Nothing brings in a new season like a 7 a.m. Thursday morning airport departure. We started our first slate of the 2015-16 season on the road against Lindenwood University right out side of St. Louis. As soon as we landed the travel routine became very familiar where we would eat, skate, sleep, repeat.
Fortunately, junior forward, Katie Matheny is from St. Louis and her family’s home was only 15 minutes away from the rink. We broke up the monotony with a quick trip to her house. Matheny’s dad is the General Manager for the St. Louis Cardinals and their entire basement was filled with sports memorabilia highlighting his career in the MLB. The walls were lined with multiple wooden bats, game balls and catchers masks from years past. The hospitality and food the Matheny family offered were absolutely amazing. It is always nice to see where your teammates grew up and to be in a family home, considering the majority of us live in your typical shanty-style college houses.
The next day was all business and back to grind. We started with breakfast and pregame skate, followed by down time at the hotel and more food. Luckily, there was a Starbucks connected to our hotel as the majority of my team, myself included, are big pregame coffee advocates. Filled with caffeine, we were finally ready to leave for the game.
Unfortunately, we got off to a rough start and they deflected a shot from the point, scoring on the first shot of the game. However, we answered later in the first with a power play goal. Once the second period was underway our scoring floodgates opened and we put up four unanswered goals. The third period remained scoreless but was dragged on as both sides racked up 19 penalty minutes. We walked away from the first game of our season with a 5-1 win.
After such a physical game on Friday, Coach Potter decided not to have a pregame skate Saturday morning and instead we did team walk and stretch and had a ‘team activity’. We were split into four groups of five and given 18 minutes to make the tallest structure we could out of dry spaghetti noodles, masking tape and string. The structure also needed to support a marshmallow for one minute to win the competition. There were a lot of abstract prototypes and interesting strategies but there was only one team that had both the tallest building and could support the weight of a marshmallow for one minute.
Before we knew it, it was time to leave for game number two. With coffees in hand we loaded onto the bus, went through the same pregame routine and we were up 1-0 in the first period. This was an entirely different game than Friday, both teams battled hard but there were much fewer penalties. Senior forward, Kendall Curtis really stepped up in the second period scoring two goals and Lindenwood also put one in, leaving the score 3-1 going into the third. As they say, “a two goal lead is the hardest to keep” so going into the third we knew that we had to battle to get this victory. Lindenwood scored a powerplay goal just over three minutes into the period but we did not let them clench the tie and finished the game winning 3-2. There were also a lot of firsts this weekend, Coach Potter received her first win as an Ohio State coach, Freshman Maddy Field and Dana Rasmussen scored their first career goals and goaltender Alex LaMere received her first career win.
With a successful starting weekend in the books and we are focusing on preparing for our upcoming series against Wisconsin in Madison this weekend.