GDB 43.0 WRAP UP: TERMINATORS
There’s something about a robot uprising that both terrifies and fascinates us. The foundation of many science fiction films and novels is the idea that computers will one day turn on us and attempt to rule earth. There’s something chilling about the murderous potential of a completely logic based machine. It kills without ethical reasoning, thinking only of world domination and self preservation. A computer feels no pain, no emotion, and most terrifyingly, no remorse. Think of The Matrix, iRobot, Robocop, Ex Machina, and of course, Terminator (and no… not the terrible recent movies – think 1 and 2).
Tonight the Hurricanes were a T-800, operating in a cold effective manner to systematically eliminate their opposition – heartless.
Okay, so that was a touch dramatic, but Lethbridge did operate with a cold calculated efficiency tonight and it wasn’t their first time doing so against Swift Current. With tonight’s win, the Hurricanes swept their four game season series with the Broncos. Tonight they dominated in both possession and shots, as well as generating the lion’s share of high quality scoring chances. Were it not for the consistently solid play of Taz Burman, this game could have been out of reach for the Broncos long before Gutierrez put the puck into an open net. Lethbridge didn’t get involved in scums after the whistle, didn’t get side tracked by mindless distractions, and simply played a strong game from beginning to end. Much like the game Saturday against Kootenay, I never once got the impression that Lethbridge would lose the game. That’s probably not fair to the Broncos, but that was my experience.
The two teams traded chances in the early going. Lethbridge had the best, but Taz Burman absolutely robbed Brett Davis at the side of the net. The Bronco’s then went to the powerplay on a Nick Watson penalty, but despite great chances, couldn’t find the back of the net. The Hurricanes then started to flex their muscles and control the puck down low in the Broncos zone. The end result was a great goal by Ryan Vandervlis who snapped the puck right under the bar after being left alone in front of Burman. The Hurricanes carried the play for the remainder of the period, but Estephan would get shaken up on a harmless looking hit late, and the Broncos scored on the ensuing shift. Thankfully, Estephan would come back out of the tunnel and play the remainder of the period. The 1st ended with the score tied 1-1.
The Hurricanes regained the lead early in the 2nd when Wong broke into the zone, got a lucky bounce to Pankewicz who showed tremendous patience to open a lane to Burke for a tap in. A few minutes later, Lane Pedersen took a hooking penalty and Arvin Atwal one timed a hard shot past Burman in the dying moments of the man advantage to put Lethbridge up 3 – 1. The two quick goals seemed to deflate the Bronco’s and Lethbridge pushed hard for their fourth. Taz Burman made another sensational save at the side of the net to deny Burke his second of the night and keep the Broncos within striking distance.
The Broncos came out of the intermission with a little fire in their guts and chained together a couple good shifts, but a bad penalty resulted in a Hurricanes’ powerplay. Lethbridge would take a too many ice penalty, and Kisio was extremely upset, but Lethbridge ended up having the best chances on the ensuing Broncos powerplay. Shortly after both penalties had expired, the Hurricanes’ top line connect for another goal on a 3 on 2 rush. It was a great passing play between Wong, Burke, and finally, Estephan for the goal. After the goal, the Canes got into some hot water with the refs and took another too many men penalty. Steenbergen would score is short order to cut the lead to two. The Broncos would pull Burman in the dying moments to double up (they had a man advantage due to a Hurricanes too many men penalty) but Gutierrez broke up a pass and fired it home from centre. Final score, 5 – 2.
- Andrew Nielsen was flying tonight. He made some incredibly creative plays and spurred on the Hurricane offense. I could write this comment most nights, but tonight he was particularly good and it was fun to see him do his thing.
- Vandervlis got himself another goal tonight! If I’m not mistaken, that’s three goals since the holiday break. Ryan has impressed me with his soft hands. For a big guy, he’s got some finesse with the puck and his goal tonight wasn’t as easy as it may have looked. He was all alone in tight on Burman and roofed it through a small hole in the Broncos netminder.
