The last time I shot women's ice hockey was back in January of 2011 and it was actually a girl's U12 team. This time i was treated to a game at Reston SkateQuest between the host Reston Raiders U19 Tier 1 young women's team and the visiting Lady Patriots from Warminster, PA. These two teams played on the Olympic sheet, which doesn't seem that much bigger until you do the math. It's the same length as an NHL rink at 200 feet, but its 15 feet wider, which means there is an extra 3,000 square feet of ice to play on. Also, while it appeared that these young women weren't allowed to check each other, they certainly didn't shy away from what we like to call incidental contact. I also didn't notice any real difference in the level of intensity as these women went after each other with great abandon. It was a great game to watch. [You can click on any of the pictures to be taken to the galery to see all of the pictures from this game, over 75 of them!]
These two teams appeared to be very closely matched, but after the first few minutes I was thinking that the fairly well rounded team game being played by the Raiders could lead them to victory. That was right up until the Patriots scored first just over 6 minutes into the game. However, the Patriots were plagued by some bad penalties as well as a couple of suspect calls throughout the rest of the first period of play. The Raiders took advantage of this and managed to tie the game on a Power Play with 6 minutes left in the first period. At the End of the first period the game was tied at one goal each. The Raiders led the shots on goal, out shooting the Patriots 14-5 during the first period.
Both teams settled down to business in the second period, trading only a pair of penalties through the first ten minutes. It was a great back and forth struggle with both teams getting breakaways and spending time cycling the puck in each team's offensive zone. Both teams rang up 7 shots on goal each during this time but the Patriots were the first to score, taking a 2-1 lead on their 12th shot of the game. The Raiders were not content to let the game slip away and took over the last 6 minutes of the period as they attacked the Patriots with four more shots, while only allowing one on their own goalie, finally finding the back of the net on their 25th attempt of the game to knot the score at two goals each. The second period ended with the same score and the Raiders leading the shots on goal 27-13.
The third period saw both teams dig in and play very good hockey with only one penalty early on. The back and forth hockey continued for the entire period with the Raiders piling up the shots, throwing the biscuit at the Patriots goalie 15 times during the 17 minute period. Lots of puck cycling again in the opposing team's zone. More breakaways and lots of skating. The Lady Patriots only took two shots in the third period, but the second one got past the goalie with only a minute left in the game. After one last minute of furious play by the Raiders, the Patriots were able to celebrate a Saturday night victory on the Olympic sheet at Reston SkateQuest.