GDB 3.0 WRAP UP: Hurricanes @ ICE
After suffering an early game beatdown by the Tigers last weekend, the Hurricanes answered back tonight against the Ice. The Hurricanes scored early and often tonight, eventually skating away with a 5 – 1 win over the Kootenay Ice.
The Hurricanes jumped out to a big lead, got some key saves from Jayden Sittler, and added to their total in the second. From that point, the Hurricanes never looked back.
The players and coaches deserve full credit for a big win tonight on the road.
Fist pumps all around.
The Hurricanes reversed their fortunes against the Tigers and stormed out to an early 2-0 lead less than three minutes into the game. The new line of Estephan centering Bellerive and Wong was responsible for both. Both goals were very similar with the Canes bursting in off the wing, centering the puck, and snapping a quick shot. Estephan scored the first, and Bellerive the second. It was the perfect way to start the game and the Canes deserve full credit for being ready to play.
From that point on, play settled down and the Ice and Canes played a pretty evenly matched period. The Canes had some really great possession at five on five and seemed to keep the Ice on their heels for stretches. Unfortunately, there were also some bad turnovers that lead to high percentage chances for the Ice. Sittler came up really big at times in the first, and despite the Canes playing a solid period, he was the reason that the lead remained 2-0. Special teams was a big factor in the first, as the Canes spotted the Ice a number of powerplays and were almost completely ineffective on their own.
All that said, it was a decent period for Lethbridge. The Canes carried a two-goal lead into the second and were out-shooting the Ice 16 -11.
The second period really saw the Hurricanes take over. For three-quarters of the period the Hurricanes took the play to the Ice and dominated possession at even strength. While the power play struggled in the first, the Canes had two power plays in the second and looked extremely dangerous. They didn’t score, but they pressed hard, and generated some grade A scoring chances. The point-men did a fantastic job of distributing the puck and holding the line on both power plays.
The Canes weathered a lengthy five on three penalty kill that began with Carter Folk taking an undisciplined penalty. While skating to his spot prior to the faceoff, Folk dropped his shoulder into Kootenay forward, Roman Dymacek, and took an unsportsmanlike penalty. The Canes did a good job of killing the ensuing powerplay and maintained a two goal lead. In the final minute, Lethbridge was rewarded for a strong second period with a late goal by Burke.
At the end of the second period, the Hurricanes led 3-0 and were up 28-15 on the shot clock.
The Ice took a late penalty in the second and the Canes would start the third on the powerplay. On the ensuing powerplay Ryley Lindgren would score, putting the Canes up 4-0. Seconds later, Cory Millette buried an unassisted tally to put the Canes up by five less than two minutes into the third. From that point on, the Canes more or less played for the win. They had some really nice chances late in the game and probably could have had one or two more were it not for some nice saves by Ice netminder Declan Hobbs.
The lone Ice goal came on an Ice powerplay after an ill-advised Andrew Nielsen interference minor. The powerplay, and subsequent goal, occurred shortly after Millette put the Canes up by five.
Final shots were 39 – 26 for the Hurricanes.
- Canes got off to a strong start with two goals in the first three minutes. Both scored by top line of Estephan, Wong, and Bellerive.
- Loved Carter Folk immediately hunting down River Beatie after the Ice winger took a late shot on net following a whistle. Little plays like that are a big part of building a solid dressing room culture. Folk didn’t need to drop the gloves or take it too far, but he did enough to get his point across.
- The first glimmer of offense from Merezhko made itself known in the second. He made a really nice rush beside Babenko and almost feathered a pass over to the Russian winger. Late in the game he made another rush into the Ice zone, dancing through the forecheckers then taking a shot. Nice to see there might be another dimension to his game down the road.
- Giorgio Estephan was far and away the best player on the ice tonight. His vision with the puck was evident throughout each period. Estephan was the engine that drove the Hurricanes offense. He finished the night with a goal and three assists, good for four points. If Giorgio can keep up such a high level of play, the Hurricanes will really benefit.
- Jayden Sittler wasn’t remarkably busy tonight, but he was big when he needed to be. In the first period the Canes got up to an early 2-0 lead, but were it not for a few huge saves by Sittler, could have easily left the period tied or down a goal. The key for Sittler tonight was that he made the timely saves. When the game was in question, he was there to make the stops.
- Tonight was a great demonstration of the overall balance the Hurricanes have in their lineup. Beyond the excellence of the Estephan Wong line, the Hurricanes have some fantastic depth this season. It’s hard to really identify a clear-cut second, third, and fourth line. The coaches were able to roll the lines knowing all four could hold their own against the Ice. There were five different goal scorers tonight for the Hurricanes. The long-term success of this team will depend on a balanced attack, and through three games, things look promising.
- The Hurricanes came out of the gates ready to play tonight. Whatever Kisio is telling them before the game and in the intermissions is clearly working. The Hurricanes scored four of their five goals within five minutes of a period starting. Starting games/periods strong is one of the few things I attribute very closely with coaching, and tonight the Canes dominated the ice in key early moments of the game.
- The constant buzz on the WHL Live audio feed made me feel like I was part of a Soviet mental torture experiment.
- Andrew Nielsen continues to get himself in penalty trouble. He took two penalties in the first period alone. The first was totally uncalled for as the Canes had full control in the offensive zone and Nielsen was tagged for a high-sticking penalty away from the play. On the second, a Kootenay player found himself on a shorthanded breakaway with five seconds left in the period, and Nielsen was forced into taking a penalty. Sittler made a huge save on the play. Nielsen took a third minor in the third period, lining up an Ice forward and drawing an interference penalty. The Ice would score and break Sittler’s shutout bid with 15 minutes left in the game.
- In two of the three games played so far, the Canes goaltenders carried a shutout late into the third. On both occasions, the Canes took an unnecessary penalty resulting in an opposition goal. What really matters is the Canes won both games, but when your goaltenders give you a great effort, it hurts to give up late powerplay goals.
THIS AND THAT:
- Those Kootenay third jerseys are really sharp. Would be cool if they used a similar template but added their primary logo in the future.
- I want to recognize the game of Vandervlis tonight. He was really solid. He’s big and plays a smart game. I’m sure Kisio has no reservations sending him out in most situations. Definitely a guy to keep your eyes on as he develops.
- I made some comments about tonight’s poor attendance on Twitter and got called out as being hypocritical. The commenter was inferring that since I’m from Lethbridge, a city where it’s well known the Hurricanes have financial trouble, that I shouldn’t be commenting on how few people were at tonight’s game. I get the point, but Lethbridge’s issues don’t make Cranbrook’s any better or worse. I’m the first to say that a city area with more than 90,000 should draw far more than the Hurricanes do, but does that make 1,900 at tonight’s Saturday meeting in Cranbrook any better or worse? You be the judge.
The Hurricanes won’t have much time to revel in tonight’s win. They are back in game action tomorrow night here in Lethbridge. The powerhouse Kelowna Rockets are in town. Game time is 6 pm.
Did you watch the game? If so, drop a comment below. What did YOU think? Did you see it differently? I want to know!