Blades Snap Back Against Hurricanes for Win
By L. Hayes
The LI Hurricanes, in their new home (a rink about twice the size of the ping pong table where they used to play) were true to their name; they came out storming, and at the end of the first we were down 0-2.
They might have been ahead, but they weren’t confident, because despite the score, the Blades were keeping pace with them. It was almost as though the first period was about taking their measure and settling down, getting into synch with each other. And right at the start of the second period, not a minute passed before the first line scored. Kelly, Alyssa and Sarah were on the ice, swapping passes and moving the puck steadily forward. Kelly had the puck to the right of the net, saw Alyssa heading toward the front, and threaded the puck through two sets of legs right onto Alyssa’s stick! She sent it to the back of the net, and just like that, the deficit was cut in half.
Just a few minutes later, the puck was back in our end, with Sophie and Jackie defending, and the forward line of Nina, Sue and Hutch on the ice. The Hurricanes were trying to set themselves up around the net, but like a magician working a sleight of hand trick, suddenly Hutch had the puck and was pushing it up the ice at top speed while the Canes were standing flatfooted behind her. Score! And a tie game!
The first period was well played by both teams, and the second tilted in our favor. But the third was when the Blades brought the hammer down. The play was thoughtful, fluid, physical. Players circled, found open spaces, pushed hard, improvised, and got results. Of course, it helped that our goalie decided to shut the door. The only way to describe Steph’s game was that it was the opposite of an out of body experience: she used everything she had and the results were out of this world. Puck in the air? She snapped it up like a frog snicking a fly with its tongue. Down low? She snaked across the ice like a concertina, condensing, expanding, and trapping it in her gloves. The Hurricanes never scored again.
The Blades, on the other hand, had plenty more to give. Meredith’s line of Tania and Karyn were heartbreakers, stopping the Canes every time they thought they had momentum. Meredith tied up the other center on faceoffs, letting us slip in to steal the puck away. All three had give and goes around the net, and plenty of chances that would have gone home, against lesser opponents. Hutch’s line, with Sue and Nina, used speed, space and solid persistence to work the puck around the ice. It was great seeing Sue back on the ice – she showed she hadn’t missed a step, always finding the open ice and putting herself in the play. Nina, steady and sure, managed to reach the puck at key moments, blocking a player on the boards, or flying under the radar to center ice to poke the puck up to Hutch. Kelly was superb at getting to the puck and finding Alyssa and Sarah, setting up triangles around the net. The Hurricanes simply couldn’t dislodge them, and it was deja vue all over again when Sarah passed to Kelly who passed to Alyssa who scored and broke the tie!
Now halfway through the third, the D worked on preserving the one goal lead – well, except for Sophie, who decided it would be safer simply to extend it! She scored and gave the Blades some breathing room, as well as our fourth unanswered goal.
With about a minute left, LI pulled their goalie and sent a sixth player onto the ice. But so late in the game, they simply had no traction. The Blades controlled the puck easily. They got it into our end, but with five seconds to go, Jackie picked it up and cleared it easily down the ice. The whistle blew, and the first game of our doubleheader weekend was a decisive victory!