By Len Bardsley
© 2005 The Times of Trenton
The Titans didn’t get to practice at Anchorage’s Sullivan Arena Monday, but they were just happy to get skating after sitting on a plane for 12 hours Sunday.
They prepared for Game 1 of their National Conference Finals against the Alaska Aces yesterday, using the Aces’ practice rink and not the big ice surface of Sullivan Arena.
Sullivan Arena is an Olympic-size rink (200×100), while Sovereign Bank Arena is a standard NHL size (200×85).
The Titans didn’t seem to mind not getting to skate at the main arena, which will be filled to capacity for Game 1, which begins Tuesday at 11:15 p.m. EDT.
The Titans were anxious to get the loose and get back together after spending most of the day Sunday on four separate flights getting to Anchorage. The team arrived between 10 p.m. and midnight Alaska Time Sunday.
“It was a little hard to sleep this morning, but it feels good now,” said Titans goalie Andrew Allen. “It felt good to get on the ice and get a good sweat in. Once you get your legs moving, you feel a lot better.”
The Titans will get a chance to adapt to Sullivan Arena during their morning skate Tuesday.
“We know we have tomorrow (Tuesday),” said Allen. “As long as we get one (practice) on it we will be fine.”
Allen does not expect any cobwebs from the Titans, but if any are present, they will get cleared quickly by the capacity crowd at Sullivan Arena Tuesday.
“It will be exciting for everybody,” said Allen. “When the building is loud it gets you into the game. It gets you more excited. It should be a great atmosphere for hockey, there is no chance to lull yourself to sleep.”
Titans captain Rick Kowalsky feels the long trip and atmosphere at Sullivan Arena is just another obstacle the team is ready to meet.
“It is another challenge,” said Kowalsky. “Finishing the season and going to into the playoffs, we have faced some adversity and responded well. This is just another step. Sometimes, when you are on the road, you tend to play with a little more composure. The guys are looking forward to it. It is not something they are nervous about.”
Kowalsky feels the team dealt with the rigors of travel well. It took one group nearly 24 hours from the time they left Sovereign Bank Arena to when they arrived in Anchorage due to mechanical delays.
“The travel was tough,” said Kowalsky. “But the guys accepted it well. I think guys feel good and settled in now. Everybody knows it is all business and anxious to get back at it.”