In what has to be the largest crowd of the season for an MMJHL game, definitely received their moneys’ worth. With the exception of the early portion of the first period, this one was pretty much back and forth all game long. This one had it all, great saves, good plays and hard hits. This series is living up to what most people thought it was going to be. With the OT win, the Raiders now lead the series 2 games to nil.
The opening period was scoreless with both teams having some good opportunities to light the lamp first. The Raiders would connect early in the second to give the game its’ first goal. Late in the same period, Dylan Zeke with an assist from Reg Bowles would knot this affair up at one and send the teams to the second intermission all even. The third period would resolve nothing, thanks to the efforts of both tenders. This one would require some extra time but it wouldn’t last long. A shot from the side boards would deflect off two sets of legs stationed in front of the goal and would end up in the back of the Hawks net, capping off a Raider victory.
The referee let the players decide this one. Each team were assessed only 2 odd man advantages and neither one could capitalize. Ryan Hall was tagged with the loss despite having turned aside 32 of the 34 Raider shots directed his way. Ryan Brown continued his playoff winning ways in the Raider net recording 20 saves.
Game # 3 goes Tuesday, March 28 at the Eric Coy Arena. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:30 P.M. You don’t dare want to miss this one, hope to see you out!
It is only game one of a series many think will go well into the first week of April so it is a bit premature to write the obituary or press the panic button. We can dissect this one until the cows come home (sorry my Farming Friends) but nothing we say will change the outcome. Bottom line, and I believe the majority of the fans taking in this one would agree, is the fact that on this night, the Hawks were not as good as the Raiders. Consequently, it was the Raiders leaving the confines of the Eric Coy Arena with a 5 – 2 win and a one game to nil lead in the series. NUFF said!!!
The majority of the game had the Hawks in a catch and chase mode. Raiders opened the scoring at the 8:29 mark of the first period. At 10:50 of the same period, the Hawks would tie it up at one, compliments of a goal by AP Matt Lawrence, his first as a Hawk with assists going to line-mates Mike Lorange and Spencer Ferbers. Raiders would restore their lead early in the second stanza but less than 2 minutes later, Shane Kustra-Nelson, would continue his torrid playoff scoring spree with his 6th of these playoffs. Earning assists would be Shawn Pachet and James Najduch. The teams would head to the dressing rooms knotted at 2 goals apiece. At this point your Hawks were being outplayed, out worked and out shot 30 – 21. The roof really came crashing down on this series opener in the third. Raiders would score 3 unanswered PP goals and out shoot your Hawks by a 20 – 7 margin. YIKES!!!
It is a well documented fact that specialty teams play a critical role in determining the outcome of a game. That fact was re-enforced in spades tonight. Hawks were 0 for 4 on the PP and yielded 3 goals out of the 4 odd man opportunities afforded the Raiders. No question, this was the biggest difference in the game. Ben Thorlakson made 45 saves in the Hawk’s net and his counterpart at the other end of the rink, Ryan Brown, made 26 stops to record the win.
Hawks now have a few days off to reload and refocus before heading to the Seven Oaks Arena and game # 2. This one is scheduled for Sunday, March 26th and is a 2:30 p.m. start. See you there!!
Tuesday, March 21 @ Eric Coy
Sunday, March 26 @ Seven Oaks
Tuesday, March 28 @ Eric Coy
Friday, March 31 @ Seven Oaks
Sunday, April 2 @ Eric Coy
Tuesday, April 4 @ Seven Oaks
Friday, April 7 @ Eric Coy