GDB 26.0: WRAP UP: BAKED ALASKA
For those of you that may not know, Baked Alaska is a tasty dessert that is made up of layers of ice cream, cake, and meringue, which are quickly baked in a super-hot oven to create a warm, crispy outer layer with a cool, creamy centre. I might be drooling a little as I write this. Well this decadent treat is a perfect metaphor for the play of Justin Guiterrez in tonight’s game versus the Ice. The Anchorage, Alaska native (see what I did there) continued his hot play of late and led the Canes to an oh so sweet road victory. Guiterrez provided all the offence for the Hurricanes in this one with his first career hat trick. It was needed too as this ended up being a much different game than the one that took place 48 hours ago at the ENMAX Centre.
The Hurricanes got off to fantastic start in this one. Right from the opening draw the lads dominated the early stages of this contest. The first half of the period was spent predominantly in the Ice zone and the Canes opened up a shooting gallery. Guiterrez would get the scoring started at the 4:17 mark. The goal was the culmination of a great effort below the goal line, by Babenko, where he out-muscled the Ice D-man and walked the puck to the front of the net. Guiterrez went hard to the paint and slid home the loose puck for his fourth goal in his last 3 games. The Canes would keep the pressure on from there. Kootenay would not get their first shot of this game until about the 12 minute mark of the period (bringing their shotless streak against the Canes to at least 31 consecutive minutes). Finally getting that shot seemed to spark the Ice a little. Shortly thereafter the Ice would go on the power play following a tripping call to Carter Folk. Part way through the man advantage, a broken play would see a bouncing puck end up on the blade of Kootenay forward Dylan Stewart who made no mistake to tie the game at the 15:33 mark. The rest of the period was a little scrambly with both teams racing up and down the ice and generating some chances. The period would end tied at 1 with the Canes holding a distinctive shot advantage at 15-4.
The 2nd period started much like the first ended. It was a bit of a track meet with both teams engaging in end to end rushes. Systems and structure seemed to go out the window for a few minutes and pond hockey emerged in their place. It was fun to watch, but I’m guessing the coaching staffs were none too happy. Guiterrez would maintain the hot hand scoring on the power play at 6:03 of the second. Mere seconds after the Hurricanes go ahead goal, Carter Folk would be stopped on a breakaway and Millette would be denied on the rebound. The next few minutes were the Wyatt Hofflin show. He made numerous spectacular saves to keep Kootenay in this game. From there things started to get heated between these 2 clubs. It would appear the memories of Thursday night’s game were fresh as every scrum started to feature rabbit punches and face washes. Guiterrez would again light the lamp in the last minute of play by burying a Burke feed to cap off a nice passing play. Kootenay were none too pleased with the goal as they felt that it should have been waived off due to goalie interference. After 40 minutes the Canes would see a 3-1 lead and a massive shot advantage of 38-11 (23-7 in the period).
Kootenay pressed hard in the third period and made a game out of this one. It was looking like the toll of playing 3 games in 3 nights was catching up with Lethbridge. Ice forward Matt Alfaro would cut the Canes lead in half with an early marker on the power play. That goal seemed to spark the Ice and they had Lethbridge on their heels for the next several minutes. Thankfully for Canes fans, an excellent shift by the Davis-Estephan-Wong-Watson-Atwal combination halted the Ice momentum. This fivesome penned the Ice deep for a full minute and gave Lethbridge the chance to regroup and regain form. Kootenay would just not go away in this one. They continued to pressure and had numerous scoring chances, but Stuart Skinner was equal to the task. He made the saves when it mattered the most and helped bring this one home for his club. Lethbridge would hang on for a 3-2 victory. The final shot totals were 43-23 for the Canes (12-5 Ice in the 3rd).
- Justin Guiterrez. He’s absolutely on fire. He’s scored the last 5 Hurricanes goals and has 6 markers in his last 3 games. If he keeps this up he’s going to need to do the Ovechkin hot stick celebration.
- The road monkey is off the Canes backs. This victory ended a streak of 6 straight losses away from the ENMAX Centre.
- The Canes forecheck was fun to watch in this one, especially in the first 2 periods. They did a great job of clogging up the neutral zone and creating turnovers at the Ice blue line.
- I’ve noted the Canes struggles with face-offs on here a few times. Well, they did a good job in the late stages of this one winning the draws that you really need to win. Ryley Lindgren won some clean easily allowing his team to escape pressure.
- The Canes fans in the building were great in this one. I could hear them cheering on the WHL Live feed and the Ice broadcast made note of it as well. Well done to you, hopefully I can be on the next fan bus with you!
- A less than stellar 3rd period on the road again showed up in this one. This was the tale of their last eastern swing where the Canes were in each game but let down by a poor effort in the closing stanza. Thankfully it didn’t cost the Canes 2 points tonight.
- Giving up odd man rushes continues to be an issue for the Canes. In the second period the Canes gave up a 3 on 1 despite the Ice being short-handed at the time. If not for a heads up play by Andrew Nielsen to break up the pass, the Ice easily could have taken the lead on that play.
- I’m going to put an asterisk beside one as it’s not necessarily bad, but Brayden Burke needs to be more selfish. He passed up a wide open shot in the slot in the third period and instead opted to pass to no one at the side of the Ice net resulting in a turn over. It’s a pleasure to watch him feed his teammates, but sometimes you gotta fire the biscuit.
THIS AND THAT
- While Davis and Sheen may not have factored into tonight’s scoring they continued their recent good play. The future looks bright in Lethbridge.
- The building looked pretty empty on the live feed. Too bad, Cranbook and area people missed out on an entertaining hockey game.
- The officiating at the end of the game was confusing to say the least. The crew couldn’t decide if Haflin was allowed to remain on the bench or not for a netural zone face off by the Canes zone. It appeared that the Ice were granted a second time out. It was a strange series of events.
The Hurricanes really controlled the first two periods in this game. If not for the stellar play of Ice goalie Wyatt Hoflin this game could have turned into another rout for Lethbridge. Hoflin kept his team in it and they pressed hard for the victory in the third. The Hurricanes may have bent, but they did not break. In doing so they managed to snap a 6 game road losing skid that dates back to October 30th. Overall, this was an up and down effort for Lethbridge. They played phenomenally well at points and quite poor at others, but 2 points are 2 points. The Canes now return home for a 3 game home stand that begins on Wednesday vs. the Hitmen and ends with always popular Teddy bear and Toque toss game versus the Rebels on the 5th.
Professional student, prospective teacher. Red Wings/Blue Jays/49ers super-fan. Proud general manager of Team Mono and the Slumlords in a pair of fantasy hockey keeper leagues. Is there anything better than soup and sandwich? Twitter: @jsvsakamoto.