Knights Lose in Scoring Frenzy

4679The Knights faced the Perinton Blades at Paul Louis Arena last Sunday. The game was a roller-coaster of a game, where the Knights seemed to be in for a long day, with the Blades slipping two goals past Ian Campbell in the first four minutes.

“I was having a lot of trouble positioning myself in those first minutes,” Campbell said. “It’s tough to judge you’re positioning with the way their boards are, and I was just very uncomfortable in the beginning.”

The Knights responded and rebounded, getting a nice rebound goal from Kody Laird.  Someone else scored, too. 🙂 The Blades, though, came back with a lot of intense offensive pressure, and where able to skate the puck low, and get it out in front for an unstoppable shot.

“I should have had the man in front of the net,” Noah van Stralen admits. “But, actually I did have him, he just outmuscled me. I was blocking his stick, and he just fought through to get off the one timer.”

Only down one, with a last minute power-play that was carrying into the second period, the Knights focussed on what they were doing wrong on defense, and a couple things to tweak on offense, and they looked to execute the little things and eventually tie the game during the power-play.

Unfortunately a defensive mishap gave the other team a two-on-one, that they capitalized on, short-handed, with a one-timer.

“Don’t ask me about that one,” Campbell warned interviewers. “I don’t want to talk about that one.”

The knights were rattled, and just tried to fend off the more intense Perinton team. The second period was filled with penalty calls, and each team alternated power-plays, with the knights giving up three more goals, but Gavin Furhmann burying another rebound goal.

Going into the third, the knights were just saying stay with it, the other team had signs of giving up late in the second, and fifteen minutes is long enough to get four goals. Then the Blades blew past the Knights for the first few minutes. The Knights held on for dear life as the Blades skated circles around them. For about three minutes the action barely left the Knights end, and then Jeremy Trillaud was OBVIOUSLY tripped in the goal crease, and the Blades, not being called for the OBVIOUS tripping, snuck one past.

“I’m not talking about that one either,” Campbell stated. “This whole game made me mad, but that goal was the absolute worst. It was difficult to restrain from yelling in at the refs. Hardest job in the world and all, sure, fine, whatever, but call it how it is!”

The Blades let up significantly, and started playing a much more defensive strategy. The knights capitalized twice. Petermichael Karekos had a beautiful goal. Karekos walked in and skated the defenseman away out of the shooting lane, moved outside, and shot far corner, an incredible snipe.

“It was Ovechkin-esque,” says Campbell.

Within two at the end of the game, the Knights pulled their goalie, and had at least thirty great opportunity’s to score. The Blades goalie was in a zone stopping all of the late chances.

As the game wore on, the tension between the teams was building, and it was fueled by taunts directed at the Knights bench from the Blades players. It culminated in an after game scuffle, that was broken up, and sorted out. There were no penalties awarded, but Pete Karekos flipped the puck to the net as the Blades goalie was getting his water bottle, and the refs gave him a misconduct. Fortunately, he wasn’t suspended for any following games.

“Overall,” asst. Coach Phil Priolo said. “I thought we had a pretty good game. We had a lot of blown defensive assignments: two D in the corner, and the net was wide open, or not getting goal-side of the offensive player, but other than that, we really stayed with them. We just couldn’t grab the win.”

“It was those two goals in the beginning,” Campbell says. “Like I said, I was just uncomfortable, and it showed on the scoreboard.” Campbell was asked if he thought his team could be happy about the way the capitalized offensively. “There are no ‘moral victories’, if that’s what you’re trying to say, so we can be happy about whatever we want, but it’s not going to change the score on the board: 7-5. Which is what matters at the end of the day.”

I couldn’t have said it any better myself.

Body of Christ

I’d like to pose this metaphorical comparison to you.

In our world society is seen on many levels. America is built (was built) on a societal format like this: 1. God 2. Family 3. Town, city, state, federal government. You see society (defined roughly as organized interaction/living with other people) on every level. From the family (Parents to siblings, siblings to siblings, spouse to spouse) to the entire world (nation to nation), there is a society for people.

