We're in the Big League Now, Boys

Saturday, December 11, 2010 Road Junkies 0 Comments

SOUTHEASTERN HOCKEY ODYSSEY, CHAPTER 2
  
Game 2: Charlotte Checkers vs. Hershey Bears in 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.

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.  There was even a security search before entering the arena (pictured above).
  
Even the arena was very major league-- upscale seating and concessions, and two Zambonis prepared the ice for the game, something we hadn't seen before, even at NHL games.
  
Double your zamboni, double your fun.
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 lower level minor leagues.  Stickhandling and passing skills by players on both teams were excellent.
  
Goalie behind the net
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 2 STATS
  • Charlotte 5, Hershey 3
  • 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 
  • Overall Experience:  3.5  (on a scale of 5)

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
SATURDAY, 11 DECEMBER 2010