AMA Travel Diaries: A rollercoaster last night in Los Angeles
By baggedmilk7 months ago
As I sit here in the Vancouver airport, waiting for our connecting flight back to Edmonton, it’s hard not to look back at everything we got up to and feel very grateful to AMA Travel for making it happen. In a span of only three days, we were put through a gauntlet of emotions that culminated in one of the coolest comebacks I’ve ever seen.
Picking up where I left off in yesterday’s AMA Travel Diaries, our day started with an on-location episode of Oilersnation Everyday from our room at the Windrift Hotel. I’m bringing this up because yesterday’s episode was probably one of the most nervous pre-game shows I’ve ever been a part of. It wasn’t that we thought the boys couldn’t get the job done, but instead that we were all dealing with the uneasiness of how this series has gone. Despite our side outplaying L.A. throughout the majority of the series, the reality of going down 3-1 was something that simply could not happen. The only option was to win and we all knew it.
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After a quick outfit change, pre-game beer, and coincidentally meeting Derek Ryan’s uncle in the lobby, we jumped in an Uber to make our way to LA Live with plenty of time to check out the scene. As you can see in the video above, all three of us were feeling good about our chances at the game but there was undoubtedly plenty of nervous energy along for the ride. Yet, despite the nerves, the three of us were very excited. There’s nothing better than seeing your team win in an opposing barn, and after falling in OT on Friday, revenge was definitely on the menu.
Landing at LA Live with plenty of time before puck drop, we wandered around, soaked up the scene, and handed out Nation stickers to anyone we could find wearing blue and orange. I know I’m no mathematician by any means, but I’d estimate that there were easily double the amount of Edmonton fans that were there on Friday and it was incredible to see so many of us making the trip down to watch a game behind enemy lines. Following a quick lap to scope out the scene, we popped into Tom’s Watch Bar for a quick beer and chat with a few fellow citizens that knew we would be there.
I know I say this a lot when I write about these trips, but there’s nothing better than experiencing a playoff run with fellow ON Citizens while on the road. And since Tyler and Jay are both pretty recognizable at this point, there was no shortage of amazing folks that wanted to stop and chat for a few minutes. We were talking line combos, who needed to step up, and giving our best guesses as to what was about to happen. Win or lose, we were all in it together.
Once we got into Crypto.com Arena, we took to the concourse and started cruising around to find more fans, watch warmups, and just generally enjoy the scene. Personally, I was trying my best to soak up the scene as best as I could because it was one of those moments where I was feeling pretty damned lucky to be there. I found myself looking around at everything and soaking up the moment because I refuse to forget the ten years we spent dreaming about just having our team make the postseason in the first place. And for a lot of the fans I met, most were thinking the exact same thing.
As for the game itself, what can I say that hasn’t already been said? The first period was a total disaster and what made the whole thing worse was that a bunch of L.A. fans actually stopped chirping at us and actually started to sympathize. I was standing in line to grab a beer at the first intermission and one guy told me that he felt bad for us because he knew how high the expectations are for our boys, and to have them fall apart the way they did early on was something that no one saw coming. Needless to say, I didn’t want to hear any of it.
What I didn’t expect, though, was what was about to happen over the final 40 minutes of regulation. Not only did a 3-0 lead get wiped off the board in the second period, but the boys looked like they were finally grabbing control of a game that seemed to be destined for disaster only a few minutes earlier. With each goal that wound up in the back of the net, the energy at Crypto.com Arena started to change in a hurry. The chirps and jokes were gone and replaced with quiet looks of concern. The comeback was on and it really did look like there was nothing the home side could do about it.
Thanks to some fantastic goaltending by Soup in relief and a late goal by 91, the game went to overtime for the third time in the series and the vibes in the arena were incredibly tense. The L.A. fans around us reeked of nervousness after blowing what looked like a lay-up and I was hopeful that the guys in black jerseys would be feeling the same way. Even though we’ll never know how true my hopes were, one thing I can say for sure is that I must have jumped three feet in the air when the game winner went in. In an instant, all of our nervous energy was replaced by jubilation, high fives with strangers, and smiles we couldn’t wipe from our faces.
I don’t know about the other boys but I’ve never seen a comeback like that with the stakes as high as they were, and I couldn’t be more grateful to AMA Travel for giving us the opportunity to be there. It was the kind of night that was not only crucial for our hockey team but one that I will remember forever. What a trip. What a series. What an emotional rollercoaster.
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