But, society isn’t just skin deep.body

When you look at the human body, you can see a Society of Organs, the Board of Muscles, and the Imperial Nervous System all working together from the main organ to the products of the organs. Bones and Co. (llc) are responsible for supporting the muscles. That’s the same as Coca-Cola being dependent on a plastic company for bottles. It’s a society. Without Blood Management Inc. the whole body would die. Just like the lack of water management would kill people in “real” society.

There’s more, though. On a smaller level, there are cells. Cells can vary but they are all living things that make up our human body. (Wow, big picture for a little cell.stem_cells

But even this society is made up of smaller society. Look closer at the cells. They’re always described as small cities and the like. With each piece doing it’s part at an impossibly small scale.

But even this society is made up of even smaller society. What makes up those cells? Individual atoms that merge their businesses to form new opportunities (e.g hydrogen to helium).Atom-1

But I didn’t come here to tell you that.best_space_hd_wallpaper

You, no doubt, have heard of constellations; incredible designs made up of stars. I do not personally know how evolutionists disprove that show of organization, but  to me, they’re… okay, I’ve got nothing I just wanted a segway to space. (Note to self: Make flying Segway)

In space you see an incredible amount of precision. It’s nearly perfect. There’s still decay and whatnot, but everything stays the same. Scientists know that the Earth will be Y in X amount of Hrs. and ~ #^&% + )(+ ** = 🙂 because they know the pattern.

Pattern? Society has patterns, doesn’t it? Yes, and in space, it’s the most primitive form of society. Traffic-like society. You’ve got an asteroid in the southbound lane, should he take Transit? No that’ll take him downtown… but in reality, as a inanimate object, he’s got no say in the matter. Gravity, or God (That sounds like an article in the making), keeps the asteroid in it’s path. The planets orbit, and gyrate. The galaxies be galactic. It’s all guns and roses. Um, Sunshine and… whatever people say.

Fact is, society is absolutely everywhere. The pixels on your screen. The words that I’m writing. Think about it. The pixels work together to form a picture, while the words form sentences. Which turn into paragraphs, and then finally an article, a book, a lot of words.

Back to the Bodily Society, what does God say about Christians? We’re the body of Christ. So with all of this society in mind, think back to the atoms. They make up stuff. They are things. Remember that they have mini societies with electrons and protons that orbit and such, just like, on a much, much larger scale planets orbit around stars, and stars orbit the center of their galaxy, and… I don’t know what galaxies do. Google says they gather in clusters. So, galaxies huddle.

So, in light of the society, and the body. What if (best two-word combination ever!) the universe is God.

Boom. Mushroom cloud in brain. Mind blowing. Mind blown.

Now, before you start to say, “Well, wait a minute… what about all of the sin, and the imperfection, and the death, why’s that happening if the universe is God?” let me say, “I’m not stating a fact, just a theory,” and, “Let me explain.”

When Jesus was put on the cross, he was a martyr for all of our sins. He took away God’s wrath in order to save our sorry hides. In the beginning, the universe was broken, when sin came into play. Just like Jesus was broken to pay for our sins.

Also, the bible is very interpretable leaving so much to the imagination, but there are times when it states simply what is true. Could be that it was stating a fact. Why waste time with metaphors when something is actually factual but it sounds like a metaphor.

Not only that, I’ve always thought that God was a whole lot more real that we give him credit for. He doesn’t have to be physical (and he’s not really) but he can interact with us on a physical level I’m sure (he is, ahem, God after all).

I can’t think of any specific reasons why it couldn’t be true, except the imperfection. Even if this isn’t true, it’s fun to see all of the similarities in the world, and universe we live in.

(Now I must solve the conundrum posed by the lyrics “He holds the whole wide world in his hand”. Does “world” refer to earth? Is the “whole wide world” the Milky Way? Does God even have hands?)

DayafterEasterSunday Monday

Now, DayafterEasterSunday Monday is not Internationally recognized for a reason. Nothing exceptional happened that day. At least by biblical standards, and that’s kinda what they’d be going on if they were to judge it’s worth as holiday.

So it’s not special. But that’s what today is, so that’s what this post is called.

In truth the poem I am presenting today happened much later than the day after but I figured a poetic pause was in order, so I paused.

Now you may hear my poem about the moments after Jesus rose into heaven.

