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Thursday, November 23, 2017

Cincinnati Cyclones

Went to see the Cyclones last night in Cincy. There were about 8,000 people there and they were having a blast.

The flames under which the Cyclones skated in.

The dive.
1. The place was so full that they had to uncover seats they hadn't planned to sell.
2. Cincinnati had two mascots. Porckchop is above and I have no idea what connection he has to cyclones, but there was a statue of him out front of the stadium. It took me half the game to figure out the second was supposed to be a twister and I only got that when I read "Twister" on the back of its uniform.
3. They brought the Cyclones out under a flame that was so powerful I don't know how it didn't melt the ice. We got warm from it 18 rows from the ice.
4. The first period was hard skated and clean.
5. The second period was an extended fight. I'm not sure how many people ended up out on fighting majors, but there might have been four people on the ice when the Cyclones scored.
6. The third period was extremely hard played and there were no fights.
7. The ECHL is predictable. They obviously use fights as part of their ticket sales incentive and the Cyclones are clearly all in for that strategy.
8. The Cyclones have figured out how to do a good show. I really liked the part where they rode people out on zambonis between periods.
9. The Cyclones beat the Toledo Walleyes 1-0.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Roanoke Rail Yard Dawgs

Last night was the first hockey game I've gotten to this year and it was a blast. The Roanoke Rail Yard Dawgs of the SPHL were hosting the Macon Mayhem in front of about 2,000 fans and it was game on from the second the first puck dropped.

In the first period both teams got three goals. Each was hotly contested, but it was a wee bit more scoring than you usually see in any period much less the first. In the second period the Rail Yard Dawgs got one goal, but the big story for them was the fact that their goalie imploded. Earlier in the period the goalie left the net to go off to the boards to his left only to have the puck take an unexpected bounce off the boards and end up right in front of the net where a Mayhem skater was waiting to put in the softest, most uncontested goal I've ever seen in hockey. Hockey fans being, well, hockey fans, instantly began to pour out every bit of hate they'd ever had at the goalie. It didn't help when later in the same period the goalie sat frozen on the ice as a Mayhem player shot through the gap between his legs and scored.

Finally, at about the time it looked like the goalie was going to need a police escort to get out of the building alive, the coach decided to switch him out and put Barone in. Barone turned out to be a brick wall and no further goals were scored by the Mayhem. Meanwhile, the Rail Yard Dawgs managed to pull even in the third period and forced the game into sudden death.

In sudden death, the Rail Yard Dawgs controlled the puck the majority of the very short time that the period lasted and pretty quickly blasted in a goal to end it all with a 6-5 victory.

1. The arena is nice and a $20 ticket had me on the glass near center ice.
2. Don't buy your $5 parking online because they will charge you a service fee and the parking was only $5 when I got there and there was plenty of it.
3. Both concessions and souvenirs were more than a little overpriced here. Eat supper before you go. Not sure what you can do to get jerseys etc. cheaper.
4. I'm a little upset that the jersey I bought (which is okay) was nowhere near as good as the one the Dawgs wore out onto the ice. They weren't even the same color scheme. Where do I trade in my blue, light blue, white, and yellow one for that cool red one?
5. The SPHL still does its best to keep fights from happening and the refs break up anything that starts immediately. So, if you're looking for a fight go find an ECHL game where they seem to have that one fight minimum per game guarantee.
6. It's time to start watching hockey folks. I'll see you at the ice!

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Louisville City FC v. Red Bull II

USL Eastern Conference Championship at Louisville last night between the Lou City Purple and Red Bull II.

And so it begins.
Ownby (of course) gets this ball, lets it bounce, spins, and back-kicks it past the player in front of him and under the goalie.
I'm famous!
Intercepted throw in.

Greg Ranjitsingh - the eventual hero of our saga.
1.  Game won on penalty kicks 1(4) - 1(3) by the Purple and Ranjitsingh deserves a medal (or a raise).
2.  That crowd went the most nuts I've ever seen anybody get at a soccer match.
3.  The refs are pretty lucky that Lou City won because otherwise they were going to need a National Guard escort back to their cars.
4.  The refs were generally allowing a pretty rough game to be played and that favored Red Bull II because they were playing much rougher than the Purple.
5.  I don't know that the Red Bull player shoving the Lou City guy down before he could shoot in the box was a penalty or the RB guy coming down on the Purple player's head with his cleats was, but shoving a guy head first into the wall is a major penalty in HOCKEY and the ref refused to call it.
6.  Over 10,000 people at the stadium and it was rockin'.
7.  The Oscar phenomenon: For the matches I've been coming up for, I've noticed that the people in my section absolutely love Oscar Jimenez. They root for the others, but they are obviously fond of Oscar. Today, I saw why. While all the other players were still celebrating people in my section flooded the rail and he came over and shook and slapped hands with fans back and forth across the section (including mine). And it wasn't just some fan service thing. It was plain to see that he was there to share the joy of it all.
8.  The Red Bull had a suspicious number of "cramps" at times the Purple started getting on a roll in the second half. At one point, when the ref wouldn't stop play for one guy down another went down and play got stopped. The crazy faithful were holding up red cards, but the ref never did.
9.  Holy cow, the Red Bull put in a man so big in the second half that the people across the aisle from me instantly started calling him Gigantor. He wasn't fast and he wasn't particularly skilled in ball handling, but he was a head taller than everyone else and bounced every single ball that was in the air back up field from his defensive position. It took Lou City a good portion of the second half to realize that nothing in the air was going to go their way and adapt its offense to go around him.
10.  For the last three Lou City matches in the playoffs I've driven 4+ hours to come up and watch the match. How do I get rewarded? The Championship game is going to be MONDAY, 13 November 2017 at 9:00 p.m. So, I guess next weekend's minor league money will be spent at the Knoxville Ice Bears or Roanoke Rail Yard Dawgs. Unfortunately, I doubt I'm the only person who will miss the game because of its date and time. The people walking out behind me were locals and they were not happy because, y'know what, THEY HAVE JOBS AND SCHOOL and didn't want to come to a match starting that late on a weekday.
11.  Up to this gaff, the USL has run a far better playoff than the MLS. Let's face it, the only reason people are watching the MLS playoffs, with their dumb two game setup and poor matches, is to see if the Crew and its fans can stick it to the Scumbag Owner who bought the team in bad faith and is trying to steal it from them. #SaveTheCrew  And if it can't be saved in the MLS save the name and the old, cool logo (the owner can have the doodle) and bring them to the USL (the better league anyway).