Caniacs pack out viewing party for Game 1 against Islanders

Carolina Hurricanes

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Carolina Hurricanes fans were again on the edges of their seats Friday night for Game 1 of the team’s second-round Stanley Cup Playoffs series against the New York Islanders.

And again, they were treated to an exciting contest that saw their team win in overtime. 

The Hurricanes took on the New York Islanders at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn in the first game of the second-round series. Carolina was fresh off of beating Washington in a double-overtime Game 7 Wednesday while the Islanders had an extended break after sweeping Pittsburgh in their first-round series.

“It’s a really big game,” said 9-year-old Izzy Sotomayor.

Izzy and dozens of other Caniacs, including Hamilton the Pig, packed into the Carolina Ale House along Tucker Street in Raleigh for the official watch party.

Eddie Sotomayor said he started bringing her daughter to PNC Arena when she was 3 years old.

“She’s just grown to love the game. We watched the games together. Daddy-daughter bonding,” he said.

Izzy was excited to watch Friday’s game with other fans. She said Wednesday’s double-overtime playoff game ended way past her bedtime.

“In the morning, I knew the Hurricanes played, and I’m like ‘Dad, did they win,” she said. “Then he showed me a video … and I’m like, ‘No way they just scored.'”

Since Izzy has been going to games most of her life, she has a lot to say about the ‘Canes and memorized the team’s roster.

She doesn’t hold back on her analysis, even when it comes to her favorite player: Sebastian Aho.

“He scored his first goal in a while because he’s been slumping a lot,” Izzy said of Aho’s performance Wednesday night.

Win or lose, Izzy and her dad said they are Caniacs for life.

“What a great team. It’s family friendly. They are role models for the kiddos. Working hard, try your best, and working together,” Sotomayor said.

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