Hi. I have no idea what I'm doing.
I've never covered hockey before. As you probably know, I barely even think I can watch it and have half a clue what's going on until a loud noise happens and I know whether I need to yell "fuck" or not. But here we go. I attended the first game of the Rivalry Series between Team Canada and Team USA, at
Budweiser Gardens the JLC in London. And I live downtown now, so it wasn't a long sojourn, but it was certainly a slushy one. What follows is a lightly-edited version of the notes I took during the game, as befitting the recap style. If you want analysis from people who understand what the fuck is going on, Annie and Nafio have an article up. (I haven't read it, so as not to influence my own account.) If you're looking for raw impressions from a quarter-century hockey noob, keep reading. Here we go.
- I reiterate: I have no idea what I'm doing!
- Looks like 39 in net for Canada; that's Maschmeyer. [Editor's note: I really should be checking the spelling on these as I go, shouldn't I?] Can't see the number on the USA goalie, but am informed it's Rigsby.
- Anthems before games are stupid. But I am currently nonverbal and on the verge of meltdown, so I don't take a knee because I don't want to risk a fight with the people around me. To my shame.
- Poulin is out for the first shift. [Heart eyes emoji.] And Rigsby is working early with a missed shot 30 seconds in. Play goes end to end and back again, and Renata Fast is, well, fast.
- Jocelyne Larocque with a good clear, 18:30 to go in the first.
- First play stoppage with 17:52 left. It's an OZ start for Canada. USA's breakout is quick and effective, though. Either Hayley Scamurra or Haley Skarupa (I'm in the 300s, okay) gets toppled at the Canadian blue line and there's a shot on Masch.
- (a bit later) Canada overextends a bit in the USA zone and FUCK Coyne is fast! Wow.
- Why aren't the names below the numbers? Jerseys fold and wrinkle and my poor eyes need informational redundancy.
- At 15:04 it's Masch with another save.
- 13:50 and it's SOG 3-1 for USA, though obviously there's been more attempts than that. (No, I'm not counting them, that's more than my overwhelmed brain can handle right now.) A sick breakout from Laquette to Kryzaniak and Canada's on the move for another rush. These teams seem pretty evenly matched so far.
- 12:00 Rebecca Leslie with a baaad giveaway! But it's recoverable.
- 10:50 A shot, Rigsby is dumped, and Nursey is going to the box for goalie interference. USA power play.
- Canada is playing short shifts on this PK, I notice. Amusingly (to my homer self) a lot of the PK appears to take place in the offensive zone. Did I say evenly matched? The pressure's all Canada the last few minutes (yes, including their penalty kill).
- OH FUCK OFF KESSEL [forgive my blasphemy] leave Kryzaniak alone! But Kryzaniak gets hers back, and the rough stuff has officially begun.
- Kiss cams are gross. This is straight bullshit, and not just in the colloquial sense of "total bullshit," but also of cishet nonsense.
- Apollo 440, lol.
- Shot attempts seem to be tilting Canada's way with 6:18 left in the period.
- Shit, Masch! Great save. I'm love her?
- Turnbull and Laquette (I think?) miss getting one past Rigsby by this much. All Canada right now.
- Christ Kessel is fast! Maaaaaaasch!
- Coyne almost hit Decker for a sure shot and Masch did not have that one, 2:50 left.
- Amanda I love you but LEAVE 18 ALONE wait Kryzaniak is going? Fuck off! Okay Kessel went too. [No, Bozek.] 4 on 4. Fair trade... for us!
- And that's the first. Second will open with 38 seconds of 4v4.
Intermission: just got asked by nearby girls in my row if I work for Team Canada. I wish! No, I tell them, I'm just blogging.
- Poulin with the first shot of the period and it's a beaut, but Rigsby has it.
- Something I noted earlier: hearing girl voices on the ice is a really special feeling I can't fully quantify. My voice doesn't even sound like that except in my head. But it still feels like representation. I can hear it in broadcasts, but to hear the chirps and callouts and chatter on ice, in person, yeah.
