GDB R1G5 WRAP UP: THE END
I often find myself resenting a good movie for ending too soon. I’m hunkered down with popcorn and some Sprite in the theater all ready for the adventure to continue when it suddenly ends. It always makes me a little sad. I want to know what happens to the characters from that point on! Unfortunately, the filmmakers and writers decide to end the tale – and in turn – leave you guessing.
The flipside of course, is being in a theater watching an awful film that never. seems. to. end. It’s the WORST. You squirm, look around angrily, start to resent the characters and the actors bringing them to life, look at your watch, and hope that every fade to black is the last.
Tonight’s game was both of those two experiences rolled into one. On the broad level, this season was exceptional! I didn’t, and still don’t, want it to end! I’m curious about what comes next?! What sort of great stories and plot lines are we missing out on now that it’s ended? I’m hungry for more adventures with the 2015-2016 Hurricanes.
On the other, tonight was a poorly written horror film with B-list actors. It was a nightmare I couldn’t wait to see the final credits roll. By the time the Pats had rubbed enough salt in the wound to preserve a thousand hams, I was ready for the buzzer to sound, and mercifully, it did.
This game did not start the way the Hurricanes were hoping. The crowd was intense, there was passion, everyone was amped… and less than two minutes in, Andrew Nielsen took an ill-advised delayed penalty. Before they could touch the puck, Sam Steel took a pass and wired it passed Skinner. The goal went under review for the net being knocked off but eventually was ruled as a “fair”. 1 – 0 Regina.
It got worse.
A giveaway in the corner just minutes later gave Lane Zablocki a tap in and it was 2 – 0. By the halfway mark Steel had added another (this time shorthanded) and it was a three goal lead. Once again, it was trouble in the Canes corner and Steel needed only to shoot the puck into the yawning cage. A building that had been raucous and excited just minutes earlier was suddenly reserved and shocked.
The Pats would score again but I honestly don’t remember the goal. I think I was talking to someone. How’s that for honesty?! This is a blog so we can defy convention.
Long story short, the Canes got crucified in the 1st period. Sittler came in for Skinner before the end of the frame but the damage was done (none of it was done by Skinner to be clear. He was fine). They were just flat out bad. As much as it pains me to say, if there was a word for the 1st period it was “crumble”.
There was a glimmer of hope midway through the second when Tyler Wong deflected a point shot past Brown on the powerplay. It was a smart shot by Burke and (obviously) a massive goal for the captain and his team. Unfortunately for the home team, they couldn’t seem to get another before the period ended.
Overall, the second period saw the Hurricanes score a goal but all things being equal, they were lucky to not surrender more. Actually, I take that back. There was no luck involved. Jayden Sitter is the reason they didn’t surrender more goals in the second frame. He was outstanding. He stopped numerous breakaways and odd man rushes. It was a period of titanic proportions for the veteran netminder.
You could feel a tension in the air to start the 3rd. Fans were down but still clinging on to something. When Giorgio Estephan scored off the rush five minutes in, things changed. The goal fanned the spark of hope into a flame. It was 4 – 2! They could still pull it off?!
Unfortunately the Estephan goal made it hurt more when Wagner planted the dagger on a 4 on 4 rush. It was an emotional goal and the weight of it got the better of Wong. Seconds after the goal, Tyler left his feet to deliver a high, late hit on Wagner (I confess I haven’t seen replay so either the hit was bad or Wagner embellished. Either way, a bad play). He was assessed five and a game.
The wheels had officially fallen off.
Brooks would score early on the five minute major to put Regina up 6 – 2. In response, the Hurricanes would pull Sittler early (with around 8 minutes let) to try generate something – anything – but the Pats would add another into the open cage. There was little to no mercy shown by the road team. No love lost. It was a beat down and everyone knew it.
When the dust finally settled, the Regina Pats emerged victorious with a 7 – 2 win and a 4 – 1 series win. The two teams shook hands, the Hurricanes received an ovation from what was left of the crowd, and overagers Cory Millette and Arvin Atwal emotionally soaked in every second they could before leaving the ice. It was an impassioned end to a passionate season but that’s what is was – the end. Final score, 7 – 2 Pats.
- Jayden Sittler came into the game cold and was spectacular. On a night where I struggled to muster “good points”, Jayden was the bright and shining star. He made countless crucial stops in the 2nd period when the game was still on the line. Were it not for him, things would have gotten out of hand far earlier than they did.
- Arvin Atwal’s playoff beard is so so so good. It’s a shame we won’t see it grow to it’s full glory.
- Many left, but for those true-blue fans that stuck it out and saluted the team, I salute YOU. Thank you for staying to recognize the efforts of a team that did great things. I know it was hard to celebrate them after a 7 – 2 beatdown… hell, I struggled with it, but in the end, I know the emotion will subside and all fans will realize what this team really did accomplish. It was hard, but I’m so happy the for the fans that stayed and put their hands together.
