May 17, 2008

Memorial Cup - Game 1

Gatineau 5 - Kitchener 6 (OT)

The Memorial Cup opened with the host and OHL Champions playing the Gatineau Olympiques. Our “seats” are actually reserved standing room positions behind the first row of seats at ice level. This is a great spot to be if you like the close-up and personal view of the game – especially the part where they smear each other into the glass. We are right in front of Section 7, which for this game is the end that Gatineau attacked twice.

I don’t have access to internet at the B&B so I’m enjoying a cup of tea at Starbucks as I get this update updated. So it will be quick too as the spousal unit is impatiently waiting.

It looked like a rout in the making when Kitchener went up 3 – zip really quickly but those sneaky Olympiques made it a game when they got two back in the first period on only 7 shots. But you could see that Kitchener really was the better team overall as they continued to take the game more to Gatineau than the other way around.

It was fast, hard-hitting with casualties along the way and a fight too. The ‘Piques kept pressing and sure enough they tied it up late in the third period to make it really interesting. For some reason, Gatineau lost all the momentum they ended the game with. The Rangers on the other hand came out firing on all cylinders and almost ended the game on a number of shots.

The refs were letting the players play but it ended on a powerplay when Gatineau was called for too many men on the ice. It’s a cheesy way to lose an important game (only second to a puck going over the glass) but Kitchener really deserved to win the game. But they may be worried about Unice as he let in 5 goals on only 28 shots (the fourth goal being a real softie). Mior saw 53 shots.

Random Thoughts:
  • certainly a lot of Ranger fans as expected but also a fair sprinkling of fan from other clubs. Lots of out of town jerseys. I’m wearing a 67s third jersey from 2005 and several folks have commented on what a nice jersey it is.
  • everyone is really friendly – lots of casual conversations.
  • for a region that can organize Oktoberfest, they certainly have missed the boat here. The parking is notoriously bad here and with many folks, me included, picking up their ticket packages at the box office, there were a lot of people here reasonably early. If you wanted a pre-game beer and something to eat, you had to pay $5.00 to go underground to another rink on the premises. Otherwise you had to line up and wait for access to the arena to open (not before an hour before the game). I was starving when I got to my “spot” which was another adventure in itself – the ushers really didn’t know where the reserved standing room was.
  • here's the game sheet

Gotta run now. Here are some pictures.

Now that's a playoff beard!

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