(Angels of the Lord)

Don’t assume sadness
Even though He’s gone, he lives
All the angels sing
The reunion’s glorious
Heaven’s never seen such joy

 

Love is patient, right?
Immanuel is risen!
Finally you’re free
Eternally saved from sin

 

Revel in relief
Exclaim your joy; let them know
Till He comes for you
Until He gathers you all
Remain faithful, please
Never will he fail his children

Easter Sunday

“Well this came way outta East field!”?
“Didn’t expect anything! LEast of all this!”?
“Wow this is a bEast of a surprise!”?

Seriously how did we get from “Good Friday” to “Easter Sunday”? Was the media playing it down?

“Ah, yes, it’s a breezy seventy-five with a cool Easterly wind blowing this Sunday. And, oh, I guess a guy named Jesus died a few days ago, but now he’s okay, thank goodness. Now onto more pressing matters: Will Aunt Jemima the 1st continue selling her Maple Baklava? Find out next…”

Why not have it be HOLY COW JESUS JUST ROSE FROM THE DEAD Day?

(Yes, I’m just kidding about “East”er)

The fact is: Jesus died. Jesus rose again. I’ll let that fact speak for itself.

“Awesome, right?” it says. “Really cool, huh?”

My acrostic poem for the day:

(Resurrection)

Recompense for sins untold
Eternal salvation for souls unworthy
Salvation from eternal death
Unheard of grace
Real forgiveness
Raging power, unheard of strength
Empowering tale of redemption
Complete healing: from Death to Life
Total exoneration, forever
In Jesus
Our saviour
Nothing can come between us

SadderDay Saturday

(Wait)

Why did he die?
All his power, but he did nothing?
Impressive restraint
Tolerance unheard of

Solemn Saturday. Stinky Saturday. Super Unawesome Saturday. Terrible Saturday. (You see how that last matches up with Good Friday? It’s like aliteration, but with the letter directly after second word’s starting letter starting the first word. See how clever that was now? 😉 )

Whatever you call it this had to be the worst day for just about everyone.

For the disciples: though you  can imagine the days merging into one, the horrible reality of death must have hit hard on Super Unawesome Saturday.

For those who listened to Jesus’ teachings: they must have been sad as only those on the outside can. Not close enough themselves to be sad as family, but close enough to be sad for the family, and themselves.

For the Pharisees: well, we can only speculate here, because it depends on if they really did have Righteousy Guts of Steel, and could kill in the Lord’s name. If they believed that they’d done good, then they probably had a good day wondering why everyone else was so sad.

(One can always hope that they spilled coffee on their laps as they drove to the office, though.)

But God just whispered the word “wait” to everyone’s hearts. Just wait.

DeathFul Friday

Good Friday is the day Jesus died.

And you say this is a religious holiday? Sounds rather secular to me…

Fatal Friday, maybe? DeathFul Friday, perhaps? Forgettable Friday? I get that the man died for out sins, but there’s a reason we hold solemn, candlelit gatherings for his death.

It’s because he died.

Christians like to flaunt Jesus on the cross (crucifixes and such), but, um, OUCH! I feel that Jesus’ death shouldn’t be mourned, because he—ahem—spoiler alert—ahem—is still alive.

Instead his death should be mourned as the consequence of our sins. We killed an innocent man. In reality he died for us, of his own choosing, but to save us from our punishment. If you have trouble accepting gifts, try to wrap your head around this gift.

Amazing, huh?

In light of deathFul Friday, the day that Jesus was killed, for/because-of your sins, I’ve compiled a few AcrosTankanic (boy, I’m just making up words left and right to-yestermorrow) poems. Acrostic poems have verses with first letters that spell words (Acronym, Acrostic). For example.

Happily smiling
In your direction

Hi. Now, Tankas are similar to Haikus. But in stead of three lines with 5-7-5 syllables, Tankas have five lines with 5-7-5-7-7 syllables.

Now, in all truthfulosity (there I go again), I did stretch the boundaries a few times, but they should be close, or fit the poem regardless of syllabic content.

Without further ado, deathFul Friday Poems:

(Pharisees)

Devils in the night:
“Everyone believes in him!”
“A push starts a fight,
“Then down comes the Romans’ wrath!”
“He will bring death to Israel!”

