Monday, March 1, 2010

A Caps Fan's First Visit to Chocolatetown

all photos by ME!

Up until this weekend, I kind of felt like a bad Caps fan.  I had never before made the trek to Hershey to see the Bears play in person.  Sure I've seen many of them play before - I did attend a day of development camp in the summer and of course have seen some of them when they're called up to the Caps, but I'd never seen all of them play together as a team.  One of the disadvantages of not having a car.

I had been to an AHL game before.  In fact, my very first professional hockey game was a Chicago Wolves game.  It was live hockey game love.  I honestly can't remember who they played (it was maybe 7 years ago) but I remember the excitement.  The arena was alive and the crowd was electric.  I credit that game for my first budding interest in professional hockey.

I follow the Bears of course, but only in a limited capacity since I'm too poor to pay for AHL Live, so I rely on Twitter for the most part.  So you can imagine my excitement when a bus trip down to Hershey was offered.  On Saturday, I hopped on the bus with 20 Caps fans and prayed for Holtby to be in net.  We turned into Giant Center a little over two hours later, and just judging by the sheer amount of people, I knew it was going to be good.

Was it ever.  Check out the picture below of Mathieu Perreault that I took during warmups.  He'd just scored on Bacashihua during a warmup drill.  It ended up being oddly prescient.

In the Bears' 9-2 win over the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, Mathieu scored the first goal for Hershey, and over the course of just two periods, scored three more (including one successful penalty shot).  Greg Amadio got into a fight (and kind of lost).  Chris Bourque scored, and Steve Pinizzotto (rocking a full face cage due to facial bone fractures) racked up four assists.  American Hero John Carlson had a number of great hits, as well as an assist.  Braden Holtby faced 24 shots and saved all but two.  I got to see the magic that is the Bears' top line of Andrew Gordon, Alexandre Giroux, and Keith Aucoin (the line ended up with 11 combined points on the night).  Andrew Gordon earned a new nickname from me (affectionately, "Funshine Bear").  The hockey game had everything - outstanding goaltending (by Holtby), a hat trick, a penalty shot, a fight, and over 10,000 screaming fans.  Even Coach Boudreau was there!

So, when's the next bus to Hershey?

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