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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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STANDINGS

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 NSH 62 41 14 7 188 147 89
2 ANA 63 39 17 7 186 176 85
3 STL 61 39 18 4 190 152 82
4 CHI 63 37 21 5 183 150 79
5 WPG 63 31 20 12 174 170 74
6 VAN 61 35 23 3 174 162 73
7 MIN 61 32 22 7 173 160 71
8 LAK 61 29 20 12 164 157 70
9 CGY 62 33 25 4 175 160 70
10 SJS 62 30 24 8 173 177 68
11 COL 62 27 24 11 166 179 65
12 DAL 62 27 25 10 195 207 64
13 ARI 62 20 35 7 137 210 47
14 EDM 62 18 34 10 142 206 46

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
R. Getzlaf 60 19 40 10 59
C. Perry 48 26 17 13 43
R. Kesler 63 16 23 -2 39
S. Vatanen 57 12 22 6 34
M. Beleskey 56 21 9 13 30
P. Maroon 55 7 21 -4 28
H. Lindholm 60 6 22 17 28
J. Silfverberg 62 9 18 7 27
C. Fowler 62 5 21 -2 26
R. Rakell 52 5 19 4 24
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
F. Andersen 29 8 5 .916 2.37
J. Gibson 7 5 0 .914 2.63

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