Bears Win 2-1 Over Admirals In AHL Showcase
(Photo courtesy Washington Capitals)
Going into the AHL Showcase, emotions were on their own roller coaster ride to the promise land of potentially seeing NHL hockey being played at the Verizon Center in the near future. The Bears and Admirals were just here to warm up the ice since optimism was running high for the majority of Wednesday leading up to the match. Fans lined up, the house was sold out*, and hockey was back being played in DC. The last time the AHL was in town it was back in 1979 at the Caps Centre in Landoverr. The night proved to be the 11th most attended all-time AHL game in history with Hershey's match earlier this year in Philly coming in at first place with 45000+ people.
When the Bears and Admirals last met, they dropped a heart breaking 5-1 loss in front of a crowd at the Giants Center (teddy bear toss night to boot. Heartless, heartless fellas). In just 10 seconds to the game, McMillan of the Admirals struck first sneaking one right by Holtby. 10:56 into the match, Orlov to what looked like getting clocked in the face by a puck, went down and accidentally tripped up an Admiral player therefore sending him to the sin bin. He wasn't to return for the rest of the game due to an "upper body" injury and would be day-to-day. At time of press conference, head coach Mark French was not clear as to Orlov's status but provided that he offered talent to the power play when he was in. To close out the 1st period, Barlow from Hershey powered in his first goal on the season to tie the game up.
The 2nd period had not much to offer pulling both teams together fairly evenly in the shots and PIM's racked up but seemingly was around the time news started to break about the lockout. Luckily with cell service working, fans started to find more out about the latest development in the setbacks to the CBA negotiations. #FireBettman had started to trend on twitter.
Heading into the 3rd, Potulny (leading shots on goal) finally was able to net a goal to put Hershey up 2-1 which would prove to be the GWG. When Coach French was asked about Potulny's goal he stated that "it hurts us when he's not scoring so to get him out of that slump is important for us". As the game winded down the patriarch of the "It's All Your Fault" chants (we love that chant just like Alzner does) and started with the instant-classic "Fire Bettman" chant that will be there to stay.
So is this a turning point for a club that sits near the bottom in the Eastern division standings at 10-11-1? This match seemed to seesaw in effort and kept players working the points and not really playing the dump and chase effectively that NHL fans are used to. With the pass up top happening the most throughout the match, Hershey did not seemingly know when to crash the net and offer puck surgery to get the puck in although one timers were provided close range but to no avail.
In a post-game interview, Holtby mentioned "it was great to see the crowd again here at the Verizon Center". On the first goal, he thought it first went low but then rose on him to allow Norfolk to have a lead early on in the match but adds the team rallied in the moment and ended up pulling through. ON playing in the match tonight he didn't think he'd be playing in this game but was glad to be back and playing under in the phone booth. "In September I didn't think I would be here playing in this". He laughed when asked about the "Fire Bettman" chants and graciously played it off as saying that Verizon Center gets rowdy and we needed to focus on the game played from the top of the glass down.
Special note to the Caps Organization as well as those that I met in the press box tonight, thank you. Such an honor to be apart of something this special at a time that offers a bit of uncertainty and allowing a home-bred blog in the company of esteemed and vetted publications. Ok, now back to us being goofy.