May 20, 2008

Memorial Cup - Game 4

Belleville 6


Gatineau 3

Well, it sure seems like this is not Gatineau’s year. This was a tough game for them. Both teams started with the hits but it seemed that Belleville had the edge early. On his first shift out, Gatineau’s Labrie seemed to reinjure his knee but was soon back out there skating.

As a portent of things to come, Gatineau got into early penalty trouble and gave Belleville a 5-on-3 for 1:32 which was followed by a 5-on-4. Gatineau was defending really well but just as the penalties expired Jan Murzak deflected a shot by PK Subban to put Belleville on the board first on their 11th shot of the game.

But the groaner of the game came on Gatineau’s first power play kill when Mior felt it necessary to come out of his crease to play the puck. He mishandled it and Shawn Matthias was there to take it and score the short handed goal and put Belleville up by 2. It happened right in front of me and I was too shocked at what I was seeing to take a picture. Claude Giroux skated up to Mior and it looked like he was reassuring his goalie.

But les Olympiques were not about to go quietly into the night. Hugo Laporte got a wrist shot through from the point to make it a 2 – 1 game. And before the period was over they tied it up on a pretty 2-on-1 play Michael Stiniziani took a nice feed from Darryl Smith and beat Murphy short side.

Both teams traded goals in the second period (Cory Tanaka - another shortie - for Belleville and Claude Giroux for Gatineau) and it seemed like the could still go either way. And it stayed that way until just under seven minutes left in the game when it all fell apart for Gatineau. Three unanswered goals in under 5 minutes including a power play goal just put it away. It actually was sad to see.

The three stars of the game: Claude Giroux (3), Nigel Williams (Belleville – 2) and Shawn Matthias (Belleville – first star).

Random Thoughts:
  • Interesting how you can “sense” the karma of a team. Gatineau is just not giving off the vibes of world-beaters. They certainly are playing heard, with heart, are skilled and fast and everything else you would expect from a team that is representing their league but they do not have the je ne sais quoi to bring it all together. They will be home by tomorrow night.
  • Belleville certainly didn’t make it easy for themselves with all the off-setting penalties. That was just stupid.
  • Belleville’s stretch passes were crazy-good. I am so glad that the red line has been taken out of play for passes.
  • First time I’ve seen a goal called for interference. Murphy deliberately got in Claude Giroux’s way.

  • ”Spiderman” from the previous game dropped by to take some pictures. He is a long time fan of the rangers (45 years – bleeds blue and white) and is getting back into photography now that the kids are getting into university. It was great chatting with him during the game and taking pictures.
  • Each of the tickets features an OHL player from great Memorial Cup games. The tickets for this game featured Brian Campbell from the 1999 Memorial Cup.
  • Akim Aliu came out of the tunnel and was escorted to a seat. He doesn’t look as big as he does on skates. He could lose the Don King look. I heard on the radio that Steve Downie is expected to show up in support of his team mate Claude Giroux.
  • First golf game of the season. Played at the beautiful Glencairn in the Halton Hills. My game stunk but the walk was good.
More pictures (remember that you can click on any picture in the blog to see a larger image)

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