GDB 31.0: SIR ISAAC NEWTON
Sir Isaac Newton’s First Law of Motion basically states that because of inertia an object in motion tends to remain in motion unless acted upon by an outside force. Well, the Hurricanes got in motion last night in Brandon and skated away with a convincing 5-3 win over a conference rival. The Hurricanes will look to continue that motion tonight at the Brandt Centre in Regina while the Pats will be looking to play the role of “outside force” and halt the Cane Train in its tracks.
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This evening’s game should prove to be a scintillating affair as both teams will be highly motivated entering action on the ice. The Hurricanes will be seeking vengeance for a 5-3 defeat at the hands of the Pats on November the 15th. That game saw the Hurricanes take a 3-2 lead early in the 3rd period before ultimately letting the game slip through fingers and conceding the 2 points on what was a dismal road trip. Regina, on the other hand, will be looking to bounce back from three consecutive one goal defeats over the last week. Last night they played the league leading Kelowna Rockets, but came up just short despite a late push that brought Regina within a goal. Both teams will be looking to atone for past transgressions and earn valuable points in a crowded early season Eastern Conference playoff picture.
As noted above the Pats have come out on the wrong side of a 1 goal decision in their last 3 games versus the Rockets, the Hitmen, and the Warriors (in a shootout). While 3 consecutive defeats is never a good thing, they have all come at the hands of top flight competition. This indicates that the Pats are a tough team to play against and they will almost certainly give the Canes all they can handle.
To put it simply, the Pats are a much better team when overage defenceman Colby Williams is in the lineup. Unfortunately for Regina he’s had a couple of lengthy stays on the injury list this season limiting him to just 7 games played. However, in those games he’s put up 2g-5a for 7 points and is a plus 6. To add some perspective, the last time the Pats and Canes played was his season debut and in that game Williams had a goal and was a plus 3. For Regina, it’s often the case that as Williams goes so do the Pats. While Williams may be back in the lineup, the Pats will be without import defenceman Sergey Zborovskiy who is away with team Russia for the upcoming IIHF U-20 tournament in Finland. The hulking Russian has been an important cog for the Pats this season and losing him will create a hole in Regina’s defence.
Upfront the Pats are led by the dynamic duo of Adam Brooks and probable 2016 NHL lottery pick Sam Steel. Both players are putting up at least a point per game as the offensive catalysts in the Saskatchewan capital city. Brooks currently sits at 12th overall in WHL scoring with 38 points in 30 games. The 19 year old has played great hockey this year and is likely drawing the attention of many NHL scouts after getting passed over in last year’s entry draft. Steel has 30 points in 30 games this season and looks to be living up to the hype that saw him become the 2nd overall selection in the 2013 WHL Bantam Draft. These 2 players, along with Austin Wagner, tend to give the opposition fits in the offensive zone as they drive the Pats attack.
In some ways it should be a relatively simple game plan for the Hurricanes tonight, play like you did in the final 40 minutes last night. The Canes offensive depth was on full display as the team racked up 5 goals from 4 different scorers. The special teams were as good as you can get with the PP going a perfect 2/2 and the PK a perfect 5/5 with a short-handed goal. The forecheck was excellent last night as they pressured Brandon at their own blueline all night long forcing numerous turnovers and odd man rushes. The defence limited space for Brandon’s forwards while blocking shots and keeping them to the outside. The goaltending was fantastic. If not for a few loose pucks managing to find their way onto Wheat Kings’ sticks, the victory could have been more lopsided. The blueprint for victory is in place it just needs to be implemented again. Clearly that is easier said than done, especially on back-to-back nights with a long bus ride in between, but the Canes are more than capable. To quote every shampoo bottle ever, “rinse and repeat.”
It should be Jayden Sittler’s turn to man the crease tonight. The Canes goaltending tandem has definitely been a strength this season. Personally, I love the 1A-1B approach that the Canes have been using as it keeps each goalie fresh and inspires them to compete against one another. Look for Sittler to answer Skinner’s fantastic performance last night in Brandon with one of his own.
I know that we at Canes Domain have stopped speculating about rosters, but I’m presuming that recent SJHL call up Ben Duperreault will make his return to the Hurricanes line up tonight in Regina. Ben’s been a force for the Notre Dame Hounds this season and will look to translate that success to the WHL. If Duppereault isn’t on the ice tonight, then look for him to be lacing ’em up soon.
THIS AND THAT
Last night saw the Hurricanes hit some offensive milestones so to speak. While “milestones” may be too strong a term it was great night for the Hurricanes and their fans none the less. Giorgio Estephan notched his 10th and 11th goals of the season. This now gives the Canes 6 players with double digit goal totals just 30 games in. Contrast that with last season when the Canes had 7 total players hit the mark over the course of a full season. Additionally, the Canes now lead the league with 122 goals for following another 5 spot last night, putting them one ahead of the Dub leading Kelowna Rockets. The Canes also improved to a perfect 16-0-0-0 when putting up 4 or more goals this season. After a few years of offensive struggles it has been a pleasure to watch this kind of depth on a night in, night out basis.
GDP: The Hurricanes maintain inertia and skate to a hard fought 4-2 victory over the Pats and gain vengeance for the Nov. 15th loss.
OGDP: Brayden Burke continues to rack up the apples adding 2 more to his impressive total.
NSOGDP: The spectre of Sir Isaac Newton will appear in between periods at the Brandt Centre and give a physics tutorial that points out the deficiencies in my overtly simplistic explanation of his First Law of Motion.
What do you think? Who are you excited to watch tonight and what will be the outcome. Comment below.
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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.