GDB 34.0: Resistance
Let me begin by saying that as I sit writing this, I am in the middle of a heated Star Wars line at the movie theatre. I’m on edge! If I get stuck in the nosebleeds… I cannot be held responsible for my actions. (update: I didn’t. Our seats were amazing).
This is Poe Dameron. He’s a pretty amazing new Star Wars character. He fights for The Resistance. The Hurricanes play the Oil Kings. They will be tired.
Hockey. Hurricanes. Resistance. Star Wars. Mental strength. Resisting… this analogy is falling apart. I just wanted to use a cool Star Wars photo okay?
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The Hurricanes are a team possessed right now. Yes… they’ve allowed way too many goals in recent games, but when you score at this pace, it almost doesn’t matter. Lethbridge is an entertaining team – even fans of opposing teams are taking notice. I was scanning around online, reading the various boards and forums, and wherever Lethbridge seems so go, the positive comments follow. It may not have been an instant classic in Saskatoon, but AGAIN these young Hurricanes found a way. Already this trip is a success, and they have two chances to improve on it.
Tonight they have to go through the Edmonton Oil Kings. Lethbridge won the only meeting between the two teams, but can they do it again?
It’s not going to be easy – simply on account of fatigue. It’s been a long road trip for the boys. Since departing for Brandon last week, the Hurricanes will have traveled over 2,375 km’s and played in four hockey games – winning three of them. The exhaustion will come in two forms.
It will be, in part, physical. Sitting on a bus with your legs cramped up for hours at a time is never beneficial to your play. That, in conjunction with playing hockey at a high level and likely not getting regular sleep, will inevitably wear down anyone. The fatigue will also be mental. Getting up for two more games JUST before the Christmas break is not going to be easy. The temptation to relax will be real. It’s a temptation the players and coaches will need to resist. Another mental hurdle is that the Hurricanes play the Rebels tomorrow. Lethbridge and Red Deer have some significant tension right now, and it would be easy for the Canes to look past the Oil Kings tonight.
Resist the mental games, prepare the body, and bear down. It’s all the Canes can do.
Edmonton has been working to separate itself from the bottom tier of the eastern conference. It’s been a struggle, but the Kings’ appear to be a level above the Tigers, and a few above the Ice. At 13-18-3-0, world beaters they are not. The Oil Kings had looked to get on track a few weeks ago, but they are currently in another funk. Edmonton enters tonight’s game on a four-game losing streak and has gone 5-5 in their last 10. They been much better at home, but I’m sure they aren’t exactly thrilled with 6-7-3-0.
Edmonton doesn’t really excel at any one thing, but also isn’t downright terrible at anything either. The season started with suspect goaltending, but Patrick Dea has been able to string together some good games and currently sits with a 2.88 GAA – good for 10th in the league. That said, Dea is also among league leaders in recorded losses with 12. On the other end of the ice, Brett Pollock and Lane Bauer have done the heavy lifting for the Kings’. With 36 and 32 points respectively, Pollock and Bauer are the only two forwards Edmonton has been able to rely on with any real consistency.
In summary, Edmonton isn’t a horrible hockey team. They also aren’t a great hockey team. At the halfway mark, the Kings’ are just… well…. average in almost every way.
What a road trip it has been. The offensive output has been off the charts. The depth of the Hurricanes forwards has completely ground down their opposition and allowed for an average of five goals-per-game. It’s something special to watch. Estephan, Wong, Babenko, Millette and Gutierrez have all been pouring on the goals. Trying to contain scoring from two strong lines is difficult, but when Lindgren and Folk also get in on goalscoring, the Canes become almost impossible to contain. That’s what happened in Saskatoon, and if Lethbridge can carry it into tonight, they stand a good shot at winning.
The rate at which this team allows goals against is somewhat alarming, but I would suggest it is circumstantial. We’ve seen them lock it down in huge home wins over Red Deer and Brandon, and we’ve also seen them win in an all-out offensive war, particularly on this trip. We will need to see better defensive play moving forward, particularly when it comes down to the playoffs, but for now, it doesn’t matter how you get the wins as they are all worth 2 points.
Looking at the situation, I think we can assume Stuart Skinner will get the call in goal tonight. It’s a perfect set up. Skinner, the Edmonton boy, will take on the Oil Kings tonight, paving the way for Jayden Sittler to face his hometown Rebels for a third time tomorrow. That is of course, only speculation. But sometimes educated guesses hit the mark…. sometimes.
That, and watching your team put up a five-spot with consistency is the best.
So keep it rolling Hurricanes. We’re loving it.
GDP: The Hurricanes fall behind early but find their legs/heart and get better as the game progresses. They pull out a 4-2 win.
OGDP: Carter Folk and Ryley Lindgren carry the team tonight. They have been fantastic on this trip.
NSOGDP: Brayden Burke, an avid Star Wars enthusiast, will get under the Oil Kings skin by telling Oil Kings players major plot spoilers during faceoffs. Yes, even THAT scene.
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!