GDB 27.0: HOT TONIGHT
*Today’s gameday preview was written in Soundgarden and sponsored by Loverboy*
You know what’s hot? 80’s Canadian rock band members in tight-ass (pun intended) leather pants – that’s what’s hot. You know what else is hot? If you guessed certain Hurricane hockey players, then you would be right.
In the case you’re late to the party, Hurricane forward Justin Gutierrez is on an absolute tear right now, capping off a phenomenal week with WHL player of the week honours. Gutierrez was a key contributor in the Hurricanes perfect 3 for 3 weekend and will now look to keep it rolling tonight against the Hitmen.
Watch out Calgary, the kid …. is hot tonight… WOAAA … so hot tonight.
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It’s a bit of a strange situation considering they are central division partners, but tonight the Canes will face the Hitmen for the first time this season. Calgary has been a feast or famine team to this point but has been sensational of late. The Hitmen have collected points in eight straight games and are currently nipping at the Hurricanes heels in the division. Tonight’s game is a big one. Indeed, all three games this week carry significant weight when it comes to the Eastern Conference. Beginning with Calgary, the Canes will then face the Raiders and Rebels – all good teams.
One game at a time.
Seeing as this is the first time these two teams are meeting, I imagine there will be a bit of a feeling-out process early. As a hockey fan, I’m not entirely sure what to expect of this years’ Hitmen. Calgary’s underlying numbers are pretty run of the mill. Their season total goal differential is – 1 but they have a + 49 shot differential. What does it all mean? In my opinion, not much. As I mentioned earlier, the Hitmen have been a team of extremes. Considering their current hot-streak, I imagine we see a strong Calgary squad tonight.
From a Hurricane perspective, the team is likely still riding high on their fantastic weekend. Lethbridge knocked off the lowly Kootenay Ice twice and the vaunted Wheat Kings once in a three day stretch. As I mentioned in the intro, the Hurricanes needed a hat trick from Justin Gutierrez to win the final game of the weekend (Saturday in Cranbrook), but they were able to get it done. While the Saturday game may not have been an instant classic, credit the Canes for pulling out 6/6 points. The Friday evening game against the Wheat Kings was one of their best of the season and I think the team is beginning to earn the trust of Canes supporters. After years of struggle, it’s fair to assume Hurricane fans are more than a little gun-shy. I would be lying if I said I haven’t been a little cynical at times – waiting for the bubble to burst. But now we’re sitting close to 30 games into the season and the Hurricanes don’t look poised to slow down. We’re beyond “hot start territory.” The Hurricanes are plain-and-simple a good hockey team.
A fun storyline to follow tonight is Brent Kisio facing his former team for the first time as a head coach. I would be hard pressed to say enough good things about the job Brent has done with this team. It’s pretty evident he was deserving of the job and I imagine he has had this game circled on the calendar for a while. I’m sure he is treating it like any other game, but pulling out a win against your formers club is always makes things a little more enticing. Here’s hoping Brent’s knowledge of the Hitmen give the Canes a leg-up early.
THIS AND THAT
- For a while now we have tried to include a “line-up” section in the pre-game articles. I’ve been thinking about it allot and have decided to pull it. The initial vision was to give fans a visual representation of the lines and expected line-up changes. The problem is that, unlike the NHL, the Dub’ doesn’t mandate game rosters are released early in the day. As a result, the line-up section ends up being pure speculation and often we are wrong altogether.
- I wonder who will get the start in net tonight for the Hurricanes. Both netminders have been good of late. Skinner had a pretty easy night last Thursday when he collected a shutout against the Ice and Jayden Sittler was, when required, spectacular against Brandon. It will also be interesting to see how games are allocated to the two netminders with three games in four nights. Does tonight’s starter also start Friday? With how well both guys are playing, does it really matter?
- I’ve been scouring the internet and feel confident I’ve found the ultimate Egor Babenko goal song. It took a while, and trust me, Russian dance music is a google rabbit hole that will suck you down for hours and hours – but I’m telling you – this track is the real deal. KALINKA KALINKA KALINKA….
GDP: The team gets fired up to earn a win for their coach and the Canes prevail over Calgary. Final score, 4-2 Lethbridge
OGDP: Hitmen play-by-play man Brad Curle will inevitably dredge up some great memory from his time as Hurricanes broadcaster during the call of tonight’s game.
NSOGDP: All the farm-boy players will replace their name-bars with “stop bill” and their numbers with “6” and there will be mass confusion in the broadcast booth(s).
What do you think? Who are you excited to watch tonight and what will be the outcome. Comment below.
Don’t forget to check out the sponsor of all this season’s game day articles, Graham Reimer of Dominion Lending here in Lethbridge. I personally know and vouch for the amazing work he does. If you need any advice or help with a mortgage or want to look into getting one, I cannot say enough good things about Graham and the Mortgage Crusher team.
Remember to tell him Canes Domain sent you!