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For those who don't have time to read the full recap: Amy scored, Amy converted a PK, blah blah blah Tsunami scored 7 or 8 unanswered goals led by Unnumbered Dude, and Meagan added another goal for WNT. Final: WNT 4, Tsunami 10, but we played really well. Amy got a hat trick, and all of us thwarted Tsunami on numerous occasions.
We had a great time on Monday night. The weather was beautiful: clear and 40ish, not much wind, great ice. We had 11, including Mikael. Except that Mikael sacrificed himself for the glory of the Mississippi Mojo to advance to the NAC final. The spirit was willing but the amazingly swollen hand said No Way. He found us a replacement in Gustie Dane. That made our lineup half-Gustie and boy were we grateful! Dane played sweeper in front of Sarah, Kari and Maddie were fullbacks, Jenna and Ellie rounded out the defense as halfbacks. Linnea held down center mid with Meagan and Mollie on her wings. Amy played forward. Team manager Katie filled in as the other forward and tried not to make a fool of herself. A for effort.
The game started as Tsunami drew back the stroke-off and they made some good passes and runs to put pressure on the offense. Sarah made 2 or 3 awesome saves in a row, the ball was hanging around in the penalty area and a Tsunami shot....off the crossbar. Cue the counter-attack! Amy handled things just fine, Tsunami forgot how fast she is, and she put one in for a quick WNT 1-0 lead. Second verse, same as the first: Tsunami tried to get something going, turned it over, and we were on the counter attack. I ended up with the ball to the right of the goalie and chipped it in. The ball in the moonlight! It was so prettty! Tsunami just had to go for it...with the stick...above the shoulder...and they made contact. Boom! Penalty shot for WNT, Amy took it and buried it, WNT 2-0. Tsunami came roaring back, but 6 minutes in, it was still WNT 2-1 over Tsunami.
Blah blah blah, they scored a few more times. I don't even remember what it was at halftime...5-2 maybe? The sportscasters would say, "What happened to WNT? Out to the early lead, now they've given up 5 unanswered goals!" Good thing there weren't actually any sportscasters there. Turns out, WNT were doing some great things, Tsunami just have a speedy unnumbered dude (he has a name...his name is Andy...but Unnumbered Dude is just as good. UD for short) UD scored a couple by getting nicely fed passes perfectly timed past our defense. That is, when Tsunami weren't offsides. Dane must have gotten the memo on how or defense plays, Maddie and Kari executed it brilliantly, and Tsunami were stopped a few times by the ref's whistles. (Note: at least 2 of the refs were also Gusties, in Wyatt Wenzel and Chris Middlebrook. Such a great pipeline! The Gustie affiliation had nothing to do with the offsides calls, those were because they had a player behind the 2nd-to-last defender and the ball. But I digress.)
Linnea reminds me of Jonas Brodin. Must be the Scandinavian thing. She's super cool under pressure and just calmly skated between Tsunami players or took the ball back to maintain possession and re-start the offense. Brilliance! It was great having Mollie in the midfield, and she and Meagan did great there. Meagan capped off a great run by Jenna in the second half, good pass by Mollie, and buried another goal for WNT. Jenna was great at halfback and really caught Tsunami off guard a few times with her stickhandling out of trouble (for us) and into trouble (for them). We had some close calls - a post here, and couple feet wide there. If UD would have missed a few more times, it would have been closer. UD converted a PK for Tsunami after Ellie's hockey sense kicked in and she grabbed the ball in the box. "What am I supposed to do, just let it hit me in the face!?" Sadly, yes. Ellie converted her cross country speed to the ice to break up some Tsunami rushes and thwart them a few times. Once she sped back and broke up a cross-ice pass for a Tsunami corner (they had precious few this game - something we're improving on!) and then Tsunami couldn't handle the Wall of Women coming at them and flubbed the shot and we were off again on the counter-attack. Ellie also discovered another bandy rule: you can kick the ball to yourself, but cannot lift your foot off the ice to block the ball. I was impressed by the coordination anyway.
Dane did a great job from the back line with a couple great rushes that led to good chances for WNT. He also took the ball down a few times to stymie the Tsunami counter-attack. Great parts of the game: having the full Tsunami team on one side of the field and calmly passing it all the way across to the open person with open lanes to skate up. WNT had 4, Tsunami got a few more to end with an even 10, but it was a very positive game. Kari had a great game with some excellent stops and a nice chip in to the zone that got converted. She and Maddie both had a good sense of when to hang back and when to join the rush. Sarah had some great saves in addition to the sequence at the beginning, and she started a few breakouts with nice long throws.
