I have known that Purdue played hockey for some time now, but never got around to seeing them play until Saturday. Since 2006 I have been meaning to drive to see them play, but have not made it. They used to play at home in Danville, Illinois which is quite a drive from Northwest Indiana. On the way home from the football game in Champaign I made a slight detour to Bloomington to see the Purdue hockey team play finally. They did not play in a big arena, but rather next to it. The team played in a public skating rink that was cleared out in time for the game. At first I wondered what I was getting myself into, but once the action started it was worth it.
In the first period the Boilers seemed to almost always be on the penalty kill. They even had a couple of times during the game where they were down two men. They killed them off though, and even scored their second goal short handed. Throughout all the turmoil they really kept the pressure on Illinois State. The first period ended with the score 4-0.
The second period was much more physical. Both teams started to get under each others skin a little bit. From my vantage point it looked like Nick Cesarone a freshman for Purdue was the instigator. He was having a great time at the expense of the Redbirds. He was not doing anything illegal, but just little chip shots that will get under your skin. My favorite plays of the game happened right in front of me. An Illinois State player tried to check him hard, and Nick slipped the chip. As the player was slamming into the boards by himself Nick yelled at him “Is that all you got?” Just a few minutes later the same guy tried for him again in front of me. During the scrum he ended up with Nick’s head in both of his hands. It looked to me like he was trying to tear it off. The skirmish set the tone for the period as both teams were hitting a little harder.
After the second period was over I left. I had already been on the road for a while, and I had a drive ahead of me. I enjoyed my first Purdue hockey game though, and hope that they can get somewhere to play near campus. With Penn State getting a hockey program going you would hope that the rest of the Big Ten would follow. I think that right now too many things stand in the way of Purdue having a hockey program sanctioned by the school. For now though the club team is fun to watch. When I left I think the score was 6-1 in Purdue’s favor. I tried to block out most things from Saturday due to the football game, and I think this went with it. I know that they ended up winning 8-3 though. The hockey was exciting to watch, and I hope that they can get a rink near campus so that this won’t be a once every five seasons thing.