Everyone was at the Bank Atlantic Center. The Pens and the Panthers were on the ice doing their thing. The girls got seats up with Mario and company in their box. Emily was particularly happy about that since it wouldn’t remind her of her seats from her dream earlier.
Halfway through the first and the Penguins were already up two to nothing. Geno showed up as was expected and scored the first unassisted, and Jordan knocked off $500 with an assist on the other goal scored by Matt Cooke. There were a good bit of Pens’ fans in the crowd so cheering could be heard over the Panthers’ fans’ disappointment.
The first period ended with no additional scoring. But by the end of the second Geno had found the back of the net once again and also assisted on Sidney’s power play goal. Jordan got another assist, this time on a goal by TK, but he was still looking for a goal of his own. Fleury was standing tall in net and blocking every one of the few shots coming his way. The team went into the locker room feeling pretty confident, but not about to quit trying just because they had a five to nothing lead.
“Do I smell a hat trick coming from my BFF Geno?” Jordan exclaimed with a smile once they were back in the locker room.
“I’m feeling it.” Geno said and Jordy gave him a pat on the back.
“Dude, not only are we gonna be debt free but we’re totally getting laid tonight!” He said, obviously excited.
“Yeah, yeah. You’re gonna have to score a goal first before you get to score anywhere else.” Geno joked. Not only was he playing good, but he was feeling real good too.
“I’m working on it, man. It ain’t over yet.” Jordan promised and flashed a smile.
Evgeni laughed, “If you say so, J.”
While Coach Bylsma was talking to his players in the locker room, the girls were having their own conversation up in their box.
“So it’s looking to me like Jordy’s going to win me this bet.” Ashley said to Emily and Ashlen.
“He’s only got two points. Geno’s got three.” Emily pointed out.
“Well Sid’s only got one so I think we know who lost.” Ashley joked.
“Hey!” Ashlen protested, “It’s not over yet. They’ve got another twenty minutes.”
“We should’ve brought hats for Geno’s hat trick.” Ashley said, changing the subject.
“So you think he’s gonna get one?” Emily asked.
“Don’t you?” She replied, shrugging her shoulders.
“Well, yeah probably.” Emily shrugged. To be honest she hadn’t really even thought about it until now. She honestly didn’t care if he got a hat trick, or any points at all for that matter. Her mind was still imagining the fight she dreamt about between Geno and Kris. She didn’t think anything like that would actually happen. At least, not in the middle of a hockey game. She was more focused on Kris when the teams were out on the ice. He didn’t have any points so far, but he had a few shots and some good hits. She loved to watch him skate. And the way he waited for everyone else to go in before he left the ice. It was like he was doing his own thing sometimes. Like when there was a TV time out and he would just skate around on the ice while the rest of the team, other than Fleury, was on the bench. It made her smile. It was the little things she couldn’t help but love about him.
The guys came back out onto the ice and the third period began. You could sense the Panthers’ determination to try to get back into the game by the way they were playing, but despite their efforts, they just couldn’t get a goal past Fleury. It wasn’t until about nine minutes into the period that the lamp was lit again, this time by an ecstatic Jordan Staal.
He flashed a huge smile as he went down the bench, tapping his teams’ fists along the way. He stopped when got to the door and got a seat next to Geno.
“Coach is probably shitting himself right now.” Jordy joked and Geno laughed.
“Not so much.” Jordan turned his head to see Dan with his arms crossed, right behind him. Geno laughed harder. “Good job, though.”
“Thanks, Coach.” He smiled, “Hey, you think you could put me and Geno on the same line for the rest of the game? We’ve been working on some plays that might just make you soil your shorts for real.”
Dan couldn’t help but crack a smile. He scanned the bench, where most of his players were while the TV timeout was going on. “Okay, why not.” He gave in and proceeded to inform the rest of the guys of the minor change.
“Dude this is going to be awesome, am I right?” Jordan smiled, his mouth guard hanging out of his mouth.
Geno chuckled at how big of a deal Jordan was making this, “Hell yes.”
