GDB 34.0 WRAP UP: VANILLA
Sometimes the best things in life are the most simple. Why overcomplicate things? Vanilla ice cream is a perfect example. It’s a classic, but it will always be just vanilla. It doesn’t have allot of variation in flavor or texture. It’s vanilla. That’s it.
But even though it’s just vanilla, sometimes that’s perfectly fine. Vanilla is what you build more exciting ice cream creations on down the road. Vanilla is a foundation. Nay, an institution. It’s the rock upon which all other ice cream is built – and if you haven’t already guessed – it’s late and I have a sweet tooth.
How does this tie-in with tonight’s Hurricanes victory in Edmonton?
Read more and I will tell you.
The first half of the opening frame was pretty uneventful tonight. The Hurricanes were spotted an early power play but Edmonton had the best scoring chances. Frankly, the game had a mildly lethargic feel. There was little to no intensity or hostility between the two clubs and it showed. The game needed a goal and it came via Barrett Sheen who willed a Bellerive deflection into the net. A few minutes later Ryley Lindgren would throw a soft shot towards Oil Kings netminder Patrick Dea from the half wall. Two lucky bounces off Edmonton players resulted in one of the more bizarre goals we’ve seen in awhile, but the Canes would take it. The period would draw to a close with Lethbridge holding on to their two goal lead.
The Oil Kings responded with a much better second period. Edmonton tightened up their game and a goal by Dysin Mayo would help the King’s cut the Canes lead in half. Stuart Skinner was called on to make some key saves in the second, including a huge breakaway stop on Brandon Baddock. The shot clock was indicative of the play as Lethbridge only generated 9 shots to Edmonton’s 16. There was an overhead goal review late in the period after Carter Folk took the puck to the net hard. He was hooked down and the puck nearly went in off the far side post, but it was to no avail. Folk took a while to get up, but seem more or less okay after shaking it off.
The third period saw play teeter between the two clubs. The Canes would carry the play, then Edmonton would take over, and on and on it went. The Oil King’s did put on a strong press in the final five minutes, but credit the Hurricanes. Lethbridge was able to keep them to the outside, and short of one dramatic moment right in the crease, you never really got the feeling that Edmonton would tie this one up. Carter Folk almost had a shot at the vacated Kings’ net with under minutes left, but accidentally over skated the puck. It was too bad, because I felt Carter was one of the Canes best tonight, and a goal would have been well deserved. Andrew Nielsen was able to find the empty net on a desperation swing of the stick mid-dive to salt the game away. Final score. 3 – 1 Lethbridge.
- The Canes bottom six has had a strong the last couple of games. Carter Folk, Ryley Lindgren, Jordy Bellerive, and Barrett Sheen were all standouts tonight. Lindgren and Sheen both found the back of the net and put the Canes in a position to win.
- I’ve enjoyed watching Brady Reagan’s play of late. He’s been activating more off the rush and it’s provided him more offensive opportunities as the trailer.
- Stuart Skinner was really good tonight. He made a hand full of game breaking saves, and I felt he was able to control his rebounds effectively. The Oil Kings rarely had second or third chances around the net as Skinner was locked-in and kept pucks to the outside, or smothered them entirely. He was rewarded with the games 1st star.
- It’s been a pleasure watching Justin Gutierrez evolve from training camp to where he is today. His confidence and playmaking keeps getting better. He’s able to slow things down and make plays at speed. I really noticed his play in the defensive end late in the game where he made use of his reach to fend of Edmonton attackers. Guttierrez has exceeded all expectations and it doesn’t look like he’s going to slow down anytime soon.
- Giorgio Estephan made some key defensive plays in the third period. He was able to eliminate a sure breakaway without taking a penalty midway through the third, and made a few more small plays with under two minutes remaining to nurse home the win.
- The weather is warming up outside…. someone call DeCaprio.
- Slightly rocky start to this one for the Canes. Absolutely not unexpected or unfair considering the length of the road trip, but they were a little fortunate to not find themselves trailing after some five star turnovers in the first five minutes…
- …beyond that, the Canes played a solid road game. The only bad thing I can mention is that the game itself was just… kinda boring. That’s great from a Canes perspective. The road team isn’t there to put on a show. They got when they wanted tonight – a win. But from a fan perspective, the game had no life what-so-ever. No big hits. No rough stuff after the whistles. Very few exciting plays. It was just… a plain jane hockey game.
THIS AND THAT
- Arvin Atwal seemed to have an extra step in his game tonight. Not only was he moving his feet well, but his hands were exceptional. Atwal was toe-dragging and deking his way into scoring positions all night.
- I was impressed with Oil Kings defenceman Dysin Mayo tonight. Yes he had a goal, but it was his defensive play that caught my eye. He made some great plays to separate attacking Hurricanes forwards from the puck.
- When will City Council begin to discuss which roads/streets we should name after Anholt and Kisio. “Anholt Drive” has a nice ring to it. Especially considering he is a big golfer…
So there you have it. Tonight was the vanilla ice cream of hockey games. It was pure. It was simple. It wasn’t bad. It wasn’t great. It just was. Were there stand out moments? Yes a few, and I don’t want to downplay them. I have identified some standout moments above, and recognized a couple of players that I believe had good nights. That said, not every hockey game is as enthralling as others… tonight was just one of those. Tasty tasty vanilla.
What matters is the Hurricanes showed range. What do I mean by that? I mean this Hurricanes team is able to play in different ways and win regardless. On this road trip they have outgunned teams with partial disregard to surrendering goals. That’s how they won in Brandon, how they almost won in Regina, how they won in Prince Albert, and how they won in Saskatoon. Not to overgeneralize, but the Canes went all-in on scoring goals, and it was getting them results. Tonight’s game in Edmonton was a totally different brand of hockey, and again, it got them results. The Canes played simple, calculated, and efficiently. They surrendered very few penalties, took advantage of a few fortuitous bounces, and rode it home from that point on. It’s a phenomenal quality for a team to be so well rounded and I believe it will serve them well in the second half.
With the win, the Hurricanes have secured 8 out of a possible 12 points on the current road swing. For a team that has been so-so on the road, this is a phenomenal two week stretch. Tomorrow is the final game of the trip, and final game before the team takes a week off for Christmas. I would usually be concerned about the Canes (or any team for that matter) getting up for a game like tomorrows, but considering the last game against Red Deer, I don’t think that’s going to an issue.
Be sure to join us again tomorrow as we bring full game day coverage of the Canes and Rebels.