GDB 1.0 WRAP UP: Hurricanes vs Tigers
What. A. Game. There’s a long road ahead for these Hurricanes, but everything in me wants to call this a statement game. The Canes not only won, but for a good part of the game, ran the Tigers out of the building. They operated with confidence and exuded an early season swagger I havn’t seen for years.
There was a ton of talk heading into this season, and at least for tonight, the Hurricanes lived up to the billing of a team on the rise.
After a prompt opening ceremony featuring dueling Cameros (yes, dueling Cameros), the Canes and Tigers faced off to open the 2015-2016 campaign. The first shift was exactly what I expected. The Tigers drove the net hard and almost got an early goal. With the Bellerive, Lindgren, White line out, the tide quickly turned. Bellerive drove the net, and on the third ‘wack’, White put the puck behind Tiger goaltender Schnieder. The goal was reviewed due to the Tigers net being knocked off (inadvertently by a Hurricane aided by a Tiger defender). After a long review, the goal counted.
From that point on, the Canes dominated the first period. They put the Tigers out of sorts and could have been up by three or four had they buried a few of the other fantastic chances they generated. There was a long stretch in the middle of the period where Skinner didn’t face a meaningful shot for close to ten minutes. The most promising part of the period to me, was how good the power play looked. Wong was able to finish a flurry of close to two straight minutes of territorial Hurricane dominance – putting them up 2-0.
The Canes deserved full credit for the 2-0 lead and led the Tigers in shots, 16-13 after 20.
The second period was much more back and forth. The Tigers responded well after being dominated in the first. Stuart Skinner began to assert himself as a difference maker in the second making a number of solid stops. More importantly, his rebound control was great, helping the Canes defenders limit second chances.
While the period was, on a whole, less noteworthy than the first, Tyler Wong scored an absolute beauty to put the Canes up 3-0. The Tigers really doubled down after Wong scored his second of the game and the remaining third of the period saw the Tigers press hard but fail to get one past the stellar Stuart Skinner.
Shots after the second were 24 – 23 Hurricanes.
The third period saw the Canes further extend their lead before the Tigers broke Skinner’s shutout bid on the powerplay late. The Tigers had the lions (ha) share of the chances in the third, but the Canes didn’t look like they were going to surrender the lead at any point. Things ended on a feisty note and I imagine tomorrow night’s game is going to be very exciting.
Final shots, 41 – 32 Tigers.
- Bellerive made an impact early. Less than two minutes in, drove the net and generated a rebound that White buried. Goal would go under review as a Hurricane was knocked into the net, causing it to go off it’s moorings. Ultimately counted, as it should.
- Pankewicz with a big shot block on the PK to end the 1st. The Canes haven’t been the most diligent when it comes to blocking shots for a few seasons. Good to see. Hopefully that sort of play eventually becomes the norm with this group.
- Wong undressed Tigers defenseman David Quenneville. Froze him at top of circle then dropped shoulder, drove the net and slide it around Schnieder. Beautiful goal resulting from skill and effort.
- The powerplay. Was extremely effective tonight and a key part of the Hurricanes victory. The Canes employed a 4 forward 1st unit PP with Estephan manning the point. It was effective, generating some high-quality chances and, more importantly, goals. It was one of the most impressive aspects of tonight’s game and could throw opposition teams for a loop.
- Kisio’s bench/time management. He called a timeout early in the third when the Canes had a PP and spent every second of it drawing things up for the players. He knew exactly what he wanted to see and the result was an important goal by Arvin Atwal. While I wouldn’t refer to it as a turning point, it was a key moment in the game, giving the Canes a comfy four goal lead.
- Old time hockey! With 20 seconds left in the third things got wild with a mini line brawl taking place in the Tigers end. It was a fantastic moment, and the Enmax was, dare I say it… really loud!! It was awesome!! Put a smile on my face.
- I wrote earlier this week that Justin Gutierrez might not be able to hang on the second line with Babenko and Millette. He shut me up with a goal in the third. While I didn’t think that line dominated at any point, they played solid hockey and I look forward to seeing where it goes from here.
- All three new 20-year-old players brought in by Anholt hit the scoresheet tonight. Long way to go but a great way to start out.
- Really long review on the White goal. Like… reeeaaaaallly long. It’s important to get the call right, but it was too long. That said, I think it actually helped the Canes catch their breath and ultimately put together a fantastic first period.
- The older gentleman standing beside me in section Q who very assertively reminded me that I was “beginning to drift” into his standing-room ticket zone. Where’s the love friend? Good thing he was sure to put his ticket stub right beside me for the rest of the game lest I drift again.
- Andrew Nielsen with three minors before the third period. The first was a dubious call, but the other two were earned. While he likely saved a goal on both occasions, the penalties were the result of desperation plays that probably could have been avoided with better positioning. Aside from that, Andrew played a fantastic game and looks poised to firmly assert himself as a marquee player.
- The Canes gave up a two on none with 10 seconds left on a neutral zone faceoff. A brutal play that Skinner didn’t deserve to face. It was all for not though, as Skinner made an incredible save to keep the Tigers to 1.
BEST of TWEETS
— Ryan Tunall (@ryantunall) September 26, 2015
Great coaching debut by Kessio @WHLHurricanes have these guys playing great to start, gotta keep it rolling
— vintagejohnny (@vintagejohnny84) September 26, 2015
5-0 and it is free tacos for all. Gutierrez from Babenko.
— Dylan Purcell (@dylpurcell) September 26, 2015
— Zach Boychuk (@ZachBoychuk) September 26, 2015
@WHLHurricanes now that was a home opener! Go canes go!!!
— Brandon Paul (@haligonianpure) September 26, 2015
THIS AND THAT:
- The clock malfunction at the end of the 1st was probably a blessing in disguise for the Hurricanes. The Tigers were on the PP and beginning to look like a threat to score.
- Schneider is a noticeably chippy goaltender. Very protective of his crease area. Whenever a Hurricane skated through his crease Schneider was sure to lay the timber.
- Brandon Kennedy with a big block right in front of Skinner late in the 2nd. It’s not a flashy play, but it’s one that gets you noticed.
- Ben Duppereault was creating scoring chances for himself by moving his feet.
- Tough penalty call on Gutierrez that lead to the shut-out ending goal. He lost body position and got called for holding. Tough to see Skinner lose his shutout so late in the game but that’s how it goes.
The Canes and Tigers go back at it again tomorrow! Be sure to check back in the morning for a preview of tomorrow night’s game in Medicine Hat.
Also, drop a comment below. What did YOU think of the game? Did you see it differently? We want to know!