We were supposed to leave after practice on Thursday, Dec. 13 (i.e., storm day) for a road trip playing games in Worcester, Mass., Glens Falls, N.Y., and Philadelphia. Anytime you play three games in three days, you are going to expect to be tired by the end.
By then end of this trip I was exhausted.
Over the course of 60 hours, the Penguins spent 16 hours on the bus and played three games. Luckily, we also decided to play well.
After our Thursday practice, we had a team meeting where our coaches made the decision (with the help of the bus driver) that there was too much snow on the roads for us to make the four-hour trip to Worcester. Instead, it was decided that we would leave the next morning at 6 a.m., so we would pull into Worcester just in time for pre-game skate at 11:15 a.m.. Not an ideal situation, but one we were forced to deal with. As Worcester is fairly close to my hometown of Canaan, N.H., I got to see my parents at the game. I’m pretty sure they have yet to see me play well. We lost the game in a shootout, and the team definitely did not play as well as we could have.
Right after the game we got on the bus and drove four hours to Glens Falls watching “Superbad” twice en route. We arrived at about 2 a.m. and immediately went to bed. We stayed at an inn that looks like every grandmother’s house I have ever been too. It was a quaint inn in a pretty nice area right on the outskirts of the Adirondack Mountains; so I hear, I did not get out of bed until noon and never left the hotel. We played Albany that night and came out flying. Jonathan Filewich started us off with two goals, and we played really well the whole game. If we played like that every night we would be in first place.
We were supposed to return to Wilkes-Barre for the night and then leave for Philadelphia the next day. With the threat of snow (that never came), our team drove five and half hours from Glens Falls all the way to the City of Brotherly Love, watching classic movies like “Anchorman” and “Top Gun.” Alex Goligoski had never seen “Top Gun,” and it was fun to be reminded of how cool Tom Cruise used to be before Scientology. We will definitely be watching “Cocktail” on the next road trip.
The Phantoms are the best team in our division, and we know playing them is going to be tough every time. They are fast, skilled and have a great goalie. Coach reminds us of this as we are walking into the hotel; he wishes us a goodnight and asks us to think about what each of us, as individuals, need to do in our game tomorrow to be successful. We are handed our keys and again go right to sleep. The next morning we rendezvous in the lobby for a team breakfast and head back to sleep. Actually, most of us go to sleep, I went and watched the first half of the Patriots-Jets game before heading to the Spectrum for a 5 p.m. game. We won 3-2, scoring the game winner with 1:09 left in the game.
Back home to Wilkes-Barre, and more sleep.
Happy Holidays. — Ben