Nationals Redux

Storm LogoSo my last post regaled you all with the stats from Nationals (yay! I got points! even though we lost!)

This one is just a few photos of some fun moments after we were done with all our games. There are more over on my Flickr account, and if you’re friends with any of the team through Facebook, there are albums on Judy’s, Laura’s, and Janet’s profiles.

Storm @ Nationals

It’s a Megan sandwich! Laura and Renee are the bread, I’m the meaty middle.

Storm @ Nationals Storm @ Nationals

Renee, Sejal, and Laura kidnapped Amy while I was napping and returned her to her pigtail-wearing days. In a bar. While drinking scotch. Yeah, I don’t get it either, but they had a blast.

Storm @ Nationals

This is the back of Amy’s very special CCMM t-shirt. Mine says “I’m gonna squish you like a BUG”. It’s a long story that started with the hysterical laughter of great teammates all the way back in September at the Darcy Tournament and culminated for at least the two of us at Nationals.

We’ve since played in the Champlain Shootout, where we took not one of the top spots in our division (photos of one of our games available online).  I’m going to miss playing with the team this summer but am looking forward to the three leagues we are playing in all summer long (Walpole, Concord, and Marlboro…!)

I missed March!

Whoops! Apparently March 2009 did not happen on my blog. Suffice to say that I’m still around, whether I blogged it or not.

Storm LogoThe most exciting thing that happened in March was our hockey team’s trip to the USA Hockey Women’s Senior C National Championships in Rochester, NY.  We obviously didn’t do super-well but OH it was fun! We’d have done way worse if our goalie Renee hadn’t been on; thankfully, she was really on, scores notwithstanding. My big excitement of the tournament was getting two assists. I very rarely get points in games, so to bust out and get 2 in the national championship tournament was thrilling. Amy got a goal in our last game, so the Brooks women definitely represented for the Storm.

Storm Results - Stats from Nationals 2009

We also went to the Women’s Frozen Four (NCAA hockey championships) at Agganis Arena at Boston University. Neither of the Minnesota teams made it to the championship game, so I was FORCED to cheer for Wisconsin in the finals. It wasn’t too hard to do that once I got over the whole Big Ten rivalry thing.

The other fun news is that I started playing indoor soccer. Amy finds it highly entertaining when I pick up sports that she already knows how to play (and she plays soccer well – less of a spaz than she is at hockey!) But after the first couple of games, she stopped laughing. There’s a lot I like about indoor soccer: there are the same number of players on the field as in hockey; there are boards like in hockey; playing defense is really similar to hockey (except that screening the goalie is less of a problem since a soccer ball is a tad larger than a hockey puck); and the field is small enough that I can run up and down it a couple of times before I want to die. There are a few things I still don’t like about soccer: my left foot is useless; and, I can’t run into people. That second one has been bothering me a lot, since my hockey game has gotten more physical in the past year. In soccer I really have to remember this mantra: You may NOT squish the opponent like a bug on the boards!

April’s been a mixed bag so far.

Bad #1: Work is very challenging. People I know and like have been affected directly.

Good #1: Last weekend Amy and I followed a trail that we’ve been on parts of before, but this time we took a different turn. We ended up a couple of miles away from home, on the Sudbury Aqueduct. It was really quite lovely and I hope this weekend is nice enough for us to do it again (and go farther this time).

Bad #2: Maggie came home from a “walkabout” yesterday with pieces of smellllllly dog crap stuck in the fur on her back. So I had to give her a bath. (I think the first part is what’s bad, she thinks it’s the second.)

Good #2: MacHeist 3! It was my first time participating in any way, and will not be my last. Besides, I got a ton of really interesting software which I can’t wait to use. So far I like World of Goo, Overflow, Typinator, Acorn, Little Snapper, and PhoneView. I want to use SousChef some more, and figure out how to use WireTap Studio and BoinxTV. But the real killer app for me (pun totally intended) is The Hit List. I struggle mightily with to-do lists and how to manage them – apparently that’s what this does really well. I’ll report back when I know.

I’m hoping the rest of the month looks more up and down – a planned hockey tournament trip up to Burlington, VT should be just what the doctor ordered!

How was YOUR March? How’s your April so far?

Mass Mayhem!

This weekend, Amy and I headed up to Conway, NH for the David Dore Invitational women’s hockey tournament with Mass Mayhem. Libby put the team together – it was the three of us, our friend and former coach Steph as the goalie, Dawn from the Pumas, and six women from the Quincy Fighting Squirrels team. Libby was nice enough to ask the Squirrels if we could borrow 4 jerseys so we’d all match (at my request). Because really? Who wouldn’t want to wear a Fighting Squirrels jersey?

