Saturday, December 27, 2014

Bridgeport Sound Tigers 5 at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins 0 (AHL) - December 27, 2014

After a quick trip to celebrate the holidays back in Canada, I drove home to NYC on Saturday. Although the trip is only seven hours, I decided to stop in Wilkes-Barre, PA, to see an AHL game. The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins play in the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza in what must be the longest team/arena combo in pro sports. The arena is surrounded by a huge parking lot which is free and well managed, with several attendants guiding fans to their specific spot. I arrived just as the game was getting under way but had no trouble purchasing the cheapest ticket at $18, in the first row of the upper bowl behind the net. As I made my way around the concourse, I spotted a standing area in one corner and spent the first period there (view below).

I also noticed that the last row in the second deck was empty (above), so I decided to forgo my assigned seat (a rather uncomfortable looking folding chair) and move to section 218, which presented a clear view of the entire ice surface.

This area also is right in front of some banners commemorating those who had played here before moving up to Pittsburgh.

Bridgeport (affiliate of the NY Islanders) was in town, and they have a lot of recognizable names, including Reinhart (Griffin, the 4th overall pick in 2012 and son of Paul, shown above), Courtnall (Justin, son of Geoff), Langkow (Chris, cousin of Daymond), Conacher (former Senator and Sabre Cory) and Sundstrom (Johan, the Islanders 2nd-round pick in 2011, but no relation to the many other Sundstroms who have played in the NHL). Both teams had their primary goaltenders called up before the game, leading to a battle of the backups between David Leggio of Bridgeport (below) and Matt Murray.

The game was less than stellar for the home team, who seemed to be suffering from a bit of a Christmas hangover. Bridgeport scored the only goal of the first on a great one-timer from Kael Mouillierat. The Penguins took a stupid penalty with three seconds left in the first frame, and then another just 50 seconds into the second, and Bridgeport capitalized when Colin McDonald banged home a rebound just as the first penalty expired. The visitors added two more in a 50-second span late  in the period to salt the game away. The third period was completely unremarkable and I left a couple of minutes early, missing another tally from McDonald as the Sound Tigers soundly thrashed the Penguins 5-0, with Leggio picking up his first shutout as a Tiger. If you really care, highlights are here. A pretty dull affair with Sundstrom getting knocked down in a silly attempt at fighting the only thing the home fans had to cheer.


The parent Penguins were also shutout at home, 3-0 by Washington.

I had seen a playoff game here back in 2003, so this doesn't count as a new venue, even though the name changed.

You can get $10 in free play at the nearby Mohegan Sun Casino with your game ticket. Definitely worth looking around for dropped ducats if you are staying in the city for a day or two.



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