Wednesday, February 21, 2018

A tough loss for the men of USA Hockey, but their heads are high!

After playing an elimination round game yesterday, the men of USA hockey team had yet another today. Today's game was against the Czech Republic and it was a very evenly matched game.

At the last minute, I decided to try can find some clean glass on the opposite side of the ice. And sure enough, I did. So I stayed down low and shot the third period there. I really like the ice position since it puts me at the same level as the athletes and brings the viewer of my photos into the action.

Before the players came out on the ice, I decided to run over to the other side of the rink to get some shots of them entering .

The guys huddled up before the game.

Both teams had some good scoring chances. I, on the other hand, was having a tough time scoring good photos. The plexiglass (which we have to shoot through) has gone from amazing to really poor. There are not only a lot of scuff marks from pucks and sticks, but the glass seems to have some anomalies which are blurring many of my photos.

After being completely frustrated by the lack of quality in my images from the first period, I decided to shoot from above the glass during the second and third period.

The good thing about shooting up high, is that it is really easy to get clean shots from this vantage point. The bad news is that I am high enough that I am not seeing the skater's eyes and expressions. But it did allow me to get this shot of Jim Slater on his break away short-handed goal.

That is worth a real celebration!

As I mentioned, I had planned on shooting the third period from up high, but then decided to check out the glass on the other side of the rink. I found a clean sheet and positioned myself there. This also happened to be by all the player's families, so I took advantage of that too. Too cute!

Big hits and big shots!

It was so nice to be able to get clean shots again at ice level!

I love this photo of Ryan Donato getting pushed back into the Czech's net.

Soon after Ryan let off a bomb of a shot from close range.

It was a power play with only a minute left in the game. And the puck hit their goalie and just dropped. I was talking with Ryan Zapolski (our goalie) tonight and he said that most of the time those pucks hit and go in. But it did not happen today.

You can see the exacerbation on all the USA fan's faces.

And as we went into overtime, it was a level of stress on the family members and American fans.

The game went to a shootout with 5 shooters on each team. The goalies were both fantastic with only one person scoring.

Unfortunately for Team USA, it was not them.

Shot after shot, we could not slip one past the Czech net minder.

One last attempt and...the game was over.

Since I was sitting right by the celebration, and it is my job to tell the story, I captured a bunch of photos of the Czech team elation. This photo cracks me up because all the guys on the left are in the air. Look, not one skate on the ice!

Then it was the customary handshakes and done.

The men took it really well. Later tonight (11pm) they made their appearance on the Today Show, and as you can tell, they were having fun.

They were there with the skiers and ice dancers.

On the plaza ready to make their appearance.

I saw Hoda Kotb doing a selfie with everyone and quickly back button focused on her face, raised my camera and took this shot of all of them.

It was an amazing hockey game, just with the wrong outcome. But the guys were gracious about it and made it a fun day all around.

Now - let's see if the American women can beat Canada in tomorrow's gold medal game!

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