The Ice Griffs got a chance to return home to our respective states and provinces to spend some quality time with loved ones, and to catch up with old friends. It turns out that Santa found every one of the Griffs this year, as we all enjoyed showing off our new toys with our teammates upon our return to Buffalo. Most of the boys returned well rested and in high spirits, with the exception of Vinny Scarsella, who came back rather distraught after finally finding out the truth about Old Saint Nick.
It was an exciting time here in Buffalo over the break as the top junior-aged hockey players from all over the world were in town for the World Junior Under 20 Championship. The tournament displayed teams from Slovakia, Finland, Sweden, Russia, USA, Germany, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Norway, and Canada.
The boys got the chance to make it out to a few games to cheer on their home countries. There was no shortage of playful bickering going on between the American and Canadian Ice Griffs during the tournament, as each side believed their country iced the better team. The two countries met in the semifinals and Canadian and American Griffs split up to watch the game separately as we do every year. This year, Canada came out on top in a very intense game and the Canadians earned bragging rights for the next year. The Canadian team went on to win the silver medal, while the Americans took home the bronze.
The Ice Griffs played five games over break against non-conference opponents. One day after the boys returned from break on December 28, we boarded the bus and headed to South Bend, Indiana to face the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. It was a great experience to not only play a strong team, but to see the widely famous school up close.
After a solid week of practice, the Griffs hopped on a plane on the next trip to the University of Wisconsin in Madison. It was another great experience to play a highly-ranked team at a well-known school, but we weren't there to be tourists, we were there to win hockey games and show how good of a team we are. After a close loss on the first night, we felt we played well but could give much more. On Saturday night, the Griffs came out and put together a strong three periods, but ultimately fell in the dying seconds of overtime.
Our most recent games were against the Quinnipiac Bobcats this past weekend. After a less than satisfactory showing on Sunday, we came back on Monday to tie while showing a resiliency and determination that we knew we had in us.
It was great to have a break from school and only focus on hockey for a full month. We went up against some very strong opponents over the break and although a couple games ended in disappointment, we learned some very valuable lessons. We hope to take these lessons and carry them over into next week as we start league play once again in the final stretch of our pursuit of an Atlantic Hockey Championship.
See you at the rink,
Scott Jenks, #3