Dastardly words said
Evil plans set in motion
Apostle Traitor
Thirty pieces of silver
How many lives will be saved!

(Judas)

Do not hurt him, please
Even if he deserves it
“A kiss to signal”
To think he had the power
He wasted it on beggars

Deceiver greats him
Eternal implications
A kiss of death laid
Trouble ensues; sword; slash; clash
Healing in the midst of doom

(Jesus)

“Do you come with swords,
“Even though I’m not a thief?
“Are you frightened?”
There’s no other way, Lord God?
“Heaven’s plan stands all alone”

Darkness fallen now
Everyone weeping wildly
Anon they’ll gather
They will watch as he is killed
His cries of pain will ring out

Death drawing nearer
“Eloi Eloi lama sabachthani!”
Aching, throbbing pain
The air’s escaping his grasp
Heaven’s tears fall; has Death won?

Love’s strength roars out
It searches for the divide
God and man, now one
Hanging there in the temple
Torn in two, the curtain’s dead

(Judas)

Did I really do it?
Earth’s only innocent man; dead
A murderer now
There’s only one thing to do
Hanging is a just penalty

Offense Explodes, Knights Just Short

IMG_3655The Canandaigua Knights midget team entered the Steelers 29th Annual Tournament with a total of five wins in nineteen games. Hot off the Big Thaw tournament (where they scored three goals in each of their three games), the Knights were feeling confident.

On Night One of the tournament, the Knights faced the Hamburg Blue Team 🙂 The Knights scored about four minutes in, and never looked back (except when back-checking). With help from the top line the Knights dominated Hamburg, with most of the play being in the offensive zone.

Ryan Mack, Neale Van Stralen, and Jeff Frelier all scored in the first. The first two goals were attributable to great skating and awesome diggles* (I’m looking at you Mackie). Jeff’s goal was a matter of being in the right place at the right time. He was in front of the net, and no one saw all six feet and four inches of him there. He capitalized, and the Knights went up 3.

  • *VERB Diggle DIG-uhl: a move that corkscrews an opponent into playing surface; usu. esp. ice.
  • Plu. Diggles
  • VERB Diggle DIG-uhl: When one uses a diggle. Mack said, “I’m going to diggle through you because I can.”

This mind you, with out the top two scorers on the team, Justin “Rolfie” Rolfe, and Hunter “Hunter” Goldstin. And after a season averaging just 2.45 goals a game.

Hamburg got a controversial goal towards the end of the first period. The refs called a good goal, but after looking at instant replay Ian Campbell offered (among other things) to buy the referees glasses.

Adding two more goals in the second, the Knights moved past the Hamburgers with four out of five points from the game. Final score: 5-2

Neale Van Stralen, who had an excellent night (1 goal, 2 assists, great back-checking and fore-checking) received the MVP for the Knights.

Confidence radiating throughout the locker room, team leader, Lucas Ruckle was settling down the younger guys. “We’ve still got six more periods, guys, six more till the championship! This isn’t over yet. But we’re four points closer!!!” [Eruption of applause–locker room style]

The team rested well that night, and everyone was ready to go for the second game. Still missing their top scorers and the MAP (Most Awesomest Player) Nick Colucci, the Knights were looking to the top line (Ruckle, Mack, Neale) for some offense. What happened next wasn’t according to the game plan.

The Knights were spanked.

They were playing the Steelers. The game opened up with a little back and forth action, but quickly it became obvious the ice was tilted, as they say. With about 80% to 85% of the play in the Knights’ defensive zone, the few chances they had were turned away.

“I don’t remember most of the goals,” says Campbell, the goalie. “But I’m sure they were good ones. Okay, except the first one.” He smiles. “Trillaud kinda took me out of that play.”

Short memory is necessary to survive as a goaltender, and Campbell’s memory had to be infinitesimally short, if he was going to have a chance. While he stopped around (most likely upwards of) 40 shots, the Steelers still scored five goals. The final score was 5-0.

Ian Campbell got the MVP of that game for the Knights. “That’s a tough one to swallow,” he says.  “But the medal is helping me realize that we just didn’t have a chance after a while. I’m glad I was able to leave it all out there.”

