TAMPA, Fla. — Thousand of Bolts fans packed both Amalie Arena and Thunder Alley Monday, providing a spark of energy not seen during last year’s Stanley Cup series.
More than 16,000 fans were in the stands for Monday’s Game 1.
ABC Action News caught up with Sticks of Fire, one of the team’s loudest and well-known cheering sections.
“We view ourselves as not just fans but, there’s a will to enforce on the other team,” said Michael Tully. “We got to make this building loud, raucous, hard to play in. We got to have that home-ice advantage, it’s very important.”
That home-ice advantage quickly surfaced as the Lightning landed a 1-0 lead in the first period.
“I feel like every time we come out, we have to prove to the hockey world because we’re in the south, this is the best hockey town,” said Tully.
Last year’s quest for the cup forced fans to become the “Distant Thunder” as the Lightning won it all in a bubble in Canada.
This time around, thousands of fans are watching the historic repeat run in person.
“It’s an extra special night because we’re all able to be together,” said Andrew Miller, with Sticks of Fire. “Last year, we weren’t able to be together. Tonight, this year, we’re able to be together.”