Blades Lose to Hurricanes in Close Contest
By L. Hayes
Sunday night was a home game against the Long Island Hurricanes. With a few more players than the night before, we went with Meredith and Laurie as centers, and three sets of wings: Namiko and Tanya, car-less Carol Anne and Laura A, and Lisa and Nina. Cassidy, Sarah and I were on the blue line.
The Hurricanes won the first face-off and quickly showed both their speed and aggression. The game moved back and forth up the ice quickly. It soon became clear that we were skating right along with them. They kept sending at least three forwards straight to the net in our zone, crowding Steph, putting pressure on the D to get the puck out of there. Cassidy made a terrific pass at one point, moving fast and getting the puck to Tanya, who swiftly sent it to Namiko, already on the move, all the way across the ice. Sarah had another of her soon-to-be-patented blocks, complete with a slide across the ice.
Here’s a bit of trivia: there were two penalties called during the game, and both were on #19. The first was against the ‘Canes. Those tall gals were doing a lot of high sticking, and one of those sticks came home to roost, right on my face mask. She went to the box & we got a power play, which wound up looking more like a penalty kill as LI ramped it up and got control of the puck. We got it back, but the time, and momentum, were gone.
Not to worry – Tanya took over. Meredith, Cassidy and Namiko all worked to get the puck through the neutral zone. Then it was Tanya’s turn. With four minutes left in the period, she drove into LI’s zone and lobbed the biscuit into the basket, for the first goal of the game!
The second period found us working hard. You wouldn’t have known that anyone was tired from the night before – not even Laurie, who’d skated another game after the Blades game (and scored two goals to boot!) She used her time on the ice wisely. In one shift, in our zone, she got the puck, started toward the neutral zone, then quickly reversed herself, and sent the puck back to the D. I sent it round the net to Cassidy, who broke it out.
Another breakout saw the D finding Laurie in the center, already on the go, and tapping the puck up to Laura A, just the way we do it in drills when there’s no one breathing down our necks!
Nina had a stellar shift on offense. Trailing as Lisa and Meredith drove to the net, she was in the right place when the puck popped out toward her on the boards. She beat the defense and sent the puck back to the high slot.
The ‘Canes just could get around Steph. They sent it low, and she covered it; they threw it up high and she grabbed it out of the air. She also played smart, covering the puck and stopping the action when the Blades were in danger of getting stuck in our zone for too long, so we could get a change.
Then our #19, Sarah, was called for tripping. I’d like to believe Sarah when she swears she never touched the lady, but then again, Sarah also claims she hadn’t gotten a penalty since she was a kid, and here she is with two of ‘em in four games. Well, all I can say it – keep up the good work!
The third period ended with the Blades still up 1-0. Could Steph extend her shutout streak to three games?
So very close – but about 35 minutes after the game began, Steph’s streaked ended when the Hurricanes finally found the back of the net. In a weird way it was almost a relief – they were growing so frantic in their quest for a goal I’d started to worry they’d be pulling off our helmets and trying to scoop out our brains next. (Hmm, maybe that whack on my face mask did more damage than I thought!) But that goal didn’t slack their thirst. Less than a minute later, the same player stopped at the side of the net, and it was like a horror film. I could see what was about to happen, but I couldn’t move my feet fast enough to get there before she got the pass and poked it in.
But when the going gets tough, just pass the puck to Meredith. Not even 30 seconds passed before she took the puck up single-handedly and evened up the score!
Now things were serious. Every shift, every pass, counted as never before. Lisa turned on the jets and ran with the puck, and got scrappy as she fought for every shot and every rebound. Carol Anne worked the boards, tying up the defense in their zone, and shutting down the offense between the blue lines. Sarah and Cassidy sandwiched a player and squeezed the puck right out of her like they were popping a zit.
The fever grew as the clock ran down. With just over 30 seconds to go, Long Island got lucky: they shot, and though Steph had a bead on the puck, it glanced off a skate and deflected right past her. We came close, so close to tying up the game in the last shift, but it was not to be. It was a thrilling 3-2 loss, but it’s hard to be disappointed. Four games so far – two wins, two shut-outs and only one loss.
Way to go, Blades!