The tournament was billed as a B/C tournament, although I’d have to say it was more of a B-/C- tournament. Lib, Amy, Dawn, and I are all C players and the Squirrels are all B players. Our team ended up as one of the two top teams at the B level, quite handily.

We played our first two games on Saturday. Game 1 saw us taking on the Tuckerman Breakaways. The game was fast and challenging; we ended up with a hard-fought 2-0 victory. I have to say, I learned a LOT about how to be an enforcer in front of the net (although I didn’t get to put it into action.) Nancy and Joanne both kept Steph from getting too banged up and I’ve got a few new tricks up my sleeve for our Storm games. In game 2, we played with Winni Ice Cats. We won again, 5-0. The game wasn’t as fast or as challenging as the first one, but OMG the team was the most polite team I’ve ever had the pleasure of playing against. Smiles, good natured compliments, and questions of “are you okay?” were flying all over the place during that game.

Sunday brought game 3 against the Wolfeboro She-Wolves. Another game, another win, this time 8-2. We didn’t realize that a 6-goal differential would bring on running time or we’d have tried to get there a lot faster in the game since we knew we’d be playing again with just one game of rest in between. Ah well.

So after those three wins, we ended up in the championship game against the Good Stellas. They’d played one of the first games on Sunday, which meant they rested for at least 5 hours before playing us. We got all of 60 minutes… Eeek! And we went out there and played the only other team in the tournament that was really good. We ended up losing that game 2-4; it was a bummer to lose but the game was clean, well-called, and fun so I’m not complaining too much. Poor Squirrels had to undress after the game, hop in their cars, drive to Marlboro, and play another game on Sunday night! (They won.) Libby, Amy, Dawn, Steph, and I all took our sweet time in getting home. I was sound asleep by 9:30 pm and didn’t get up till 7:30 this morning, and could easily have slept another 3 hours.

The organ recital:

  • I took a slapshot to the inside of my right knee and have a lovely bruise that keeps getting darker and more tender.
  • A winger from the She-Wolves collided with me (and I with her) in the third period of game 3. Thank god for helmets and mouthguards. (Apparently the ref commented to Steph that he didn’t expect either of us to get up after the hit, but solid protective gear will do wonders! Still, I had a few moments of seeing stars…) The same thing happened in the final game, only I saw it coming and the other girl didn’t so I was able to avoid the direct hit. She went down hard and took a few moments to get up, but seemed okay. Hope she feels okay today.
  • My angry toe is angry and I will end up losing the nail. Again. Sigh.

Funny memories from the weekend:

  • The toaster handle that kept breaking.
  • “That’s what SHE said!”
  • Toilet paper in places it ought not be.
  • Betsy passing.
  • Nancy taking care of that mean center on the faceoff. Don’t mess with Steph, folks, or Nancy will dump you on your ass.
  • Betsy falling.
  • Jean yapping at the defender who didn’t think Jean should stand in front of her goalie, with photographic evidence of the “discussion.”
  • Melissa Craig scores! Melissa White scores! #88 scores! #28 scores! Someone (not Melissa Ellis) got a penalty!

I’m sure there are more, but I’m starting to fade once again so I’ll leave you with this lovely little photo of me and Amy after game 3.

Megan + Amy after game 3

New Hockey Season, New Hockey Team

It’s a new hockey season and with that, Amy and I have found ourselves on a new team.

Last year, we played our second season with the Black Ice, a fantastic D-level team in the South Shore Women’s Hockey League. The team overall had a much better year than we did our first season, ending up at almost .500. But over the course of the spring and summer, Amy and I both did a lot of thinking about where we wanted to go with hockey, and ended up deciding to try to find a more competitive environment on a C-level team. Luckily, one of the C-level teams in our “parent” organization (Storm Women’s Ice Hockey) was holding tryouts, so we both went to see how we compared to everyone else there. And lo and behold, they asked us (and our friend Libby!) to join the team!

It’s definitely been an adjustment in terms of both the social aspects and the skill level… But so far it’s going quite well in both those areas. I do miss my Black Ice teammates a ton but am working hard to try to maintain those friendships as much as possible (i.e. have gone to a game and will go whenever schedules align, am going to go to their monthly full-ice practices, etc.)

