GDB 54.0 WRAP UP: FORMATION
If you’re anything like me, the biggest news out of the Super Bowl last week wasn’t the Broncos win, it’s was Beyonce’s complete dominance on the half time show. She is, by far, the most important female artist of this generation, and one of the most incredibly powerful and influential black women of all time. In other words, she’s awesome.
Not to appropriate her new song “Formation” for this post, but the Hurricanes were definitely in top form tonight with their 7-4 win over the Saskatoon Blades.
And here we go…
The first half of the opening period was a snoozer for the most part, with neither team really controlling the puck and few good scoring chances. Andrew Nielsen and Carter Folk were both digging hard though (foreshadowing!) and had some good hits and shots to show for themselves.
After 21 Blades took a roughing penalty at 9:42 the Canes had some good pressure on the power play, but nothing to show for it. Davis then took a soft call for cross-checking but it turned out to be a momentum shifter for the Canes, as they were really strong on the penalty kill, which led the end of the first to be a more physical contest. Some heavy hits thrown in the final minutes, including this monster by Colton Waltz (thanks to @BladesHockey for their great GIFs tonight!)
— Saskatoon Blades (@BladesHockey) February 11, 2016
The second started out with a groan just 23 seconds in, after a sloppy clearing attempt by Igor Merezhko became a feed to the blue line for the Blades, and they turned it into quick mark by captain Nick Zajac. However, just a 18 seconds later, Carter Folk picked up a nice read on a break from Cory Millette to even the score.
Things then got a bit quiet (though props to the one guy in section M for trying to get a “Go Canes Go” chant going with this sleepy Wednesday night crowd), until Kord Pankiewicz took a needless slashing penalty at 6:32. The Canes looked great on the kill again, including a nice break from Arvin Atwal to muscle his way through two defenders short-handed and fight for a deke attempt on Blades goalie Brock Hamm.
After Babenko drew a penalty down low, Nielsen got cheating and gave up a short-handed breakaway rush to Zajac, which he did manage to break up down the rink – at the cost of drawing a penalty shot.
This could have been the TSN turning point right here folks. However, Skinnner easily turned away Zajac’s low blocker side attempt to keep the Canes within one, but the Blades kept bringing the pressure. It looked like Atwal moved back to defense for a shift, or was just thinking that way, and did a great job of breaking up a 2-on-1 that made everyone in the Enmax Centre nervous for a minute.
Just as it seemed like things were settling down, Skinner gave up what looked like an easy wrist shot to Colton Waltz a couple minutes later, but then Atwal answered back with a shot from the middle to tie it back up. Tit for tat.
A couple penalties helped turn up the intensity for the rest of the second period, and again the Canes were solid on the kill, with Folk throwing another huge hit. Millette then took a foolish slashing penalty with a light jab on Hamm as the Blades controlled the puck behind the net, which put them into a 5-3 situation. This just gave the Canes the opportunity to rally after the kill, after which Nielsen blasted a ripper of a slap shot to put the Canes up 3-1 before the break.
The Canes just poured it on for the third period, with four straight goals from Burke, Nielsen, Wong and Davis, who I might add also had a solid all around game. It was textbook Hurricanes from there, with multiple odd man rushes, nice passing plays, and solid forechecking – again with Folk grinding hard at every opportunity. No more goals, but solid team play.
At this point, I guess everyone assumed it was okay to head home and the crowd trickled out. It almost felt like both teams would be content to let the clock run out until the Blades got scored with under a minute to go, and finally another shot right before the buzzer. Nothing to worry about in the long run, but it wasn’t the best way to finish the game.
- Folk was really strong on the forecheck all night and just didn’t stop. All around great game from him.
- Atwal had a great game tonight starting up on right wing, which seemed to catch him a bit off guard the first period but he really hit his stride in the second and was solid all around.
- The penalty kill was on fire. They were the heart and driving force of the team tonight.
- Not an ideal finish for Skinner or the team defense? Maybe just a couple shots that caught him off guard and a defense that already had their minds in the dressing room. No excuses, but in the end it was inconsequential.
- I didn’t win the 50-50 draw.
THIS AND THAT
- Word has it that Burke was playing with the flu (also possibly why Colton Kroeker was a scratch tonight). I mention it to give him credit as he still managed to rack up four points and looked great out there.
- The Blades vintage third jerseys were outta sight. Love that classic look.
- I TOTALLY CALLED IT THAT THERE WOULD BE TACO GOALS TONIGHT YOU GUYS
Slump, what slump? The Canes are looking good heading in to a busy weekend. If they can steamroll Tri-City on Friday they’ll be amped to take on Calgary and Edmonton on the road after that. What do you think? Should Brock can me after my first post? Am I the only hockey lover who also thinks Beyonce is the greatest thing in pop music right now? Let us know your thoughts below.
Born in Edmonton during the Oilers dynasty, my world was shattered after moving to Moose Jaw at the age of four. Made Lethbridge my adopted hometown. Somehow Canuck fan. Too much creative energy for my own good. Follow me @teestewww on Twitter and Instagram.