Their next shift on the ice, it was Jordan, Geno, and TK. A Panther took a shot at the goal, only to have Fleury knock it away. Kris retrieved it on defense and passed it up to Jordan, who was calling for it. It was the opportunity he and Geno had been waiting for. Jordy came down the left side while Geno took the right. He faked a shot to distract his man while Geno came shooting around from behind the goal. Jordan snuck him a quick pass past the defense and Geno put it top shelf, netting his third goal of the game.
Had they been in Pittsburgh, celebratory music would be playing, the goal horn would be going off, everyone in the sold out crowd would be on their feet, and most importantly, hats upon hats would be raining down onto the ice.
Since they were in Miami, it was quiet other than the Penguins fans who happen to be there cheering, and only two hats made their way onto the ice.
“I told you we should’ve brought hats!” Ashley exclaimed as her and the rest of her friends stood up and cheered for Evgeni.
“Damn.” Emily shrugged as she clapped. She was more preoccupied with the fact that Kris got his first point of the game assisting on the goal rather than the fact that it was Geno who scored it.
“Well looks like you two are tied for the bet.” Ashlen pointed out.
“There’s still a few minutes left. Anything could happen.” Ashley replied.
“Like Sid could get four quick ones here and I could beat you both?”
“Well,” Ashley smirked, “Maybe not anything.”
As it came down to the final minute, the Panthers decided to pull their goalie in a last ditch effort to retain some dignity and break Fleury’s shutout. Instead, Geno did what he does best and stole the puck off of them. Being the unselfish guy that he is, he passed it up to Max who easily netted it. The Pens fans were on their feet and the Panthers fans were halfway out the door as the final seconds ticked off the clock. Final score; Penguins eight, Panthers zero. That would most likely put them in a good mood for the festival.
The girls waited around until they were allowed in the locker room. The guys were mostly all dressed, their hair still wet from the shower. Lauren saw TK sitting by his stuff and she went to sit next to him. Leah followed her, but was kind of left out when the couple started talking and then kissing.
When Jordan saw Ashley, he immediately swept her up in a hug and a kiss.
“Hell of a game, eh babe?” He smiled brightly.
“Hell yeah it was!” She smiled back at him.
“Me and Geno only owe $8,500 now. Coach shit his pants.” Jordan told her excitedly.
Ashley laughed, “That’s great, babe. But your buddy Geno got a point more than you so I lost the bet.”
“Bet?” Jordan sounded confused.
Emily was standing near them. Geno was just coming into the room now and joined the three of them.
“Yeah, we bet on which one of you would score the most points.” Emily informed the two guys.
“And you lost.” Ashley told her boyfriend, who frowned.
“Sorry, Ash.” He told her and kissed her to hopefully make up for it. Her smile told him he was forgiven.
“So what did I win you?” Geno asked Emily.
“Bragging rights for a month.” She told him and he smiled.
“Sounds like a good prize to me.” He grinned.
Emily nodded, faking a smile and wondering where Kris was.
Ashlen looked around at her friends with their boyfriends and wondered where hers was at. She finally spotted him in the corner surrounded by reporters and camera people. Not even the star of the game, but it was captain’s duties. She got close enough to hear what he was saying and stood, watching and waiting.
Sid was explaining his take on what a shutout meant to Fleury at this time of the year, microphones and tape recorders all up in his face. Ashlen wondered how he could stand it without getting irritated. She laughed to herself, imagining him getting angry and telling them all to back up out his grill.
“Sid,” One of the reporters called, “How do you think the upcoming Olympic break is going to impact your game once you return?”
“Well,” Sidney started to answer and looked up, catching a glimpse of Ashlen. She smiled at him and he smiled back, loosing his train of thought. “Um, I, ugh,” He searched for the words, “It should be positive.” He said hoping that response made sense so he could go be with his girl, “We’ll just have to wait and see.”
With that being said, he told them he had to go and the seas parted so he could get through.
“Hey.” He smiled as he finally got to Ashlen.
“Hey, great game!” She congratulated him.
He put his arm around her, “Thanks, but I think the double-mint twins over there stole the show tonight.” He said, motioning over to Jordan and Evgeni.
Ashlen laughed, “Come on, I think they’re all waiting for us.”
“Friday fest, here we come.”