GDB 2.0 WRAP UP: Hurricanes @ Tigers
If you were at last nights game, you should have a pretty decent idea of how tonight’s game played out, but this time in reverse. The Tigers came out of the gate furiously and found themselves up by four goals before the halfway point of the first period. Try as they might, the Canes offense failed to generate until deep in the third, ultimately dooming the team to a 5-3 loss at the hands of their arch rivals.
As good as things looked for most of Friday night, the first ten minutes of tonights game proved that the Hurricanes still have much work to do. The optimism remains, but nothing is given in this league, least of all wins in Medicine Hat.
After a very long opening ceremony, the Tigers stormed out to an early 4-0 lead on the Hurricanes. The Hurricanes put themselves in a horrible position by taking a number of early penalties and the Tigers made them pay. It was pretty much the polar opposite of what happened last night. It took the Hurricanes almost nine minutes to register their first shot. By the time the Hurricanes recovered from the early shelling, the game was pretty much out of their hands.
The Canes did play much better throughout the remaining two periods, but the deficit forced them out of their game plan and they struggled to generate many good chances. Schneider didn’t need to be great as the Canes were largely kept to the perimeter.
The Canes made things interesting late in the third, getting goals from Burke and Babenko, and also having a goal disallowed due to a high stick, but ultimately came up short. I could go on longer but the game was decided in the first ten minutes. Special teams were key tonight, and unlike Friday, the Canes’ special teams lacked the execution of the Tigers.
- Tyler Wong. This young man is on a mission to start the season. A day after being named captain and he has already scored 3 goals. I also loved his interview at the end of the second. He was extremely optimistic and confident the Canes had what it would take to make a big comeback. It didn’t work out, but it was a great interview.
- Some very late pushback by the Canes. Good to see some fight and no doubt some good things to build on… but too little too late.
- Darian Skeoch registered his first WHL point, assisting on Wong’s goal.
- Ryley Lindgren continued to show he is a solid centerman, winning some key faceoffs throughout the game.
- The Canes elected to start Skinner back to back and tonight it didn’t work out. The early penalties put him and the team behind the eight ball, but he also didn’t do himself any favors. The second goal, in particular, is one he would want back. Skinner got caught cheating ever so slightly short side when Mark Rassell put the puck on net. It dropped down to the ice and Skinner kicked it into his own net. The counter argument is that the Tigers also elected to start Schnieder two night in a row. I don’t know the quality of the Tigers backup, but I know Sittler is more than capable…
- The penalty kill. For as good as the powerplay looked last night, the penalty kill, particularly early, was really lacking tonight. The Canes have now allowed four goals on twelve penalty kills… not a great percentage. It’s somewhat surprising as Kisio spent so much time as a defensive coach, but it’s likely an issue of execution and not system. Remember two games is an extremely small sample size but special teams is certainly something to watch moving forward.
- Poor Arvin Atwal blew a tire that led to the Tiger’s empty net goal. It actually turned out to be important as the Canes would score again afterward. However, when you put yourself in a four-goal hole ten minutes into the game, you can’t cry about mistakes like that.
- The Hurricanes offense was nowhere to be found for much of the game. By the third period Kisio was forced to start shuffling the lines to try generate something. Credit the Tigers for responding defensively after getting embarrassed for much of Friday night.
- The same defensive pairing was guilty on both even strength Tiger goals. Atwal and Nielsen were a bit of a liability at times tonight. That pairing ought to be strongest on the team, but tonight they just weren’t as sharp. For his part, Nielsen has had a bit of a rough opening weekend. He’s looked really good in stretches but hasn’t been the most responsible, taking four minor penalties in two games. I think it’s just a case of Andrew trying to do a little too much with his ice time. He is more than capable, but will have to continue to refine his mental game.
- Darian Skeoch looked fantastic at moments Friday night, but tonight he made some less than stellar plays. One instance, in particular, saw a Tiger attacker drive right through him at the bottom edge of the Canes right circle and get a clean scoring chance. Even the Shaw commentators noted that Skeoch victimized himself by getting out of position and not playing the man hard enough. Watson sat out again tonight and I will be interested to see what direction the team takes heading into next weekend’s games.
BEST of TWEETS:
Well, so much for that.
— Ryan Tunall (@ryantunall) September 27, 2015
@CanesDomain hot tip – stay out of the box!
— Michael Easthope (@hectorustwo002) September 27, 2015
At the new rink in the sHat. Lacks magic and character. Very quiet. No charm. Spoke with many Tigers fans who agree. pic.twitter.com/imeB78GuKO
— Between 2 Boxes (@Between2Boxes) September 27, 2015
A wonderful Tribute tonight. Thank you tigers, chat, my family and the tiger fans for making it all possible.
— Bob Ridley (@BobRidley_CHAT) September 27, 2015
THIS AND THAT:
- The WHL on Shaw colour guy loved Tigers netminder Schneider.
- The coaches decided to make roster moves tonight even though they won last night. As I said after Friday’s game, I understand the logic of making changes based on the early season circumstances, but tonight it just didn’t pan out. Based on a very small sample size, I would say Ben Duperreault deserves another game or two with the team. If it’s a decision between he and Franklin, I think there were more positives to take from Duperreault’s game Friday than Franklin’s tonight. That said, two games is such a small sample size. I really hope both players stick around through the week and get another shot next weekend.
- Interesting move to take Kennedy out of the lineup in place of Merezhko. I really thought the Kennedy Reagan pairing was effective Friday and probably deserved to stick together again tonight.
- We have still yet to see Watson, Sheen, or Folk suit up, a good reminder that there is still so much more to play out before the season really gets into full swing.
The Hurricanes have a full week to think about tonight’s game and prepare for their next. Don’t take too much away from tonight’s loss. The Canes didn’t play terribly outside of the first ten minutes and I expect them to continue to tighten things up heading into next weekend’s games. This week will be an important one as it gives the players and coaches time to settle into a routine and get to work on the finer details of how they want to play.
For now we will take things game-by-game and watch how this team slowly evolves over the next ten to fifteen games.
If the first half of tonight’s game wasn’t a wake up call, I don’t know what is.
Did you watch the game? If so, drop a comment below. What did YOU think? Did you see it differently? I want to know!