Blades Best Cats!
By L. Hayes
After a month where winter interfered with the best-laid hockey plans, the Blades finally got back on the ice together for a game, taking on the Quarry Cats at Floyd Hall. Considering how rusty some of us felt, it really was a pretty good game.
We had a last minute request from the QC to wear our white jerseys, because they had new jerseys they wanted to debut. The jerseys were emblazoned with player nicknames and so we lined up against players labeled “Kit Kat” and “Pants” among others (much more colorful than the nicknames I tend to assign people on the other team, along the lines of “Cherry Picker,” “Too Fast For Me,” or “Move Move Move You’re Blocking My Goalie’s View.”)
The game was pretty even throughout. The Blades scored first, fairly early in the first, when Lora got the puck to Meredith. She fired it across the net behind the goalie, who obligingly kicked it in to score on herself. Minutes later, the QC tied it up, though, when one of their players got loose in front of our net. Our last two games against the QC were decided by one goal, and this was looking as if it would fall into the same pattern. The question was, who would get and keep the lead?
We had a lot of good energy on the ice. Cassidy was raring to go, and skated full speed up and down the ice. Laura also outskated the QC, heading off players trying to break in solo. Karyn was fired up from the moment she entered the locker room. About halfway through the game, she really turned it on and had some fabulous shifts. She ran down players, and dug the puck out of the boards, simply refusing to back down.
We had a power play in the first, and a chance to increase our lead, but squandered it. The Cats pushed aggressively and we threw the puck away too many times. Deb was the exception, finally picking up the puck and carrying it up ice, skirting defenders along the way.
Steph had a great game, as usual. She robbed the QC of several chances, literally plucking the puck out of the air several times, or sliding it out of harm’s way (and foiling the hopes of a very tall player who plaintively said “But it’s my birthday!” in mock-sorrow when she was denied.)
In the second, the puck spent extended periods at each of the ice. Lora managed to turn one shift into a private battle between her and the goalie. Shot, rebound, shot, rebound, shot and into the net! 2-1, Blades!
The third period started with the Blades vowing to hold on to our slender margin, and the QC equally determined to overturn it. Carol Anne had an excellent shift when the puck was in our zone; she stayed high to challenge the point, and push the puck over the line, inch by inch. One of Steph’s clears led to Namiko leading a break out. She outraced the opposition through the neutral zone, and just before crossing the blue line, she slid the puck precisely to Lora, who took it in and sent it to the back of the net with a backhand shot that bounced off the back of the goalie’s leg. 3-1, Blades!
But you didn’t think it was going to be that easy, did you? The Cats came back to score as the minutes ticked away, leaving the Blades clinging to a tenuous one-goal lead. Then with about three minutes left to go, it really got interesting. Clare tripped a player, who took down one of her teammates in a two-for-one special. When the ref blew the whistle, Clare was standing over both of them looking as innocent as LiLo after a night on the town. She was sent to the box, and the Blades had a penalty kill.
Deb kept the front of the net clear and Meredith sent the puck up ice time and again. The QC swarmed, but they couldn’t break through. Clare cleared the penalty box just in time to join a Blades surge in the QC end. When the buzzer sounded, the Blades were still ahead by one goal, 3-2. A fun game all around!