And so on to the Storm! I’m still playing defense, and Amy’s moved to wing since there are already several centers. Sometimes she plays defense too, depending on our numbers. Nice of her to be flexible that way. Our first game of the SSWHL season was against the NH Monarchs, and we ended up winning a goalie’s battle 1-0. Quite fun to start out strong like that. The next week saw us with a bye in the SSWHL, convenient since we were playing/hosting the Darcy Tournament in Gloucester. We won our first game at Darcy against the Ravens, also 1-0. The next two games we didn’t play quite as strongly, and lost against both MIT and the Westchester Wildcats C by the same score of 1-2. Still, we had a lot of fun doing general team-bonding things. Apparently the motel room where Amy, Libby, and I were staying (with teammate Niki) was the social center for the team. I don’t think any of us told the coaches or rest of the team that we’re generally early-to-bed types! Alas, we had to give up sleep in order to have fun, which is a trade-off I’ll take 9 times out of 10. But yeah, we had a 3-and-out sort of tournament, which is always a little disappointing. Then this Sunday we played Randolph, a team that’s been together for many years, and trust me when I say that it showed! They pass so well, they know where their teammates are on the ice, and they’re generally calm, cool, and collected. The Storm? Well, let’s just say that we have a few years’ work ahead of us to get that connected! We ended up losing 1-5 which was a total bummer. Next week should be another tough game – it’s one of our crossover games with a B-level team. Eeek! I hope we’ve got 2 full lines or my lungs might give out…

So yeah, so far it’s been going well. The skill level change is the biggest adjustment thus far. I’m trying to get as much ice time as possible and can’t wait until the Wellesley club team starts up again. I don’t think they’re going to practice at the rink that’s 5 minutes from my house any longer, but I think I’m going to bite the bullet and make a longer drive because god knows I need the practice!

Wish us luck and know that I’ll try to keep up with posts about games, practices, and my general observations about my game and what I need to work on in order to improve. The short list right now includes: develop a power turn, make better choices on breakout passes, and make better decisions on defending during the transition and on odd-man rushes. Easy as pie, huh?

Cape Cod Canal Challenge Hockey Tournament

This past weekend, Amy and I headed to Bourne, MA for the second annual Cape Cod Canal Challenge women’s hockey tournament. We entered with a team called the Subzeros, which had many of the same people who were on the team from last year’s tournament.

We again entered in the D division, played two of the same teams, and had different results from last year.

Game one was against the ever-strong Rhode Island Raptors. I’m not sure why they entered the tournament in this division, since they are in the C division in both the Walpole league and the South Shore league. At any rate, they were our first challenge. And a challenge it was! The game was at 8 a.m. on Saturday – not a good time for most of us on the team. Ugh. They beat us 1-5. They scored three in the first and two in the second, which meant that we actually tied them in the third period. Guess we were all waking up!

Game two was later that day against the Cape Cod Women’s Hockey League team. We played a lot better against them; they also weren’t as strong a team as R.I. We ended up winning that game 2-1.

Later that evening we watched our friend Steph’s team play against the Quincy Fighting Squirrels. We were not disappointed at seeing some action – holy bad blood between those teams! The refs tried to wrest control of the game in the third period, but by then it was too late. Needless to say, there were some fireworks on the ice as poor Steph’s team couldn’t put the puck in the net to save their lives.

At the civilized hour of 11 a.m. on Sunday we played our third game against the Ice Breakers. If we won we’d be in the championship game against R.I., and if we lost we’d be out. Well, we couldn’t have lost if we had tried. We spent about 90% of the game in their end of the ice and we ended up winning 4-0.

So that put us in the position of having to a.) stick around until Cape traffic was really bad and b.) play Rhode Island again. Fortunately on both counts, neither were horrible! (Seriously – the traffic coming home from the Cape [mind you, we started at the Bourne Bridge so we missed the traffic ON the Cape] was rather light! That never happens.)

But the game against the Raptors was a ton of fun. Why, you ask, since they’d spanked us hard the morning before? Well, our de facto coach-of-the-day Bridget (bless her!) watched the Raptors play a couple of games and figured out how to frustrate them. She took about 15 minutes before the game explaining the two systems she wanted us to run during the game. In our offensive end no one went in deep after the puck. Instead, our wings simply stuck on their wings and didn’t let them get any breakout passes. Our centers picked up all their errant passes and ooooh they didn’t like that. In our defensive zone we simply ran a box defense and didn’t let them get into the middle of the ice. While we didn’t run it perfectly by any stretch of the imagination, we ran both of the systems well enough to TOTALLY piss them off. They got frustrated and annoyed. I poke-checked their two strongest players on at least 2 rushes each. What a change from the earlier game when I wanted to douse myself in orange paint and call myself a traffic cone! Amy drew a couple of penalties – the best was against a player who had been really physical with her all game. She finally cross-checked Amy into the boards (I think it was a cross-check – at least that’s what it looked like from my vantage point 20 feet away) and was immediately whistled to the box. We didn’t capitalize on it, but we held them to a 0-3 score. And against them, that was a victory!

So we ended the weekend with a 2-2 record, and a second-place finish overall. It was a lot of fun, and a nice way to end our tournament season. Now all we have to look forward to this summer are league games twice a week and the 3-day camp up at Dartmouth. The horrors of that little hockey in the summer!!! (I jest, I jest….)