I swear, I didn’t plan it to be that the hockey Achievement was #66. (I’m sure you know the significance of this to Pens fans – #66 is the great Mario Lemieux’s number.)
Anyway, we love hockey. Freaking love it. For my birthday the first year we were dating, Michael got us tickets to the Penguins home opener (which we’ve never been able to do again because it sells out so quickly). We even found ways to watch the games from the West Coast, which involved befriending the upstairs bartender at our local pub, who was originally from Fox Chapel.
Here’s a nice shot of the full Consol Center after we scored the first goal. The Consol is nicer than the Igloo in a lot of ways, including the fact that there are no longer ‘obstructed view’ seats. (In the Igloo, you would sometimes have to stare at the bottom of the section above you instead of being able to see the scoreboard.)
We went up 2-0, and things were looking pretty sweet, when suddenly, the officiating just tanked. They called a crap five minute game misconduct penalty on Kris Letang for an obviously clean hit (this call was later reversed after the game upon review), and he was out for the rest of the game. Adding to that the injuries in our D line, we allowed the Islanders to tie it up with two goals on that unnecessary five minute penalty. The second goal came when one of our players was clearly tripped at center ice and the ref failed to call it, resulting in some confusion among our players that made them late to get to the net and defend. The game wound up going to overtime, which was the second OT we have seen live (the first was in the 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs, when we defeated the Capitals in Game 3 to come back from 0-2 and eventually win the series).
Finally, the penalty calls tipped in our direction, and we went on a Power Play in the overtime period. OT Power Plays look so silly, because OT is now played 4 on 4, and taking just one extra person off the ice makes everything look so empty. Regardless, Alex Goligoski came to the rescue and scored the game winning goal.
What’s best about this is that coming into this game, our Pens had been 0-3 on home ice in our new arena, and by being there on October 15, we were able to see the first regular season win in the new home of our Pittsburgh Penguins. And that made having to wait until the fourth home game of the season worth it!