February 28, 2007
Four More

OK, as promised, last night after practice I went through all the videos I hadn't yet posted looking for gems. After putting the first two into the Flash Video Encoder queue, I was thinking that this post should be called, "All Meghan, All The Time," but after re-watching all four, it's actually more like "The A.T. Show".

Since I don't commentate while filming—partly because I'm concentrating on holding the camera steady (ha!), and partly because I have a mouthguard in that makes me practically unintelligible—I'll give a little text description of each video. First up is one of A.T. making the stop on a shot and then breaking out. I noticed in our last game (the one against the Central Penn Blades on Saturday) that Meghan doesn't cherrypick, exactly, but if the puck is on the far side of the ice from her, she'll get open up near the red line or the far blueline. She gets a lot of passes because of this.

A.T. getting control of the puck and making a cross-ice pass to Meghan

The next video doesn't really show much of anything, but I thought Meghan would want to see it because it shows her skating around. (While encoding it the phrase "there's Meghan... skating... skating... skating" kept running through my head, probably because that's what she said about me while shooting the Running Commentary video. :) This is actually a partial clip of a much longer video, but since Meghan was just standing at the blue line waiting for the play to develop for the first 10 seconds or so, I cut that part out.

Meghan (24), Laurie (28), Sionan (@ left wing; I don't know what number she was wearing for this scrimmage)
and A.T. (23). I'm not sure who the other D was; maybe Adrienne Shaw?

Next is a tiny little clip of Laurie winning the faceoff straight back to A.T., and A.T. firing off a slapshot. I was so busy admiring the slap shot at first that I didn't think so much about how the puck ended up on A.T.'s stick, but if you turn your attention to the faceoff itself, you'll see a classic win by Laurie. Very nice.

Laurie (28) at Center; A.T. (23) at right D.
Meghan's playing Right Wing, and Sionan's at Left.

Finally, we have Donna and Ruthann working very hard to keep the puck in the offensive zone, Alison helping out with a stop at the point and a flip pass to A.T., and A.T. taking another slapshot on net.

Donna (7) at Center, Ruthann (8), and Steph (73, playing forward for a change);
Alison (wearing a borrowed jersey of which I can't read the number) and A.T. (23) on D.

Posted by Lori at 5:30 PM | Comments (1)

February 26, 2007
Free Advice

When anticipating a trip to a tropical location, wait until AFTER your last hockey practice to give yourself a pedicure. You'll NEED those calluses!

That is all.

Posted by Lori at 10:43 PM

So Many Videos (And So Many Goals)

I seem to have a backlog of hockey videos; I'll go through my entire collection when I'm finished writing and see if there are any unpublished gems worth posting. The ones in this post will be from our 8-1 victory on Saturday against the Central Penn Blades. I had one of those eight goals, and Meghan had three. Yes, Meghan got a hat trick! She's obviously gotten over her fear of scoring. :)

I'm going to claim a virtual assist on her third goal, even though my main contribution to the play was to turn my back on her as Meghan skated toward the net with the puck. Why? Because I did it on purpose: firstly, so she wouldn't be tempted to pass to me (we were up 6-0 at that point, and only Meghan and anyone who hadn't yet scored were allowed to shoot, so passing to me would have been kinda pointless), and secondly, to try to draw the defender who was covering me away from the net. The plan worked: Meghan had an "ack, where did Lori go?" moment, and then the slot magically cleared as my defender had a similar thought, and followed me. I was happy that Meghan got her hat trick, of course, but I felt kinda bad for the defender, who got an earful from her teammate about following me instead of taking Meghan. (It seems to me that the yeller should have been the one covering Meghan, but oh well. I'm sure at that point they were all pretty frustrated.)

The first video I have to share is of Steph scoring her goal; sorry that it's a bit shaky, but I was holding the camera over my head at first, and I was tired from the shift I'd just completed. If I remember correctly (and, as I've proven time and again, I'm as likely to remember INcorrectly as not), my goal was similar in that it was also a backhander on the same side. Well, it was definitely on that same side, anyway. What was different about mine is that Meghan, Shelly and I had been working down low for quite a while before I eventually scored it; as you can see from this clip, Steph pretty much controls the puck the entire time, whizzes by the net, and scores.

As usual, Steph (73) was playing D.
I love that she's not afraid to take it in when she sees an opportunity.

The next video is of me; we had a floater going through our line in the first period, so Meghan was available to shoot this. (I'd already missed my opportunity to return the favor at this point, but I think I have a bunch of videos starring Meghan from our scrimmage against the Americans that I haven't posted yet.) Nothing exciting happens in this clip, but I like it because you can see my normal playing stye—a mix of looping around casually, Mario Lemieux post-comeback-style, and charging in hard—in it. It also shows me covering for Steph when *she* charged in at one point (and then switching with her when she decided not to go all the way in after all).

I'm #38, coming up on the near side.

