For 12 winters, our lives revolved around Fighting Sioux men’s hockey games. Indeed, we still own 4 season tickets. Yet our lives revolve around the sports and activities of our own little people, so we rarely get to see the team play live and in person. Until Mankato!
So when the Sioux schedule was published in the summer, I used pen to mark the weekend of Dec 10 – 11. The Sioux were slated to take on the Minnesota State University Mavericks in Mankato, which is practically in our back yard.
Big bragging rights on the line
Added bonus: Matt’s 5th grade teacher is Mr. Jutting. Mr. Jutting’s twin brother is the Mavericks’ head coach. It’s made for daily ribbing between the two, since Matt’s teacher and his bro also played for the Mavs–and Mr. Jutting has a son in youth hockey.
Friday afternoon, we scooped up Matt and Caroline from school just a few moments early to head southwest. Greg mentioned something about a winter storm approaching. Whatever, I thought (mistake #1). We already had 19″ of snow.
I wanted a little more cozy family time, so we drove the Siouxgreen Honda Accord (mistake #2). See, we’re not all together that often these days. Everyone’s going in their own direction, and I, for one, was really excited about all being together. Just us. Just for a few precious hours.
Southern Minnesota is beautiful in every season, and we had a great trip down, laughing, teasing, catching up and anticipating the game. Matt and I recalled our last trip to Mankato for Vikings Training Camp. Ah, ignorance was bliss in August…
“The usual” at B dubs
We found a Buffalo Wild Wings for dinner. Some cool signed Vikes memorabilia to view. Ordering here is easy: Julia and Caroline are Sweet BBQ, Matt and I are Medium, Greg had a (get this) burger.
*disclaimer: Due to an unfortunate accident during Christmas caroling, my “real” camera is no more. These photos were taken with my mobile. Please excuse quality.
We all appreciate Caroline’s view of the world. Walking in to the arena, this was our view of the beautiful building across the street. “Oh, look, mom, they put on the Siouxgreen lights. Wasn’t that nice?” Yep, Caroline. Yep.
Not exactly The Ralph
Mankato is a developing hockey program — there were more Sioux fans in the stands (or at least more vocal), yet there was a purple buzz in the air, since the Mavs had just swept the MN Gophers the previous weekend.
After Matt and Greg had some “Ticket Trouble” last season in Mankato, we did purchase tickets online Thursday evening (mistake #3: didn’t need to buy ahead; there were PLENTY of seats).
The first shift of the game, Mankato scored. Seven minutes later, I looked up from my popcorn and the Sioux were down 0 – 2. Still, there were highlights we used to take for granted when we saw games more often:
– Matt Frattin, now nation’s top goal scorer (he had 1 goal; 2 assists)
– Chay Genoway back in action! (He suffered a concussion that left him out of the lineup most of last season)
– Aaron Dell in goal: we saw him make a career-high 35 saves
Matt’s cap worked: Seven minutes of great hockey in the 3rd period put the Sioux ahead 4 – 3, including the game-winner by Jake Marto!
Just as I clicked this photo, the announcer mentioned something about freezing rain and “blah blah drive carefully…blah blah see you tomorrow night.” Well, he was right on 2 counts. We stepped outside onto an ice rink, with rain falling. We crawled through downtown on icy roads. But the Sat. night game was moved to Sunday afternoon due to the blizzard that moved in.
Treacherous trek home
It rained and sleeted until about Jordan, when the weather turned to snow. We didn’t venture about 40 mph and nearly didn’t make it up a snowy hill in the beautiful town of Jordan. But we made it home safely, and an evening together was worth it.
By Saturday afternoon, we had another 17″ inches of snow–and as Matt said, “I can go to school proud and talk hockey with Mr. Jutting.”
All worth it. (Next time, I’ll listen to the weather forecast and take the 4WD. Perhaps…) All worth it.