Remember the Rivals: Hershey Edition

Posted October 23, 2011

If you ask a random hockey fan on the streets of the DC metro area if the Caps have a rival, you are likely to get one of three answers:

  • The fan in question will launch into an explanation of how evil Pittsburgh is for existing/drafting Sidney Crosby/daring to win a Stanley Cup (estimated at 50%).
  • The fan in question will tell you that they’re pretty sure that the Penguins are our rival, but they’re not entirely sure why that is (estimated at 25%).
  • Or the fan will admit that they’re primarily a fan of whichever team they supported before work moved them to Washington, and that whatever rivalry Caps fans think they have can’t possibly compare to [insert home team here]’s burning hatred of [insert rival team here] (estimated at 25%).

Wherever you fall in the above spectrum, there’s no arguing that Washington likes to get itself hot and bothered every time the Penguins come to town.  In Hershey, they feel the same way about the Baby Penguins (technically, they’re the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, but for the sake of clarity they will henceforth be known as the Baby Pens on this blog).

Last night was the first of six visits the Baby Pens will make to the Giant Center this year, and the second of the twelve meetings scheduled this season.  Like last week’s Home-and-Home with Norfolk, the Bears lost in front of the home crowd after winning against the Baby Pens on the road.

The game itself was ugly, with the ref keeping a lid on aggressions after a high-shoulder hit on Eric Tangradi in the first period resulted to flaring tempers on both sides.  Hershey had discipline and frustration problems, the Baby Pens had (less) discipline and frustration problems, and the end result was a total of 19 minor penalties and a lot of ice time for both sets of special teams.

Hershey pulled themselves together late in the third, breaking Brad Thiessen‘s bid for a 15th career shutout with a goal from Captain Boyd Kane, but the Baby Pens held onto their remaining two-goal lead for the last 3 minutes of play.  The 1-1 record will stand for 13 days before the teams meet again on Friday, November 4 in Wilkes-Barre.

Newbie News

Garrett Mitchell (guest of the Caps for Development, Rookie, and Training Camps this summer) was called up from the South Carolina Stingrays and played his first AHL game last night.  It was an inauspicious introduction, with two minor penalties leading Mitchell to spend almost as much time in the sin bin as he did on the ice with the fourth line.

Goalie News

With the return of Dany Sabourin to Hershey, Philipp Grubauer has been sent back down to the Stingrays, where it’s hoped he can help them to shake their current 2-game losing streak as they continue their road trip with a stop in Chicago against the Express.