GDB 23.0 WRAP UP: TOTAL
Total football was a term coined when the Netherlands took the soccer world by storm in the 70’s. They had devised a way to control the game through overwhelming possession and deadly attacks. The Hurricanes are far from a revolutionary hockey team – but in a vacuum – Lethbridge played a total game tonight and skated away with a big win.
The first five minutes of tonight’s game was a little cagey. The highlight was Tyler Wong unloading a full clapper on a breakaway. It was a great save by Blades netminder Nik Amundrud. The Canes were subsequently awarded a powerplay and Egor Babenko would open tonight’s scoring with a skillful one-timer on a bouncing puck. A few minutes later, a misplay by a Blades defender would send Carter Folk in alone down the right wing. He made no mistake shooting low blocker to put the Canes up 2 – 0.
The second half of the period saw two equally lucky bounces result in goals for both teams. First, Brett Davis deflected a Pankewicz shot off his chest, then Terrell Draude (who hasn’t done much since his hit single “Sandstorm” dropped decades ago) benefitted on his own deflection. The Blades pushed the pace after they got on the board and Draude would strike again on a pretty passing play. The Blades rang one off the post in the final second of the period but it didn’t go in and the first period ended with the score 3 – 2 Lethbridge.
The first five minutes of the second period flew-by with the two teams trading chances on the rush. Neither was able to convert. Ryley Lindgren would eventually clean up a rebound left in front of Amundrud to put the Canes back up by two. At that point, I missed almost five minutes indulging in some hot pepperoni pizza. Upon awaking from a cheesey tomato saucy coma, I realized neither team had scored. Cool. I could have spent the entire second half of the period having a pizza party for one because after Lindgren’s goal, neither team managed to get another before the buzzer rang on the second. The Canes led 4 – 2 after forty.
The Canes pressed hard in the first five minutes of the third. Jordy Bellerive had a golden opportunity on a breakaway but was denied on a hard wrister. From that point on, the two teams continued to trade chances with neither capitalizing. The Canes had a few PP opportunities but started to get a little fancy with the passing and neglected a few prime shooting chances. I’m not an advocate for mindless shooting, but passing the puck into the net isn’t always the most effective either. Cory Millette would salt the game away late and it would end 5 – 2 Lethbridge.
- Brett Davis got his second WHL goal a night after scoring his first. This one, like last nights, also came on a greasy deflection but you gotta be good to be lucky. Davis is playing his best hockey as a Hurricane right now.
- Tonight was one of Igor Merezhko’s best games in North America. He looked more engaged offensively and even got involved in the rush. He unleashed a few big shots from the point and just generally looked pretty good playing alongside Kord Pankewicz.
- Nick Watson had a quiet game but made a few really small- but smart – defensive plays.
- Balanced scoring tonight for Lethbridge. It’s been a strength of theirs as the season progressed. The Canes had four different goal scorers tonight (Babenko, Folk, Lindgren, Davis)
- Carter Folk had a fantastic night. Fantastic is an understatement. Carter Folk had a PHENOMENAL night. He was the Canes’ catalyst and best player on either team.
- I also really liked Darian Skeoch’s game. Tonight he was exactly what the Canes need from him and more. Big, intimidating, smart, and impactful. Overall, it was an exception night for the Hurricanes defense.
- Stuart Skinner played a good game tonight. He made some really key saves at key moments.
- It wasn’t that there were no big mistakes tonight, but I struggled to find anything to really put down as “bad” tonight. The Canes played a pretty complete game for the most part and I didn’t think there were many passengers out there.
- A hairy Blades fan lifted up his shirt in during the Nick Watson fight and I didn’t need to to see what I saw.
THIS AND THAT
- I might be a little late to the party, but Stuart Skinner was look’in sharp with some new CCM equipment tonight. The back of the glove was still so pearlly clean and white he could eat off it.
- When the Canes have back to back home games on the weekend, it’s always a tossup which night will be busier. This time it was Saturday. On both occasions, fans were rewarded with entertaining hockey.
- Jaeger White was absolutely demolished in the neutral zone in the third period. It was a huge open ice hit that resulted in a Hurricanes PP. Jaeger was bleeding from the mouth on the play. Credit him for getting up and skating off.
Much like last night’s loss to the Cougars, tonight’s game was thoroughly entertaining. There were chances on both sides, lots of goals, some big hits, and the home team found a way to win. The Blades didn’t play a terrible game tonight, but the Hurricanes ripped them apart in the neutral zone. Saskatoon couldn’t seem to eliminate the Hurricanes’ generating odd-man rushes.
From a Lethbridge perspective, it was a fantastic bounce back from a bad loss last night. The team reported to the rink early this morning for a hard skate. It was a tough-love decision by the coaching staff and tonight the players responded. It wasn’t a perfect game, but it was exactly what the Canes needed – a solid 60-minute effort.