We were facing Tsunami and had a great turnout. It was so good, in fact, that I may have saddled my team with the curse of the Embino when I traded Emrah to Tsunami to get him more playing time. Jaclyn and Tara teamed up with Bri on the back line, Kari got thrown right in at halfback on one side with Ellie on the other side, Meagan, Kelly, and Sarma started in the middle, with Tam and Amy up top. Linnea, Ellie's friend Brandon, and Andi were ready to sub in. For those keeping track at home, that's a lot of new/new-ish players (Tam, Kari, Ellie, Tara, not-that-new Meagan), a new-to-the-USA-player (Linnea), a few vets (Kelly, Amy, Sarma, Jaclyn, Bri, Andi, Sarah), and a dude (Brandon).
Mikael rushed off the ice after his 7-7 tie to do a little strategy session (Skate into the ice, not to the boards. Turn back to the middle, don't follow the ball. Squiggly line, squiggly line, WIN!) and then we were off!
It was still raining, and as admirable as the OVAL's ice making is, the game was half skating, half water skiing. Soon enough, Emrah was sprung on a breakaway and scored the first goal, and I was reminded that he could have been playing for us. Sigh. But he can't play for us in February, so we'll muddle through. The WNT was doing well in the conditions and someone made a nifty behind-the-back pass to find the open skater and give her open ice. Unfortunately, after a turnover, Tsunami laced a pass perfectly timed to beat our defense and they scored again. We'd get one back, though, when Kelly took the ball in the middle and led a charge, got a shot off where the goalie couldn't handle the rebound and Amy tapped it in. Boom! Tsunami 2, WNT 1.
On a strange play, Tara thought the ball went out off of Tsunami but it was called a corner, Tam made a great hockey move to grab the ball out of mid-air on their shot...which is illegal in bandy and Tsunami converted the penalty shot. Tsunami 3, WNT 1.
Brandon carried the ball up and put a nice shot on net, past the goalie, to get WNT another goal, but sadly that was all we'd get. Sarma had a nice chance in the second half but the play was already whistled and we couldn't convert the free stroke - Andi's shot went just high but elicited a few "ooh!"s from the spectators. Meagan had a good play to keep possession and get the ball to Amy for a shot just wide. I'm loving the team chemistry that we're building!
Sarma picked up where she left off with the WNT and had some great passes and good timing to hit Amy in stride with a good offensive chance. Andi subbed in at defense and had a great chip to get the ball out of trouble. Tara showed what size and speed can do to keep the Tsunami waves on the outside. Jaclyn had a few nifty runs up from the back line -- our defense providing offense will be a huge boost come February! Bri kept the back line up like we want and got Tsunami called for offsides a few times. Tsunami are good at chipping and their goalie has an arm so we got plenty of practice taking the ball down. Kelly had a great takedown on one of their goalie throws to get the ball back to Ellie. She battled on the boards to win the free stroke. Stroke-in? Whatever it's called, we got the ball.
Kari was in great position to get the ball from Kelly on the breakout. Tam played well up top and got to stickhandle around Tsunami. Andi had a nice pass to Meagan to get room and spring the forwards, then to stay with the play and support the play to get the ball back. Unfortunately, our full court press left us open to a counter attack that they capitalized on to make it 6-2 Tsunami.
The water on the ice was a factor as it slowed our passes. Linnea had excellent vision on the ice to pick up the ball when Tsunami overskated it, but we couldn't quite turn that into another point on the board. We had some nice passing routes. I have notes that Sarma flew across the ice, dropped it to Brandon who passed to Ellie, back to Sarma, back to Ellie, up to Meagan, then to Kelly and back to Meagan. Another set of passes between Amy, Ellie, and Tam led to a good chance. Andi had good bandy sense and second efforts to maintain possession for WNT.
Unnumbered Guy got another goal at the end to make it 7-2. Sarah had some great saves and did well to cut down angles to force shots wide. It was another good skate and it's fun to see the team come together.
The WNT hosted a training camp at the National Sports Center at Blaine. Watch the video produced by NSC!
Women’s National Team (WNT) kicked off the 2015-2016 season in the newly named First Division. We had a full team and started with 11 women on the ice with matching uniforms. They may have been old National Team uniforms from 20+ years ago, but they matched nonetheless. The team is a mix of veterans from previous years’ teams: Amy Stech, Kelly McGinty, Jenna Christensen, Bri Carlson, Sarah Ahlquist-Schneider, Meagan Wanecke, and Andi Schoephoerster; Tara Rueping made her Team USA, and Finn Larson joined the WNT after playing for last year’s U-17 Team USA bandy team. Linnea Gronquist is on exchange from Norway. Coach Mikael Sandberg was suited up as a substitute, and Shane Lines came over to join our team to even up the sides. Jaclyn Daggit arrived as the second half got going to give the team a lift and another sub -- much appreciated on this warm day for our first game!
