GDB 30.0 WRAP UP: EASY RIDER

  • Jeremy Sakamoto

Easy

 

Perhaps it’s apropos for a December night in Manitoba, but it would take the Canes a good long while to get the motor running in Brandon tonight. However, once they did they opened the throttle up and flew down the highway like Wyatt and Billy in the seminal road trip movie of the late 60s. There were points where it looked like “the man” (read Brandon Wheat Kings) would catch up with our heroes. In the end the Canes would cruise into the sunset on the backs of 5-3 victory over the rival Wheaties.

 

 

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The opening 20 minutes of this game might best be described as vanilla (no offence intended to readers who love vanilla). Neither team was dominant in the first for any stretch of time and the majority of play was concentrated in the neutral zone. Things would start to go the Wheat Kings way when Nolan Patrick found himself all alone in the slot. He fried a wrist shot on net but Stuart Skinner was able to trap it against his body, as a result of some aggressive positioning at the top of the crease, and keep the game knotted at zeroes. Shortly thereafter the Wheat Kings would go up 1-0. Brandon was able to get the puck in deep and outmuscle the Canes defenders below the goal line. Unfortunately for the Canes the puck would leak right out to the front of the net resulting in a wide open cage for Brandon forward Tyler Coulter. From there the game would return to the tight checking format seen in the opening minutes. The Wheaties would get 2 power plays in the final 6:30 of the first, which included Atwal being called for the rare playing with a broken stick penalty. Thankfully the Canes PK would stand tall and keep the deficit at a single goal. Final shots in the opening period would favour Brandon 13-10.

 

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If the first period was vanilla then the second was chocolate with all the fixings. The Hurricanes came out buzzing right from the opening face off. They penned the Wheaties in early and forced Papirny to make a couple of nice saves. The Canes would be rewarded for their aggressive play when Wong drew a penalty on Brandon defenceman Colton Waltz. The league’s best power play was creating all kinds of havoc in the Wheat Kings end. Eventually Brayden Burke would become Johnny-on-the-spot and rifle home the puck following a rebound off a Wong shot tying the game at 1. That would open the floodgates for Lethbridge. Following a penalty to Canes forward Justin Guiterrez, Estephan and Wong would break in 2 on 1. Wong would saucer one to Giorgio who made no mistake beating Papirny to put the Canes up 2-1. Just 1:30 later Tyler Wong would use the Brandon d-man as a screen and fire one top cheddar to put the Canes up 3-1. Brandon would regain their form and start to pressure the Canes from there. Brett Davis would try to make a move just inside the Wheaties blue line, unfortunately the puck was poked off of his stick leading to a Brandon 3 on 2. Skinner was able to make the initial stop, but Connor Gutenberg would find the loose puck and cut the Hurricanes lead to a goal. Lethbridge would finish the period strong despite being on the PK again. They pressured the Brandon powerplay and generated another short-handed odd man rush. Millette would keep and fire a shot, but Papirny was able to make the save. The period would end with the Hurricanes leading 3-2 on the scoreboard and Brandon leading the shot clock 29-22.

The 3rd period would again feature back and forth action throughout, much like the 2nd period. It was reminiscent of when boxing was still part of the zeitgeist and referred to as the sweet science. Both teams would punch and counterpunch searching out each other’s weaknesses. The Canes vaunted power play would go to work following a high sticking minor to Kale Clague. The PP featured the excellent puck movement that’s been the hallmark for Lethbridge throughout the season. Giorgio Estephan would get his second of the night off of a nifty feed from Brayden Burke making it 4-2 Lethbridge. The Wheaties would respond less than 3 minutes later. Darian Skeoch would drop down to a block a shot, but Wheaties forward Tim McGauley would out wait him and send a pass to Braylon Shmyr in the slot. Shmyr would redirect the puck past Stuart Skinner on a bang-bang play to draw Brandon within 1 yet again. The boxing match would continue when Babenko responded a mere 58 seconds later to restore the 2 goal lead. From there on out the Canes would tighten up defensively, including killing off a late penalty where the Wheat Kings pulled the goalie, and hold on for 5-3 victory. Final shots in this one were 43-34 Brandon.

