Good morning hockey world!
I write to you from a sunny and warm(ish) Durham NH…quite an oddity this time of the year. Matter of fact, the weather isn’t the only thing that has been a surprise this past month.
I’m actually starting to believe that we like cutting it close, giving our coaches heart attacks, and winning in a fashion that keeps the big crowds coming. I’m talking about OT, pull the goalie, diving left and right, rainbow fluttering slap shot top shelf type wins. Add that with (give or take) 60 minutes of grit and grind and we were able to find our feet under us the last stretch of the month, gaining some out of conference points against Union and Princeton. Road trips to BU, Providence, and Minnesota proved to be challenges for us, however. In the midst of those challenges I found myself thrown into the heart of the action, documenting my first collegiate minutes – something I did not expect to see, similar to spring weather in December.
Providence will now always be a special place for me. Given four minutes to get myself warm on the bench, I entered the game with a 4-0 deficit to overcome. Being sniped in my first minutes on the ice was humbling and the reality of what I have gotten myself into for the next four years. Ultimately, I found my groove and we were able to score right away and again in the third. I was able to establish a bit of confidence under me in the collegiate and Hockey East world.
Minnesota was a true test of character for us. In the Friday night game, we had been beaten down period after period due to their relentless depth and determination. Losing 11-0 is a hard pill to swallow, but I was put in for the second time in my collegiate career against the #2 team in the country. When it’s 8-0 going into the third, I had little to lose. The situation was similar at the beginning of the Saturday game, when I took the crease again for the remaining two periods after being down 3-0. Being a goalie is a difficult thing to explain or understand for those who aren’t one – I can best describe it as I felt that I was the eye of a storm. If I calmed the game, my team would calm around me. Winning every puck battle was my motivation for every reaction. This proved to be effective when we were able to put one in on Noora Raty and cut them down 5 goals from the previous night. I never would have thought I would play against Minnesota…I was ready to support our other reputable goalies, Lindsay Minton and Jen Gilligan, and enjoy the Jamba Juice/Noodles & Co. across the street from the hotel. The ice experience and confidence I gained there made the trip plenty worthwhile for me as well as the plane ride home next to coach much less awkward.
The following week was Thanksgiving week and Coach let me know the Wednesday before our weekend games that I would be starting at our home game on Friday night. I decided the best way to let my family know was going to be at Thanksgiving dinner, which included three of my teammates. Tears were flowing from my parents and other family members eyes when I broke the news…a reaction, regardless of the outcome of the game, will never be forgotten.
Looking forward, this weekend against Harvard and Dartmouth should be a solid one as we look to grab a few more points to end out this half of the year and then head home for a much needed break. Back to Boston – of course going to catch some Bruins action while there.
Until the next ninth – Moe