We had a great back and forth game with the newly formed Phoenix - the team rising from the ashes of Elsie's. We had time for Mikael to describe strategy before the game and Bri did a great job at sweeper keeping the defense together and on track. Kelly did a great job at center midfield owning the middle of the ice with great vision and stickhandling! She also had a great backcheck to strip the ball from one of their players without getting called for a stick-to-stick penalty. I'm going to decide it's partly her awesomeness and partly learning the rules at training camp. We struck first as the team pushed into the offensive zone and Amy sent a rocket shot that caught the goalie 5-hole. WNT 1, Phoenix 0.
Then she went down the right, beat a few players, stickhandled around a few players, and scored again for us. WNT 2, Phoenix 0.
We were getting some subs and stretching the legs, Phoenix were deciding they didn't like being behind, and after a bit of defensive breakdown where the team wasn't very together in the middle, the Phoenix scored their first. Sarah made the first save but they followed the rebound and put it in. Phoenix tried a couple times to get a breakaway, but Tara covered a lot of ice super quickly and kept the goal clear. We’re quite glad she made the trip from California! There was lots of good chatter on the ice and some great passes. I don't remember how Phoenix scored their second - maybe on a breakaway. Amy again took the ball down the right side then put a nice pass to the front of the net and Finn didn't miss. WNT 3, Phoenix 2. We pushed forward again and won a corner stroke. We had a bunch of them today and showed them a few different plays - shooting right ahead, passing back to the passer, catching the inbound and skating in. That last play worked well when the bouncing ball ricocheted, came back to Meagan, and she buried it. It was WNT 4, Phoenix 2 at halftime.
The second half was a different game, probably because the sun was setting and our eye black wasn't as effective. Phoenix kept trying to spring their players, but Bri thwarted them by keeping the defense high and together -- it worked at least 3 times to get Phoenix called for offsides, once on an otherwise goal. But when we couldn't clear a rebound, Phoenix scored and suddenly it was WNT 4, Phoenix 3. Then they got a free stroke at the top circles and we had a failure to communicate. We only had 4 in the wall and they took a pretty quick shot that went through said wall and straight in. No way Sarah saw any of it. Bad luck, but lucky for them and a tied game WNT 4, Phoenix 4.
In the second half, it was great to have Jaclyn back in the game at defense. She had great vision and made a couple great runs up the ice to keep them honest. Jenna had a great game as well with awesome stickhandling and speed and play. She drew a penalty shot when one of their players practically had to bear hug her to stop her. Mikael flashed some of his calm, cool, bandy skills to move the ball up the ice. Linnea reminded us how to play bandy as she'd take the ball up then bring it back to retain possession. Following her lead, we controlled the ball for a good couple minutes by making good passes, finding open ice and open teammates, and running some of the familiar plays from practice. Linnea also had a great shot attempt that sailed just wide and inspired a few teammates to practice shooting these next couple months. Despite a few more good chances, we couldn't find another goal but kept Phoenix off the board too and the game ended 4-4.
It was a great game with lots of great passes, opportunities for us to show our speed, some excellent vision to put the ball off the boards to open ice and to pick it up, etc. Our next game is Monday night at 9 pm against Tsunami.
Mikael Sandberg explains a drill to WNT bandy camp players
We were all ready for our final 9 pm Monday game. We had bandy to play! We had a full lineup of talent, plus the player-manager. The game started against a full Elsie's team and it was back and forth at the beginning and already had the feel of a different game than the previous week's 1-6 loss. Elsie's still struck first, though, using their patented chipping and passing game to put one behind Sarah. It didn't last, though, and and Allie made good use of her bandy steel by scoring to tie the game at 1. They had a number of ridiculous goals - batting the ball out of the air at shoulder height (their shoulders, not ours, which was unfortunate as we really had no play on those balls) and into the net. Another where they escaped Kelly's defense and found a lane to put a scorching shot into the corner. They scored off a corner and over our outstretched hands again. Allie tallied a second goal, and I think it was 4-2 at the half. One of Allie's goals looked like a nice backhand to the top shelf, around their goalie. Beautiful! One of my favorite things about watching Kelsey play is that if she ever loses the ball, she fights to get it back. And then she puts a beautiful pass in front of the net for Allie to score from. Love it!
