Thursday, February 3, 2011

Re-Cap: Everblades vs. Road Warriors (2/2/11)

The Everblades started what would be the biggest series so far this season. With the division leading Greenville Road Warriors coming to town, they had to string together some wins if they hoped to put themselves in a good position going into the later half of the year.

Starting line-up: Raymond, Fischer, Carlson, Hutchings, McKenzie.


I don't know what got into them, but the Blades came out strong in the first period. I don't know if the Road Warriors were struggling (they didn't look as controlled and dominant as I remember from the last few games), or if it was all the Everblades.

It didn't really matter though, the Blades were able to score first, thanks to Bobby Raymond's fourth goal of the year. The teams traded chances until the closing minutes. Then the Road Warriors started to let their frustrations show.
While on the penalty kill for an interference call, one of the Road Warriors shot the puck over the glass. It actually flew all the way down to the other end and hit a fan sitting behind the net in the jaw. Luckily, the guy was all right, and the Blades were able to convert on their 5 on 3 with about 15 seconds left on the first penalty. The goal, Ethan Graham's first goal of the year, gave the Blades the 2-0 lead heading into the first intermission. One of the Road Warriors continued the teams undisciplined play by going after Alex Hutchings after the buzzer for the end of the period sounded. It didn't matter though, because the Blades held the 2-0 lead and had the Road Warriors on their toes for most of the period.


The Road Warriors continued to shoot themselves in the foot to start the second. After killing off the penalty that carried over from the first, they proceeded to take another, after killing that off they took another! The Blades weren't able to convert on any of those chances.

Oddly enough, it was an incredibly fluky goal that happened shortly after all these chances. Mathieu Roy took a pass from drew Larman and somehow it slipped off his stick and trickled right through the Road Warriors goalies five-hole. Since hockey doesn't give points for pretty goals the Blades were happy to take it and the 3-0 lead.

 (Is there anything as sad as a goalies posture after a fluke goal?)

You could tell Greenville's frustration levels were at their peak. Even their goalie was looking for a fight. They managed to ruin goalie Bobby Goepfert's shut-out while Mike Egener was in the box for hooking to make it 3-1. Aside from plenty of scufles, there wasn't any more action in the period and both teams left the ice with the score still at 3-1.


The Everblades came out they way they should have in the third. around the six minute mark Ross Carlson notched the Blades second power play goal of the night to make it 4-1. That seemed to make Greenvilles frustration level grow even more.

Road Warrior captain T.J. Reynolds and Roy got into a bit of a tussle, and each received matching roughing penalties. There was a lot of jawing between the two as they went to the boxes. Unfortunately, one of the fans behind the penalty box Reynolds was in thought throwing popcorn at the one of the players Blades fans seem to dislike the most. As a player that has had been involved with a fan in the past, you can imagine his reaction. He struck the glass once, and when the fan continued to give him trouble he struck the glass a second time. He actually broke the glass, and apparently, a shard flew into the stands. Obviously, he received a game misconduct and was escorted off the ice to loud cheers.

Too bad the Blades took a dumb penalty shortly after that to give the Road Warriors a 5 on 3 chance they were able to convert on to make it 4-2. The Road Warriors continued to put on the pressure they had been applying for most of the second period, and peppered Goepfert with tons of shots. It didn't matter though because he gave his best impression of a brick wall and denied them. Even with their goalie pulled for the extra attacker the Road Warriors couldn't score, and the Blades were able to get an empty net goal from Mike McKenzie to make it 5-2. The Game sheet is here.

The three stars: Raymond, Goepfert, Carlson.


Some thoughts:
- I've said it the last few games, Goepfert's been amazing since coming back from the all-star break. He stopped 37 of 39 shots.
- It was pretty pathetic to see Greenville focus most of their attention on Mike McKenzie. Good for him for refusing to sink to their goonery.
- Actually, all the Blades stayed pretty disciplined through out the game. Considering the liberties the Road Warriors took, it was amazing.
- I was actually a little sad to see the Road Warriors sink to that level. I really thought they were better than that.
- Bobby Raymond continues to be the most underrated player on the squad. If he doesn't get an AHL contract next season something's wrong with the hockey world.
- Except for a few lapses and letting up a bit in the third, the Blade played a really solid game. I hope they keep it up.
- The officiating sucked as usual, way too many calls against Greenville in the first half and make-up calls on the Blades in the last.

Hopefully, the ECHL learned from the last time a visiting team came in and the game got out of hand. Friday and Saturday are going to be repeats of the Gladiators and Royals series if they don't crack down. Of course, we won't know which direction this series is going to go in until Friday. It's going to be a tough games for sure.

No comments:

Post a Comment

All comments are welcome! However, please remember that this is blog is accessible to children, please keep posts PG-13.

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.