A bit of blogkeeping: Have you entered the Clue Into Cleveland giveaway to win two tickets to Market at the Foodbank? You have until next Thursday for a chance to attend Harvest for Hunger’s annual benefit.
It’s hard for me to believe but it was 5 years ago this month that Scott and I moved to Cleveland. While there was some apprehension, a newly-engaged Scott and I were mostly excited to start a new adventure, meet new people, and explore the hidden treasure that is Northeast Ohio.
Of course, there were things I was going to miss about Philly – one of them being the Philadelphia Flyers, the city’s NHL team.
I’m a huge hockey fan and always fascinated by the contrast between the players’ grace on skates and the sometimes brutal nature of the sport. Growing up watching the Flyers, I will confess I was a little downhearted to learn Cleveland hadn’t had a NHL team since the 70s.
Hockey seems to have a troubled history in Cleveland – with over ten years of no hockey between 78 and 92 and then two teams coming and going in just as many years.
However, the hockey gods heard my call because only a few months before we moved, they answered it in the form of the American Hockey League’s Lake Erie Monsters.
On October 6, 2007, the Monsters — the Colorado Avalanche’s affiliate team – took the ice for the first time and have been bringing Northeast Ohio professional hockey for the last 5 seasons.
It’s only taken me five years of watching them on tv and reading about the games online, but this past weekend I finally made it to my first Monsters game at the Q.
Green ice and themed jerseys were enough of a draw to make the Monsters game perfect for our St. Patrick’s Day plans. After braving the battlezone of post-parade partiers, Scott and I made our way through downtown Cleveland to the Q.
While I knew I had picked pretty good seats when I purchased tickets, I was downright giddy when I saw how good they were – second row, right next to the penalty box. Even with the best seats I’d ever had at a Flyers game, I’ve never sat so close to the ice. And at only $39 each, the tickets were an incredible price.
Because this was also our first visit to the Q, as soon as we checked out our seats, we perused the stadium on the hunt for some concessions. With a variety of options including BSpot, Bar Symon and Quaker Steak and Lube, it took awhile to decide. In the end, we went with Chef Rocco Whalen’s new Rocco’s Nachos & Tacos.
My choice was a great one because Rocco’s braised beef brisket tacos were fresh and delicious – much higher quality than what I would expect when purchasing a taco at a game. Next time, I’ll also be ordering their crispy potato nachos with goat cheese fondue.
With food and Guiness in hand, Scott and I headed back to our seats to settle in for the game. As the lights descended and the Monsters’ intro video cued up, I was on the edge of my seat — the game hadn’t even begun and this hockey fan was in a frenzy!
We even had a leprechaun on our side:
But would he bring good luck to the Lake Erie Monsters and Cleveland fans?
Although it was a hard-fought game between the Monsters and Chicago Wolves, in the end the Monsters weren’t able to break through Chicago’s defense to score a goal.
Monsters goalie Cedrick Desjardins tied a team season-high with 41 saves; however, in the second period Chicago’s Steve Reinprecht got one through and scored the only goal of the game – giving Chicago a 1-0 win over the Monsters.
Although the luck of the leprechaun wasn’t with the Monsters Saturday night, they definitely won me over as a fan. With second-row seats costing only $39, Monsters games are a fantastic deal. The most expensive Cleveland hockey tickets are only $63 for first-row seats – a similar seat at a Flyers game would cost close to $200.
And despite the loss, it was an entertaining evening. At the end of the 2nd period, “a hard-fought game” took on a literal meaning when the Monsters’ Brad Malone scuffled with Chicago’s Tim Miller. I’m not going to lie – I love a hockey fight on occasion and Malone did not disappoint. While it took him off the ice for a good part of the 3rd period, it got the crowd riled up.
Fans were also treated to an amusing game of slingshot human bowling between periods and some fine skating by Sully and the “Mullet Brothers” Ice Crew.
There are 7 home games left including tonight’s last Thirsty Thursday of the 2011-2012 season. With tickets as cheap as $10 and maxing out at $63, make sure you check them out at least one more time before the season closer on April 14.