GDB R1G4 WRAP UP: SISYPHUS

  • Jeremy Sakamoto

Post-Game-Cover

(Photo Credit: Keith Hershmiller)

Pardon me for a moment while I go all history geek in this wrap up, but it’s what I went to school for so you’re just going to have to bear with me. While the name Sisyphus may not be the most well known, his tale is legendary. According to Greek mythology, Sisyphus was the ancient king of Ephyra (modern day Corinth). He had it all. Wealth. Power. Fame.

However, his use of trickery and deceit greatly angered the pantheon of gods leading to his eternal fate. Sisyphus is said to be tasked with pushing a large boulder up a hill only to watch it roll back down, over and over again, for all time. That’s got to be what playing the Pats feels like for the Canes over the course of the last 3 games. We wrap below.

We wrap.

 

Post-Info-1

The interest level for this game was heightened long before puck drop as the Canes coaches made a variety of lineup changes in an effort to jump start the team while simultaneously dealing with injury and suspension woes heading into tonight’s action. The Lethbridge got the first powerplay of the game just :34 seconds in when Lane Zablocki got whistled for hooking down Brayden Burke.

The Canes did a solid job of gaining the zone; however, they were unable to generate any offence through an aggressive Pats’ penalty kill. Lethbridge would go on a penalty kill of their own shortly after – a tripping call to Drayton Thunder Chief – who was making his WHL playoff debut. During the PK, Giorgio Estpehan would break in all alone looking for a short-handed goal in a second consecutive game, but Pats’ goalie Tyler Brown managed to kick out his left pad and stop Estephan’s deke attempt.

 

Post-Info-2

The Pats would get on the board in the period’s final minute. Sam Steel would feed Cole Sanford who was driving hard to the net. Simply put, Sanford would out muscle Igor Merezkho (despite Sanford giving up over 6 inches and 50+ pounds) and slide a rolling puck through Jayden Sittler. That’s how the period would end – with the Pats up 1-0. Lethbridge would outshoot Regina 14-8.

Early in the period the action was largely limited to the outside as both teams were checking hard. Brett Davis would put everyone on the edge of their seats with a phenomenal forehand to backhand move on the rush, but Brown held position and kept the puck out. Just after the mid-period break, Pats’ rear guard Connor Hobbs would ring one off the crossbar directly off the faceoff.

Kord Pankewicz had a glorious chance on a wide open net mere moments later but was unable to pull the trigger as he was pinching down. The Canes would see their best chances of the period on a delayed penalty late in the second. With the extra skater on they generated numerous chances including a post for the Captain. The Canes would carry that momentum into the PP, but just couldn’t filter pucks through to the net despite maintaining the zone for much of the 2 minutes.

 

Post-Info-3

Austin Wagner would go in all alone with under a minute in the period, but he chipped it over-top of the net. The second period would end the same as the first, with Regina up 1-0. The Pats outshot the Canes 14-7 in the 2nd frame.

Lethbridge would come close to tying early in the 3rd following a Regina turnover in the neutral zone. Babenko and Lindgren would break in 2 on 1, Babs would feed Ryley for the one timer, but once again Brown would kick out the pad to prevent a goal. From there the Canes would start to mount some pressure resulting in as much extended zone time as the team has seen since the opening period of game 3.

The Canes were finally forcing turnovers by the Pat defenders leading to scoring chances, but the majority of the chances were of the one and done variety. Adam Brooks (who else would it be) would ice this one for the Pats with 1:12 left on an empty net goal from 150 feet away. That would be all she wrote. The Pats would skate away with a 2-0 victory and a commanding 3-1 series lead.

 

 

 

The-Good

THE GOOD

  • Ben Dupperault continues to impress by, skating hard, bringing a consistent effort, and has been one of the more effective forecheckers for the Canes.
  • Brady Reagan continued his stellar play against his old team. He was a force in his own zone throughout – including robbing Pats forward Lane Zablocki of a sure goal in the first. Reagan really stood out tonight and was probably the best player on the ice for the Canes.
  • Lethbridge did a great job of playing disciplined hockey tonight. They kept their emotions in check and did a much better job of taking care of their sticks in comparison to game 3.

 

 

 

Not-So-Good

THE NOT SO GOOD

  • Two goals in the last 180 minutes of hockey = yikes.
  • The Pats largely dictated the flow for the 3rd consecutive game. The majority of this series has been played on the Regina’s terms. This has included stifling the Canes cross ice passes after crossing the offensive blueline. The Pats wingers are on the Canes forwards immediately ensuring there is no space to make any kind of a play. Lethbridge has had no answer for this over the last 3 games.
  • I don’t like to call out individual players, but Merezkho’s play on the Sanford goal was the definition of soft defence. Sometimes you’ve just got to put a guy on his backside, especially when you’re considerably bigger than him.
  • The 5 on 5 offence is largely non-existent. Credit where its due to the Pats’ defenders, but the Canes have to find a way to get something going.

 

THIS AND THAT

  • It pains me a great deal to say this, but you’ve got to hand it to Pats’ goalie Tyler Brown. He talked a big game following the win in game 3, but he backed up his words with stellar play tonight. He was a difference maker for Regina easily playing his best game of the series.

