GDB 40.0 WRAP UP: ABSTRACT
If the season’s best games were da Vinci’s, tonight’s was a Picasso. Abstract by nature. It’s still beautiful, but you have to stare at it awhile before it can be fully appreciated.
Maybe it wasn’t the most beautiful game, but who are we kidding, all wins are beautiful in their own way. This game had it’s moments – the best of which were some great individual efforts – and of course – the final buzzer. Two more points.
It didn’t take the Canes long to take a one goal lead as Jordy Bellerive fired one home in the opening two minutes. The goal was setup on a good rush by big defender Igor Merezhko who dished to Bellerive. The Bronco’s would answer back before the halfway mark of the 1st when a screened Stuart Skinner surrendered a goal to Kade Jensen on a hard point shot. After the commercial timeout, there was a scary moment for Canes fans when Brayden Burke collided with Egor Babenko at the Bronco blue-line. Burke was in some apparent discomfort and went down the tunnel once he made it back to the bench. He looked to be favoring his wrist or shoulder. Good news is he was back on the bench and taking a regular shift a few minutes later. In the meantime, Justin Gutierrez out-waited Travis Child down low on the rush and fired the puck short-side shelf to restore the lead. There were a few close calls in front of Skinner after the Gutierrez goal, but the period would end with the Canes holding a 2-1 lead.
The first half of the second period wasn’t overly eventful. Neither team was able to get on the board and there were more than a few icings. That said, both teams had some great chances and a few nice rushes. The Hurricanes had some sensational zone-time and were winning most of the battles against Bronco defenders on the attack. The hard work would eventually pay off in the form of a Riley Lindgren powerplay marker. The goal put Lethbridge up 3-1, and that’s how the period would end.
The final frame had some tense moments. Giorgio Estephan put Lethbridge up 4-1 four minutes into the period on a fantastic feed from Tyler Wong but the Bronco’s would answer back in short order. Arthur Miller was able score a similar goal to Swift Currents opener, a hard point shot on a screen Skinner, to pull the Broncos to 4-2.Swift Current had some glorious chances in the ensuing minutes, but the Hurricane netminder came up huge. He stopped 29 of 31 shots when all was said and done. A late penalty to Egor Babenko kept things interesting late, but Lethbridge’s penalty kill stood tall. Estephan would get his second goal of the game into an empty net to salt things away. Final score, 5 – 2 Hurricanes.
- Jordy Bellerive found himself another nice goal. Great to see all his hard work beginning to turn into a few tally’s. Aside from the goal, Jordy played a solid 60 minute game. He was threatening on the attack and ate some key minutes on the penalty kill as well.
- Your goalie is your most important player, and once again Stuart Skinner was sensational. He made a few highlight reel saves, and a handful of other difficult saves he made look easy. Stuart was full credit for the win and being named 1st star. Skinner bailed his teammates out all night, none more-so than thwarting a Bronco odd-man rush after Riley Lindgren turned the puck over at the Lethbridge blueline. Those mistakes happen, and it’s great to have a netminder like Stu to cover up the mistakes.
- Justin Gutierrez had himself a strong game. He and Babenko play really well together. Gutz’s goal was great and a perfect example of how his game has evolved this season. It seems like things have slowed down for him on the ice (in a good way). Gutierrez simply froze Child. He out-waited the Bronco netminder and let him make the first move.
- Merezhko has been getting better on the offensive side of the puck. He was involved in a few of the Canes goals tonight, including a great feed to Bellerive on the game’s opener.
- The Hurricanes overall team defense left something to be desired during stretches tonight. It may be a little harsh, but the team was too casual, or rather, lackadaisical, in their zone at times. Some huge saves from Stuart Skinner, and a couple of goal posts helped mask the mistakes.
- Some lazy penalties taken in this one. The Canes were only penalized three times, but they weren’t great penalties to take. The good news is their penalty kill was good tonight. They say your netminder is the best penalty killer, and there’s no doubt that was the case.
It won’t go down in the history books, but it was a good game for Lethbridge. They did what they needed to do to get the win and were the better team despite some obvious miscues. Overall, the attention to detail that we have become accustom to this season may not have been on display for a full 60, but a win’s a win. Time, much like the hockey season, marches on.
The Hurricanes are back in action for a huge road game Friday evening in Red Deer. Remember to tune in Friday morning for our full pre-game wrapup.