- Masch grabs a shot out of the air at 18:54.
- Turnbull goes for it but can't get it past Rigs.
- Bach, Spooner, Nurse, Fast and Fortino out on an OZ draw. What a lineup this is.
- Team USA with more pressure, more reliable zone exits, and prevention of zone entries now. 16:57.
- Saulnier, warp speed. She's really fast, Then Bozek is dumped and here we goooooo...
- Alien Ant Farm, oh god. Annie, are you okay? Not with this score, presumably. [Editor's note: well, not yet.]
- I'm noticing that Team USA is challenging hard at the blue line now, around 13:35. At 13:11 it's Masch being tested again and I've got the feeling this could break wide open anytime.
- Saulnier fast.
- 12:11 Holy FUCK Masch! Turnbull counterattacks but nothin'. Fortino with a slow shot off the rush, no challenge for Rigsby. Then it's Spoonurse and Bach out for an OZ draw again, that's gotta be scary to face down. Johnston and Poulin make an attempt, but noooope! Jenner tries on a later rush, but nope! nope! nope!
- SOG 17-13 for Canada at 9:29. The pressure has tilted again.
- 8:26 Holy shit, Masch. Locked down. Feels like a battle of the goalies here, and of course Bozek and Kryzaniak occasionally. Hooboy.
- Saulnier, into Rigsby's glove. Stasis. Maddening, maddening stasis.
- These stretch passes are gonna kill you, Canada. The first time you mess up. The game is tense but not frenetic. It feels ready to E-X-P-L-O-D-E.
- I have down "10 USA just got fucken dumped" but there's no #10 on the USA roster, so what the fuck.
- Decker's out two minutes for hooking, and Johnston camps the side of the net but gets nothing.
- Coyne with a shot back at even strength, and Maschmeyer is solid again. Canada is dominating shot attempts at this point but the goalies have the final say, and they say otherwise.
- A careless move, no one covering all that empty net to the left of Maschmeyer, a loose puck, and Knight taps it in at 1:40 left in the second. I can't hate her?
- Nurse attempts revenge, but flips it into the netting. That's the second.
I expected earlier that the game could blow open, but by this point I'm getting the sense that it's gonna take one mistake by Team USA just like it took one mistake by Team Canada.
- Poulin, Bettez, and Johnston out to start the third. Couple shifts, couple minutes, no change. Canada is sticking with very short shifts again.
- And Stacey's off for tripping. Not a good start here. Oh, and slashing on Kessel and then she goes off. Great inital pressure on the PP, but then Canada failed to keep it in the offensive zone. 13:47.
- And Canada muscles down a USA break! Wow. 12:20.
- Ambrose annihilates Cameranesi along the boards. Masch with a routine save at 10:30. Looks routine, anyway. Spooner to Bach and she takes off, but doesn't beat Rigsby.
- Under 10 left and Canada is ripping shots. USA is applying some pressure, but starting to slow it down I think.
- Nurse tries it with about 6:20 left, but the play is broken up. Jenner subsequently sets up a break but there's no real shot available. I hate to say Canada's looking tired...
- Bettez with a monster shot. Gonna need Team USA to make a mistake. And oh, I'm on the camera. (The girls next to me are cheering, I'm busily scribbling notes in a Leafs Pride tee and a plaid shirt.) 4:35 left.
- USA is caught on a bad change, but Rigsby is beast mode. 3:59.
- And a rush, and a penalty? No? No call? Fans seem pissed. SOG at 32-21 for Canada and it's getting a bit chippy.
- 33 seconds left. Masch still in. No real opportunity to pull her yet I guess.
- Timeout, Masch off, set play, go for it.
- Difficulty getting set up, no shots, it's cleared, it's done. GG, USA.
Well, that was fun. I look forward to Team Canada's inevitable victories in the next two games! I'm only bummed that I didn't get to cheer a goal by Poulin or Spooner or Nursey.