10/31 sharks 2, FLORIDA 1
I could go the cheesy route and make horrible Halloween jokes, but I think in the long run, that decision would haunt me (hey, I'm only human, I couldn't resist). At long last, the road trip is over. A 3-2 trip anytime before the final month of the season is considered a good trip, and this good trip was concluded with a tight, evenly fought game on Tuesday in Sunrise. The BankAtlantic Center, located right across the street from Sawgrass Mills (a very large mall, part of the Mills chain, brother of the Opry Mills in Nashville), is a smallish building with a lot packed inside.
The BankAtlantic Center is located on its own lot, rather than an existing block, allowing it to be more expansive of a lot. Surrounded by a large parking area, the BAC comes complete with an outside pavilion area, and is build on a riser, allowing a tunnel that travels underneath the building from one side of the lot to the other. After ascending the stairs to the outdoor area, one is greeted with the sight of what seems likes many colored UFOs on poles. After looking them over, it's very hard to tell what in fact they are, or supposed to be, other than funky lookin' lights.
The middle of the building is glass, allowing one to peer into the mess of escalators, walkways and the store that litter the middle of the concourse. Once inside, it's a bit easier to maneuver through.
The lower level is complete with two bars, one vodka and the other rum, and two food court areas with several different concession choices. The food is pretty standard. Nachos and burritos, pizza, hot dogs/hamburgers/sausages, and of course, the beer stands. The store out front, Pantherland, is a pretty good-sized store, with an entrance in the shape of the panther head similar to the one that the team skates out of. Speaking of that, for whatever reason, the panther head that the team usually skates out of was taking a nap, spending the whole night in the rafters, high above the game.
The seating area is relatively large, compared to how the building looks from the outside. There are three levels, the lower, upper, and the club in between. There were very few people on this night (probably somewhere around 8 or 9 thousand) and it seemed like most of them had seats downstairs, and most of those who had seats upstairs snuck down anyway. The fans, all 6 of them, were pretty quiet throughout the game. Only when the Panthers scored did the crowd have anything to make noise about; other than that, there were really no chants or other noises from the happy haunts in attendance.
Despite a poor 40 minutes, the Sharks were able to string together a strong final 20, getting a goal from Joe Thornton 90 seconds in, and a Christian Ehrhoff power play goal scored off a deflection with about 30 seconds left in the game. That was all that was needed to get a victory in South Florida.
With the road trip completed, the Sharks return home to face the New York Rangers on Thursday at 7:30.
Go Sharks ( go trick-or-treating)
Ahhh, UFOs sighted out front of the BankAtlantic Center.
The entrance to the store, which very closely resembles the head that comes down from the rafters, but was hiding on this night.
Panther at center ice. Plain and simple.
One is the loneliest number.