BOSTON – Typically a Bruins-Islanders rookie game might draw a big crowd at Ristuccia Arena in Wilmington – the Bruins’ practice facility. But the possibility of drawing a good sized, even at a low cost of $5 per seat (all proceeds benefited the Boston Bruins foundation) doesn’t seem realistic, does it?
Ok, so maybe with this year’s No. 2 overall pick on display — Tyler Seguin — they can draw 5,000 at the Garden the first night, right? Well, I guess I was wrong on that because they drew over 11,000 in the Bruins’ 5-2 win on Wednesday.
But there wasn’t a chance they could draw that same number again Thursday night, right?
Well as the old saying goes, fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me.
In game two of their rookie series with the Isles on Thursday, the Bruins drew an impressive crowd of 14,180. Sure part of it might have been the hype centered around Seguin, but there were plenty of other talents on display from both sides. The likes of which included forwards Jordan Caron (who had two goals in Wednesday’s contest) and Jared Knight from the Bruins and Isles forward Nino Niederreiter (“El Nino”) and defenseman Calvin De Hann just to name a few rookies on display.
“There’s great fan support here,” said the Bruins starting goaltender Thursday night Michael Hutchinson, who made 33 saves in a 2-1 victory for the Black and Gold Thursday. “It really let you keep your mind on the game and keep focused on the ice.”
“The crowd was great,” added defenseman Steve Kampfer. “Having 14,000 fans is phenomenal. It shows you the support the Bruins have, especially for the rookies. It’s a pre-season game, a rookie game, and they even show up. They’re excited to see what they have for the future, and we’re excited to show them what we can bring down the line.”
Even for Niederreiter, the Islanders first round pick this year, the atmosphere from the Garden crowd gave him a little extra boost of energy.
“It was fantastic,” he said of the crowd on Thursday. “It was pretty loud throughout the game, even when Seguin and some of the star guys weren’t on the ice.
“It got me lofted and kept me going and made me want to play harder. It was a fantastic crowd so it was great to play in a stadium like that.”
A sluggish first period from the Bruins rookies kept the crowd quiet for a little while. They were outshot in the period, 12-4, and were down 1-0 thanks to a Tony Romano goal.
However, the duo of Ryan Spooner (two goals) and Max Sauve (two assists) would help send the crowd home on a happy note.
Sauve and Spooner first connected late in the second period at 17:37. From there, the Bruins rookies seemed to be slowly gaining momentum.
Then overtime came, where Sauve would send Spooner on a breakaway. From there Spooner would go five-hole on Isles goalie Kevin Poulin, and score the game-winner at 4:21 of the extra session for the Bruins victory.
“I got great passes from Suave,” Spooner said about his two-goal effort. “The last pass in overtime was just awesome. I just went in and shot five-hole. Most of the credit should go to him because without that pass, I wouldn’t have been on a breakaway.”
The ending to Thursday’s game was a prefect way to transition from the end of rookie camp to the beginning of training camp, where the first on-ice sessions begin Saturday morning at the TD Garden. But one thing is for sure, the buzz about the upcoming season, and more importantly, the Bruins future, keeps growing.