With the Alumni Pittsburgh Penguins clinging to a 5-4 lead and with Caps’ netminder Don Beaupre pulled for a sixth attacker this morning, old no. 12 seriously dampened the New Years spirits of the hosts with an equalizer strike!
“BONZAI!!!” I stood up and shouted, fists pumping, from my third row perch in section 122. The 275 or so surrounding blue- and black-sweatered Pens’ supporters in the section didn’t take too kindly to my show of exuberance.
And that’s the way the Alumni game ended; while thousands of home team supporters screamed for a shootout, the overwhelming majority of the game’s players played in a non-shootout era, so a tie seemed a fitting outcome. It was also a most unexpected one — that was one Hall of Fame-loaded aged Pens’ roster, while perhaps fittingly, the Caps came to the game with a rag-tag band of lunch-palers. And don’t let any ‘Burgher try and tell you that his squad didn’t want this exhibition win in the worst way; Mario and Bryan Trottier and Larry Murphy and Paul Coffey were double- and triple shifting in the final frame to try and better the Caps again. Not today.
Making the final all the sweeter.
The Pens went ahead on a power play goal with about 5 minutes remaining . . . and then quite conspicuously, the game suddenly was played with a running clock! Classic Penguins’ cheating. Figures. And let’s consider the way this Winter Classic weekend is suddenly unfolding. The Hershey Bears last night carried off a gigantic upset of the Baby Pens, 1-0 at Consol Energy Center, with Braden Holtby earning the shutout. Now we have our Alumni Caps doing us proud. Omen for the big game?