Standing-room crowd for Penguins' scrimmage

Wednesday, 01.16.2013 / 9:29 PM / News

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Standing-room crowd for Penguins' scrimmage
A standing-room crowd of more than 18,000 turned out Wednesday night for the Pittsburgh Penguins' Black and Gold scrimmage at Consol Energy Center.

Pittsburgh Penguins fans are already in midseason form.

A standing-room crowd of more than 18,000 turned out Wednesday night for the team's Black and Gold game at Consol Energy Center.

Admission was free to watch the intrasquad scrimmage that featured stars Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin wearing white jerseys as Gold teammates.

"We knew we enjoyed great support in Pittsburgh, but not in our wildest dreams did we think that for a Black and Gold scrimmage we would get 18,000 people here," Penguins president and CEO David Morehouse told the team's website. "We actually were full and then we went outside and there were still people in line. We opened up the suites and we’re filling up the suites. We’ve been trying to squeeze everybody in."

Top prospect Beau Bennett scored for the Gold team and played alongside Crosby and Chris Kunitz.

Newcomer Brandon Sutter, acquired from the Carolina Hurricanes in an offseason trade for Jordan Staal, set up two goals by Matt Cooke (one shorthanded) for the Black team.

"Obviously the crowd was great," Sutter told the website. "We owe some respect to them for coming out after having to be patient with us for a while. For them to come out today and give us that support is pretty awesome. We appreciate that and we’re looking forward to having that all year."

Malkin's 5-on-3 goal on Marc-Andre Fleury early in the third period gave the Gold team a 4-3 lead. Regulation time ended with that score, but the sides played overtime and conducted a shootout.

The fans were named as the night's No. 1 star.

"They certainly did their part tonight (in making this a game-like atmosphere)," Pascal Dupuis said. "It did feel like a playoff atmosphere, that’s for sure."

The Penguins have had 254 consecutive sellouts, dating to Feb. 14, 2007, and spanning their time at Mellon Arena to Consol Energy Center, which opened in 2010.

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It is really special. I had a lot of friends and family here tonight, and for my first [NHL] game in here it was great. I played here as an elementary-school player in the city championships and this was my first time back. It was a lot of fun.

— Toronto native Brandon Pirri after scoring 2 goals for Panthers in win at Maple Leafs on Thursday
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