Being part of a hurricane wasn’t in the cards for two members of the 2-7-1 St. Cloud State University women’s hockey team.
Andover native and senior captain Alex Nelson along with St. Francis native Haylee Schmid were part of the Huskies team that waited out Hurricane Sandy’s fury on the East Coast.
The team was stranded in Rhode Island last week after playing a weekend series at Providence College. The team was scheduled to leave for its return flight Oct. 29.
“We were in a safer area really,” Schmid said. “Monday was windy and trees were blowing around, but it wasn’t anything like what happened in New York. We had a tree fall down in the parking lot but that was it.”
“We were on time for our 11:50 flight out of Boston and the team was eating breakfast at 7 a.m. when we found out the flight was canceled,” Coach Jeff Geisen said in an interview on WCCO AM radio.
Being on the northern edge of the storm, they saw a lot of rain and wind, but nothing more than what they see in Minnesota.
The Huskies couldn’t fly home for two days.
Staying caught up on class work was the biggest worry for Nelson and Schmid, along with finding clean clothing and ways to pass the time.
Nelson, a business major with a coaching minor, missed key accounting and exercise physiology classes.
Schmid, a finance major, who missed four days worth of classes, made up a test Monday and Wednesday. “The teachers really understand what’s going on so that is really helpful for us,” Schmid said.
“It’s obviously been hectic trying to catch up on sleep and school work,” Nelson said. “But things are starting to calm down now and it is nice to have some downtime now and hopefully that will show up in our play.”
Being the de-facto spokespeople for Minnesota took some teammates by surprise.
“It was overwhelming for some of the girls,” Nelson said about the added publicity. “We didn’t realize we were the spokespeople for the storm. It was unexpected but it feels good to get some face time on the TV for St. Cloud State.”
An assistant coach helped the team find a laundromat and the coaches organized team practice time at Providence.
“We did what we could, spent time in the pool and hot tub, did some laundry. Went shopping one day. It wasn’t as bad as people made it out to be,” Nelson said.
Other then that, the teammates found creative ways to pass the time. Nelson and Schmid were part of a couple of team videos to document the conditions.
In one video, Schmid gives a enthusiastic weather report, complete with gusty wind and trees nearly bent over.
The other clip shows Nelson holding the legs of teammate Molli Mott parallel to the ground. Mott is holding a stop sign and Schmid adds to the storm effect by tossing a few clumps of leaves into the action.
The team didn’t return home until the afternoon of Halloween and two days to prepare for No. 10-ranked Ohio State.
The Buckeyes opened the home schedule for the Huskies, who dropped both games, 3-2 Nov. 2 and 4-2 Nov. 3.
Nelson and Schmid set-up a power play goal in the first game.
Nelson gave the Huskies a 1-0 lead less than three minutes into Saturday’s rematch on a shorthander for her team-high tying sixth point of the season in the 4-2 loss.
The Huskies tied one and lost one in the series at Providence College.
Schmid scored her first goal of the season on a first-period power play and Nelson added an assist in a 2-2 tie Oct. 27. She had a season-high four shots on goal in the 4-2 loss to the Fryers Oct. 28.
Schmid has 16 points with 18 penalties for 36 minutes in four seasons.
Nelson finished fourth on the team in scoring last season with 11 points (seven goals) and has 37 career points in four seasons and is looked as a key contributor for the Huskies.
“I’m hoping to be that go-to player on the ice and fill those shoes for the team and hopefully win some more games this season,” she said.
The Huskies face Lindenwood University in a non-conference series Nov. 9-10 before hosting the University of Minnesota Duluth Nov. 16-17 to conclude a six-game home stand.
Jason Olson is at firstname.lastname@example.org