Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Refusing To Melt

TigerBlog feels like he needs to take a minute to talk about the weather for the last week or so.

But first, a story about the first day of first grade, or maybe second grade or even third, but one of those early grades.

MotherBlog had gotten TB a brand-new New York Mets jacket, and TB wanted to wear it on the first day of school. The only problem is that it was still summer and it was really hot out, so it wasn't jacket weather.

What did TB do? He wore it of course, pretending that it wasn't as hot as it really was. TB isn't sure why he remembers this. Why do people remember certain little snippets of their lives from long, long ago and not others? Why would that memory stand out to him? Who knows.

Anyway, keep that story in mind for a few paragraphs, and TB will tell you the relevance.

Meanwhile, this is still February of course. At least it is until the end of the day today.

The average temperature in Princeton for the last week of February is, well, cold. The average temperature the last week of February of 2017 has been, well, hot. There was some warm, but mostly hot.

When the Hofstra men's lacrosse team played at Princeton two years ago - on Feb. 21, 2015 - four inches of snow fell on Sherrerd Field during the game. The temperature at face-off Saturday for the same two teams was 74 degrees.

There were way more people at that game who were wearing shorts and t-shirts, even if it was Feb. 25. Okay, TB gets it. After all, it was sunny and 75 and felt like May - until the massive thunderstorm came through in the late afternoon. The temps dropped more than 30 degrees, and 40 degrees in February never felt so cold.
As for TigerBlog's story about the Mets jacket, men's lacrosse coach Matt Madalon gave TB a brand-new Princeton lacrosse hooded sweatshirt. It's exactly the sweatshirt that TB has wanted for gamedays, but again, it's a sweatshirt. Knowing it was going to be in the 70s Saturday, TB still was going to wear it - with the same thoughts going through his head that probably were there when he was 6, 7 or 8.

Except he didn't. Because, you know, it was too hot. So, TigerBlog can confirm, he has matured a bit between back then and being in his 50s.

The real question was going to be what to wear in Baker Rink, which is famously cold all winter. Or most winters. This weekend, it was downright warm in there. Even Steve Conn, TigerBlog's colleague at Yale who was in for the men's game, remarked about how warm it was in Baker.

TigerBlog spent a of time in Baker Rink this weekend. He saw almost all of the women's opening round ECAC playoff series against Quinnipiac, and the men's game against Yale.

When TB was at the men's lacrosse game Saturday, he thought the odds were long that the Princeton women's hockey team could rebound from its 3-2 loss in Game 1. That was back on Friday, when it was also really warm out, and really warm inside the rink.

TB walked over to Baker Rink to watch a little of the first game and ended up staying for three hours, through Princeton's 2-0 lead, Quinnipiac's two-goal rally and then the next 71 exciting minutes of scoreless end-to-end back-and-forth that saw both goalies - Princeton's Steph Neatby and Quinnipiac's Sydney Rossman, who would combine for 119 saves in that game - make great stop after great stop before the Bobcats finally ended the longest game in Tiger hockey history for men or women.

TigerBlog thought throughout the second and third overtimes that whichever team lost would have a real problem turning it around so quickly, physically and emotionally. In fact, he wouldn't have been shocked to see the team that lost Friday fall behind 3-0 in the first period Saturday and never be in it.

That is hardly what happened. In fact, you could say that the women's hockey team refused to melt, even in the warm weather.

Neatby must have really hated giving up that OT goal, because she came back and wiped out Quinnipiac for the rest of the weekend. Her team would win 2-0 Saturday and 2-1 Sunday, with a second-straight shutout stopped with just 13 seconds left, and now it is Princeton who advances on to the ECAC semifinals.

It'll be the Tigers, the fourth seed, at top seed Clarkson Saturday at 1, with Cornell and St. Lawrence in the other semi. The Tigers are very much in the NCAA tournament picture as well, a year after getting an at-large bid.

When the game ended Sunday, Princeton was finally able to celebrate, first on the ice and then in the locker room.

It was an incredible turnaround, from the loss Friday to the joy on Sunday, on skates no less.

They had every right to be exhausted, and hey, they had to be.

It's just that you couldn't tell by the way they were dancing.

Hey, they earned it, in about as difficult a fashion as possible.

You can see it for yourse


Anonymous said...

One of the best things about this blog is the opportunity to look behind the games on the field to see what goes on behind the scenes at a large, diversified, successful athletic program. You give us a sense of what it's like to be a Princeton athlete, coach, administrator or other staff member.

So here's a behind-the-scenes question prompted by your brand new Princeton lacrosse hooded sweatshirt. Princeton teams are all outfitted by Nike with the sole exception of the men's lacrosse team, which historically was outfitted by Warrior, founded by Tiger alumnus and former lacrosse star David Morrow '93. But this year the lax team is wearing uniforms by New Balance. What is the backstory here?

Mike Knorr said...

When did Stephanie Sucharda get traded?

TigerBlog said...

Bad mistake on Stephanie Sucharda. Thanks for the heads up. And New Balance is the parent company of Warrior.