We fell behind 5-2 and then maybe 6-2, but suddenly the flood gates opened. Amy had a beautiful arching shot from far out, there was a corner that appeared to be muffed but was instead brilliantly sneaky and Amy got her second of the night. Allie added a couple on some great plays -- one with Meagan going down the side boards and along the end line. Maddie was tough on defense and smartly used the end line as a backup defender. The Elsie's guy was none too pleased to dribble the ball over for a goalie throw. Jaclyn had a strong night with good stops on defense, good plays to get the offense going, and thankfully did not get a concussion when she got bowled over and flattened. We quickly clawed back to within one!
There was a tough call for the referees at the end of the game when WNT thought we'd tied it. Amy was taken down as she was streaking for the net and scored when the ball ricocheted off her and into the net (followed by her). No Wes Walz puck-in-the-breezers goals allowed in bandy, however! The play was ruled dead because Amy wasn't on at least one skate.
Sarah made more fantastic saves and started the offense with some great throws too. There was a great series of passing from one end to the other and all the way around, and it worked brilliantly to get the ball back to Jenna for a good shot at scoring. Kelly was super smart on defense and used her quickness to get to some loose balls ahead of the Elsie's players. Karen once again showed us how to take the ball down from out of the air. Mollie had great positioning for support to make sure we had more than one wave of offense and picked up a few balls that Elsie's batted away from our lead offensive player. Ellie is getting the feel for halfback and playing the ball to teammates instead of our hockey mentality of whacking the ball up the ice to chase and get back.
All told, Amy had 2 goals and Allie had 4, we had some excellent chances and played Elsie's well. It was a bummer to lose, but lots of great things happened that we can build on for next year.
Team USA had a good start to 2015 International Competition with good playing and good skating bright and early on Saturday, January 24, 2015!
The score was 0-0 at half time after some good back and forth play. They scored early in the second on a penalty shot - from the bench it looked like we were just playing tight defense in the penalty area, but the refs were ready to give team Canada a power play for a hand ball in the penalty area. They scored on the penalty shot, though, so it stayed even strength. We tied it up, though, on a great effort in the offensive zone with Jenna Christensen getting the ball in front of the net, Amy Stech sending it over to keep the play alive, and Mollie Carroll banging it home for her first goal with the Women's National Team.
Canada had their own player who could skate through the field and she put Canada back in front, then they scored again on a wicked shot. Not to be discouraged, team USA answered quickly with Jenna Christensen again skating it up the side and into the zone and laying a beauty of a pass out for Kat Greaves to knock in. Unfortunately, we couldn't get the tying goal, but there would be time for redemption in the second game! Angie Rieger joined the team and played some stellar defense with great passes to keep the ball moving and great defense, and Kelsey Kennedy was often in the right place to support the forwards and keep the play moving forward.
There were some beautiful passes this morning. Amy Stech to Kelly McGinty to Kat Greaves - sweetness! They are in their second year playing together and are really starting to gel. Team USA got a good shot on goal out of that one. There was a series with 7-ish drops and passes that was fun to watch as well. Bri Carlson is playing sweeper for the first time and kept it calm in the back field and served as a great way to get the ball to the other side of the field. Meghan Gess was back at fullback with her speed and hard passes. Angie played great D and was always able to take the ball from Canada and get it back to Bri to start the offense back up the other side. Ellie Cardinal had good movement up the ice, and Jenna got crunched a number of times but shook it off, got back up, and then had some great offensive moves to create both our goals. The midfield was fast and provided wave after wave of offensive support. Mollie had a great game with a goal and a few other good shots, Kelly has amazing stick control and an eagle eye for stringing passes through traffic, Kat was tenacious at getting the ball and sending it forward with some great chips. Melissa Feste, Meagan Wanecke, and Amy Stech all had near breakaways at different points with their speed and stickhandling behind the Canadian defense. We had a lot of great chances and will definitely come out ahead if we can keep playing like this! Sarah Ahlquist had more great saves and was using her pads to stop the ball and rebound it far enough away from trouble to start counterattacks. With great throws to start the offense again, we were a solid team of offensive potential and defensive strength. Well done, team!
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The US Women's National Bandy Team will host the Canadian Women's Bandy Team for three games. Come out and support Team USA!
Saturday, January 24, 2015 - 8:00 am
Saturday, January 24, 2015 - 4:15 pm
Sunday, January 25, 2015 - 8:30 am
ARCHIVE webcast is now available. Click thru to the archived videos. USA Women's National Team versus Tsunami ICE Saturday February 1st 4 pm Play by Play and Color Commentary: Katie Swor Camera Operator: Mike Kennedy
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Images from the Finland-USA game at the 2012 Women's Bandy World Championships from Irkutsk, Russia. Photos by Stargest and hosted from imgsrc.ru.