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And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going

25 March 2018

tUMD 3, Purple Cows 2 (OT)/tUMD 2, AFA 1

This team. Oh man. They just will not quit. They are taking every bit of luck that’s come their way, and are making the most of it. They might be playing with house money, but they sure as heck aren’t squandering it.

Imagine going back in time to early December and telling your past self that tUMD would be in the Frozen Four.

back-to-the-future-2-old-young

Basically.

I am still adjusting to living in St. Paul (was my time in Duluth just a dream?), so this past week, I wasn’t as anxious as I normally would be leading up to a regional. On Friday instead of worrying about the games, I was talking to an exterminator. Karmic retribution for being a completely obnoxious jerk to UND fans is bed bugs, I guess. I’ll take that trade! Especially because it means 1. I don’t have to host anyone for the Frozen Four because who wants to stay at Casa Bedbug? and 2. someone else is footing the exterminator bill so I just have to tough it out a little longer.

Not my favorite distraction, but I’ll take it. Friday I watched from home, and I mean the term “watched” loosely because ESPN3 the Tres was not great and also I was frequently afraid to look at the television. It seemed like every time the screen froze up, Mankato scored.

I felt sort of numb and resigned during most of the game, since Zebediah Springfield and Ian Scheid scored in the first period and it seemed like we would never score ever again in the entire future of the sport, but when Karson Kuhlman scored, I was temporarily jolted out of my funk. But then it just seemed like absolutely nothing happened in the game for like… ever. When Nick Swaney scored with just over 4 minutes remaining, I started to think things might start to go our way.

Then, overtime. Possibly one of the oddest overtimes I have ever seen, outside of the “puck through the net” situation between Air Force and Vermont (side note: the primary assist on that goal was from a former tUMD recruit, Wahsontiio Stacey). tUMD appeared to win on Nick Swaney’s second goal of the game, but instead it was reviewed and called back for goalie interference. I guess that was a good call? I didn’t see it. I immediately panicked, thinking tUMD wouldn’t be able to settle down, and Mankato would take advantage and win. And they nearly did, except the puck bounced off the butt of one of their players, who was in our net. And then tUMD scored for real, on this insane goal from Parker Mackay.

_UND4096-1

The REAL game winning goal, by Kelsey Lee from Violent Turtle Photography.

For some reason Blake Young was basically flattened in the background and no one cared in their rush to celebrate. I wasn’t clear on what happened besides a collision, but fortunately he and whoever crashed into him are ok

Of course we had to pack up our bedbugs (not really, we put everything we brought in the dryer before packing, and used plastic bags rather than our usual luggage, to minimize chances of contamination) and head out to Fighting Hawks Falls for the Saturday game. If it had not been my first week in the new office, I’d probably have gone Friday night, too, but it wasn’t to be. The drive is very dull, and we were very fortunate the game was at 8 PM central, because it had snowed in southern and southeastern MN overnight and apparently the roads were really bad in the morning. Way to go, MnDOT!

Biddy, Rachel, Dan of the Weak, and our SCSU fan friends Erik and Erik’s Dad were already in Fhawks Falls, so we met up and attempted to get food. Our first attempt was Sickie’s, which is apparently delicious. They had at least a 45 minute wait. So did the Granite City next door. So did the BW3 near the arena, which we drove to. So did the next 5 places we called from the BW3 parking lot. It turned out that everyone was just squatting on tables to watch pumpkin pushing. We then drove to a Five Guys, thinking there’s no way it would be busy – but the parking lot was full! We drove around downtown, looking for a place to eat, but then even when we saw places that might have tables, we couldn’t find a parking spot. We finally at literally 7 PM, 45 minutes after we were turned away at Sickie’s, found counter spots at a diner and had delicious food. Biddy ordered something called a beermosa, which was Coors Light and orange juice, and claimed it was delicious. Rachel had a mint Oreo shake, and when I tried to order that, they told me they were all out of mint. I had chicken and waffles instead, and inhaled it.

We arrived at the arena just in time, and were in our seats at puck drop, essentially. I was in the upper deck, front row – and across the aisle from me was Bruce Ciskie, broadcasting away! Hilarious. If there was any screaming on the broadcast, that was me. Or Bruce.

The first period was all tUMD. Air Force could not get out of their own way. It was INSANE. I have never seen a hockey team screw up that much, even in a Little Chippers game. I could not understand how St. Cloud lost to them. They did not record a shot during the entire period. Even when they had an opportunity to shoot, a grade-A superopportunity, they screwed it up by making a bad pass or whiffing or missing the net. It was worrisome in the sense that Shep hadn’t made a save, and we could end up in one shot one goal territory if something went awry. tDogs scored 2 in the period, one by Joey Anderson and one by Nick Wolff that went in and out of the net so fast I didn’t realize it was a goal.

And then tUMD hung on. Going up 2-0 and then creating very little offensive excitement is a recipe for… a Mankato-like ending, basically. Fortunately, we were not playing ourselves, and were playing Air Force. Their only goal came in the 3rd, with what I would consider to be Way Too Much Time Left, on a loud noises PP (two guys racing full on to beat an icing/get an icing, tangled up, late whistle, and them boom, the AF guy falls and then hits the boards). They were able to pull their goalie fairly early on (1:42 left, although it felt like longer!), and tUMD was unable to get an empty netter to calm things down. It was incredibly stressful, but tDogs did enough defensively to get the win, celebrate as a group, and then skate over to celebrate with the fans.

Now we know that we’re the last hope left in the galaxy, tDogs have 2 weeks to prepare to humiliate the Small Seven. I am excited. I am not sure if I’m glad that I can enjoy the Frozen Four and then go home to my bed each night (there will be no more bedbugs by then), or if I am dearly missing living in Duluth and enjoying the camaraderie of the community.

_AFM5010-49

We’re going to the ‘ship! Photo by Kelsey Lee of Violent Turtle Photography.

I can’t believe it. Two more wins and tUMD will be national champions. Let’s turn 0.0001 into 1.0000!

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