|Prince at Amway Center|
Upon arrival I rented a car for the weekend from Hertz. I wound up getting a Volkswagen Jetta which worked out well since we weren't driving a lot of miles and it was great on gas.
Originally we were planning to see the Tampa Bay Lightning play Saturday night in Tampa but since the NHL still hasn't unlocked its doors that idea was scrapped. Being a master planner, I had an alternate plan in place just in case. With that being said, I checked out the minor league hockey schedules and I saw that the Orlando Solar Bears of the ECHL were home. The Solar Bears returned to the ECHL this season. They came out of hibernation just in time for us as they were home against the Fort Wayne Komets at 7PM. They play their home games at the Amway Center in downtown Orlando which is also the home of the Magic. Speaking of the Magic, the King and I saw them play there back on December 18, 2010 when the Philadelphia 76ers were there.
So we knew exactly where we had to go. We stopped off at our hotel, Days Inn which was located in Ormond Beach about an hour from Orlando. We got to check in and we put our bags away. Once we got situated we continued down I-95 to I-4 to downtown Orlando. We arrived there around 5PM which gave us plenty of time to enjoy a nice dinner.
We decided to relive our only other visit to the Amway Center. We parked the car on the street for free and we walked over to nearby Church Street Station District where they have some places to eat before the game. We went back to Hamburger Mary's Bar & Grille which is located a few blocks from the arena. By doing so, we were able eat, drink and be "Mary."
We indulged in a hearty meal before we walked to see the hockey game. The King had one of their 20 different half pound charbroiled burgers. As for me, I went for the Proud Mary, which is a full pound. I had it with mozzarella cheese which is only there for this month the waitress said. I was able to substitute it for the cheddar & jack cheese that it usually comes with. In addition it has bacon, grilled onions & mushrooms which I don't like so I requested not to have them, lettuce and pickle along with their special sauce. What a burger it was. Needless to say, I was a very satisfied customer.
After we finished eating, we went to the game. Since they don't expect a huge crowd they curtain off the upper deck. That way everybody has a better view of the action.
As for the game we saw, the first period was scoreless. In the second period, things heated up on the ice. 2:16 into the period, we had our first fight of the night. At 5:14 we saw our first goal as Luca Caputi scored his first of the season to give the visiting Komets a 1-0 lead. 23 seconds later, tempers flared again as another fight broke out. At 9:30 of the period, the Komets extended their lead to 2-0 as Jean-Michel Rizk lit the lamp. Just three seconds later, it was a hat trick for fights as the gloves were dropped again. At 11:47 into the period, Luca Caputi found the net again and he made it a 3-0 game. That's the way it ended as Komets' goaltender Charlie Effinger made 35 saves to earn the shutout.
After the game, we drove back to our hotel to get some sleep on our way back to Jacksonville.
Stay tuned for another special post that will recap the rest of our brief visit to Florida.
Thank you for reading and following along.