Monthly Archives: January 2015

NH Avalanche 2000 vs. Seacoast @ Exeter

Well, it was Sunday, the final day of the NHL All-Star Weekend. All-Star weekend took place in Columbus, Ohio. Meanwhile back here in NH, the NH Avalanche team, or some form of the team, played the Seacoast Spartans out in Exeter. They say that familiarity breeds contempt and maybe that’s true here in this past game. At least from one side. I don’t know, I just saw what I saw.

Okay, I know most of the players on the Avs 2000 team probably watched the All-Star Draft, or at least the Skills Competition. Maybe they also spent hours on the ice of backyard rinks or frozen ponds leading up to Sunday’s game. Perhaps they had played too much hockey in this outdoor hockey season. Or, maybe some contempt, some disrespect had crept into their minds. I have no idea, maybe all of these things had a part in Sunday’s results. Maybe none of them did. I just know that there’s always something to be learned whether it be about a team, or one’s self, class is always open.

Let’s start here; Final Score: Seacoast 7: NH Avalanche 0.

Now, the Avs did play the first 12:08 of the game with no goaltender, and six skaters. Really. Despite several players taking turns to make saves from shots fired anywhere on their defensive side of the red line. They allowed three goals during that time so they definitely were in a hole by the time the goaltender arrived in the crease. After killing off a penalty the Avs did allow another goal with less than a minute to play in the opening period and found themselves trailing 4-0.

Another player showed up during the second period for the Avs, but by that time, the score had already exploded to 6-0 in favor of the home team. The second period would end with the Avs trailing 7-0.

In the final period the Avs played better, but could not score even while holding the Spartans off of the scoreboard. This was one of those days where tape to tape passes were finding the tape on the opponents sticks’. Or there were passes made that tipped, bounced, deflected, rolled, or otherwise just didn’t connect with teammates. Zigs were accompanied by simultaneous zags. Continuity existed only in memory. It was one of those days that makes you wonder why such days happen. Then after formulating that thought we figure it’s probably best to just move on, move forward, and know that every morning is a new day, a new chance, and just might be the day that everything falls into place. Isn’t that the beauty of sport and the humans that compete?

This was Williams vs. Keys; Pure, Free, Easy, Power.

My day started at midnight, kind of. All days start around then, but this morning was different. I had gone to bed, fallen asleep, left the TV on, only to wake up just after midnight. When I woke I noticed the TV was still on (odd for me to fall asleep with the TV still on). The Serena Williams – Madison Keys Australian Open semi-final was nearly over, but still playing live, there in my bedroom. Williams had won the first set and had just held serve to take a commanding 5 games to 1 game lead in the second set. For most this might have been a glance at the score moment and shut the TV off to resume a good night’s sleep. Not for me.

For some reason, I found myself asking myself, “Will Serena, the great champion, just break Madison’s serve and end this match? Will she impose her killer instinct on the youngster and snatch this final service game, the match, and trip to the Finals, just because she can? Or, will Madison make this stand, making herself a little bit better for the next tournament? Can she impose her will, win her last (presumably) service game and make the great champion serve out the match on her racquet?” I really did ask myself these things, which is why I kept the TV on, and watched the rest of the match even though Serena had already broken Ms. Keys’ serve twice in the second set.

What unfolded over the next 15 minutes or so, was, well, like the torch was being shown, maybe slightly prepped to be passed, but then pulled back as if to say, it’s not time yet. Maybe next time.

Keys forehand

Keys hits a forehand (photo online)

I am just a guy who watched the beginning of the match, and then the very end of the match, from the other side of the globe. I am not an expert in anything, but this moment struck me. Keys served to Williams, down a set, down 5-1 in the second set, and having shown her service games were sketchy at best in set 2. Quickly, Keys found herself down 30-40, giving Williams her first Match Point. Keys walloped an ace. 40-40, Deuce #1 was reached. I won’t go through all of the scoring here, but I will say this. Somewhere early in this 7th game of the second set; a game that lasted some 10 minutes, the players took their games to a level of power I don’t think I have ever seen in Women’s Tennis before this morning. Maybe because Keys, with nothing to lose except the pride of being able to hold serve one last time, would just air it all out. She did. Maybe Williams let it fly, because even though she wanted to end it NOW, she knew in the back of her mind, she could serve it out, boasting the greatest serve in the history of Women’s Tennis. Either way, both players played with pace neither of them had ever seen consistently in match play, ever before. Keys served big, Williams put returns at Madison’s feet and deep to the corners. Keys kept answering the bell with powerful winners and heavy ground strokes that surprised Serena at times. Williams even returned serves that were out, struck long, with as much gusto as the best returners of all time. Everything came over the net with an urgency others just don’t match. Match Point numbers 5, 6, and 7 all came and went. There were 9 Deuce’s in the game. It was like someone tore the cover off of this match and allowed the game to breathe. In doing so, these two played like there were no consequences. Any boundaries previously conceived as to whom could do what, or whom could control this or that, went out the window. This was pure, free, easy, power. If there were nerves present, well, they just stepped aside and watched like the rest of us. Keys snapped a forehand winner inside the line, at 90 MPH. Seven Match Points saved, 9 Deuces along the way, and Madison Keys finally held her serve. The crowd roared throughout, witnessing the guts to battle to the end. The commentary and crowd alike, appreciated this effort and the wonderment before their eyes. The pure, free, easy, power. The challenge, oh great champion you’re going to need to serve this one out because I might lose this match yet, but I am not done here. Not yet.

