For many of the Washington Wild 19U Rep team members, Christmas brought red-eye flights instead of red-nosed reindeer, as the team made their way to Hartford, CT for the 29th annual Connecticut Polar Holiday Tournament. Fortunately, the eastern winter weather was not too frightful when Wild members landed in CT, MA, NJ or NY. It was another story, though, on the way home for some, as snowstorms blew in across the country.
The Wild experienced the excitement of playing at a scouted tournament, with half a dozen or more collegiate coaches and scouts in attendance at the games. The Wild was the underdog team, with eight skaters and a net tender. Although the average age of the team is young, the team played strong defense, holding their losses to only two- and three-point spreads.
The team’s first game, Friday afternoon versus the New England Pride of MA, resulted in a 0-2 loss for the Wild. Saturday brought two games–an afternoon match against the Lady Flames of MA, where the score was tied 1-1 at the final buzzer. The girls were fatigued during the second game, so most of them opted to be true polar bears afterwards and dunk themselves in freezing ice baths in preparation for game 3 on Saturday night at 9:15. In the fast-paced contest against the Lady Islanders of NY, the Wild were quicker on their feet and ended with a score of 1-1! Unfortunately, a Wild member sustained an injury to her ankle and remained down the remainder of the tournament, thus reducing the team to only seven skaters.
Game 4 against the Monroe County Edge of NY was a big showdown for the short-benched team from Washington. It took the opponents’ full bench and three 12-minute periods to overcome the Wild’s tenacity (1-4).
The Wild members and their coaches, Shaun Miller and Randy Antonio, strategized game plans by reviewing video footage (courtesy of Scott Pilet) of the games during downtime. The girls demonstrated courage and determination in each of their games. Overall, it was a positive experience for the Wild 19U Rep team to participate in the tournament.
Bellingham freelancer Victoria Reeb travels to ice rinks far and wide to support her daughter’s love of playing hockey for Washington Wild. When the weather warms up, she can be found at the motocross track, cheering on her son and daughter. She writes about finding the positive in any situation, and gets lots of inspiration from her active family, three pet dogs and job at an elementary school.