Monday, March 5, 2012

Minnesota - Part 2

On Saturday after going to the Mall of America, Patrick and I decided to go to a hockey game before our Sunday NHL match-up between the San Jose Sharks and Minnesota Wild.  

The Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL) was holding their Class AA Girls championship across the street at the Wild's arena, the Xcel Energy Center.  Patrick and I first got a glimpse on local TV while eating pizza Friday night; the Minnetonka Skippers, the defending champions, were about to be sent to the third place round when they miraculously tied it with 30 seconds left, and then won in overtime.  

We simply had to see if Minnetonka would pull through - here are the photo highlights.

Before checking out the game itself, we went to the Minnesota Wild's store, which was open.  Considering the three trades that San Jose and Minnesota did in the off-season, it wasn't surprising to see which jerseys were on clearance. 

 Jokes aside, their store was incredible.  San Jose's is decent, but it can't even hold a candle to the Wild's.  For one, you can actually breathe inside.  Two, their selection is vast (I purchased a new goalie-mask standings chart, which I hadn't seen at the Sharks store).

 Patrick poses next to the likeness of former Shark Brad Staubitz (who will be most remembered in SJ for rearranging Jordin Tootoo's face).  Interestingly enough, Staubitz was put on waivers that weekend and claimed at the deadline by the Montreal Canadiens.  Goodbye, likeness of Brad...

 RIP Derek Boogaard

 I approve of the fighting image used (Jody Shelley vs. Boogaard)

This was unique for me = I had never entered a "foreign" NHL arena before a game against the San Jose Sharks.  I have entered some for other things AFTER a game, but the superstitious side of me wondered if I wasn't going to pay for breaking with my tradition.  Ah well...

The championship game was between the Roseville Raiders (whose band is seen across the ice)... 

 ...and the Minnetonka Skippers, whose section we sat in (bandwagoners that we were).


 The Skippers

 The Raiders

 The Raiders fanbase was slightly more represented than the defending champs.

 As interested as we were in the championship, we also had to keep an eye on the Sharks game in Nashville.  Patrick's phone worked well for that (off topic = I took the photo during a commercial, apparently, since the Sharks are wearing their home jerseys).

 Roseville's squad is lined up pre-game.

 Our heroes, Minnetonka.

 After all, Patrick and I can't exactly root for anyone named the Raiders and wearing silver and black (sorry girls).

 Roseville was a dangerous adversary, as evidenced by the disproportionate shot count towards the end of the first period.

 But all it takes is one = here's Minnetonka's first goal, on their second shot of the game.

 "Hey, we know about that game!"

 Roseville's fans were awesome.  I was highly impressed with their solidarity.

 Patrick and I relocated to better seats on the less densely packed Minnetonka side.

 Goal #2 by the Skippers.

 It was looking grim for the Raiders.

 For the Skippers and their mascot, however, life was good.

 Final timeout for the Raiders.

 Urgency was of the essence.

 Time was most definitely on Minnetonka's side.

 Sure enough, Minnetonka won their second championship in a row, to the delight of our half of the arena.

 Roseville had won two years prior, but something tells me that wasn't much consolation.

 Individual trophy time.

 The hero of the night = Minnetonka's goaltender Sydney Rossman (#35), who shutout the Raiders.

 The blonde woman is Herb Brooks' daughter (yes, that Herb Brooks).

 The Herb Brooks award went to a different Sydney from a different school.

 Some of Roseville's players won individual awards (this is Kate Flug from the Raiders - a name we may be hearing more about in 2014 or 2018).

 Of course, Minnetonka's girls (at least three of whom were curiously named Sydney) won awards, too.

 The biggest applause definitely went to Sydney Rossman, of course.

 When I was waiting for the dogpile, I failed to note that there was an empty-net buzzer-beater (there wasn't even enough time left for a faceoff).  Didn't change the outcome, obviously, but still funny that I missed it in pursuit of the above photos.

 The Roseville squad should be very proud of their efforts throughout the tournament (before meeting Minnetonka, they blew out another competitor, and as I showed above, they outshot Minnetonka all night).

 We went back to the pizza parlor after the game, for their insanely good cheesy garlic bread.  The hockey card countertop was indicative of how popular hockey is in Minnesota.  Here's the San Jose Sharks first ever draft pick, Pat Falloon.

And here's current TV analyst and one of the worst GMs in recent memory Mike Milbury, looking as clueless then as he does now.  :-P

Coming up = Sharks game-day.  Stay tuned.

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