 

Conclusions

This section is becoming a bit of a common refrain over the course of the last few games. The Pats have executed their game plan to a tee and have 3 consecutive victories to show for it. The Canes played a better defensive game tonight as they limited Regina’s chances throughout. However, the bigger story from a Canes’ perspective is the totally dried up offence. This is a team that has thrived all year long on being a high octane squad that makes you pay for the slightest mistake.

In this series the Canes have been unable to force the Pats into making many mistakes (outside of game one). Add to this an inability to manufacture offence, be it in the form of a deflection or a dirty goal off a skate, and you have a very large hole for the Canes to crawl out of. It’s been the very definition of an uphill struggle, hence the tie in to old man Sisyphus. 

Things aren’t feeling so good in Canes land right now. We’ve watched our team get consistently outplayed for 3 consecutive games now. Are the Hurricanes dead? By no means, they still have a fighting chance, but they will need to turn the tables quickly in game 5 and make a statement to the Pats’ bench. They cannot, I repeat cannot, allow Tyler Brown to be right about the Canes collapsing under the pressure of a 3-1 deficit.

If motivation is needed, simply put that quote up on the bulletin board in the room. One thing is for certain heading into game 5, the Canes need the fans to come out in droves and be loud and proud. Let’s get the ENMAX rocking like it was in game one in effort to send this series back to Regina. It’s the beauty of junior hockey. Emotions run high and whole series can change on a dime. Here’s hoping that’s exactly what goes down on Friday. Let us know what you think? Can the Canes get back into this one or are they doomed to agony like Sisyphus before them? Tell us below.

 

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14 thoughts on “GDB R1G4 WRAP UP: SISYPHUS”

  1. Trevor says:

    My biggest concern heading into the playoffs was would the Canes style of play translate over to playoff hockey. The answer based on the last 3 games is a resounding no.

    I’m disappointed in what seems to be a lack of adjustments from the Canes since game 2. The Pats realized after game 1 that a horse race with us would be a disaster. Paddock made adjustments and the Canes have now gone 3 games without a noticeable change in strategy. Changing lines is all well and good but I think we have made life too easy for the Pats by just playing into their game.

    I hope it’s a full house on Friday because as loud as I will be cheering, I sadly believe this bounce back season will end next Tuesday in Regina and the boys deserve a great crowd for their last home game. Here is hoping I’m wrong.

    1. Jeremy Sakamoto says:

      Interesting point Trevor. The loss of Gutierrez, Bellerive, and Folk has hurt the Canes ability to play a physical game down low. Combine that with outstanding play from the Pats D corps and here we are.

      Your point about Friday is spot on, but hopefully it’s the spark that gets the Canes rolling and we get 2 more home games at minimum.

  2. John says:

    i was thinking the exact same thing Trevor. I thought Kisio would make some adjustments to counter what Paddock did and it seems like we’re playing the exact style of game the Pats want to play.

    I also think we need to make life a little more difficult for Brooks and Sanford while of course being smart about it. That semi breakaway that Brooks had last game where Nielsen was right on him, I thought he played it perfectly. No penalty and drove him hard right into the net. It’s a fine line to walk though without being called for a penalty.

    Was anyone else surprised though that at the deadline we didn’t make a slightly bigger move than bringing in Kroeker. Especially with the injury to Guittierez. How good would a guy like Sanford look in our lineup?

    Anyways as the cliché goes one game at a time.

    1. Jeremy Sakamoto says:

      Great point about the Nielsen play on Brooks, it exactly what needed to happen on the Sanford goal. Overall, the Canes did a much better job containing Brooks last night.

      Landing a guy like Sanford would have been huge,but inter-division trades are generally uncommon.

      1. Justin says:

        I still think we could win this series! I believe a win on Friday will be the push they need to get rolling. Plus once they get a few pucks past Brown I think they’ll get their mojo back. I can’t wait for brown to get pulled because he let in 6 goals! I really hate that guy right now!!lol

        1. Jeremy Sakamoto says:

          Great positivity. You could be right about Brown, a couple of greasy goals would go a long way.

  3. kayakgibson says:

    Three things come to mind in regards to this series. It is my belief that this series with Regina or any other team would have likely had the same results. The loss of Justin Gutierrez on January 20th, (after the trading deadline) left Kisio with one top centre. This had a trickle down effect, that reduced the offensive output of the Canes. It forced Kisio to experiment with different line combinations, which at times worked, but more often did not. No Justin, led to the poor offensive output of Babenko and basically stifled the 2nd line. The Pat’s have adjusted their style of play, especially on the defensive side, making life miserable for the Canes forwards. At the same time, the Pat’s forwards have exposed the Canes defense and taken advantage of their weaknesses. (careless pinching, slow afoot, bad penalties, to name a few). Lastly, it may be a mute point, but the lack of actual playoff game experience has shown. The Canes have a meagre number of playoff games under their belts, while Regina’s numbers are high. Paddock is a veteran coach, Kisio is in his first year. Playoffs are a different kettle of fish. For a team that was not expected to be in first place, in the playoffs; this should be a learning experience for all concerned; players, coaches, gm, and fans.
    You have to learn from losing in order to win.
    As for Sanford, he is an overage, which would have meant the Canes would have had to drop one of either Atwal, Gutierrez (not injured at the time) or Millette. Anholt had no reason to move any of those three.
    I too hope there is a huge crowd on hand Friday, and regardless of the outcome, show the players they are grateful for an exciting season that we all did not expect. The players deserve no less.

