Thursday, February 20, 2014

A heart wrenching loss for the woman of USA Hockey!

I have to say that, as I write this blog, I am really bummed. Not for me, but for the women of USA hockey, who had a two goal lead with 5 minutes left in the game and then ended up losing. You see, most people root for the team for pride in their country, but I actually know these people and wanted them to win because I know how bad they wanted it.

I was so sure they were going to win, that with 6 minutes left in the game, I prepared my extra camera to take the team photo from the ice.

Well...that never happened. They played their hearts out for the whole game. It was the worst way for them to lose this one.

Here is what I captured tonight...

The women had a whole lot of offensive push throughout the game.

And honestly, I think that they outplayed the Canadians up until the very end.

Both teams played like you would expect in a gold medal game.

Unlike the last couple of games, this time I sat on a side position instead of shooting behind the net. I think it gave me better images, especially for this offensive game.

Here is a shot on goal, with the puck coming straight at the goalie.

And here is a photo of the puck coming towards me.

In the second period, Jessie (the goalie) made an awesome save on a point-blank shot from the Canadian woman.

During one of the breaks, she skated over towards where I was sitting, and I grabbed this shot of her,

Some of the action shots from my end of the ice.

Alex Carpenter scored the second goal for team USA, and it looked like the team would win gold.

Time to celebrate the goal.

The Americans did not let off on the gas, and kept pressing the Canadians. But, with a couple of minutes left in the game, the Canadians pulled their goalie to give them a one person advantage.

This was a critical point in the third period. One of the American skaters shot the puck down the ice to try and make it a three goal game, basically solidifying the win. But the puck hit the post and did not go in. If only...

And then the Canadians scored two quick goals to send the game into overtime. Myself and most others in the arena were shocked. Although most of the arena was pulling for Canada, so they were happy about the turn of events.

The first couple of minutes of overtime belonged to team USA. I thought that they were going to win it at this point.

So close...

But their goaltender came up strong and stopped the shots on goal.

Then the referees called a penalty on one of the American skaters. I heard that is was a questionable call, but honestly, I have no idea. See...most of the time I am looking through a tiny hole in a camera, more worried about being in focus and catching the action, so I do not see the same like others watching it in the stands or on TV. Most of the time, I know that there was a goal by the crowd noise as much as anything else.

Well...the Canadians did not waste the powerplay opportunity and they won the game in overtime. Obviously, there was jubilation on their side of the ice.

It was a completely different story on our side.

I am not sure what they said in this huddle, but none of them came out of it feeling any better. It was heartbreaking for all of them.

And for me, being their photographer, people might think that it would be less emotional, but I took it hard. They are such nice ladies and I really wanted this for them.

It was really hard to take these photos, for a couple of reasons. I was not sure if the team even wanted them, and I felt the same way I did when photographing a funeral. When people are crying and not feeling good, I doubt they want that captured in a photo. But I did take the photos, because it is my job and because it tells the story.

You can see it on their faces.

I know that a lot of people will say, "hey, they should be happy that they won a silver medal", but with type of game, you don't win a silver medal, you lose a gold one. It is a tough one to take, especially the way it happened.

Team Canada was all smiles, as you can imagine. And for all of you people reading this who live in Canada, you should know that I love Canada and the people. I play hockey, therefore I have a little Canadian blood in my body too. :)

Myself and a select group of photographers were allowed to walk out onto the ice to shoot the medal ceremony. I photographed the Canadian team and the Swiss team, but the American's were too devastated about the loss and just left the ice without a group shot.

They just hugged each other and then skated off (after congratulating the other teams). As I said, it was a really tough loss for them, and tough to photograph for me.

I think this is more emotional for the women because, unlike the men who play in the NHL, this is the only place for them to really shine. And therefore they work for 4 years for this one game. Anyways...they played awesome and should be proud of the silver medal.

I saw them outside the arena at 2am, as I was leaving, and I still don't think they were content with a silver.

Congratulations to Team Canada for an amazing comeback.

Now, let's see what happens tomorrow, when the USA men compete against the Canadians.


Unknown said...

It's always tough to see good teams lose. But they lost to a formidable foe.

Papa Nature said...

Jeff, thanks for a great telling of this story, with both your words and photos. Congrats to both team, it was a very hard fought game.

Papa Nature said...

Jeff, thank you for the great telling of this story, both with your words and photos. Congrats to both teams. It was such a hard fought game.

ira block said...

It really was sad, I thought for sure they had the win.

Unknown said...

That was a very hard loss to take as they seem so deserving and played so hard and well. Great photos and blog post. I feel for them. I can't imagine how hard that must have been as their photographer and their friend.

Scott V. said...

Jeff, I was reading your post as my wife was starting to watch the coverage on NBC Nightly News, so I already knew what had happened because of that. One thing that I saw that I thought was really cool was the top of the stadium (from outside) with the two countries flags lit up on the outside of the roof in LED's. If you have time for the Men's game, if it's dark, it might make for a cool night shot to add to your collection!

Unknown said...

Jeff, those girls played their hearts out.
My colleagues and I listened to this game on the radio at work today and to a man we thought the Americans girls did their country proud.
And we're in Toronto.

The greatest rivalries are born from the strongest passions and desires... These two teams have that!
They could make a movie.
Bring on the mens' game!!!

Brenda J said...

Great catch on the almost empty net goal!

bgillies said...

Jeff, just to clarify. When the puck hit the post of the Canadian empty net, the score was 2-1, not 2-0 as you suggest.

Dawn Gail said...

Very proud of this team. I'm sure it was hard to shoot. Thanks for being honest and sharing the raw emotions that went along with these pictures. Congrats to team Canada.

Doug Elliott said...

I'm a fan of your B&H photography seminars and your photography, so I have been following your blog and marveling at your stunning photos from Sochi.

As a Canadian living in Australia, I am jubilant about the Canadian women's win, of course, but your post gave me an insight into the other side of the game: how devastating it must be for the US women after putting all that hard work and heart into the competition.

They're all champions, and so are you for your gracious and classy comments.

Bruce said...

Well said, well shot

Frank said...

Nevertheless, you shot awesome pics and i am not a hockey fan but i know what losing means and i could sense it through youre pics, thank you

John R said...

I'm enjoying your pics and the how to's of capturing them. I have always said...this is why we watch sports, you never know which team/person is going to win. Thanks, happy clicking...