(Photos by Caps Outsider) It was all about the fans Saturday night...
Caps Road Crew Heads North, Takes in a Bears Victory
Hershey defenseman Tomas Kundratek celebrates a goal against the WBS Penguins on Nov 17, 2012 (All Photos Credit: M. Richter)
Chippy, with a chance of fisticuffs.
That was the forecast for this evening’s Caps Road Crew adventure when a full busload of fans hit the road for Hershey, and it proved right on the money (a 4-1 win for the Bears, with a combined total of 84 PIM).
Encounters between the Hershey Bears and their division rivals the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins are always filled with the possibility of lost tempers and hard feelings – meeting up twelve times a season will do that to teams. Saturday night marked the third exchange of pleasantries between the two since the regular season kicked off, and it gave the 10,082 hockey fans in the audience plenty of bang for their buck.
First, there was the all-important victory, which ended a three-game losing streak and helped the Bears to claw their way within spitting distance of a .500 winning percentage (currently, they’re 6-7-1-0).
Then, there was Caps Prospect Garrett Mitchell. Fresh off of a fight in Syracuse last night, Mitchell scored the team’s first two goals of the night. One of them was the first successful penalty shot by a Hershey Bears since 2/27/2010. The other was the game-winner (with a little help from Zach Hamill and T.J. Syner). Suffice it to say, he had a good showing.
And, of course, one can’t forget the fights. There were three on the books (WBS’s Morrow v. HER’s Clackson and WBS’s Farnham v. HER’s Taffe clashed in the second period, WBS’s Uher v. HER’s Marshall at the end of the game). Another couple of altercation were either downgraded to double-roughing penalties (Farnham v. Oleksy at the end of the game, for example) or simply broken up and resulted in players being sent back to their benches like unruly schoolboys (i.e. WBS’s Tangradi v. HER’s Kundratek).
For the record, the two insurance goals tonight were earned by Caps defensive prospect Tomas Kundratek (assisted by Garrett Stafford and Matt Beaudoin) and Captain Boyd Kane (Empty Net). Trevor Smith had the solo goal for the Baby!Pens against goaltender Braden Holtby.
“I’m really looking forward to live hockey!” said one enthusiastic fan who made the trip with the Road Crew. It was a sentiment that was echoed amongst many members of the Washington, DC-based group who came up for tonight’s game, and it highlights one of the main benefits that the fan-run organization provides to the Caps community. While there are certainly venues for catching live, upper-tier amateur hockey in the DC area – the Junior Nationals in the AJHL, for example, or any of the many local colleges which ice teams – ferreting them out can be tricky at best.
In addition, few of the playing surfaces in the DC Metro area are even nominally accessible by public transportation. It’s a situation that makes attending games problematic at best. By organizing trips up to Hershey while the Verizon Center ice sits empty, the CRC provides an outlet to allow fans to continue their support of rising players as well as further their love of the game.
If you’re looking to join up, the Road Crew’s next confirmed AHL trip is slated for the Outdoor Classic on Sunday, January 20. The game will take place at Hersheypark Stadium, and the Bears will again be playing host to the WBS Penguins. Details for all upcoming Road Crew events can be found on their website.