Tuesday, October 16, 2012

A Week of Games, Castles, Kegeln and Kirtags

The Neuberg Highlanders had their first match against Devils Graz on Oct. 7.  Although it was an exhibition game, we still played to an 8-1 victory, with goals from seven different Highlander players (Illchuk, Janzen, Wheeler, Davies, Hochegger, Weiss, and Schneeberger).  We tried to bring home another win on Saturday but came up unfortunate.  The Highlanders lost their first regular season game, 6-3, against HDK Maribor.  The Highlanders struck first as I put in a short-handed goal in the first period.  Maribor evened the score at the 12-minute mark, 1-1.  Kate Wheeler scored the go-ahead goal, making the score 2-1, but Maribor managed to tie the game before the period ended.  With a 2-2 tie game, Maribor scored three consecutive goals and by that time, the Highlanders lost all hope.  With frustrated minds, it was difficult for the Highlanders to bounce back.  We did not backcheck and lacked defensively allowing many odd-man rushes, which cost us our first game.  Hopefully after a hard week of training, we will be able to respond to this loss with a victory in our next regular season game.  We host our first home game against Klagenfurt on Sunday at 6:30 p.m. in Kapfenberg. 

Photo Courtesy of Chelsea Illchuk
In addition to our matches, my roommates and I also engaged in several activities last week.  On Monday, we hosted a "Canadian Thanksgiving" at our apartment.  We invited my fiancé, Michi Schmieder, and our team trainer, Axel Riegler.   As we drank wine, beer, and Sturm, we celebrated Thanksgiving in Austria.  Although we couldn't find a turkey in the grocery stores here, we cooked a whole chicken and a ham instead.  It turned out to be a great Thanksgiving with lots of leftovers.

Photo Courtesy of Chelsea Illchuk
On Wednesday, we went to a castle in Kapfenberg, Burg OberKapfenberg, which overlooked our ice hockey rink and the rest of the town.  I have been here several times before, but it was nice to finally take two of my roommates up the mountain to see the view from the castle.  Later that night, I took my roommates Austrian bowling, or kegeln, for the first time.  The difference between Austrian bowling and American bowling is that in kegeln, you bowl with a smaller ball with two finger holes and try to knock down the nine pens, which hang from strings.  The pins sit in a diamond shape before you bowl, and if you hit the first pin at the top of the diamond, your score doubles.  My roommates found it difficult at first, but I think they got the hang of it by the end.

On Thursday, we put those dirndls back on for another beer festival.  Riegler and Schmieder also came with us to the festival; however, they were dressed in lederhosen.  The festival, called Gösser Kirtag, is a celebration in Leoben, where the Gösser brewery is located.  I attended the same festival last year with Riegler and Schmieder.  To read about my previous experience, click here.  This year, we walked the streets of Leoben while stopping at a festive tent and several bars.  We listened to Austrian music and danced the night away as we drank Gösser beer and Sturm.  After an eventful week, my roommates and I are excited to see what else Austria has in store for us. 


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