GDB 72.0 WRAP UP: THAT’S A WRAP
Last night was great. Sure the Hurricanes dropped their final game of the regular season by a score of 4 – 2 to the Medicine Hat Tigers, but at least on a personal level, it was a fantastic to be in the Canalta Centre and experience the game with hundreds of Hurricane fans.
Just like that, we’ve come to the end of another WHL regular season. For us here at Canes Domain, last night was a chance to celebrate the season. From a hockey perspective, the Canes have surpassed all expectations. It’s been beyond a pleasant surprise. I honestly feel blessed having the fortune of covering this edition of the Hurricanes for our first ever season.
Call it luck… call it good timing… it’s simply been awesome.
So while last night’s game didn’t end the way Canes fans were hoping, I don’t feel the result dampened what has become a celebratory weekend. Lethbridge played a decent enough game but was beat by an incredibly desperate club. Credit where credit is due. The Tigers did what they needed to do. They live to fight another day.
More thoughts on the game and the new Canalta Centre after the hop…
I really enjoyed the Canalta Centre. I had the privilege of being at a game 7 a few years ago between the Tigers and the Hitmen at The Arena. It was incredible. There’s no denying that the old facility had a certain musty-charm to it. The ceiling was low. The concourse was prime grounds for tall guys to hit their heads on steel beams every 15 feet… it was like the fans were right on top of the ice. The Arena was great and nothing will ever change that but – while it ought to be cherished – it is a shell of what the new building is.
It’s gorgeous. It’s spacious. It has a nice open concept feel to it. The technology with the led banners and jumbotron are top-notch. The concourses are wide and they serve a nice variety of beers to-boot (ha). The seats we had were incredibly spacious. As a guy that’s over 6’7”, having ample leg room is a welcome change in an arena. Speaking of being tall, I should give a shoutout to the nice ‘Hatter that bought me a beer just because I made his tall friend look short. Super nice people! Free Heineken is the gateway to any dutchman’s heart.
As far as the game itself? It was mostly an entertaining affair. The Tigers got out the early lead and you could feel relief from the 5,000 in attendance. The fans were well aware of what was on the line. Bellerive would get it back at the midpoint of the first, sending a section or two of Canes fans into an excited frenzy. Unfortunately for Lethbridge Ryan Jevne would get a late goal on the powerplay to restore the lead in the 1st period. It was a lead that the Tigers would never surrender.
A night after exploding in a fit of rage in Lethbridge, Nick Schneider was a difference maker in the Tigers victory. Lethbridge had some great chances in this game but the players often misfired or were turned aside by the Tigers netminder. Folk had two breakaways, and despite drawing a penalty on one, was unable to get a goal. Lethbridge also had a puck hit the side of the net on a beauty 2 on 1 feed – something that made me question whether or not it was ‘meant to be’. On most nights, goals would have come from chances like that, but for whatever reason, the finish wasn’t quite there. Like I said, give Schneider some credit. He controlled his rebounds and made life easier on his defensemen.
The penalty kill was once again a factor. The Canes surrendered a key goal (Jevne’s late 1st period marker) while a man-short and it cost them. They were never able to pull back to even with the Tigers. It’s something they will need to fine tune before the playoffs. Over their last 5 games, the Hurricanes have surrendered 6 goals while short handed. They will either need to cut down on the penalties or sharpen up the PK before their series with Regina. Either way, the Tigers powerplay went 1/3 last night and helped propel them to the big win.
Can I add that I didn’t like the game misconduct dolled out to Skeoch for his involvement with fighting Heid? Skeoch clearly wasn’t looking to start that fight. He answered the call when Heid dropped his gloves, but to hand out a “staged fighting” misconduct for doing so seemed excessive. The end result was that both teams had to play a d-man short from the 5 second mark on. Frankly, that was a cheap, calculated tactic employed by Shaun Clouston. At least – that’s how I saw it. The Tigers new full well that Heid was going to engage Skeoch off the faceoff and that both would get misconducts. Look at the rosters… one of the teams dressed a 7th defensemen. Coincidence? I’ll let you decide for yourself.
In the end the Tigers survived to fight another day and will now play a one game playoff with the Oil Kings to win the right to lose to the Wheat Kings in the 1st round. Anything is possible of course, and setting aside my Hurricanes tinted glasses, it will be very exciting to watch a one game playoff take place. Who doesn’t find that intriguing?? Any honest to goodness hockey fan is loving it.
It’s the beauty of the wildcard playoff format. I know I will be tuning in for sure.
After the game we loaded back into the mini-van and headed home to Lethbridge. On the drive I spent some time thinking about how crazy this season was. In retrospect, attempting to cover all 72 games with pre and post-game content was probably a little too ambitious. It was a handful to manage… especially in the early days when it was a one man show. Thankfully Jeremy, and later, Tyler, came on board to help carry the load and bring fresh new insights. I want to say thank you to both of them. Jeremy has been with us for most of the season, has written some great content, and also carried our Twitter coverage to new levels on game days. Tyler brought new eyes to things, pushed me to organize our graphic content and given sound advice on hockey related visual aids.
Thank you both for your hard work and dedication to this site and the team.
Finally, I want to quickly thank all of the readers. I know this isn’t the end of the season (playoffs!), but it’s a milestone and I want to use this opportunity to communicate how grateful we are for all of you who read, share, tweet, email, text, and otherwise support us through your comments and interactions both online and at the games. This has been a wild ride. I’m not sure I ever actually believed it would succeed – but I was determined to give it a shot.
I’m not sure how you define success, but for me, the new relationships, friendships, and experiences I’ve been a part of due to Canes Domain has made it an easy call for me. It’s been an overwhelming success! I can’t wait to cover the playoffs and see where the site and the hockey club go from here.
Once again, we love you and thanks again for your continued support.