We're in the Big League Now, Boys

Monday, December 13, 2010 Road Junkies 1 Comments

Game 2: Charlotte
On our way from Game 1 to Game 2, we passed through Peachtree City and set our sights on Greensboro, NC, the new home of Ken's sister Marion. Drawn there by the presence of her daughter and granddaughter, Marion has moved into a wonderful lakeside apartment and within the first week enjoyed a snowfall, evidence that she has really moved north from Georgia.
Her granddaughter Emma engineered a game of Pictionary while we were there and regaled us all with her seven-year-old sense of humor and knowledge base.

From Greensboro, we drove to Charlotte, the location of Game 2, a Sunday afternoon game between the Charlotte Checkers and the Hershey (Pa.) Bears.  As soon as we arrived at the arena (and paid $25 per ticket), we realized we were not in the minor, minor leagues any longer. The Checkers joined the American Hockey League (AHL) this season-- just a step below the NHL-- and all the attendant major league hoopla was in evidence.
A security search before entering the arena
Even the arena was very major league-- upscale seating and concessions, and two Zambonis prepared the ice for the game!
The increased quality of the game was quite evident also as the teams played with an intensity and skill level we don't see in the more minor leagues.  Stickhandling and passing skills by players on both teams were excellent.
Not having attended any NHL games in recent years, we were surprised to see that the "trapezoidal rule" intended to reduce goaltenders' wandering doesn't seem to have had much effect in keeping these goalies at home in front of the net.

Cheering for the home team again, we were rewarded with another win.  Charlotte won the game 5 to 3.  After the game we visited Ken's mother for a delightful dinner in her home and retired to our hotel beneath a dusting of snow.
And we're off to game three in Greenville, SC on Tuesday evening.

Game Stats
Goals:  8
Shots on goal:  61
Penalty minutes:  68
Cheesy ads played on scoreboard:  38
Punches thrown:  42
Broken sticks:  7
Flying pucks:  4
Attendance:  5,758
OHE*:  3.5
*Overall Hockey Experience:  Ken and Dianne's rating scale (from a low of 1 to a high of 5) which assigns a composite score to each game based on personal assessments of the facility, atmosphere, quality of play, and assessed value relative to cost.

Trip Stats:
Miles driven:  1,666
Goals scored:   10
Shots on goal:  130
Penalty minutes:  94
Temp range:  18° to 52° F.
Letterboxes found:  5
Relatives visited:  5