The shootout experience against Minnesota

This goes all the way back to December of 2013, but the experience was almost surreal.

While shooting from the bench at Michigan State, oftentimes there’s a rotation among photographers and the university videographer. Two people down there at a time. Depending on the game, you might get to shoot two periods, you might get one. By chance I happened to grab the third period. I wandered around for the first 40 minutes of the game and then meandered down there during a break. The game hadn’t been too exciting, but the Spartans managed to keep a tie game for some odd 14 minutes or so in the third period.

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A little pre-period action. Truth be told I didn’t make it down to the bench in time to avoid the locker room scramble, so I stuck around a bit longer in the hallway until everyone was out on the ice.

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This happened at pretty much every game. Brent Darnell (oddly from my hometown) would always stretch out right in front of us. Generally I was always in the way, so I felt bad. But not bad enough to snap a quick photo without looking into the viewfinder.

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This one wasn’t exactly a bench photo, but I didn’t put it into a gallery because I wasn’t very fond of the composition. I would have liked my frame to be a little bit lower to include the goaltender, but it is what it is. I’m pretty sure he also managed to kick my camera with his skate while hopping onto the ice during the game.

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Going into overtime I was nervous. I’d seen it too many times. The team holds a tie well into overtime, appears to be on the way to a win, and then falls barely minutes into extra play. Amazingly they kept the five minutes scoreless and sent the game into a shootout against the number one team in the Big Ten.

Shootouts are intense. I’m not going to write much copy here because I think the raw take photos can pretty much speak for themselves, but it ranges from extreme celebration to very intense nerves.

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It was and still is an extremely awarding experience (if not a fluke). I got to learn a lot about the personalities of some of the players and coaches. Their tension and their nerves and their excitement eventually trickled into my overall experience, immersed me in something I typically wouldn’t be part of as a spectator. I have to say it was one of the most interesting bench experiences to date, even though I didn’t nearly get taken out by a player or a puck or some kind of stick.

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