The Bryce Is Right
Bryce Lampman (#26) after scoring the first of two goals (Photo: packattack.org)
I guess when you chose to follow a below-.400 team thru miserable traffic for a road game in a gloomy town at an arena that's a bit like a Brachs Malt Egg (shiny and alluring on the outside, dumb and dense as rocks on the inside), you're hoping for a little bit of luck. Luck, so that maybe the team will win the game and make your expense and effort worthwhile. Enough luck, also, so that the old guy next to you who keeps whistling and clapping loudly every few seconds finally gets tired in the third period and shuts the hell up, and so the mice scurrying under the seats finally go away. Hey, DCU Center-- would it be too difficult for you to hire an exterminator sometime soon? Appreciate it, thanks. That'd be cool for when I come back someday, seeing as I'm all lucky now and stuff, not to mention that fucking bored.
As luck would have it, the Hartford Wolf Pack put together their third win in a row on Sunday, travelling up to Worcester to beat the Sharks in a rousing back-and-forth contest, 6-5. The Pack were tied or trailing for most of the game until Bryce Lampman's two third-period goals carried them into OT, after which Jarkko Immonen scored the game-winner in overtime, his second goal of the night.
Lampman has been on a bit of a roll lately, notching 3 goals and 3 assists over his last three games. When I pointed this out to Mrs. Brushback after the game, she said back, "Yeah, but I bet he was still a minus tonight," and sure enough, he was (-1). About the only Pack defenseman who wasn't a minus was Ivan Baranka, who also had 2 assists. Well, Martin Richter was a +1 also, even if he didn't play all that well.
On the face-off, left to right: Dawes (#9), Immonen, and Callahan (#24). #23 is Ivan Baranka. (Photo: packattack.org)
Also on a major roll is the Wolf Pack top line of Ryan Callahan, Jarkko Immonen, and Nigel Dawes, accounting for 8 points (3g, 5a) and 13 shots on goal in this game. By themselves, Immonen and Callahan combined for 11 goals in the Pack's four games this week, with Dawes notching 6 assists in that span.
Al Montoya lasted the whole game in net, after not playing since being pulled in two straight starts earlier in the week. Montoya's play was still shaky, and he seems to use "drop to the ice" as a first option on most save attempts, leaving himself scrambling to stop any second chances for the opposition. I think it's telling that Montoya is the first-round draft pick and the organization's #1 goalie prospect, but it was the veteran Valiquette who started in net on Friday and Saturday, when the Pack needed to win the most.
Al Montoya (Photo: packattack.org)
As for the aforementioned DCU Center (which used to be called the Centrum Centre-- swear to God!), it's got a number of good things going for it; the parking, the facade, the lobby, the video board, the lighting, and the concessions are all top-notch. Inside the arena, though, is where things take a tumble-- mostly with the seating areas, which are both odd and uncomfortable. The way the rink is wedged into the floor space makes for less than a perfect fit, so the seating rows on the glass at the end of each rink start above the boards, just like they used to in New Haven (by coincidence, another SMG-run facility). By contrast, the seats on the corners are set well back from the glass, also like New Haven, and the chairs all around are too close together and low to the ground (which maybe explains why the mice are so short).
Worcester has just one Zamboni to clean the ice between periods (at least it's a real Zamboni, and not an Olympia), meaning less time for contests during the intermissions, so they hold some of the on-ice promotions (like throwing t-shirts into the crowd) during the game itself, which makes for an odd sight while the players are still skating around the rink.
Benny Hahnna, banzai scout master (Photo: packattack.org)
Worcester also has Benny Hahnna, the Banzai Scout Master, who sucessfully led his section into doing "the wave" on the count of three, even if none of the other sections bothered to follow suit. Rock on, Benny! One-two-three!