GDB 48.0 WRAP UP: WHIPLASH
I’m a drummer, so maybe I was predisposed to liking it, but if you’ve not seen 2014’s Whiplash, you need to make it a priority. It’s an Oscar winner and a must see. The story follows a young drummer aspiring for all time greatness. Greatness comes with a cost, and the human drama that unfolds is a great parallel to what young hockey players go through on their journey for success.
Drumming is all about consistency, flow, and rhythm – three things this game had little of. It wasn’t the ugliest game of the season, but for various reasons, it was close. The Oil Kings were content to muck things up in the corners, clog the neutral zone, and generally make life difficult for the Hurricanes. The officiating also played a factor in destroying the natural rhythm of tonight’s game. There’s no denying that many of the penalties were deserved, but 11 minors between the two sides changed the complexion of the game for the worse.
All that aside, a win is a win, and ten wins in a row… well gee… that’s just fine.
Just like last night against Moose Jaw, the Hurricanes came out flying and scored an early goal. The Kings’ spotted Lethbridge an early PP, and after going 0/2 Saturday, Estephan would make no mistake on the Canes first opportunity. With the cycle established, Estephan skated in down the wing and slid the puck five hole on Payton Lee. 1 – 0 Lethbridge. After the early Lethbridge flurry, the game settled-in and Edmonton slowly wrestled the possession advantage away.
That’s how things would proceed through the 1st period and for much of the 2nd. Stuart Skinner was called upon time and time again, and he remained perfect forty minutes into the game. On the other end of the ice, Kord Pankewicz fired a hard slap shot post-and-in on the Hurricanes 4th PP of the night to put the home-side up 2 – 0.
The 3rd period was well contested on both sides, but Skinner stymied the ‘Kings, was story of the period, and the game. Babenko would ice it into the empty net late, and after some pushing and shoving, the buzzer sounded and the Hurricanes took another two points. Final score, 3 – 0.
- Giorgio Estephan… wow. Just wow. With his 1st period marker, Estephan extended his point streak to 14 games. In all honesty, this probably wasn’t Estephan’s best 60 minute performance. But when you’re hot, your hot, and the kid is hot.
- Not sure who’s streak is more impressive… Estephan or Skinner. Some great goaltending tonight from Stu. The young netminder made some five bell stops tonight, including a key save on the PK in the 2nd when Cory Millette accidentally fed an Oil King a breakaway pass. At the time the game was still 1 – 0, and an Oil King goal would have totally changed the complexion of the game. Skinner seems to own the Edmonton Oil Kings. Some of his best career performances have come against his hometown club, and tonight was no different.
- A sizable crowd for a sunday night on the second half of a back to back home games. That was likely bolstered by several hundred fans that were part of a soccer program. Either way, good to see. Final attendance was a hair over 4100.
- Kord Pankewicz was once again one of the team’s best defenders. I’ve been hyping him up all season because I really believe he is the glue on the team’s back end. He plays big minutes, puts up points, and does a good job separating attackers from the puck in his own zone. His PP goal in the 2nd was huge, but his overall defensive game was what really made him standout.
- The powerplay has been a force all season, and it won them the game tonight.
- The penalty kill also deserves some credit. It was a penalty filled affair, and the combined effort of the PK unit(s) and Stu Skinner got the team out of a few binds.
- There were some blemishes for the home team tonight. Errant passing and lackadaisical mis cues were evident, particularly in the second period.
- It doesn’t seem fair to criticize the team too much, based on the fact that they just won their 10th in a row, BUT, they weren’t moving their feet as they usually do. When you don’t move your feet, you start losing puck battles and start taking penalties. By the mid-point in the third, they had already been tagged for three hooking/tripping penalties, and were it not for Skinner, the lost puck battles in the 2nd could have proven costly.
- There were allot of penalties called in this game. It ruined the flow, especially in contrast to how the game was called last night versus Moose Jaw. It was a much heavier game against the Warriors, and yet only four penalties were called all night. Tonight the officials were a little whistle-happy.
- The injury carousel is in full swing. Colton Kroeker was cross checked in the ribs midway through the 2nd period and didn’t return. He made it to the bench under his own power – but didn’t return. Andrew Nielsen took a high stick to the face in the 2nd and remained in the game, but wasn’t playing his usual minutes. Finally, Brayden Burke went down the tunnel holding his shoulder in the 3rd and didn’t return. He took a shot in the clavicle regain (collar bone) and didn’t make his scheduled autograph session afterwards. Needless to say, losing Burke would be a massive blow to the team. We will have to wait and see.
THIS AND THAT
- I was really impressed with Payton Lee. A night after getting a shutout against Everett, Lee was solid again tonight. He was seeing the puck really well, and he was only ever bested by the Hurricanes lethal powerplay.
- After weathering an early Lethbridge storm, the Oil Kings played a pretty good road game. They made it ugly, they mucked things up in the corners, and they won their fair share of puck battles.
Ten wins in a row? Three this week?
Sign me up.
It’s a slow week for the Canes but we’l be with you to cover the up coming Western road trip over the weekend.