EX G5 PREVIEW: CANES @ ICE
Following a sound defeat of the Swift Current Broncos, the Canes will look to continue their winning ways tonight in the Crowsnest Pass against the Ice. We’re now down to the final two exhibition games – meaning it’s time for some of the bubble players to put up or go home. As a result, the games tonight and tomorrow should be played with a sense of urgency from a significant contingent of Canes players, and hopefully, it translate to wins.
Today is my first day home from a short vacation on PEI. I confess I wasn’t able to catch much on the previous game against the Bronco’s. What did stick out was the emergence of the Millette, Gutierrez, Babenko line. I tweeted out during the Coaldale game that I was a big fan of the composition of that line and I expected big things from them. Outside of the Babenko goal early in the third, they were pretty quiet in Coaldale. With that said, I wasn’t surprised to see them go off for nine points in Swift Current.
Since I am feeling slightly out of the loop due to travel, today’s game preview will be shorter than usual. Sorry everyone!
For what it’s worth, here are a few quick thoughts
- With Kegler assigned, it goes without saying that Sittler and Skinner will split the final two starts. Either way, the Canes have a fantastic tandem to begin the season with and I believe they will split duties until one guy emerges as the most consistent. There is nothing to be gained by naming one of the guys the clear cut number one. Many believe Skinner has the inside track to winning the starting role and I don’t disagree. With that said, let him earn the mantle rather than hand it to him. Sittler is a solid netminder and I think Kisio will ride the hot hand all year long.
- Courtesy of Tyler Rocca – Cranbrook Daily Townsman, Kootenay is expected to start veteran goaltender Wyatt Hoflin tonight against the Canes.
- Some of the young guys have cooled somewhat from a blistering training camp. It’s going to be really interesting to see which players step up over the next two nights. Watch for names like Bellerive, Davis, Franklin, and Vandervlis to make an impact. If none hit the score-sheet, it will be very curious to find out who sticks around for next regular season opener, and who gets assigned.
- Prior to the last game, I talked about defensemen fighting for the final roster spots. It looks as if the aforementioned players will all get a final shot at making an impression this weekend. I imagine we will see some released and assignments announced either Saturday or Monday based on the outcome of the games tonight and tomorrow.
Obviously this week has been traumatic for residents of the Crowsnest Pass. I want to send my condolences to the families of those involved in the tragic murders. It goes without saying that something like this should never happen and I breaks my heart to hear about. When these sorts of stories happen, it really puts life into perspective. As fleeting as it is, I hope the hockey tournament this weekend can be an extremely small part of a much bigger (and lengthier) process of restoring some normality to the community of the Crowsnest Pass.