    1. John says:

      Thanks for clarifying. Makes sense at to why there was no movement besides the kroeker deal. you can’t teach experience. The team should be strong next year. But I imagine Nielsen will be in the AHL next year, plus the overagers gone, there’s some pretty big shoes that need to be filled

      1. kayakgibson says:

        You are likely bang on with the Nielsen move to the AHL or ECHL at least. Apparently the Leafs are quite high on him, so unless they feel he needs more “tinkering’ with his game at the junior level, he will not be back. Overage picture for next season: G-Sittler; D-Nielsen & Pankewicz; F-Wong, Lindgren, Folk, Duppereault. My feeling is that Sittler will be traded as will Folk (likely to Regina-home) and Duppereault. That would leave Wong, Lindgren and Pankewicz as 16-17 Overages. From where I sit, Anholt will likely be looking into beefing up the back end. Reagan, Pankewicz, Addison, Watson, are pretty well sure things, Skeoch (will need to work on his skating over the summer) and I would bet $$ Merezhko (who has not adapted to the WHL style of hockey) will not be back. Ethan King 6’4” 210 picked in the 2nd rd behind Jody Bellerive will most certainly get a long look.
        Just my thoughts.

        1. Jeremy Sakamoto says:

          I’d be shocked if Babenko is back too. I’m guessing that there’s some KHL $ awaiting him.

    2. Justin says:

      Very good points! I really like your point of giving the canes a rocking game tomorrow win or lose!!

  4. Al Hastings says:

    Let me start as a Pat fan and 20 year Season Ticket holder I appreciate this domain/ blog as well written, Lethbridge slanted but not homers and well versed in Junior hockey. Jeremy and the posters all well informed.
    Agree your team should be strong next season and the playoff experience (one or two rounds) will pay dividends next season.
    Looking forward to watching the web cast tomorrow and hope your barn is buzzing.

  5. dbourassa says:

    As far as low-scoring games go, I enjoyed watching this one far more than most meetings between these teams this year. It was full of anticipation before the first faceoff and the single goal lead did nothing to take that away throughout the game. The Pats’ defensive zone coverage was probably the best its been as a whole group all season, with certain players putting in those secondary efforts after any turnovers that were missing in prior games. While a defensive lockdown can lead to a boring game, it didn’t in this case to me. The Hurricanes managed to generate some very high quality chances and it wasn’t until Adam Brooks weaseled his way onto the score sheet that I felt like the Pats were safe. Unfortunately for the Hurricanes, they also ran into a goaltender who’s decided he has something to prove and actually earned his shutout this time around.

    I know Tyler Brown isn’t very popular in Lethbridge right now, but I have to say I strongly prefer an interview of the sort he gave after game three than yet another one where it’s all, “y’know, we have to get pucks on net and just play our game.” The same goes for Wong’s interview after game four. Fans of the other team aren’t going to agree with either guy or even like what they have to say, but I come away with far more from those types of interviews than the usual cliches and rhetoric that characterize player interviews. Coaches don’t like that kind of stuff, but it’s so rare to have any reaction from any fans, home or away, to a player interview that I can’t help but enjoy it when someone does decide to go off-script.

    I think the Hurricanes have a very good chance of at very least proving Brown wrong on Friday night. They seem to feed off the energy their home crowd gives them in a way that exceeds most teams this year, so I don’t expect them to go down without a fight. I wouldn’t dare predict who’s coming out on top tomorrow, but they say game four is the hardest to win for a reason. We’ve also yet to see one of those ridiculous 10+ goal games in this series and I thought for sure there would be at least one, for better or worse. With the right adjustments to the Hurricanes’ offense, it might still be coming, but I think it’s going to have to be a bigger change than just shuffling up the personnel.

    This didn’t fit in anywhere else, but I also want to say that I sure miss Brady Reagan. That kid has turned into a really solid defenseman since his days in Regina and it stings even more now that Taylor Cooper didn’t pan out as expected. He was one of the Hurricanes that stood out to me last night for all of the right reasons and was pretty fun to watch, even if he was robbing Zablocki of a sure goal!

    1. John says:

      Reagan had a great game I agree. Also agree on the interviews, at least Brown and Wong make it interesting i’ll take that any day. Wong said anything less than a memorial cup will be a disappointment which sounds pretty bold but hey, that’s his honest answer.

      Is it just me or does this series seem to lack the normal playoff hostility though? Like I really don’t hate the Pats lol. Most times during a series you really start to hate the other team. Besides the Carter Folk hit there hasn’t been a lot of nastiness. Because both teams power plays are so lethal I guess they might be scared to take penalties but there haven’t even really been that many big hits.

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