just after getting our trophies

Michelle and Michele

the third Michele heads to the locker room

Jill, Karen, and Lisa gather their gear

Joetta ("Miss D.")

Michele and Cara and the Zamboni
(Cara's holding an MVP award, a best goalie award, and her 2nd Place trophy)

25 February 2002
I find that the longer I wait to write about specific hockey events, the fewer details I can remember (not surprising, I guess). It really does behoove me to write asap when I go to tournaments. Hopefully at the next one, in Airdrie (Calgary), the games will be at more regular times, so I'll actually feel like writing. Actually, Vegas was tough to write about at the time for several reasons: (1) slot machines everywhere! video poker! Austin Powers! Addams Family! stop me before I blow it all!; (2) game times that ranged from 11:45pm to 12:45pm to 6:40pm to 8:00am -- no consistent times for writing or sleeping; (3) no high-speed access, extra charges for dialup; (4) no desk in the room to sit at; and (5) roommate. (No offense to Cara; it was fun to share. It just meant that I didn't have as much quiet time for mulling over what we'd done in the games as I did in Vancouver.)

On Saturday the Chili Peppers Too (whom we had beat 3-2) lost to the Arizona Wilcat Icers B (whom we had lost to 1-0), which meant that if we won our game against the Mile High Mamas, we'd be in the championship game. We did indeed win against the Mamas, 5-1. The Mamas were perhaps the only team that really deserved to be in Novice 5; they were so new to the game that they couldn't supress their giddiness. (One of the refs I met at the pizza party on Friday night also commented that "when they fall, you can see their skate blades sparkle as they slide by." :) I'd play with or against them again in a second, they were so much fun.

Michele (our captain) had a particularly excellent game, with a goal and I think an assist; mostly she was just in the right place at the right time, all the time. I had a ball at the blue line, keeping the puck in, creeping in to shoot from the slot, etc. And our lines got messed up on D again, so I got to skate half the game with Joetta. She makes a great D partner for me, for some reason. I think Michele wanted her to play with Vikki and me to play with Lesie/Susan because Joetta and I were the least experienced D people, but I actually think that was a good reason to put us together: we could read each other's intentions pretty well.

So we finished up our game with the Mamas at around 8pm on Saturday, and we were to face the Wildcat Icers again on Sunday morning at 8am. They were a bit late to get on the ice (one of the refs said that the clock outside their locker room was slower than the one outside ours; we hoped instead that they were just hungover), so we got a little extra warm-up time. We needed it, as all of us were dehydrated from the desert air and lack of sleep. We *felt* hungover, even though I don't think any of us had drunk any alcohol the night before.

I guess the Icers had improved as much as we had over the course of the tournament, or else they had figured out where our strengths and weaknesses lay, because they beat us 3-1. I was on the ice for the first goal; in fact, it went off my shin pad and out of Cara's reach. I was pretty bummed about that. I wasn't sure whether to attack the puck carrier or cover the pass, so I did the latter (because the puck carrier had a bad angle), but that person turned out to be covered already. I got tangled up with those two, the puck carrier inadvisedly tried to pass to the now-doubleteamed person anyway, and the puck ended up hitting me. I was really kicking myself, because if I'd charged her, or managed to get out of Cara's way, maybe the deflection wouldn't have happened.

I honestly can't remember how they got the other two goals, but I do remember getting checked into the boards from behind by a big girl, as well as taking down two Icers myself as they converged on me from opposite sides. I also remember Karen's breakaway goal; she stole the puck from someone in the neutral zone and took off, shooting at a sharp angle above the goalie. Yay! "NO SHUTOUT FOR YOU!" I screamed. (We'd heard the goalie on the phone with her mom the day before going, "I got two shutouts!" Nice accomplishment, of course, but she'd only faced 10 shots from us, so it wasn't exactly miraculous.) Not very sportmanlike, I suppose, but I wasn't feeling particularly generous towards this team. They'd been in the adjacent locker "cage" (not room) on Friday, and they started analyzing their game against us; one of our players yelled "we can hear you!", and one of them yelled back, "we don't care!" One of the Mamas also tipped us off that the Icers had come up with nasty names for all of their opponents; apparently we were the San Jose Shitfire. Oh, *very* mature. ;)

So at the end of the game we all got 2nd Place trophies (not bad, actually: they had real women hockey players on top, though these women looked suspiciously skinny with their gear on), and the tournament organizer took our team picture again. The one he took before the first game came out pretty good, but I dread seeing this one—I had only taken a bath after the night before's game, so I had two games' worth of sweat in my unfluffable hair. =:o

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