First off, well done Beckett on a great blog post! Hope I can continue to excite our supporters with this write up!
On Saturday, the World League II Tournament finally arrived. All of our hard work and preparation could be put to the test. Our initial game was scheduled for 5:00pm, versus the Turkish side. None of us had any experience against Turkey, but we went into warm up with the thought, “our game our way.” As long as each of us performed our individual roles and stuck to the game plan, we had confidence that we could come away with a positive result.
We ended up taking the game 5-0 with some highlight reel goals. It was exciting to find the back of the net so many times!
Post game, we completed our dreaded contrast showers and ice baths at the training facility. Although they were cold, the baths were made more enjoyable with some sweet tunes.
We blasted some of our favourites, including “Four, Five Seconds,” the Rihanna song that has basically been on repeat this entire trip, and some other sing alongs, thanks to Mandi’s (Amanda Woodcroft’s) request.
Mandi is more into the Top 40’s music, unlike some others… Nat… Holly… who jam out to the hard-core rap haha! You should see them in their element! Holly, who has been given the glorious nickname, “Holldawg,” has some serious dance moves.
Anyways, we finished up our recovery, said good-bye to our lovely fans (shout out to Ange, former National teammate who came all the way from Germany to surprise us!) and hopped on the bus back to our hotel.
We debriefed the Turkey game to clear our heads and get pumped up for our second battle of the tournament against the home Irish side.
The team woke up yesterday with some pre-game jitters. We knew that the match ahead of us would be a hard fight and we could not wait to face Ireland.
The stands were packed and the music was going. Elliot, our physio, remarked that, “the feeling was different within our team than on the first day. We were less quiet, less nervous, just ready to play.”
Before departing for the turf, we assembled for a brief team meeting.
We all sat down to listen to what Coach Rutledge had to say, but soon realized we were far too bundled up (in preparation for Ireland’s cold evening weather) to remain comfortable.
Team members began removing layers of clothing until Mandi revealed some excellent game apparel. It turned out that since the technical table was so particular, Mandi was sporting shiny red leggings underneath her skirt. What’s even better? Her DAD sported them in his youth! We all agreed it was a great look.
The match against Ireland began with chances at each end. Both teams were buzzing. Early on, we were given the chance to add one to the scoreboard, as we were awarded a stroke, thanks to Karli’s flick that was too hot to handle for the Irish defender on the goal line.
Mac (Sara McManus) valiantly stepped up to take the stroke, but unfortunately, the Irish goalie made an excellent save. It remained 0-0 through the first quarter.
In the second quarter, Ireland found the back of the net, although we did not drop our spirits. We continued to play Canadian style hockey and created some excellent scoring opportunities. Heading into the fourth quarter, we still had belief that the game was within reach.
The Irish were cracking under pressure. Somehow, however, they managed to sneak another goal in against the run of play. With a few minutes left in the match, we converted a penalty corner and Thea scored a beautiful backhand tip, off an excellent delivery from Karli.
Ian made a bold move in the waning seconds to pull our goalkeeper and put in a kicking back, to gain an extra attacker. To our disappointment, it was not enough to secure a win and we fell 2-1 to Ireland.
Again we headed to the change rooms to complete our ice baths. This time, we were a little bit heavy-hearted, but we knew that the tournament was far from over. It was time to pull up our socks and start mentally preparing for the next big game.
Upon arrival back to the hotel, our spirits were actually lifted… especially mine! I had almost forgotten that it was my 21st birthday yesterday because the game was the team’s priority.
We sat down for dinner and the next thing I knew, the team was singing Happy Birthday and rewarding me with a plate of cupcakes, a card AND a delightful little present! I was so surprised! Kate ended up handing me the card and when I saw the front of it, I started laughing. It sounded exactly like something I would say: “Have a super, amazing, lovely birthday.” So of course, she had to impersonate my tiny, mousey squeak-of-a-voice and read it out to everyone as if it were me saying it. Too funny!
I also noticed there was a signature on the card that I got quite the kick out of. It read, “Single Bed Red.” This is the hilarious nickname that we have bestowed upon our videographer, Stef “Slaaaaboda,” as Sandy (Steph Andrews) says it. The “Red” part of the name stems from the fact that Stef Sloboda wears a giant, full red, snowsuit while she is up in the video tower that anyone can see from a mile away. We get a good laugh every time we see her waddling around in it!
Anyways, the team finished up the evening with a quick meeting and a good chick flick. We retired to bed with thoughts of a rest day in our head. Everyone agreed it would be a nice change of pace to put our legs up and maybe even see a few sights in town.
To sum this blog post up, there are some necessary thank-you’s that need to be given. Shout out to our amazing manager, Carrie, who has gone above and beyond her duties to make sure we are game ready. Thanks for providing some excellent comic relief too!
And most importantly, thanks to all of the friends, family and supporters in Ireland and at home! We appreciate everything you do for us and cannot wait to show you what we can achieve in the rest of this tournament!! Go Canada!