Then the second game of the day was played. It was between the Canandaigua Knights and the Amherst Knights. Amherst was in second place, and Canandaigua needed 3.5 points to make it to the championship.

The game was an even match for the first period, with great offensive chances for both teams, while both goalies played hard, stopping all the shots. Then, in the second, Neale opened up the scoring. WIth a coast to coast skate, Neale got to the other end, shot top shelf, and beat the goalie, and excited the whole team. Rather shortly after (I believe) Ryan Mack scored, going up two in the second.  The Knights held on to the lead going into the third up 2-0.

It was very important to score in the third. With one point per period, the points awarded so far were .5 for Amherst, to Canandaigua’s 1.5. If the third period was tied, then Amherst was in. Coach Phil Priolo let his team know it wasn’t over yet.

“Coach said we still had one more period,” says Tim “Timmy” Trost. “We could clean up some passing, and make sure we continued forechecking and back-checking, and we’d score and be able to come away with the victory.”

The Knights, both Amherst, and Canandaigua, came out firing. Amherst’s burst died out quickly, after a few shots. Canandaigua’s burst did not. After the first three minutes, the play was nearly entirely in Amherst’s defensive end. Jeremy Trillaud scored first in the third, to go up, and the Canandaigua Knights never relinquished it. One more goal was added by (someone on the team, you know who you are) to seal the victory.

Final score: 4-0

Ian Campbell had a 34 save shutout, and was again awarded the MVP of the game. Everyone on the team was extremely excited.

Coach Priolo gave everyone a 12:00 am curfew, and told everyone to be ready for the championship. For a team who had previously only won five games, any type of championship was legendary stuff.

Sunday March 16th, the Canandaigua Knights versus the Dunkirk-Fredonia Steelers. Uh-oh.

With the confidence bubbling over from a much-needed victory, the Knights came into the game with a burning desire. The last game of the season, everyone wanted to give their all. With two defensive pairs and three offensive lines, the Knights were prepared to have an offensive game.

Quite unluckily, very early in the game, Knights captain, and tournament points leader, Neale Van Stralen was hit (“illegally,” in Campbell’s opinion) and he sustained a lower body injury.

Without Neale, the coaches were forced to shuffle the lines a bit, and the consequences were unfortunate.

Without Neale, the Knights were again dominated, and forced to play defense most of the game. Even with Roger Panara back for the championship game, no one was able to get the offense going for Canandaigua. The Steelers got six goals over the whole game. Dean Campese scored three of them. “And assisted the other three probably,” Campbell says. “That guy was on fire.”

“I wasn’t able to get the puck,” says Panara. “We were defending for ninety-nine percent of the time, so their D were pinching hard. It was too difficult to break out of our defensive zone, and so we didn’t get many goals when that happened.”

Not many goals is as good a way as any to describe being shutout, and for the Knights it was difficult to swallow. 6-0 is never fun.

“They’re way out of our league,” Lucas Ruckle says. “Literally. We found out that they’re actually a [bad] travel team. They were eighth in their league, but they dominated against us because we’re a house B team. I don’t really know how to react, but it was fun to play in the championship.”

Tough to swallow, losing the last game always hurts. But with a returning defensive core (Noah Van Stralen, Jeremy Trillaud, Jared Priolo, Jake Corey) following in the footsteps of Blaise Michael, a defensive standout and senior :-(, the Knights only need to worry about compensating for offensive losses like Jeff Frelier and Neale Van Stralen. Again 🙁

With Ryan Mack, Hunter Goldstin, and Roger Panara returning, most likely stronger than ever, offense should be strong. Tim Trost, in his first midget season, has developed quite nicely, as the game slowed down for him. With his great stick skills, and skating ability Tim can only tell what Tim will do next year.

The 2013-14 Canandaigua Knights were amazing. A great bunch of guys–a band of brothers. With a bright future for the midget team, it’s sad to say good-bye to the seniors. Once more, 🙁

But as the crazy cycle of players continues, one can only look forward to next year, remembering what once was, and remembering who once were.

That, and score goals 🙂

Empowering or Depressing?

I (not so recently) finished the book Empires of Light (by Jill Jonnes). The book is about the struggle for the monopoly on light. It delves into the complex relationship that Thomas Alva Edison, Nikola Tesla, and George Westinghouse had with the element known as electricity.

