Shorthanded And Sold Out
I’m sitting in what is going to be a sold-out Giant Center for tonight’s rematch between the Hershey Bears and the Norfolk Admirals. The Bears took the Admirals down in Norfolk last night, beating the hosts 4-1. The win did not come without cost, however. Defenseman Tyler Sloan and forwards Andrew Joudrey and Malcolm MacMillan all suffered injuries that will prevent them from playing tonight. The call for reinforcements from South Carolina of the ECHL went out this morning, but now we’re wondering whether Steven Werner, Steve Pinizzotto and Grant McNeil will be able to get to Giant Center in time for the game. Warm-ups start momentarily, and they’re not likely to be here by then. It’s gotta be tough to travel all day, hop out of a car and into an AHL rink and play a game a level up from where you thought you’d be playing tonight. And of course, South Carolina will have to adjust, too. The Stingrays, winners of nine straight games in the ECHL, are in Charlotte to face the division rival Checkers tonight. The Rays have inked defenseman Tim Judy and emergency backup goaltender John Haverilack. South Carolina netminder Davis Parley is here in Hershey backing up Daren Machesney; that’s part of the organizational chain reaction that occurred in the wake of Caps goaltender Brent Johnson’s knee injury on Thursday in Pittsburgh. It’s 6:34 now, and the Bears have only 15 skaters on the ice for warm-ups. The South Carolina Three aren’t here yet, but they’re reportedly en route from the airport. Bears coach Bob Woods was talking earlier this afternoon about his playing days under Bruce Boudreau in Mississippi of the ECHL. After a rugged start to the season, the team was hit by a series of injuries right before a stretch in which it had to play four games in four nights in four buildings. The team played each of those games with 12 skaters, and won all four. It proved to be a catalyst to a Kelly Cup championship that season. Okay, now it’s 6:40 and warm-ups are about done. But the SC 3 are here and in the house. Just gotta get ’em suited up now.