May 19, 2008

Memorial Cup - Game 3

Kitchener 1


Spokane 2

Spokane was returning to the ice after their overtime win against Belleville the day before. The arena was loud with the large number of Ranger fans making lots of noise but the small Chiefs contingent held their own quite nicely.

Unlike the first two games of the tournament, this one was not going to be a high-scoring affair. Both teams started fast but Kitchener came out stronger and drew first blood with a short-handed goal less than 5 minutes into the game. Matt Halischuk intercepted a pass at the blue line, skated in hard and beat Tokarski 5-hole. And they had at least a couple of other scoring chances on the penalty kill. It looked like the Chiefs were unsettled for a bit but they soon recovered.

Kitchener had a couple more penalties to kill before the period was over but they were also very good at limiting the scoring chances; there may have been a total of three shots on goal for all the man-advantages.

After the third penalty kill, Kitchener was putting some serious pressure on the Chiefs generating many oohs and ahhs with close calls and near misses. This was at the other end of the rink so we weren’t in all the ooh’ing and ahh’ing.

But it was Justin Falk who got the even-up goal with just over 4 minutes to play beating Unice top shelf. And that’s how the opening frame ended.

Both teams started the second period much slower than the first period. But that didn’t last long and just over 5 minutes into the game Drayson Bowman scored his fourth of the tournament and what would eventually stand up as the game winning goal. Kitchener tried hard to get even again and at the end of the period they had the power play and another penalty was called just as the period ended. So they opened the third period with a 45 second 5-on-3 to be followed up with a 5-on-4 for about 1:30. You would think that they might get the tying goal with al this time but…nope…they didn’t even get one shot on net for all that time.

The third period was more of the same with both teams playing hard and this is where we thought that the game before might take its toll on Spokane but that was not the case. Their legs seemed as strong at the finish as they did from the start. With just under a minute left and in possession of the puck, the Rangers pulled Unice for the extra attacker. Spokane gained possession and almost sealed it but as the time ran out the Chiefs won 2 – 1.

Random Thoughts:
  • Meet Admiral. He’s in training but I’m not sure whether he is being trained to assist a visually impaired person or simply a personal aide. In any event, he is usually a regular in the Ranger’s dressing room but this time he came down to the ice to supervise the warm-up. More than one player noticed him and tapped the glass.

  • Very different game from last night – a different Spokane altogether. More hitting (although I think the Chiefs bounced off the Rangers more than the other way around). But they did a great job considering that they played just 24 hours previously while Kitchener was resting.
  • Was chatting with one of the off-duty referees and he was saying that the ice was in pretty bad shape. It seemed so from all the non-induced tumbles that players were taking yesterday and today. I think that that’s what caused Duco to take a tumble early in the game.
  • Speaking of refereeing, it seemed that the non-calls were pretty equally distributed (although some Rangers fans would disagree). Both teams were pretty engaged in various acts of holding, interference and the odd late hit. But the refs let them play through it and decide the outcome of the game.
  • Had a chance to briefly chat with Jason Akeson’s dad during the warm-up. Jason is Jeremy Akeson’s (former Ottawa 67s) cousin. (We are in a very good spot – right near the tunnel to the area behind the Kitchener bench so get a lot of folks coming and going from back there. Everyone is up for a chat.)
  • Chatted with a fellow from Mississauga for whom this is his fifth Memorial Cup. He’s already making plans for the Rimouski event – accommodations being his biggest concern.
  • We have McGinn fan, they have Spiderman. We chatted about Michael Latta – he’s a big fan.

  • Something I missed reporting from the first game. Again saw some young men who looked like they weren’t your average hockey fans. The escort said that they were this year’s draft picks. They were getting an early taste of the objective. Seems like a good idea.
  • For the opening videos from the Spokane – Belleville game, they kept showing clips of goals scored against the 67s. Like that was the only team they scored against all year. harrumph!

More pictures (remember that you can click on any picture in the blog to see a larger image)

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