Friday, November 13, 2015

Lake Erie Monsters 3 at Milwaukee Admirals 6 (AHL) - November 11, 2015


Google Flights is a great way to find cheap flights from a given departure point to anywhere in the world. Just put your departing city and dates and an interactive map will display the cheapest price to every major destination. I often do this for upcoming weekends because you never know what might pop up. Back in mid-October, I checked for the weekend of November 7 and found round-trip flights from NYC to Chicago for $80. Surprisingly, these were not on Spirit, the low-cost carrier that charges even for carry-on bags that go in the overhead bin, but American, a full-service airline. So $40 to fly from New York to Chicago, a pretty good deal.

With work finishing on November 6, I was able to plan a nice 5-day trip and my wife was happy to join me. The only thing to find was some sports. The scene in Chicago was relatively dry with the Bears out of town; the Blackhawks hosting the Oilers was the only big match but with Connor McDavid injured, I decided to let that one go. College soccer playoffs were another possibility but UIC earned a first-round bye while DePaul had a road game. With the Windy City providing nothing else I checked my list of remaining venues. Only the AHL's Milwaukee Admirals were close enough and thankfully they had a morning home game on the 11th, the first school day in the franchise's history. The night before would see the Bucks hosting the Celtics so it became a two-city trip. Buses between Chicago and Milwaukee are convenient and cheap and thus I finally booked the entire journey.



I'm not going to recap the basketball game as I visited the Bucks just last year, but I will say it was a dreadful contest (Boston won 99-83) played in front of an arena that was maybe a third full. The Republican debate was taking place next door at the Milwaukee Theater but I don't think that affected the attendance. The Bucks ownership is getting taxpayer money to build a new arena and I think fans might be saying no thanks.



Anyway, the next morning I returned to the Bradley Center for the main event. The 10:30 start time meant lots and lots of kids enjoying some time off school. As I approached, I noticed dozens of school buses and in the end there were over 10,000 children enjoying what was for most their first pro hockey game. I picked up a ticket from a scalper and it turned out to be double printed. I still got in but wonder why these guys bother scamming for such a low payout.



The upper deck was also open and the kids were into it from the start, dutifully making noise whenever instructed by the scoreboard, which was quite often. It was actually very, very loud when this happened. I usually hate those scoreboard exhortations but enjoyed this one and hope a few kids become hockey fans because of it.



Before the game, the Admirals paraded a small boat around, a cute touch, though their Admirals name is actually from a brand of appliances that were sold at a store owned by one of the original investors.



The game was a good one with lots of goals and fights to keep the youngsters entertained. Milwaukee scored 3 in the first, all of which should have been stopped by Anton Forsberg (above). He was replaced by Joonas Korpisalo to start the second but just 38 seconds in, Max Gortz scored a power play marker to make it 4-0. Lake Erie got a couple back in the middle frame to make things interesting but Pontus Aberg scored his 2nd of the game early in the third period to make it 5-2 Admirals.



Things looked salted away but Milwaukee's Kevin Fiala took a double minor for running Korpisalo and the Monsters had a chance to get closer, but a Max Reinhart (#25 above) shorthanded goal ended all doubts. Lake Erie scored on the second power play and with that, Korpisalo was saddled with the loss. In hockey if you give up the goal that proves to be the game winner, you are the losing goalie. So even if the final was 4-3, Korpisalo would have been the loser.



Notes

This was my 18th active AHL venue. There are 12 left and I'm hoping to get them all done this season. Check back for an upcoming trip to California where I plan to see all 5 new teams in one go.

If you are looking for a brewery tour in Milwaukee, try the Lakefront Brewery, just a mile north of downtown along the river. For $8 you get four 6-oz. pours and a souvenir pint glass. The tour is informative and funny as well, and the beer much better than you will get at the Miller tour. Even better for sports fans, the chalet and mug from County Stadium is here, as you can see below.



Another surprise for me was finding the plaque below.




Next Up

I attended the Bills win over the Jets on Thursday night and will be seeing quite a bit of sports this weekend, including college soccer playoffs, Wagner football, and the NASL championship with my hometown Ottawa Fury visiting the New York Cosmos. Check back next week for a recap of all the action.

Best,

Sean

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