A relationship built with Edison’s hard-nosed, bull-headed work ethic discovering the lightbulb, Tesla’s dreamy imagination, um, dreaming up his AC engine, and George Westinghouse closing the deal with his business skills. These three men are to be credited with the finalization of the enlightening of the world, as far as electricity is considered.

The previous paragraph purposes to politely place a falsehood in prettier packaging. As opposed to the feel of the paragraph above, Edison, Tesla, and Westinghouse weren’t friends, not really.

Most people think of Thomas Edison as a man of character: a true american with that lovable can-do spirit. Not so. Once Edison created his famed lightbulb, he proceeded to try to electrify the U.S. (and eventually desiring to light up the world) with his Direct Current power grids. The grids would have need to be located every square mile, in order to work, thus forcing many people in the US to not have anywhere to move, let alone live.

Edison didn’t adapt as his adoring fans would think. No, instead, when Nikola Tesla brought Alternating Current to the scientific community’s table, Edison trashed it horribly. He published an article titled WARNING! (I couldn’t find a page to link to.) which basically condemns AC as a horribly powerful, and terribly dangerous current, that would never be safe to use. Edison stayed grounded in his old ways as Tesla blew past him.

Tesla eventually got hooked up with Westinghouse, who was invested in the business after already being successful in the railroad business. With his business like mind, and Tesla’s creative genius, the pair moved AC along quite nicely.

When it came time for the world fair in 1893, it was the perfect opportunity to display AC and clear it’s smeared name. First Westinghouse would have to get the contract with the fair, which J.P. Morgan was also striving for.

The dogfight that ensued was all but bloody. Two acclaimed businessman going toe to proverbial toe over the most promising asset in the world at that time.

It got me thinking: Why is peace not desired? Why didn’t Edison try to have a civil discussion with Tesla about their respective electrical currents of choice? They could’ve seen each others points, and moved on from there. Instead when they talked, Edison abused Tesla, and mocked him.

Why did Westinghouse have to fight to gain the contract to light the fair? Why couldn’t Morgan and Westinghouse join forces to show off some pretty awesome American technology?

Money is obviously the reason. Edison fought the idea of Alternating Current because it would blow apart his corner on the electrical market, thus lowering his monetary claim on the element of electricity. It did. But look where electricity is today? Wouldn’t you say it was better that we found AC? Edison was only concerned with money, not advancement of the world. Morgan was the same.

In a world where money is necessary to regulate society, money rules. It is the be-all end-all (however that goes), because it is the medium of value. So then when people try to use there scientifically (or otherwise) brilliant minds for good, there’s always someone who wants monetary gain. Profitable application of a concept is something I enjoy as much as the next guy, but I wish sometimes scientists, businessmen, and others who have opportunities to oppose, would join forces instead, and see the power of teamwork succeed, and better society, and the world!

But I don’t want utopia. Don’t even get me started there.

I thought “empowering” would be the word to title this article, because the knowledge of  how to work together. Unfortunately, I do not have a solution for the desires of the flesh (otherwise I’d be rich beyond my wildest dreams! HAHAHA, ahem, ahem), but I think now the title is more apt. Does the knowledge that money rules the world empower you to give it away more freely? Or to combine efforts to better the situation, thinking of money secondarily?

Being a great book about an interesting story Empires of Light gave me some interesting thoughts.

Curling

Curling Interview 2

I caught up with Liberty, Maine resident Brian Morris. The 38 year old club curler was enthusiastic about the sport he loves, and he even hopes to compete in the 2018 Olympics*. *Okay, I hope he competes in the 2018 Olympics.

Here’s what he had to say:

Ian Campbell: When did you become interested in curling?

Brian Morris: I first became interested in curling during the 2006 Olympics. I had never heard of it before that. We moved to Maine a year and a half ago and I found out that there was a curling club about 25 minutes away. I went to a “Learn To Curl” event at the club in Jan 2013. I joined the club this fall as a full member.

IC: What do you find appealing about the sport?

