Saturday, 20 September 2014

Canes Drop Home Opener to Rival Tigers

The Medicine Hat Tigers got a late third period goal to break open a tie game as they beat the Lethbridge Hurricanes 3-2 Friday night at ENMAX Centre.

The game wasn't as close as they score indicated. Medicine Hat out shot Lethbridge 38-18 in this game. Canes goaltender Zac Robidoux had a very solid game against his former team. The Canes were out shot 10-0 at one point in the first period and 16-3 when the horn sounded to end the opening frame. It was scoreless after one.

Despite that though, the Canes did score first in the second when Russian Pavel Skumatov scored his first of two goals on the night. That made it 1-0 Lethbridge. Skumatov then made it 2-0 Canes with his second of the season, but for the Hurricanes that would be the only offence on this night as the Tigers came storming back with three unanswered goals to win it. Kyle Becker cut the Lethbridge lead to 2-1 with a goal in the second period and then late in the period Markus Eisenschmid evened the game at 2-2.

In the third period, the game remained tied until the finial two minutes. That's when Medicine Hat's Connor Hobbs scored on a power play to make it 3-2 Tigers. That happened to be the only power play goal either team would score in this game and that was the difference on the scoreboard.

Both teams were missing key players.  The Canes have 5 players out with injury as well as Reid Duke away at Minnesota Wild camp. Medicine Hat went 1/6 on the power play and the Hurricanes 0/5. There was a good crowd on opening night, with just over 4000 fans on hand. The two clubs will do it again Saturday (Sept. 20) when they play in Medicine Hat. The Canes next home game isn't until Wednesday, October 1st when they host the Calgary Hitmen.

Going back to last season, and yes I know that was several months ago and technically has nothing to do with this season, but the Hurricanes have lost 15 straight regular season games. The last time they won was February 12, 2014 when the Canes beat Brandon 3-2 on overtime. The Canes are going to need offence by committee this season. They can't depend on one or two guys to lead the charge. Although the team has a number of returning players from last year, the Canes are still a young squad.

A couple of positives from Friday's home opener for the Canes was the play of Pavel Skumatov who scored twice and goaltender Zac Robidoux. Both are newcomers to the Lethbridge Hurricanes.



  1. The game reminded me a lot of last year's play. The Canes were pressured in their own zone for a majority of the game, and could not get the puck out. Medicine Hat did pressure the Canes d-men a lot. Being badly outshot by more than a 2-1 margin can't continue. Powerplay did not impress. On a positive note, the penalty kill looks very solid, Robidoux was good (screened on Becker's and Hobb's goals) and Pavel Skumatov kept it simple by going to the net. Some of the other Canes' forwards blew scoring chances by trying to be too fancy.
    The opening night crowd was good but will dwindle quickly if things don't improve.
    Get rid of the cheerleaders!

    Thanks again Pat for keeping your blog going. At least those who want to comment have an opportunity to do so.


  2. To echo many of the sentiments made by Pat and RJS we agree that the play of Robidoux and Skumatov were certainly highlights of the game. The teams inability to clear their own zone and complete the majority of passes were certainly a downfall. There are a number of things the coaches need to work on IMMEDIATELY. Problems cannot be left until it is too late as occurred last year. DB was so busy preaching about his systems and all those players that weren't buying in that he failed to realize he needed to correct things right off the hop.

    The crowd was very good and very vocal and that is typical with opening night. But let's face it those cheerleaders have got to go. What a nuisance for those of us in the upper rows trying to see the celebration down on the ice or looking at the replay when we only get a silver pompom and a butt flashing in our line of sight. If the organization insists on having them there maybe they could hold off their wiggling and jiggling until the intermissions.

    Thank you for the recap Pat. We will be watching the game online tonight and wish the players good luck.


  3. DB has done everything he can with the talent that they have. Did you not here that Med Hat had 7 kids gone to NHL camp we have 1!!!!!' Were are all our stars!!!!!!

  4. I'm not sure what game I was at but not the same one I guess.
    I saw two very spirited teams and I actually thought the game was quite good and the canes showed a lot of effort. Maybe not the same amount of skill as the tigers but a lot of effort. I'll pay for that any time!!
    Of course we all know scoring will be a challenege. I think the fact we did not get a shot for the first 15 minutes has overshadowed the take on this game. After that 15 minutes the shots were close for the duration. A tight start and some nerves is all- that's my theory.
    I saw good chatter on the bench from all 3 coaches and between coaches so that's a good sign.
    One thing the coahces better get straight right now is Wong cannot be allowed to play like he does physically or he will miss a great deal of the season. I give him full credit for his guts but there will be nothing left of him if they don't tell him to back off. That's not his role on this team anymore. Not backing down and trying to run 6 footers are two very different things.
    Maybe we will return the favour tonight and spoil their home opener. There is some history to that as I think we have done it a couple times in the past 4 or 5 years.
    In short, there is a lot on the line in the first 10 games this year so let's hope for some wins early.

    Barry Knapp

  5. Hey Barry! I thought it was a good game as well, I also noticed how great the communication was with the coaches a lot different from last year! I think the team worked hard and I believe nerves played a part in it too. I do also agree we need some strong forwards who can score and then I can see the canes start to win more games. Keep up the hard work it will pay off.