 

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ent of when boxing was still part of the zeitgeist and referred to as the sweet science. Both teams would punch and counterpunch searching out each other’s weaknesses. The Canes vaunted power play would go to work following a high sticking minor to Kale Clague. The PP featured the excellent puck movement that’s been the hallmark for Lethbridge throughout the season. Giorgio Estephan would get his second of the night off of a nifty feed from Brayden Burke making it 4-2 Lethbridge. The Wheaties would respond less than 3 minutes later. Darian Skeoch would drop down to a block a shot, but Wheaties forward Tim McGauley would out wait him and send a pass to Braylon Shmyr in the slot. Shmyr would redirect the puck past Stuart Skinner on a bang-bang play to draw Brandon within 1 yet again. The boxing match would continue when Babenko responded a mere 58 seconds later to restore the 2 goal lead. From there on out the Canes would tighten up defensively, including killing off a late penalty where the Wheat Kings pulled the goalie, and hold on for 5-3 victory. Final shots in this one were 43-34 Brandon.

 

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THE GOOD

  • The Hurricanes special teams were phenomenal in this one. The power play went 2 for 2. The successfully killed all 5 minors against them and scored a shorty. It doesn’t get much better than that.
  • Stuart Skinner was great tonight. He was aggressive throughout, spending much of his night at the top of the crease challenging the Brandon shooters. He made several key saves throughout to keep the Wheaties from drawing closer.
  • Kord Pankewicz was captain reliable tonight. He did a little bit of everything tonight. Great passes to start the rush? Check. Blocking shots? Check. Offensive contribution? Check. Tight coverage in his own end? Check. He might not have got a star tonight but he deserved one.
  • The 3rd period! The final 20 minutes has been the Canes Achilles’ heel on the road as of late. Well, that was not the case tonight. The Canes were aggressive and effective in the final period. They maintained pressure on the Brandon players and controlled the neutral zone to limit the Wheaties chances.
  • Brayden Burke was shooting the puck tonight, praise be, and he got rewarded with goal and just missed out on another.

 

 

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THE BAD

  • Penalties were a concern in this one. The Canes were short handed more than they should have been. Egor Babenko’s late penalty 200 feet from his own net was particularly bad. Thankfully it didn’t cost the Canes.
  • The Canes start wasn’t especially inspiring in this one. It took quite awhile for them to find their legs tonight. If not for some great saves by Stuart Skinner the score could have been more lop-sided after 1.

 

CONCLUSION

This was exactly the kind of game the Canes needed to start off this long 6 game road trip before the Christmas break. This was the most complete game the Canes have played away from the ENMAX Centre in sometime. While they were lapses at points, the Canes quickly responded after their errors and came out on the right side of a 5-3 decision over Brandon. The Hurricanes maintained their undefeated record when scoring 4 or more goals this season, pushing it to 16-0-0-0.  To quote Billy in Easy Rider, “We did it, man. We did it, we did it.” This should make for a pleasant bus ride into Regina for tomorrow night’s match up against the Pats.

 

 


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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.

 


3 thoughts on “GDB 30.0 WRAP UP: EASY RIDER”

  1. @TheransDad says:

    Super proud of our boys yet again showing their ability in the face of a ‘top team’. We are no joke and holy crap forget the unbeaten streak of scoring 4 or more. I am blown away that we have played 16 games where we’ve scored 4 or more!🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥

    1. Jeremy Sakamoto says:

      As of tonight the Canes passed the Rockets for most goals for in the Dub. Plus they lead the league in power play goals and are second in short handed goals (behind PG). It’s pretty awesome.

    2. Brock Boot says:

      Ahhhhhhhh Hurricanes WIIIIIIIINNNNNN

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