minutes of hockey with only 8 forwards, as they only had 3 lines at the beginning of the game. (And, ahem, UMD men, if you found yourselves tired on Saturday night, your fellow Bulldogs managed to avoid giving up any goals this weekend while rolling only 3 lines both games. Just sayin’. But we’ll get to that in another post.) I sat with Larry R, former Gauntlet victim, for the rest of the game, since he had finished wishing for death taking photos in the suicide box between the benches. We had a nice chat even though he is a Badger fan for women’s hockey for some unknown reason.

I panicked throughout the third period, knowing that Wisconsin could be lethal at any moment. Just ask Mankato State. The last thing I wanted was a chance for Wisconsin to pull the goalie and tie things up. Apparently that was the last thing Jenna McParland wanted too, because she crashed the net and banked the puck in up and over Comrade Rigsby’s right pad and put the Bulldogs up 2-0 with 2:50 to go.

Bucky didn’t pull their goalie until there were only 37 seconds left in the game, which was really strange. Larry asked why Mark Johnson wasn’t pulling Rigsby and I commented that perhaps he was channeling the 1980 Soviet coach. Kayla Black was able to stand tall and get her first collegiate win and first collegiate shutout. Very exciting!

Anyone who tells you women’s hockey is too slow, or too boring, is just looking for excuses. There is no reason not to get into the game. Women’s hockey is too slow? Well, high school boys’ hockey isn’t exactly light speed. Nor is a lot of men’s college hockey, compared to the pros. While checking isn’t allowed (there were no checking penalties in this game), there is still a physicality to the game, but without the sometimes violent undertones that accompany men’s games. Coaches are a little more creative, so one doesn’t see the same tired old neutral zone trap, box PK, 2-2-1 schemes. I was less raucous than I am at the men’s games, but pretty much all I yell at men’s games is mean stuff. I don’t really feel that bad about yelling mean things at guys who are pretty much worshiped like gods or kings on campus and in their communities, and draw crowds 10 times larger than the crowd at AMSoil on Saturday. But even though I was better behaved, that didn’t mean I wasn’t leaping to my feet when Jenna scored that second goal, clutching the armrests and wincing during tense moments, or hooping and hollering when the clock ran down and the shutout was intact.

Congratulations to the Bulldogs on their double shutout sweep of Wisconsin! That’s no small feat! Now let’s get that offense going and start tearing into the WCHA!

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