BM: There are many aspects of curling that make it a great sport. I enjoy anything that involves strategy and curling is all about strategy. And, the strategy is not only for this shot, or this end, but for the whole match. I also like that everyone on the team is involved and everyone’s role is equally important. An appealing aspect of playing is that there is very little downtime. You are either working on getting your stone down the ice, strategizing about your next shot, or watching how your opponents stones are going so you can use that information for your next shot. I also like that it can be adapted so that anyone can play. At my club we have curlers from 18 years old to 75.

IC: Why do you think curling is mocked by many Americans, and not regarded as a “real” sport?

BM: First of all I don’t think people understand it, and as Americans what we do not understand we fear. Secondly, we think “how hard can that be?” Let me tell you, if you give it your all, you will be sore the next day.

IC: How difficult is curling?

BM: It really depends on what you are doing at the moment. When delivering the stone, judging how much weight you are throwing is extremely difficult. The difference in power between ‘hogging it’ (not making it over the hog line) and throwing it all the way through ‘the house’ is a very fine line. When sweeping, it is very physical and tiring. Usually you have to sweep the hardest when you are close to the house. Of course by that point your arms are burning. You are also trying to judge the weight that was thrown so you can communicate that to your skip so that he can make a judgement call on whether you should sweep or not. Then there is the difficult job of ‘reading the ice’. The ice is pebbled for every game. It is always different. And it can change throughout the game. In some places the stone will curl more. In others it will run straighter. Really the whole game is difficult but that is why I like it. It is a real challenge, mentally and physically.

IC: What do you think is the future of curling in the US?

BM: I think it will continue to grow on the club level. As people discover there are clubs near them I think they will give it a try and the appreciation of the sport will continue to grow. There are new clubs being opened every year.

IC: What do you think about USA’s poor showing in Sochi?

BM: I think some things need to change. Right now club teams compete against one another to go to the Olympics [in a sort of playoffs]. So you might not necessarily be getting the best players on one team. Other countries cherry-pick their best players for an ‘All-Star’ team–you see this in Olympic hockey and basketball for all countries. The other problem is that US curlers are not sponsored until they qualify for the Olympic team. Until then they have to work jobs and curl in their free time. We will never be able to compete on the international level while this is the case.

IC: Will you compete in the 2018 Olympic games?

BM: No. I will not have time to devote to curling to gain the experience necessary or to travel to the numerous events required to gain national exposure.

Author PicIan Campbell is a writer that contributes to We The Campbell’s regularly. He hasn’t graduated anything except if you count kindergarten and grades 1-8, and he is still able to play sports, unlike most sports writers published in Sports Illustrated.

Knights Shutout On Way Out

4679On Saturday, the Canandaigua Knights Midget team was eliminated from the playoffs in round one. The talk leading up to this match was that Canandaigua would be eliminated easily, but they refused to go down without a fight.

The Knights were seeded sixth, playing the Tri-County Eagles the third best team in the Empire League. History suggested a close match, with a 43.6%* chance of a blowout.(*Rough Metaphorical Math.)

The first contest between the teams this season provided suspense until the very end, with Knights goaltender Ian Campbell fending off a fair amount of shots to hold on to a shutout. 1 – 0 the final score was telling of the amazing defense played by each team, both offenses forcing defensive perfection.

The second go around was more lopsided with the Eagles capitalizing five times on Campbell. All were shots created by passes to the backside. The Eagles’ lateral puck movement sealed the game as they breezed by 5-2.

Going into the third matchup the story was less about the teams skills as their numbers. With injuries to wingers Jack Cutri, and Wyatt Tatakis, the line-up was shaken. To add to the disorientation in the line-up, center Kody Laird, and David Frelier suspended in the last game for fighting. With only eleven skaters slated to show up, would Canandaigua be able to hang with Tri-County’s full roster? [Blaise Michael was not in attendance for undisclosed personal reasons.]

The end of the season wasn’t pretty, another reason the Eagles were favored leading up to the game. In the final regular season game, which team leader Lucas Ruckle called “embarrassing”, the Knights were beaten 8-1 by the Monroe County Eagles. After a thumping the Knights’ confidence was significantly shaken.

“[Man,] Anytime you get beat like that you’re gonna doubt yourself, no doubt,” winger Nicholas Colucci commented.

