By Kyle Shohara
|"It was so cool. It was so fun to see how passionate they are, and how into they were even two hours after the game last night." -- Ben Lovejoy
It was one of those games the Ducks had to win, and sure enough, they found a way. Led by their cool-as-ice rookie goaltender John Gibson, the Ducks took Game 4 by a 2-0 score in front of a stunned Kings crowd at Staples Center. The victory evened the series at two games apiece, with Game 5 set for tomorrow night at Honda Center.
After the game, the Ducks boarded buses for the 40-minute drive back to Honda Center where their cars remained. What greeted them upon their arrival was every bit exciting and surprising.
There was word on the bus, the players said, of a potential gathering of fans at Honda Center, but none of them expected the amount that actually showed up.
“That was a pretty cool feeling, seeing them there,” said defenseman Hampus Lindholm. “There were more people than I thought there would be. It was a fun feeling. We feel like we have their support, and we’re really looking forward to seeing what they bring tomorrow.”
Fan videos posted on Twitter and Vine reveal the speech defenseman Ben Lovejoy gave upon exiting the bus to a mass of adoring fans. Lovejoy credits the Ducks media relations department for that decision. “They have realized that I can handle things like that,” he joked. “I feel like I’m pretty comfortable doing things like that, and it was a special moment. That was certainly an honor.”
|"It was nice to see the orange shirts and towels waving at Staples Center. They follow us everywhere we go, and we certainly appreciate them always having our back and supporting us." -- Cam Fowler |
Lovejoy has endeared himself to Ducks fans ever since coming over in a trade last season from the Pittsburgh Penguins. Nicknamed “The Rev” in reference to The Simpsons character with the same last name, Lovejoy has emerged as one of the breakout players in this postseason. The 30-year-old defenseman scored a huge goal in Game 3 at Staples Center that stood up as the game winner. For Lovejoy, coming home to such a dedicated fanbase means the world to him and his teammates.
“We had just come off an incredibly emotional win against our – and our fans’ – archrival, and they wanted to stick around and celebrate with us,” he said. “It was so cool. It was so fun to see how passionate they are, and how into it they were even two hours after the game last night.
“It truly is a fun place to play. When you think of passionate hockey fans in the NHL, Southern California and Honda Center isn’t your first thought. But we’re certainly proving everybody wrong. It’s such a fun crowd to play in front of, and it makes playing hockey here so cool.”
“Our fans have been incredible, and we know they’re behind us no matter what,” said defenseman Cam Fowler. “I think we scared them when we lost our first two at home, but they stuck with us. It was nice to see the orange shirts and towels waving at Staples Center. They follow us everywhere we go, and we certainly appreciate them always having our back and supporting us.”
There were unconfirmed rumors last night on Twitter of Ducks head coach Bruce Boudreau running by the fans and giving out high fives. Did it actually happen? We went to the players for answers.
“I didn’t see it, but knowing Bruce, it wouldn’t surprise me if he did something like that,” said Fowler. “That would’ve been funny to see, but unfortunately I didn’t see it.”
Defenseman Bryan Allen had a big grin on his face when asked about the rumor. “That’s the first I’ve heard that,” he said. “I haven’t seen that, but if he did, that’s great.”
“I didn’t see that, but I wish I did…trust me,” said Lindholm. “I’ll have to ask around to see if that’s true or not.”
Below is a fan-recorded video (@SoCalAvsFan) from last night.