We knew it would be loud, we just didn't know how loud.
In the first playoff home game at UBS Arena, the NY Islanders delivered a 5-1 win over the Carolina Hurricanes, and the fanbase delivered all the noise, excitement, and enthusiasm necessary for a distinct home-ice advantage that will carry the team into Game 4 on Sunday afternoon.
UBS Arena sounded 'damn close' to the Coliseum in Game 3 win
"It was pretty awesome. I didn't think anything would be like the Coliseum was, but it was damn close," Matt Martin said in the postgame.
It really was. Whether you were in the building or watching on television, the atmosphere's look, feel, and sound closely resembled the home playoff games last experienced two seasons ago in 2021 at the Old Barn. The performance from the team did as well, as the crowd erupted with every jarring hit, every scoring chance, and every Ilya Sorokin save. It was New York Islanders playoff hockey.
As the final buzzer sounded, game operations even played Maxine Nightingale's "Right Back Where We Started From," a well-orchestrated surprise for the 17,000+ fans that sang and danced in their seats long after the game was over. The traditional horn honking after a win also made its playoff debut as cars filed out of the UBS Arena parking lot in no apparent rush to leave the party-like atmosphere they just experience on a Friday night in Elmont.
“I thought our fans were great. I knew it would be great, but they didn’t disappoint at all," head coach Lane Lambert said when meeting the media after the win.
Islanders fans were unsure if they would see a night like last night, a playoff home game in a new arena specifically built for them. After missing the postseason in 2021-22 and experiencing the ups and downs of this year's rollercoaster season, there was no guarantee it was going to happen this spring either. But when the moment came, they were ready to meet the moment, and team was too.
"Keep going, baby. You guys are awesome, and we love you!" the game's first star, Casey Cizikas, said at the conclusion of his on-ice interview with Alan Fuehring after the game at the Isles bench.
The feelings are mutual.