Ice Vegas Invitational: Arizona State vs. Northern Michigan


Since the second annual Ice Vegas Invitational has been announced for this upcoming January (2019), I wanted to look back at one of the games I covered in last year’s tournament:  Arizona State vs. Northern Michigan.

Earlier, I wrote about another game I covered, , which was a great game you should check out the images from.  This game between Arizona State and Northern Michigan was also a great game, with Arizona State coming out on top.  They eventually won the whole tournament as a pretty big underdog.

The Ice Vegas Invitations is put on by BD Global, which always puts on a great show.  I have shot different basketball tournaments for years that they have put on.  The hockey tournament is also well worth checking out if you are in Las Vegas in January.

The Arizona State vs. Northern Michigan game was a lot of fun to photograph since there were surprisingly few photographers at the game.  I alternated between two different shooting sports in the corners of the rink, and pretty much was alone most of the game.  Here are my favorite shots from the game.

I was positioned right in front of the Arizona State goal for the pre-game activities like the pledge of allegiance and line up announcements.

Face offs are always a fun part of the action to shoot.  Since the action has stopped, it is also a lot easier to get a good, clean shot, but the action is still pretty intense as the players get ready to attack the puck

During this game, the ref had to break up the face offs many times as the players were a bit eager and often started before the puck was dropped.

The intensity was pretty solid throughout this game, and there were plenty of big hits to prove it.

I had a prime spot to catch a lot of these hits.

But, I missed a lot that were right in front of me as I had to pull my camera out of the hole in the glass to keep it from getting hit by players smashing into the glass.

On more than one occasion, a hard hit led to a little scuffle.  Unfortunately, college refs stop the fight right away, unlike professional hockey.

This fight started just down the glass from where I was shooting.  I had to stick my whole camera through the glass and angle it to capture the action.  One handed shooting through a small hole in the glass was less than ideal.

Arizona State got the better of this skirmish, but it didn’t stop Northern Michigan from some parting words.

Another of my favorite things to capture are the break away attempts.  They rarely led to goals, or even to shots on the goal, but it is a great time to isolate a player on the move.  I especially try to capture the puck in the shot to help show where the player is going.

It is also fun to capture the break away from a little wider angle where you can see the defenders frantically trying to catch up.

Finally, the best images to capture are always the shots.  since the photographer holes are lined up with goals, I was almost always in prime position to capture the shots on goal.

I really liked the above shot showing the follow through on the shot as the player went down to one knee.  Unfortunately, I was late to capture the puck, which would have made it a much better image.

While the contested shots aren’t as fun to capture, they are still fun.

The biggest challenge is capturing the right time where the puck has just separated from the hockey stick so you can see the shot.  Shooting in burst mode obviously is essential.

Here is one where I was a little too slow pushing the trigger, but the follow through was pretty sweet and it was right in front of me.

Even shots far from the goal can be fun because they put a lot more force into the shot.

While the face offs, fighting, break aways, and shots on goal make up most of the best images, there are some other things worth capturing as well.

In the above image, I was able to get the defender with the puck.  because he was moving a bit slower, it was easy to capture his face in sharp focus, showing his focus down ice.

Capturing the player maneuvering around the net is fun because they are often coming right at the photographer’s position and the presence of the goalie adds some intrigue.

Finally, it is always fun to capture players as they hit the ice.

If you are interested in learning more about hockey photography, leave us a comment or ask over in our Facebook group.    You can also check out our favorite recommended gear.

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