- This game did eventually end.
NOT SO GOOD
- The season is over and that makes me sad.
- We never get to see Atwal, Gutierrez or Millette suit up as Hurricanes again. Gonna miss those guys. Happy they were part of the ride.
- Starting the game with a foolish delayed penalty… I mean… it just evaporated everything. All the hope, all the build up, and all the energy instantly disappeared and frankly, the team crumbled. It was a nightmare start to a nightmare game.
- I will have to see it again, but the whole Wong ejection was bad. Either on him or on the officials… I don’t know until I rewatch it. One way or another it was bad and I hated to see Tyler’s season end like that. He should have been on the ice at the end to salute and be saluted – but instead had to hit the showers early.
- Anytime you surrender a shorthanded goal it’s bad… when you surrender an early back-breaking short-handed goal the way the Canes did tonight, it hurts all the more. It was a godawful powerplay so the shorty wasn’t a shock. The Pats were winning every race and puck battle.
- Oh man… this is hard. I’m trying to keep my emotions in check but it’s difficult when you have so much to say. What I WILL say is tonight there was a select few Hurricane players who dearly cost their team. I don’t need to name names because if you’re the kind of fan who’s reading this, you probably already know. It was just disappointing. There are a few “high-risk high-reward” players on the roster and unfortunately in this series, we saw more of the former and less of the latter. Tonight was no exception.
- I could go on and on after this loss but is there really anything to be gained from it? At the end of it all, the Regina Pats were the better team both tonight and in the series. It pains me to say, but from top to bottom – front to back – the Pats deserved this win.
THE OTHER SIDE
- Congrats to the Pats for playing an impressive series. They came in the technical underdogs and were the better team. I see no reason they can’t give the Hitmen or Rebels big trouble.
- Connor Hobbs was one of the MVP’s in my eyes. Hobbs was a beast on the Pats blueline. He got in on the offense yes, but mostly I was impressed with his play in the Pats zone. Hobbs was physically intimidating and he used it to dictate how the Hurricane attack faced him. By tonight, it was clear to me that the Hurricanes were afraid to try carry the puck around him wide. They didn’t want to suffer the big hits he was delivering. That’s the kind of intimidation and effective defense that wins game in the playoffs.
- The Pats were incredible in “the house” all series long. What I mean by that is they were marvelous and blocking shots and clearing pucks down in the prime scoring areas. The Canes simply could not overcome.
- Tyler Brown didn’t get enough respect heading into this series – from myself included. I had said confidently in my pre-series preview that the Canes held the goaltending advantage. I still believe they do! But Brown was all he needed to be and more! He got better as the series progressed. He grew in confidence and backed up his prediction that the Canes would crumble. He was right.
- Adam Brooks was elite this series. I know it’s beating a dead horse, but it would be a travesty to neglect to mention it. Brooks found a whole new gear in this series, and when Steel started to capitalize on his chances too, it was a KO.
Cut! That’s a wrap! Roll credits!
Whether it was a movie you were excited to see end or you are devastated at the loss – it’s over. There is no tomorrow – at least not a Hurricanes tomorrow – and I admit I’m disappointed about it.
The sun will, however, rise bright and early in the morning. Life will move on and the Canes and their fans will start the process of, well… processing everything that just happened. That’s where I’m at right now.
We just saw allot of things play out in very dramatic fashion. It’s going to take some time to digest it all. Maybe that’s why I still feel conflicted as I write this. Time will bring clarity. It always does.
What I CAN say with certainty is this was a great season! I know you don’t want to hear that right now and I feel hollow saying it, but it’s the truth. This group of players blazed a new trail for the franchise and while we may be reeling now, I believe we have allot to thank them for. Tonight’s loss hurts because of its nature. It wasn’t a graceful fall… but it was a fall none-the-less.
I believe we bore witness to something special this season, even if it isn’t what we wanted it to be. Canes Domain still has lots to say and this is not end for us. We will have full coverage of the season ending in the coming days.
For tonight though, I want to say a few thank yous.
Thank you to GM Peter Anholt for authoring all this madness. It’s been sensational and you’re the architect. We (hockey fans in Lethbridge/the team) wouldn’t be here without you.
Thank you to coach Kisio for taking the pieces you were given and forming them into a cohesive unit. The special teams and overall body of work is highly praiseworthy, especially considering this is a first time thing.
Thank you to the overage players. Arvin, Cory, and Justin initially seemed like a cobbled together group of vets who no one knew much about. All three gave hockey fans in Lethbridge something to talk about this season.
To the rest of the team, their parents, and the billets, well done on a successful season. Tonight is the end, but tomorrow is the beginning.
Thanks to all the readers for for a great season of game-day coverage. We will see you in the coming days as we break down the series loss and try decipher the pieces.
For Canes Domain, I wish you all a great night,