Hey Ducks fans, just checking back in with you after a nice weekend in which we won our first two games of the season.
Opening night against Worcester was awesome, as was the following night, especially since we won both games. The fans all came out and were really supportive both nights, which was great to see. The Admirals still had that winning streak on the line, after they finished the regular season last year with a record 28 straight wins. We definitely didn’t want to be the ones to come in here and snap it. Both games were really hard-fought wins and a great way to start the season.
Obviously, we had a long offseason after losing in the first round of the playoffs in Syracuse last season, and a lot of guys were excited to get back to it. There was a ton of excitement in the arena, and guys were feeding off each other with that energy. The fans definitely contributed a lot to that.
I had an empty-netter in the first game to seal a 4-2 victory, and I scored in the shootout in the second game (a 4-3 win). I faked a shot and went to the backhand, which is one of my moves that I’m real comfortable making.
My roommate Chris Wagner was playing in his first professional games last weekend, and he had his parents in town for the weekend. I think he played really well on the fourth line with Troy Bodie and Jay Rosehill. He went out there and did his job and was great in the faceoff circle. He didn’t seem too nervous, but I made it pretty clear to him that he deserved to be here, and this is what he’s been playing for his entire life – his first pro game. Just go out there, enjoy it, have fun and take it all in.
The AHL schedule is a little different during the first month or so, and then it gets into more of a regular pro hockey schedule. Right now we’ll go a few days without games and then play a team back-to- back in the same arena, like we did over the weekend. It’s more like a college schedule, with teams coming down here to play on a Friday and Saturday night. I’ve always been kind of used to that, but it’s definitely a big difference compared to the NHL schedule, when you play one team and you might not see them again for a few months. I think it’s better for us mentally because all week in practice you know who you will be playing against, and you can prepare for that one team. It makes for good hockey, I think.
Off the ice, Chris and I are getting settled into our new apartment, with the help of his parents and my girlfriend, Ashlee, who goes to school in Albany, NY. We had some nice weather the past few days and got to know our area a little bit. We’re looking forward to some more, including some golf today. Some of us are going to play some golf nearby at Virginia Beach National for the first time. That should be a fun way to spend the afternoon.
Today is our teammate Mat Clark’s birthday, which we didn’t find out until after we got off the ice. I didn’t even know until I was looking at Twitter after practice and saw that the Admirals had tweeted it. Usually we have a little thing we do for the birthday guys after practice, which is called The Gauntlet. He has to skate through a row of guys, and everybody gets in a little shot on him. He’ll have to take part in that tomorrow, since he snuck out of it today.
Also tomorrow, a few of us have the opportunity to go down to the naval station in Norfolk and take a ride in one of the hovercrafts. The team set that up for us, and it’s a pretty cool opportunity that I’m really looking forward to. I hope to have some photos for you in the next blog.
Until then, go Admirals and go Ducks!
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