GDB 67.0 WRAP UP: TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS
(Photos courtesy Tyler Mikla)
Let’s get a few things out of the way before we dive into this game. The Ice are having an abysmal year and injuries are a big part of it. Tonight they only dressed 15 skaters… one of them got injured and didn’t return after the 1st period. So while I would like to sing the praises of the Hurricanes, let’s keep in mind who they were playing against. I mean that with all due respect. Facts are just facts. The Ice were fighting an uphill battle, and honestly, I give them credit for their game tonight.
All that out of the way, the Lethbridge Hurricanes did exactly what they needed to do. They feasted (especially late) on a tired, hurt, and downtrodden team to get a crucial two points. The Canes took care of business so to say. BTO would be proud.
It just so happens that the Rebels also buckled down and secured a regulation victory this evening. The upward pressure from Sutter’s crew makes the triumph over Kootenay all the more meaningful.
It’s all on the line come Friday and Saturday night.
The game started loosely. Both teams had a few good chances in the opening minutes – the most notable of which was a breakaway for Noah Philp. Skinner would turn him aside, but, a few minutes later, Ice overager Tanner Lishchynsky would rip a rebound into the top corner to give the home team a 1 – 0 lead.
After the goal there was a parade to the penalty box. The teams combined for four straight minor penalties, and despite the chances, neither was able to get a goal. The new look top line of Millette, Estephan, and Vandervlis would tie things up at the 14:55 mark. Vandervlis threw the puck to the front of the net from the right corner. It deflected off of Millette and through Hoflin ti tie things up at 1.
Four minutes later, Giorgio Estephan read the Ice breakout, picked off a pass mid-air, skated in with room down the right side, and beat Hoflin with a perfect shot low-blocker. The goal was unassisted and put Lethbridge in front, 2 – 1. Lethbridge was outshot 13-9 in the first, but overall, it was a decent road period for the visitors.
The penalties would keep coming in the 2nd period. With the Ice on the man advantage, Bellerive took a pass from Pankewicz and broke in on a 2 on 1 rush. Bellerive was thinking “shoot” the whole way and that’s exactly what he did. The shot caught Hoflin cheating a little and the puck looked to go in short side.
Bellerive’s short handed marker put the visitors up 3 – 1, but they weren’t done there. With Kootenay buzzing late in the second, Brayden Burke stormed up the ice on a last second 2 on 1 rush with Vandervlis. Burke got the puck to VDV (via a deliciously saucy pass) and the big dutch blooded winger made no mistake. It was as close to a buzzer beater as you can get. Both lights looked to have gone off simultaneously and there was some confusion in the building, but it would ultimately count. After fourty, Lethbridge led 4-1 on the scoreboard and 30-20 in the shots department.
Unsurprisingly, things sort of fell apart for the short-staffed Ice in the second half of the 3rd period. They managed to pull within two when Patterson took advantage of a few puck-watching Lethbridge defenders and one-timed a feed from behind the net through Skinner, but that’s as close as the Ice would come.
Between the 12:15 mark and the 15:11 mark, Bellerive (2), Atwal, and Wong would all score goals, ultimately, sealing the fate of the Ice. Final score, 7-2 for Lethbridge. The Hurricanes also triumphed on the shot clock, 43-26.
- How about the game of Ryan Vandervlis?? He made up a third of a new look top line with Estephan and Millette. Vandervlis was a +4, had a goal and two assists, and was named the games 1st star.
- Giorgio Estephan is such a difference maker on the ice. He completely transforms the top six when he’s in the lineup. His vision, skating, and patience with the puck is something to behold. Giorgio creates space for teammates by demanding attention by defenders and it was on full display tonight.
- Jordy Bellerive loves playing against the Ice. If I remember correctly, his first goal came earlier this season at Western Financial Place. He was one of the team’s best players tonight and finished the night a +2 with two goals. Bellerive was named 2nd star.
- I’m not sure the game was ever really in question after the Hurricanes got the lead but Stuart Skinner did make some stellar saves. Stu looked incredibly calm in goal tonight. He’s oozing confidence right now. Great time for a netminder to be heating up.
- The Canes gave up an early lead then put their heads down and exited the 1st with a one goal lead of their own. It was the kind of determination that was missing last time they were in Cranbrook. I hate redneck cliches more than most… but tonight was a ‘git’er done’ sort of win.
- The Canes scored 7 goals and they were all at even strength. Oh and 6 different goal scorers.
LESS GOOD 🙁
- Once again, the Canes were a little shaky in the opening minutes. They surrendered an early breakaway to Philp and an early goal to Lishchynsky. Sure, they overcame it, but it’s better to avoid the scenario altogether.
- Lots of penalties in very condensed periods tonight. This goes for both teams. It was more of a reffing issue than anything else (in my opinion). That said, things calmed down on that front after the 1st period so I’m probably just being picky.
- Not enough overall physicality from Lethbridge tonight. I understand they have some guys not at 100%, they’re playing a team lower than them, and, as a result the physical intensity might not be there… but I was underwhelmed by that element of their game. Skoech was the exception.
THIS AND THAT
- Kootenay has had a really rough road of late. They’ve played allot of hockey and are missing a host of bodies. Credit them for battling through a game where they lost another D man after the 1st. Reagan popped Grman with a nasty punch during their fight in the 1st. Grman didn’t return after the intermission.
- Hit of the night has to go to Darian Skeoch on Austin Gray in the Hurricanes zone midway through the 2nd period. It was a doozy. Aside from that, I would say the Ice probably delivered the lion’s share of the big hits.
- The Ice have a fine collection of crazy last names on their team. Makes Twitter updates a nightmare! Lishchynsky? Grman? Zaharichuck? Loschiavo? Legien? Zborosky… gimme a break
You gotta win games like this and they did. You’re not gonna hear much more from me than that. What else can be said. It’s a good win but boy are things going to ramp up in a hurry this weekend. The Red Deer Rebels are a whole different animal (the understatement of the century) and I can’t wait to see the sparks fly.
There’s certainly some interesting questions about the roster heading into the weekend. How serious is Babenko? Will Addison draw in against Red Deer? Is that the sort of hockey you want to throw him into head first? Sittler’s been ace against the Rebels but Skinner is playing his best hockey of the season… who starts? Will they keep these new lines up front?
We will dissect those questions and more Friday morning.
See you then.