- The Burke goal was possible because of a somewhat lucky bounce, and a sensational feed from Kord Pankewicz. What more can I say. Kord is such a steadying force for the Hurricanes on the back end and yet he impresses most often in the offensive zone.
- The Canes power play continues to chug along, and once again, helped propel the Hurricanes to victory.
- The reunification of Burke with Wong and Estephan was a massive success. The three of them tallied 4 points, countless scoring chances, and most importantly, always seemed to have possession.
- Injuries to Lindgren and Folk have opened the door for other players and tonight it was fun watching them step up. I’ve already mentioned Vandervlis, but I thought Bellerive was effective tonight. He had some turnovers in the offensive zone, but he was trying to create, and that’s what can happen as a result. Brett Davis also had a good game. He was buzzing the net all night and skating hard on the back check. That fact that Lethbridge can lose 2/3rd of their 3rd line and move forward without skipping a beat is a testament to these young depth players.
- Colton Kroeker had a solid first game as a Hurricane. He was skating on the second line wing with Gutierrez and Babenko. Colton is a big guy, and along with Gutierrez, makes up some of the size that Babenko lacks on the 2nd line.
- Jayden Sittler had himself another very solid game. Wasn’t call on very much, but sometimes those games are the most difficult. Jayden did everything he needed to do and has strung together a few wins in a row with Skinner out with the flu. If the Hurricanes don’t have the best tandem in the league, I don’t know who does.
- Bad for the Hurricanes, good for the Broncos…. but Taz Burman had a good game tonight. The newly acquired netminder made some huge saves to keep Swift Current in the game when they had little business hanging around. The Hurricanes were the better team for the majority of the night, and were it not for Burman, the score could have gotten out of hand early in this one.
- Giorgio Estephan was shaken up on a play at the end of the 1st period. He did return to the game and play a regular shift, and it seems things are alright… but common! It was scary! My heart couldn’t handle the loss of another core player to injury.
- There was a very strange back to back to back too many men situation for the Hurricanes in the 3rd period. Kisio tore a strip off the refs for the first infraction and I can’t help but think the second one was a message from the officials. The third one was earned and there was no fight from the coaches. Either way, call it what you will, it wasn’t good.
@T_Steener puts it past Sittler to tie the game at 1-1 at 17:51 of the 1st in the @SCBroncos / Hurricanes game. pic.twitter.com/00GftXV54K
Estephan is back on the ice. Good sign for sure.
@LanePederson has an assist on the night as we head into the 2nd of the @SCBroncos game. pic.twitter.com/4ht4tpLuvP
@WHLHurricanes Sitting first overall in the WHL! Well deserved, well earned. #ProudHurricaneFan #CaneTrain #HappyBus
Lethbridge is a really fun team to watch. I said it to @dforbes91 on his broadcast but seriously fans need to support that. Exciting group.
Goalie @tazburman stops 41 of 45 shots in first @SCBroncos home ice start while losing 5-2 to Lethbridge Hurricanes. pic.twitter.com/2uZtg3cO5d
The @SCBroncos were outshot 46-23 while dropping 5-2 decision to visiting Lethbridge Hurricanes pic.twitter.com/x0hZE6D2bH
Three of the Canes last four games were against the Eastern Conference bottom feeders and they wrung out every possible point. Those games weren’t classics, not by a long stretch, but they were efficient. Even more impressive is they managed to win all those games with a roster in flux due to injury and illness. Every team goes through stretches where they miss some key players, but not every team is as deep as this year’s Hurricanes have proven to be.
We can dissect the past week to death, but what really matters is the Hurricanes won every game, and only the game in Red Deer was ever truly in question. Looking forward, Lethbridge now has a lengthy five game homestand against teams fighting in the middle of the pack. It’s a stretch that sees some Western Conference teams pay visit to the Enmax Centre, something I always enjoy. It all kicks off this weekend with back to backs against Kamloops and Prince Albert.
We’ll catch you at the rink.