GDB 56.0: TURN THE BEAT AROUND
It’s Vickie Sue Robinson’s disco classic, if you can use that word with disco music, and it’s exactly what Lethbridge will have to do tomorrow afternoon in Edmonton.
Much like Matt Damon’s character in The Martian, the Canes bemoan the notion of having to “turn the beat around” on short rest following Friday’s 5-3 win over the Tri-City Americans. But, like astronaut Mark Watney, the Canes have to work with the hand they’ve been dealt. Aside from trying to grow potatoes using pooh of course.
Join me for a preview of this afternoon’s action below.
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Saturday afternoon’s game against the Oil Kings marks the middle set in a bizarre 3-in-3 for the Hurricanes featuring 2 afternoon starts. This means that the lads will play 3 games in under 72 hours. That’s tough to do when you’re 12, let alone in the Dub. Game one, of the three game set, was good for the Canes as they were able to get by a feisty Americans team with a 5-3 victory.
That game was a physical affair that featured a penalty parade (25 infractions called against both teams) including a pair of fighting majors. It will be interesting to see what sort of toll that level of physicality takes on the Hurricanes as they are short on bodies and have to travel to Alberta’s biggest cities this weekend.
The Oil Kings seem to be the epitome of a middling club this season. Their overall record sits at 23-25-6-1 with a mark of 6-4-0-0 in their last 10. Those kinds of clubs present very interesting challenges as you are never quite sure what you are going to get. Clearly, they are a well-coached, and well run, franchise judging by their continued success over the last decade or so.
Therefore, you know they are capable of winning on a nightly basis despite sitting a pair of games below the .500 mark. They also currently hold down the eighth and final playoff spot in the East. Points are incredibly valuable to EOK, so you know they are going to give the Hurricanes everything they’ve got.
The team boasts some high quality forwards in Brent Pollock and Lane Bauer. The pair are pacing Edmonton’s attack this season with Pollock averaging better than a point per game, while Bauer is just a hair under that mark. For his part Pollock has put up 3A in 3 games vs. the Canes this season. EOK’s defence is led by Dysin Mayo. Mayo is a minute munching blue liner that also chips in on offense. He’s got a very respectable 33 points through 55 games this year. Mayo is more than capable of carrying the play in both ends of the ice. Limiting his efficacy will be a key for the Hurricanes in this one.
It is likely that Patrick Dea will be between the pipes for Edmonton tomorrow. The somewhat undersized goalie (by modern standards at any rate) has put up some solid numbers this year. He boasts a save percentage of .902 and a GAA of 2.85 on a sub .500 team. This indicates that the St. Albert native has the ability to steal a game.
There are 2 primary story lines for the Canes heading into this game vs. the EOK. The first is bodies, or lack thereof. The Canes will be without the services of standout forward Giorgio Estephan until sometime in March at the earliest. Overage forward Justin Guiterrez could be available, but I’m not holding my breath. On top of that Egor Babenko did not play last night vs. Tri City and D-man Nick Watson didn’t return to the game after getting steam rolled by Ams F Maxwell James.
It sounds like Babenko was a healthy scratch last night, so he should be back in the line up. Watson on the other hand, I can only hope that he was held out for precautionary reasons and will be available to play today, but I won’t know one or the other until lineups are announced. Any way you slice it the Canes are short some key players and the line juggling will need to continue this afternoon in the provincial capital.
The other story heading into the game is Stuart Skinner. Skinner has owned his hometown Oil Kings in his young WHL career. In 3 starts this year he boasts an unreal .964 save percentage and 1.33 GAA with one shutout while going a perfect 3-0. Simply put, Stuart loves playing his hometown team (much like Sittler with the Rebels). The Canes will likely have to count on Skinner continuing this trend as the Canes won’t roll into Edmonton until the wee hours of the morning.
Managing ice time and playing short shifts will be a key in this one for Lethbridge. They can ill afford to be caught on the ice for long stretches with the short turn around going into this one (and going into Calgary on Sunday with a 4:00 start). Ideally the Canes will play 30 second shifts all night long while rolling four lines, or as close to four lines as possible considering injuries. Discipline will also be key for the Canes. By avoiding shorthanded situations the Canes can further control the amount of ice time that players, especially key ones, play.
GDP: The Canes pull this one out by the skin of their teeth, 3-2.
OGDP: SSKKKKIIIINNNNNNNEEEEERRRRRR (say it in a Superintendent/ Super Nintendo Chalmers voice) does it again. 35+ saves in the victory.
NSOGDP: Skinner feels so good playing against the EOK that he joins the rush in the 3rd and gets the apple on the game winning goal with a beautiful saucer pass in the slot. From that point on, he invades the Oil Kings’ dreams where he becomes the goalie equivalent of the Skinner from Dexter infamy.
What do you think? Who are you excited to watch tonight and what will be the outcome. Comment below.
Don’t forget to check out the sponsor of all this season’s game day articles, Graham Reimer of Dominion Lending here in Lethbridge. I personally know and vouch for the amazing work he does. If you need any advice or help with a mortgage or want to look into getting one, I cannot say enough good things about Graham and the Mortgage Crusher team.
Remember to tell him Canes Domain sent you!
Professional student, prospective teacher. Red Wings/Blue Jays/49ers super-fan. Proud general manager of Team Mono and the Slumlords in a pair of fantasy hockey keeper leagues. Is there anything better than soup and sandwich? Twitter: @jsvsakamoto.