With that win by the MC Eagles, the Rochester Americans moved to second, and the Knights stayed put in sixth place. They found they were to play the Tri-County Eagles.

Before the playoff game, the Knights had dropped six of seven games, outscored on average 2 to 1. “It definitely gets to you,” says Campbell, regarding the losses. “As a goaltender, you start to over-think all of your movements. You stop trusting teammates to do their job, and everyone’s running around trying to do [everyone else’s] jobs.”

The situation wasn’t bright, with some fans even tweeting their disdain for what they saw as lack of effort. The Knights were feeling the pressure, but, before the playoff game, “I don’t think anyone was doing anything different,” said Assistant Coach Nick van Stralen, filling in for Head Coach Phil Priolo. (Unable to coach due to familial circumstances.) [His son Jared Priolo, a defenseman, also missed the game.] “The guys did a good job ignoring the hype, and stuck to their routines. Colucci was slow dressing, and Trillaud got pumped up with his music. It was business as usual.”

The moment the puck dropped the game was defined. A couple of rushes for both teams, it seemed to be a game of finesse from the Eagles, and hard work from the Knights. A couple of rushes were stymied by both sides, as the game settled into it’s rhythm. “Coach told us before the game we needed to score early,” says Ryan Mack, who led the team in shots. “He also said our forechecking needed to be more aggressive. He wanted to make sure we had short shifts, and just stayed in control of the puck,” Mack says with a smile. Controlling the puck is one of his strengths.

Captain Neale van Stralen was happy with the first period, saying, “Defensively we were solid, Jeff [Frelier] was mixing it up, and we did well offensively, with everyone getting shots. Even Noah [van Stralen]!” he says with a wink at his younger brother. “Without Rog[er Panara] we just didn’t get any real good chances, and they did a great job shutting down Hunter [Goldstin].”

The Knights’ goaltender Campbell was stellar in the first period, looking locked in, always square to the puck, stopping [some unknown amount of] shots.

Going into the second tied at zero was to the Knights advantage says Mack. “… when we huddled during intermission I just told the team ‘Their defense is giving up so many breakaways! Even Timmy [Trost] got one!”–Mack smiles–”Let’s pressure them!’ just trying to get them fired up, you know?”

It was midway through the second period when the first goal was scored by the Eagles. “I feel like I lost the puck a little,” Campbell says. “There were a couple of my D[efensemen] screening me, and actually I didn’t see the guy who came in to jam at the rebound, and unfortunately I wasn’t able to get my leg over in time. Kudos to them; great play.”

The score stayed the same as the game wore on, closing the second with the pace of the game shifting. “In the second, I think things shifted,” Coach van Stralen told the team. “With only three defensemen, we were wearing out.”

The game drifted into the third with Campbell fighting off shot after shot as the offense became steadily one-sided. At the six minute mark Tri-County buried a goal that took all the wind out of Canandaigua’s comeback sails.

“It was an unfortunate goal,” Campbell says. “I just misjudged the guy. I thought he was going blocker-side–I think he thought he was going blocker side, and I gave him a little room glove-side, and he took it. Perfect shot, really.”

With the game practically out of reach for Canandaigua, the game finished mostly in the Canandaigua defensive zone. Tri-County’s  #15 punched in the final goal, adding insult to injury, making it 3-0. “Number fifteen was really bothering me,” Campbell says. “He took a run at Rolfie [Justin Rolfe], and a slash at [Jake] Corey. I wanted to have a go at him after that third goal.”

With the  disappointing loss, Canandaigua can only look forward to next year. “I was talking with Ian,” Lucas Ruckle said, “and we both agreed: Next year is looking good. We’ve got guys getting better everyday on this team, and we’ll only lose three or four guys [after this season], so with the new recruits from Bantam it should be exciting.”

The team finished the regular season 5-11-1, with one playoff loss. A tough season, no doubt, but fun nonetheless. “This is the end of the regular season, so now it’s time to have a little more fun, just playing loose at the tourneys [Big Thaw, NCCYH Steelers]. Time to relax a bit, and enjoy being with the guys.”

With the regular season over, non-league games are the only thing left to focus on for the team. Should be an entertaining last stretch with excellent goaltending, and lots, lots more goals.