Williams serve

Williams serve (photo online)

Serena Williams served in the eighth game of the second set trying to earn a spot in the Final, and a chance to win her 19th Grand Slam Title. Williams lost the first point before reaching a 40-30 advantage and Match Point #8. Keys had the answer again, and they played on. Keep in mind that nearly every point, every rally, featured two women striking the ball with forces rarely, if ever, seen in Women’s Tennis. I can’t stress this enough. Not one player dominating, and pounding winner after winner, but both players standing up and pounding the ball like they were fighters standing toe-to-toe and throwing hay-makers at each other. It was amazing! Finally, Match Point #9 and Williams strikes an ace up the “T” on her second serve and wins the match. The crowd roared in approval of what they had just seen, especially in the last two games. The players, who just seconds prior, had been firing serves well over 100 MPH and ground strokes that register higher on the radar guns than many players first serves at each other, met at the net to shake hands. Keys extended her hand, showing a refreshing smile, and Williams just reached across and gave her a big hug. The players shared some words, both appeared to feel and to show a mutual admiration for each others’ game as they shook hands with the umpire. Keys left the court quickly to a thundering applause which also included Serena Williams clapping her racquet as the 19-year old walked of the court. Serena said it was an honor to play Madison and spoke of how she admired both her opponent as well as her positive approach. Ms. Williams will play another heavy hitter in the Final when she squares off against Maria Sharapova.

Keys Williams

Williams hugs Keys (photo online)

For me, I shut off the TV. I went back to sleep. But before I did, I thought these thoughts so as to share them with you all. And now, nearly 13 hours later, I am so glad I got to see those last two games. This was Williams vs. Keys; pure, free, easy, power.

In Good Hands

We have experienced our share of sickness this winter season, but we are in good hands. See, we have a pair of doctors living among us…

Dr. Thomas FeatherDuster and Dr. Lisa

Dr. Thomas FeatherDuster and Dr. Lisa

I love winter

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Fire and Ice

NH Avalanche 2000 vs. Seacoast – Ice Den 1-18-15

Sunday, during a freezing rain that seemed to be far worse on the north side of Route 101, the NH Avalanche 2000 team played host to the Seacoast Spartans. Several roads were in fact closed, and accidents did re-route traffic in a number of places, but hockey goes on.

After all was said and done, the score ended in a tie at 2-2. The home team led for most of this game, and, truthfully, I think they also had the majority of chances to score as well. Both teams did take turns making nice pass plays resulting in goals being scored and even more chances that didn’t end up in the back of the net.

Early in the first period, Max Lajeunesse gave the Avs a 1-0 lead on feeds from linemates, Sebastian Beal and Cody Sullivan. Max would have numerous scoring chances in this one, but no other shots of his would tickle the twine in this game.

In the second period, Seacoast briefly tied the game, scoring on a tough angle shot. Just a couple of minutes later Tyler Whiting would score a power play goal from between the circles on a pass from Sydney Herrington to give the Avs a 2-1 lead. Both Avalanche goaltenders, Gavin Cram, and Spencer Burgess made lead-saving saves throughout the contest. The period would end with the Avs holding the lead.

The third period saw the home team get several chances on lengthy puck possessions without being able to get that insurance goal or two. Then half-way through the final period, Seacoast put together a nice rush and perfect pass play to get the tying goal. The game would end in a 2-2 tie, thanks in part to a stone cold brilliant save by Burgess right outside of his crease.

The Avs played well. They generated a boat load of chances but just couldn’t dent the twine more than twice. They were down a few players and maybe the chemistry suffered a little from that but they still played well. The Avs return to action on Sunday, January 25th at Exeter vs. this same Seacoast team.

 

Quote

Impending Night

1inawesomewonder

there’s a lump in my throat where a laugh used to be
did the good times get away, or is that just me?

there is ache where distant smiles war again to be recalled
are those dear memories real or have I forgotten them all?

ease of step and stride no longer accompany my gait
or is there a plan in place, or just some cruel fate?

up-turns always close to the corners of my mouth aren’t there
have those pleasantries vanished into the cold winter air?

free flowing thought seems hemmed in by barriers I cannot see
where is the joy that often wandered about, boundless and free?

the frame from where I peer closes in like dark of impending night
dare I ask my role in the stifling of that darling light?

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Teddy Adventure with Dad

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Teddy and I on the move along the Goffstown Rail Trail