Big night for me — first time I’ve gotten to see the Lady Skating Saints in Columbus. I think they played here one other time since I moved up here, but I either found out about the games after the fact, or was out of town that weekend. So I’ve been checking the schedule every pre-season hoping for a visit.
In fact, this was the first time I’ve seen them play in person since I graduated from St. Lawrence, ahem, 14 1/2 years ago. I was pretty blown away at the talent level now compared to my college years. SLU was still D3 at that time, but we had some pretty good players. But it’s just all around faster and more skilled now. Both teams were better even than the D1 teams I remember from back in the day. It’s heartening to see women’s hockey has come so far.
Pretty decent crowd, too. The official box score says 323, which is about as good, if not better, proportionate to the size of the building as the OSU men’s game I went to last Saturday in the Schott. And the fans there were pretty into it. And of course, it doesn’t take much crowd noise to make that building seem filled up. I was, best as I could tell, the only person there cheering for SLU except for one guy I think was the bus driver for the Saints’ team bus. I got a couple of sideways looks from Buckeye fans, as is always the case when you cheer for another team in Columbus, but no harassment.
Overall, it was a pretty fast, close game. Very few penalties. OSU opened the scoring early on a bad angle shot that snuck in the corner of the net. St. Lawrence got it back in the first, and seemed to carry the flow of the play for a good chunk of the night. They carried a 2-1 lead into the third, and had an advantage in SOG. But OSU had sharp goaltending, and took advantage of their chances when they had them. The teams had some back and forth scoring in the third and then OSU broke the deadlock with about five minutes to go. Saints got some decent pressure with the extra attacker on, but just couldn’t put another one away, so it ended in a loss for my team.
Teams are back at it tomorrow at 2PM. Which means that while the rest of Columbus is watching the climax of the OSU-Michigan football game, I will be at the Ice Rink cheering on the Saints. Hey, gotta have priorities, right? I’ll at least watch the first half of the football game, and I assume they’ll announce the score during the hockey game.