Other people who scored in this game besides me, Steph, and Meghan: Angie G. (her first goal, I think!), Angie W. (with a one-timer off a pass from Donna, I believe), and A.T. (Donna got the assist on this one, too).

Posted by Lori at 6:38 PM

February 20, 2007
Claire's One-Timer

I don't have much to say about our last league game, which was against the Concord Flames on Superbowl Sunday; I think the final score was 6-0 (or something similar). I do, however, have two videos from that game, including one of Claire scoring a goal firing off a one-timer. I was focused on the area of the ice between the point and the slot at the time, so I only got the shot, not the puck entering the net. It looks like the goalie's covering, but by the time the camera focuses on the goalie, the puck's in the back of the net. As Nielle points out in her comment below, the puck did NOT go in. That was my impression at the time, but I had thought from everyone's reactions that maybe I'd gotten it wrong. Looking at the video at full size, I can clearly see the puck staying in front of the goalie's knees.

Anyway, good job Steph and Tiff, who would have had assists had the puck gone in. (Tiff also had a goal in the game, but I didn't get it on video—which is too bad, because it was kind of funny. Tiff knocked the puck under the goalie and then nearly followed it... on her back. :)

Claire (76) can't quite reach the puck, but Steph (73) keeps it in,
and Tiff (4) knocks it back to Claire, who fires a one-timer.

The other video is mostly notable for the fact that nobody covered D for A.T. when she drove in deep. Neither is an uncommon occurance, given A.T.'s speed and puck-handling abilities and the enthusiasm it inspires in the Forwards. Normally I'm a "go-go-go!" Forward, encouraging any Defenseman who's got momentum to continue past me and let me cover back. If I've got a head of steam as well, however, I'm likely to follow the charging D into the zone, as I did in the video Meghan shot of me. In this case the last Forward in has to cover, which doesn't always happen. Luckily A.T.'s speed (and our opponents' lack of it) meant that this time it didn't bite us... but we've got to make sure we're not so cavalier against speedier opponents.

Angie (50), Claire (76), and—emerging from the pack down low—A.T. (23).
Alison (11) and Tiff (4) become visible later.
Pretend you don't see the pass to our opponents at about 13 seconds in.

Posted by Lori at 2:28 PM | Comments (2)

February 14, 2007

Things that stick in my mind about the game we played against the Delware Phoenix down in Newark (that's New ArK, not the more famous Newerk) a couple weeks ago:

~ The rink was Olympic-sized, the facility was large and bright, and the skate shop (which was really more about UD souvenirs and clothing than hockey equipment) had the hockey jock I needed (mine had a humongous hole in region of my right ass cheek).

~ The ice totally sucked. Rutted, pitted, and wet. Yuck.

~ My sister came. Yes, MY SISTER CAME TO SEE ME PLAY HOCKEY. This is big news, because she's never seen me play before, and I so wanted to share my love of hockey with her.

~ I was called for obstruction about 15 seconds into the game because I lifted an opponent's stick and then didn't have enough arm strength to shake her off and go for the puck myself. Holding an opponent's stick up without making a play for the puck is now a huge no-no under the new USA Hockey rules. Yet another reason to start lifting weights while reading e-mail.

penalty!me in the box
me skating toward, and taking a seat in, the penalty box

~ Mine was the first penalty of the game, of course, but it was not the last—there were three or four more in the first period, and then they finally just let us play. By the time an opponent roughly my size tried to stand me up as I went for the puck behind the net in the third period—resulting in not one but three separate, intentional collisions between us as I tried to, and finally did, work my way through—the refs weren't whistling anything. And thank god, because that kind of contact was exhilhirating. I'm no fan of checking, but occasional full body contact (as opposed to, say, elbows) makes the game more fun.

~ We were sort of sluggish in the first period. It seems to be a pattern for us as a team as well as us (Meghan, Shelly, and me) as a line. I've found that I kind of prefer being on the second line because it gives me a minute to get my head in the game. If we start as the first line, I can almost guarantee it'll be a throwaway shift. (This is probably true of my first shift no matter what line I'm on, but it seems more pronounced when we're the first line.) The penalties probably had something to do with the slow start, as well as the larger ice, but I also suspect that as a team we just like to size our opponents up for a little while before we decide how we're going to take them apart.

~ During that slow start, we were scored upon—possibly (does anyone remember for sure?) by the girl from whom Angie steals the puck in the latter half of the following video (which also features NIELLE making a save):

~ In the second period, we got our act together. I think it might even have been our first shift out in the second where Shelly won the faceoff over to me, I poked the puck past my check and dove after it, and all three of us skated into the offensive zone together with me carrying. I passed to Meghan, who passed to Shelly, who took a shot and scored. WooT! The whole play took like 10-20 seconds. We went back to the faceoff circle... and then did it again. This time Shelly won the faceoff over to me, I passed back to Shelly, and Shelly passed to Meghan, who took a shot and scored. Double WooT! [Update: Apparently this is another case of faulty memory on my part. See Shelly's comment below re: the fact that she won the faceoff to Alison, who passed up to me BOTH TIMES. I honestly don't remember that, but then, as you can see, there isn't much I do remember from this game.]

