GDB 53.0 WRAP UP: THE FLASH
…well… that just happened.
The Hurricanes just got shut out by the Kootenay Ice and here’s how it all went down.
An early delay of game penalty to Brett Davis allowed the Ice to take control of the opening frame’s first few shifts. Kootenay was unable to convert and the Hurricanes started to buzz soon after. Hofflin was sharp when called upon and the Ice pressed hard for a goal of their own.
That was more or less how the rest of the first period would unfold. Both teams had their chances, but there weren’t too many stand out moments. Odd man rushes were few and far between and the goaltenders kept rebounds to a minimum. Things were scoreless after the 1st with Lethbridge up 16 – 13 on the shot clock.
The Ice were the better team at the start of the 2nd. Kootenay was able to hem Lethbridge in their zone and the Ice did well to establish a cycle. After Folk took a somewhat questionable goaltending interference penalty, Kootenay’s River Beattie banged home a rebound to put the home team up 1- 0.
There isn’t really anything else to mention when it comes to the second period. Kootenay continued to play very well and the Hurricanes offense seemed toothless. At the second intermission, Kootenay led 1 – 0.
Things carried on much the same in the opening half of the third period. Neither team generated many high quality chances and you got the feeling that one goal might be enough. Beattie and Pankewicz would drop the mitts midway through the 3rd and shorter after, Alfaro, in all-alone, would make a very nice move on Sittler and slide it home. The goal put Kootenay up 2 – 0 and Lethbridge in a deep hole with ten minutes remaining.
The Hurricanes started pressing hard, but despite the ramped up intensity, still didn’t generate even a sniff at a goal. To cap things off, they took a bench minor for too many men with three minutes remaining to essentially quash any potential comeback.
It turned out Beattie’s opening goal was enough as the WHL’s last place team shut out the league’s first place team 2 – 0.
- It’s hard to find anything good tonight, I’m not gonna lie. That said, I thought Sittler did his job. He kept his team in the game, made some big saves, and the two goals he allowed weren’t his fault. Sittler received zero run support tonight and it’s too bad because I felt he deserved better.
- …. just… wow. I honestly don’t even know what to say. I had nothing written about this game entering the 3rd period. It was just…. wow.
- Giorgio… where are youuuuuuuuu!
- The team played down to their opponents. I know that’s a completely unfair thing to say about Kootenay, but that’s the way I saw it. The Ice were just better than the Hurricanes and Lethbridge was unable to elevate their game when it was badly needed.
- The Hurricanes generated nothing offensively tonight. You may think that’s an exaggeration, but I assure you… it’s not. Sure they had their fair share of shots, but most were from the outside with little to no traffic in front of Hoflin. You could probably count their scoring chances on one hand and that may even flattering. Not one high quality chance comes to mind when I think back over the full 60 minutes. It’s one thing to get beat by a stellar goaltender or to screw up a few golden chances, but tonight those chances never existed at all…. it was just… not there?
- Help us Justin Gutierrez… you’re our only hope
- I don’t care how bad things are going, you just cannot take a too many men penalty when you’re down by two with three minutes left in the game. Nail. Meet coffin.
THIS AND THAT
- It’s really hard not to dump exclusively on the Hurricanes for this one, BUT, Kootenay absolutely deserves some attention for this win. They were extremely consistent tonight. Ya, the Hurricanes helped their cause by not driving the net or executing on the most basic of levels in the offensive zone, but I have to say I was very impressed with the Ice tonight.
- The opening Ice goal was the result of a nice play by Jesse Zaharichuk. He made a great play at the point to hold the puck in, then wisely fired a low hard shot towards Sittler. There was a rebound off the Hurricane netminder’s left pad and River Beattie had an open cage to slide the puck into. Smart hockey by Zaharichuk.
- Shout out to Wyatt Hoflin for shutting out the league’s top rated offense in his 105th career WHL start. Good for him. Great story.
- Was very impressed with the play of Alfaro, Beattie and Zaharichuk tonight. All three of those players seemed to be involved in everything for the Ice tonight.
Okay. Let’s all just take a deep breath, pretend the last three hours never happened, and move forward. I know I’m being a little dramatic, but damn… that sucked.
It’s one game. I repeat. ONE GAME…. but holy does that sting.
When I look back at this one, the key takeaway for me is the offense (or total lack-there-of). The Canes weren’t too bad in their own zone tonight. The Ice didn’t exactly generate a plethora of amazing chances themselves and that’s due to some pretty solid defensive plays by the Hurricanes.
That said, what was up with the breakout tonight? It was as if the defensemen and the forward units were out of sync. Passes were missed, turnovers were made, and nothing seemed to work all night long.
I wasn’t alone in noticing the team was getting nothing done in the offensive zone. Kisio started mixing up the lines around the halfway mark. The biggest change was moving Burke to the Wong, Vandervlis line, and putting Bellerive down with Babenko and Kroeker. He also started double shifting Wong in the final ten minutes.
Nothing seemed to work. It was simply not meant to be tonight for the Hurricanes.
This season the team has almost always had at least one line looking and feeling great from game to game. It wasn’t the case tonight. The Hurricanes were shut out by the Raiders before the Christmas break. Tonights game was nothing like that loss. At least on that occasion they were generating chances all over the ice.
Against the Ice, it was an exercise in futility.
In my opinion, the best thing the team could do is just forget about tonight – completely throw it aside – and look forward to Wednesday’s home matchup against the Blades. It wasn’t the kind of game you need to dive into and break down dozens of specific individual mistakes. It’s the kind of game you crumple into a ball and throw as far away as possible.
“Look right here…”