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For Bonino, Outdoor Game Will Be a Familiar Feeling

Saturday, 01.25.2014 / 3:51 PM / News
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For Bonino, Outdoor Game Will Be a Familiar Feeling
For most of the Anaheim Ducks, playing a game outdoors in an iconic ballpark against a bitter rival this evening will be a brand new experience. But it will be a slightly familiar feeling for Ducks center Nick Bonino. \r\n
“This one will be a little different, but I think walking onto that field is going to be a pretty big thrill. Everyone will be screaming and we’re playing outside.”
By Adam Brady

For most of the Anaheim Ducks, playing a game outdoors in an iconic ballpark against a bitter rival this evening will be a brand new experience. But it will be a slightly familiar feeling for Ducks center Nick Bonino.

The 25-year-old Bonino has done this once before, as a junior at Boston University, when his Terriers battled rival Boston College in a game called “Frozen Fenway,” played in the legendary home of the Boston Red Sox.

Bonino had the game-winning assist in a tight 3-2 victory over the Eagles, in a much different setting than he’ll see tonight at Dodger Stadium. That game, the first outdoors between BU and BC, was played in sub-freezing temperatures and a light snowfall. Tonight’s temperature should be under clear skies and a temp that likely won’t get under 60 degrees.

“I don’t think I took a sip from a water bottle that whole game in Boston,” Bonino said. “My body heat compared to the outdoor cold was a perfect temperature. It should be a little hot, but it’s Southern California and you’re playing outdoors. Guys know what they’re getting themselves into, and we’ll battle through.

“This one will be a little different, but I think walking onto that field is going to be a pretty big thrill. Everyone will be screaming and we’re playing outside.”

Bonino made sure to soak up the memories four years ago at Fenway, even during the intense battle. He told a reporter right after that game, “I had one of those [moments] in the third period. I know I probably shouldn’t have been reflecting on it, but I leaned back on the bench. They were pretty comfortable benches. I just looked at the whole stadium and I tapped [Chris] Connolly on the shoulder and said ‘take a look at this.’”

“It was snowing, and stuff like that, which will be a little different here. But we’ll get the eye black going and all of that. We’ll have a lot of fun with it.”

That game was played a week after that year’s Winter Classic, played between the Boston Bruins and Philadelphia Flyers. Bonino wasn’t at that game, but he felt its impact that day from his home at BU.

“It was crazy. We lived so close to Fenway at BU that when we watched the Winter Classic on TV, we could hear the fighter jets flying over us,” says Bonino. “It was snowing, and stuff like that, which will be a little different here. But we’ll get the eye black going and all of that. We’ll have a lot of fun with it.”

Bonino led his Terriers to the national championship that spring, and soon afterward made his debut for the Ducks. He’s having his finest season so far, ranking third on the team in scoring with 39 points (including 16 goals). But it wasn’t until the team held a practice and family skate yesterday evening at Dodger Stadium that he was really able to turn his focus to tonight’s historic game.

“It’s pretty exciting,” he said while leaning on a wall in front of the visiting dugout. “It’s been in the back of our heads all year. But it kind of snuck up on us. It came out of nowhere, but we’re all really excited to get going.”

Looking past the uniqueness of the game, it’s still a battle against a hated division rival, one the Ducks edged two nights ago at Honda Center, 2-1.

“Just to play an outdoor game in California is fun enough on its known,” Bonino said. “But I think when we get down to it, it’s going to be a big divisional game against a team that hopefully we’ll see in the playoffs. It’s going to be a memory of a lifetime, and I think everyone is looking forward to it.”

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WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 ANA 47 31 10 6 139 124 68
2 NSH 45 30 10 5 137 104 65
3 STL 46 29 13 4 148 111 62
4 CHI 47 30 15 2 148 108 62
5 WPG 48 26 14 8 135 117 60
6 SJS 48 25 17 6 131 132 56
7 VAN 45 26 16 3 124 114 55
8 CGY 47 25 19 3 136 125 53
9 LAK 47 20 15 12 129 126 52
10 COL 48 20 18 10 125 137 50
11 DAL 46 21 18 7 144 151 49
12 MIN 46 20 20 6 128 137 46
13 ARI 46 16 25 5 105 156 37
14 EDM 47 12 26 9 109 158 33

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
R. Getzlaf 46 15 35 12 50
C. Perry 32 19 12 15 31
R. Kesler 47 13 17 -2 30
S. Vatanen 47 10 19 3 29
M. Beleskey 46 17 7 12 24
C. Fowler 46 5 18 4 23
P. Maroon 39 4 18 1 22
H. Lindholm 46 5 14 13 19
J. Silfverberg 47 6 12 2 18
D. Smith-Pelly 41 4 11 5 15
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
J. Gibson 2 2 0 .927 2.28
F. Andersen 26 6 5 .917 2.30

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