~ The boards were really high... or rather, the bench was really low. Either way, it was tough getting on and off the ice without breaking an ankle. (You can kinda see what I mean in the photo of me in the penalty box, above—everyone's helmets are at about the same level as the top of the boards.)

~ We spent a lot of time on the bench talking and laughing, which is usual for our team in general and my line in particular. This demonstrates both that I love this team and why I love this team. Honestly, I had no idea playing women's hockey could be so much fun.

my linemates
Meghan and Shelly on the bench

~ We won the game.

Some things I don't remember:

~ What the score was.

~ Who else scored besides Meghan and Shelly (I'm pretty sure someone did).

~ What happened in the second period, aside from the two goals scored by my linemates. The only evidence I have of anything happening at all is this video, which shows Steph being everywhere at once:

I'm pretty sure Steph (73) was playing D in this game.

~ What happened in the third period, aside from the body contact mentioned above.

When I came off the ice I checked in with my sister to see if she was OK (i.e., warm enough) and whether she enjoyed the game, and she mentioned (a) that she was not at all warm, (b) that she wasn't sure what was going on most of the time, but that we all seemed about the same speed and ability—except for "the one with the white socks and the different jersey" [Ruthann], who seemed faster, and (c) that the first Phoenix player off the ice remarked to her cheering squad, "man, those guys were good!"

Posted by Lori at 9:38 PM | Comments (7)

February 13, 2007
Running Commentary

Alternate titles for this post: "I Knew I Shouldn't Have Given The Camera to Meghan", "Yes, She Always Talks Like This On The Bench", and "What Do You Mean, SKATING AROUND LIKE A RETARD???" I know it's out of order—there will be more recaps and videos from the games and practices that have happened since our surprise victory over the Senators coming soon—but this is from the scrimmage we played against the Americans C team during our practice slot last night. We lost 2-0, but it was fun. Thanks to the Americans—and especially the refs!—for coming out. An extra special thanks to Shelly for arranging the whole thing—again, especially the refs.

Here's the video Meghan shot of me (normally she's on my line, but last night we switched, and Marnie played Right Wing with me and Shelly). It's HUGE—6.6MB—mainly because I preserved Meghan's play-by-play commentary in all its critical glory, and because she kept shooting for over a minute. I'm sure if I'd edited out the comments about my cluelessness and (lack of) skating ability, it'd be smaller.

NB: Just because Meghan doesn't know what I'm doing doesn't mean *I* don't know what I'm doing.

Posted by Lori at 1:32 PM | Comments (10)

February 08, 2007
Backlog = Brain Fart

I'd originally intended to write about our non-league game against the Senators on the day we played it, since we also had a game the next day, and I didn't want to confuse events. I started writing, got tired, ran out of creative steam... and then promptly forgot what happened. Here's what I wrote that night:

We played a rematch against the Senators C team at UPenn this morning. There were several differences between this game and the last one: First, and probaby most importantly, we had two more skaters. (Three would have been better, as it would have given us three full forward lines instead of the two Centers/3 sets of Wings configuration we ended up playing with.) Second, they had far fewer skaters than last time; I didn't count, but one of my teammates said that they only had nine or ten. Third, I felt like I didn't skate *nearly* as hard... until the third period. And fourth, our ice is smaller than the sheet at NE Skatezone. I'm not sure if that last one had anything to do with how the game went, but they seemed to notice it (and so did I, the the couple times I hit the boards while trying to take a stride).

First period, they scored on us.

Second period, no score.

We finished the second, and then Billy told us to stay out and start the third. Laurie won the faceoff forward and just kept going. Meghan and I drove into the zone with her, so their D had to worry about all of us, not just Laurie. As I crashed the net on the left side, Laurie let one fly. Like Shelly's shot last week, it was at the perfect angle: It zinged right past the goalie's right foot and into the net. I didn't look at the clock at that moment, but it couldn't have been more than 30 seconds into the third period. The score was now tied, 1-1.

... And then something happened. It's now been over two weeks since I wrote the above, so I can't remember all the details. What I DO seem to remember is that it was an awesome, top-shelf goal by Meghan that won the game for us, and that after this goal, we managed to hold our opponents off even when they outnumbered us six skaters to five.

And now, for your amusement, here's a video of me skating really slowly and ineffectually in the first period of that game. It's out of focus because I neglected to mention to Donna, when I showed her how to use the camera, that it's best to point the camera at the subject and then press down on the shutter release gradually. That's when the focusing happens.

Despite my lackadaisical manner, there's one thing I'm proud of here:
I'm not standing still.

Photos from this game:

getting back pick up stick I'm not sure what's happening here... shelly getting back to cover jump back jill comes in to take a shot tiff

There's more to come, I promise.

Posted by Lori at 4:15 PM | Comments (1)