I've been saying I needed to do this since September. It's March. I finally got to Bridgeport. What a beautiful day for a ferry ride and an afternoon at the rink.
One of the best things about the Arena at Harbour Yard is the people you meet. As soon as Wendy and I got through the doors and down to the glass for pre-game warm-ups, Eileen the VP of the Sound Tigers Booster Club came by to say hello and ask me where I bought my Islanders jacket. But her Islanders bag so totally trumped my Modell's jacket.
The Sound Tigers Booster Club not only does some great charity work for the neighborhood, but they also do a little charity work for the team. They actually create Welcome Wagon packages for the new team members when they arrive in Bridgeport. I found that interesting as well as charming. Every player who has come through this franchise has had nothing but great things to say about it and I'm pretty sure a lot of it has to do with the great people that are part of their Booster Club.
It was good to see Brendan Witt on the ice playing very well, though I have no real stats as the AHL stat page is limited. I haven't seen Nathan Lawson since rookie camp. I almost didn't recognize him except for the name on the back of his jersey.
Let's put it this way -- it was lunch!
Okay, but we weren't there for the food, we were here for the hockey, which was very entertaining. There were quite a few players on the ice that I had never heard of before and a few I was very familiar with from seeing them in Uniondale.
There were a total of twelve penalties in this game and Matt Martin was the first to draw blood with a power play goal early in the first. His goal would be the only one tallied until the Jordon Eberle tied it up in the third. In all actuality, had Springfield not taken a penalty in overtime, I think Wendy and I would have missed the ferry back to Port Jeff.
But at 2:13 into the over time period, Mike Radja gave Bridgeport the game winner with assists by Matt Martin and Mark Flood. It was joyous.
Now, of course, GM Garth Snow, who was surprisingly sitting with his young son up on the fourth floor, would have liked to see a regulation win. But it was a win none-the-less. I'm not sure if he was there checking out those who have played on the Islanders squad or those who are YET to play on it. Then again, he may have just been there to spend a Sunday afternoon with his son enjoying a hockey game.
Jesse Joensuu played hard, but I did notice him knocked down a few times. I also saw him fight which surprised me.(Okay, this not having the same stats available for the AHL game that I do for an NHL game is really annoying me. But okay.) Greg Mauldin lead the team with five shots on goal followed by Matt Martin and Jake Gannon with four. Scott Munroe faced 27 shots and Springfield's Jean-Philippe Levasseur faced 30. Close enough to an NHL game, right? Right.
Difference? It cost me $29 for the ferry and the game ticket. Had I decided to make the drive in and get stuck in traffic it would have cost me $6 to park in their garage. For that price I got to watch some names I know and some I don't play a game I love -- from the 6th row of section 106.
If you haven't made the trip to the arena, I suggest you do. That saying of "tomorrow's stars today" isn't a lie.