The first road trip is always a big test for a team, especially when it involves a 9 hour bus ride. Our destination: Adrian, Michigan . . . and our goal: Beat Em’! The trip begins with giving jobs to every player, whether it be packing the stick bag or just grabbing the coaching board. Usually the more heavy work goes to the freshmen– everyone does their time. It’s just a seniority thing. Once we get the bus packed it’s time for some beautiful singing from the freshmen until we get off campus– just a little tradition we have to start the trip off right. Once we get settled down most players either do homework or take a nap. Then comes the next typical question by any athlete, “where’s the food?”
Four hours into the trip we stopped at Wegman’s. Each of us were allotted $12 to spend on whatever our little hearts desired. A teammate (Emi) and I decided to pool our money together. With it we each got an entree (chicken) and two sides (squash and green beans), a roll of spicy salmon sushi, two spring rolls, and a mixed concoction from the salad bar. Pretty good for two people.
With bellies full we popped in a movie, Get Him To The Greek. That killed about 2 hours of the bus ride which was followed by some more napping. Finally we arrived at the hotel and were divided up into rooms. As soon as our heads hit the pillows we were out like a light. 8:45 AM Breakfast time. 11 AM Pre-Game Skate. 3 PM Pre-Game Meal at Adrian College’s dining hall. 5:15 Team Meeting in the locker room. Warm up at 5:30 and then the 60 minute clock started at 6pm.
Our warmup on the ice was good but not great. I think our legs were a little dead from the 9 hour bus ride. I also think that we underestimated Adrian and the type of intensity they were going to come out with. The first period they were all over us, constantly pressuring us in our own end, and making us cough up the puck. The second and third period were better but not enough to catch up to Adrian with a 2-0 lead.
As the buzzer sounded, I left the ice feeling disappointed in our team’s overall performance. I definitely felt that we could’ve won the game and that we should’ve been more prepared mentally for the game. However, the mental aspect is something only an individual player can control. I think that will be one of the things our team will need to work on this year. We need to be mentally prepared for every game and not walk in like it’s just another game. Every game is a test, every game is an opportunity to climb a little higher up the mountain.
Our second game was exactly how we need to be for every future game. Everything just clicked in our off-ice and on-ice warmup and from the first drop of the puck. We knew what to expect and instead of trying to play to them we made their team adjust to us. We dominated in every area of the ice. After the 1st period it was clear who was controlling the game. The ice in Adrian’s zone was completely cut up and the ice in our end looked like the Zamboni had just iced the surface. The energy in the dressing room was amazing and everyone was completely focused. The next two periods we dominated and the final score was 3-1.
I breathed a sigh of relief as we laid on the grass outside of the bus waiting for the rest of our teammates. There were about five us just lying there, looking up a the clear blue sky. The temperature was just perfect, and just above us were the Canadian and American flags flapping in the wind. It was almost too good to be true. It felt so good to leave Adrian with a win. Yes, it would have been better to win both but I think losing taught us a valuable lesson; we need to come prepared to every single game because you never know what to expect.
This year I am very excited for our team. I know we are going to accomplish great things for this program. Will it be difficult? Yes, of course it will but I think that’s what makes it that much more worth it.