That…. was an amazing way to home-open. A 7-1 win? The only thing that could have been better would have been a 7-0 win, and if the PA Credit Union blimp was dropping $100 instead of $5.
Of course, as these games are wont to do, it didn’t start wonderfully, at least for me… I wound up sitting on top of a season ticket holder that was in the wrong seat, and instead of arguing it, I just told the ticket people to move me. Of course, this meant I missed warmups, and I was in a rather black mood starting the game.
That lasted until Megan texted me with “They have a guy named Clitsome!” Which, unfortunately, yes, yes, the Crunch do have a guy named Clitsome!. I’m just going to leave that one there and walk away. However, they also have a McGuirk, which happens to be the name of the cat I currently live with. McGuirk got a little camera love from me tonight, just for that. But the real excitement on the Crunch lineup was the fact that their backup goalie was none other than the two-years-ago Caps camp invitee favorite Kris Mayotte, back in Jonestown from Fresno, and called up to the Crunch when they lost their main goalie to the CBJs.
But anyway, I digress. Back to the Bears.
One of my favorite parts of opening is all the player introductions-last year they did it standing around the middle faceoff circle and looking outward, but the photo guys must have whined or something, because this year it was just a big straight line across the rink. Easier, yes, but significantly less cool. Also significantly less cool, photographers that stand inbetween the player and where they’re trying to go. Dear photo gods, let me not be like that, kthxbai.
I’m also somewhat underwhelmed by the opening video this year as well…. at least what I took to be the bit that will actually be used for the rest of the games, and not just tonight. They don’t show the whole team in their respective Majestic Ice Poses, and it’s interspersed with phrases like “We will work harder.” Maybe it struck a chord with someone, but I’m not impressed. Sorry, guy-who’s-not-Puckhead in the video booth.
Anyway, when we finally got to the game, it was basically a bloodbath. The first fight was Syracuse’s Nasty Mirasty with our very own Grant McNeill at 2:08. Then, just to add insult to injury, Andrew Gordon turned around and scored at 2:34. Once Gordo broke the floodgates, it was really just downhill momentum from there, with Mink scoring the other in the first, then Giroux with two, Aucoin, Bouchard, and Lepistowith one unassisted… ironic for the guy they call Sami Assisto.
Oddly enough, quite a few of the seven for the Bears and the one for the Crunch were not pretty goals. At least two of the Bears’ goals were from someone poking at a barely obvious puck under the goalie’s leg, or just cramming the crease full of dudes and having everyone whack at it until the goalie fell over and cried Uncle, like Machesney did when they finally got him.
The fight card for the night saw Mirasty v. McNeill in the first, Pineault v. Reid in the third, and Holden v. Reid at the end of the third. There was also a nasty Arsene motion in the first to show Sestito that he wasn’t happy with his boarding Aucoin, which resulted in 4 minutes of roughing penalty, but even though Deano got Sestito out and was swinging at him, I guess there was no retaliation, and Sestito only went to the sin bin for his two minute boarding call.
And of course, no Bears game would be complete without an inept reffing staff, from not letting fights happen and seemingly forgetting to put penalty minutes on the board to calling Beagle for a tripping penalty in which one of the Crunch clearly faceplanted himself into the boards chin first.
However, this year seems to be the fans’ year to let the refs get to them. The team as a whole shrugged it off and really got going, no matter what the zebras were trying to pull. It’s also nice to see the Bears get up by four, then come back in the next period and KEEP PLAYING, as opposed to last year when they’d get up, then slack off and have to fight for it in the last 10 minutes.
Also, congrats to Alzner for his first game in Giant Center. I wasn’t overwhelmed, but I will say that he was solid back there 95% of the time, which is really all you can ask for from a defenseman. Personally, I’m still favoring Osala from what I’ve seen out of him so far. It’s nice to have a 6 foot somethinger who will throw himself around like he’s 6 foot something, but also wants to be the one to lead the drive to the net. Oskar, you’re the auction jersey I’m gunning for this year. Consider yourself warned
(To be updated with images when I finish editing all of them… ugh!)