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Without the NHL
My hockey jones finally crested, today, so I took the boys to a Missouri River Otters game. The Otters play in the UHL. With the NHL lockout in its 438th week, four Blues player–Bryce Salvador, Jamal Mayers, Ryan Johnson, and former NHL Rookie of the Year Barrett Jackman–now play for the local minor league team. (Yes, seeing some of my favorite Bluenotes made my decision to see a game easier.) We saw an excellent game, as the Otters defeated the Port Huron Beacons 5-2.
The opponents, Port Huron Beacons, scored first, driving a rebound past Otters' goalie Jason Tapp. But the home team stormed back. But Otter stars Mark Odut and Frank Littlejohn (who has a great, old fashioned NHL name) scored two goals apiece to put the game out of reach by the end of the second period.
The game was fantastic for us old-timers. There were four fights, including one class-A ass pounding by Blues star Barrett Jackman against the Beacon’s tough guy, Harris. Jackman earned a game misconduct in the fight for losing his elbow pads, a serious offense, apparently, in the UHL.
It was step-son Jordan’s first live hockey game of any kind. He’s seven. Of course, I had to get him an official River Otters hockey puck to commemorate the occasion. Benjamin and Patrick enjoyed the game. Jordan was truly lost in the magic of professional hockey for the first period.
If you’re a hockey fan who cannot fathom March and April without black rubber on frozen water, get to UHL game soon. If you’re in St. Louis, you better see an Otter game soon. 4,342 fans paid to see today’s game–the first for Mayers and Salvador. With four popular Bluenotes in the line-up, expect tickets to the 10,000 seat arena to go quickly.