Saturday, May 11, 2013

Edmonton V Portland: Game 5


video highlights

Oil Kings post game thoughts (video)

photo essay

post-game fan discussion
I left this game when Edmonton took the lead. Hawks tied, but that did not matter at all. Hawks lose in front of this crowd, really?????... I'm severely disappointed and speechless. I better not say anything more at this point other than whatever, whatever. Good luck in Edmonton, the team may have just handed Edmonton the title.
Paul Buker's piece
 Carruth was also outstanding, except for the one play.
“It was a great playoff hockey game,’’ said Green, flanked by a somber-looking Leipsic and Seth Jones. Jones said the loss “stung’’ but the Hawks have bounced back from tough defeats all season. Sunday is a chance to do it again as Portland seeks its first WHL title since 1998.
Portland has two more chances to end the series and punch its ticket to the Memorial Cup.
Kerry Eggers
 It ended with the Rose Garden's sellout throng sitting in stunned silence, Michael St. Croix's goal in sudden-death overtime preventing what would have been a celebration for the ages.
Moments later, Western Hockey League commissioner Ron Robison was busy texting on his cell phone outside the Harry Glickman Media Room.
I looked over his shoulder and I'm pretty sure he was communicating this to his cronies:
"Whew. That was close. Almost had to take to the ice to present the championship trophy. Live for another day."
Derek Van Diest
Wruck, who played like it was his last junior game, had the Oil Kings best chance in the frame, unable to lift a shot over Carruth from in tight.
“Being a 20 year old in this league, it could have very well been my last game tonight,” said Wruck. “But we live to fight another day and that’s how we have to play as a team. We have a lot of guys on this team that are going to leave the team this year, so we’re playing our last couple of games we want to make them good ones.”
Terry Jones
Fifty years after the first Memorial Cup championship, this was supposed to be the next one. But that dream looked like it died only 15 seconds into Game 5 at the Rose Garden Friday night when the Portland Winterhawks scored on the first shot on goal after the Oil Kings had lost the previous three games in a series where the first goal was everything.
But after the most exciting 59:45 of regulation play of this playoff season to follow, the Oil Kings had taken the game to overtime, where they’d failed to win any of their three games requiring extended play.

 There are some continuing trends in this series.  From where I sit, the way the Oil Kings are scoring isn't sustainable, as I touched on previously.  That first goal was a total fluke, as the OK's can't expect Petan to kick pucks past Carruth in Game 6.

Of course, there's the 2nd Edmonton goal.  The way Carruth plays has a risk / reward factor.  This is a goalie who after Game 5 is sitting on  1.66 GAA / .936% - which is stellar.   He's got 5 shutouts this playoff run - the all time WHL record is 6.  Sure, he's got help - but he SHOULD have help - that's how you win games.

There's a phrase in hockey, usually reserved for guys who play "on the line" physically, and can go over: 

"I'd rather try and tame a tiger than paint stripes on a kitty cat"

Carruth is his own guy - dude is a character for sure.  In a game of villains & heroes, like hockey is, he often plays both roles simultaneously.

Guy Charron knows more about hockey than you & I do.  Drinnan reported his feelings during the Kamloops series:
  Charron admitted that Carruth’s value to the Winterhawks comes from more than just stopping pucks.
“Carruth is becoming too effective for them,” Charron explained. “Part of the game plan is to make their defencemen work, and forecheck and finish our checks. But our dump-ins are always handled by Carruth and he has that ability to handle the puck and use his body as a screen. We really can't forecheck aggressively against that.”
Kamloops forward Brendan Ranford lit up the Kelowna Rockets for nine points in a four-game second-round sweep, but has yet to get even a point against Portland. He credits Carruth for at least some of that lack of success. 
“Mac's been playing really well,” Ranford said. “He's battling hard. We have gotten our chances, and I feel he's been a little bit lucky. He's made some saves that not too many goalies can make. He's working hard and playing well and we have to get to him and get in the crease to score tough goals.” 
“Whatever we're doing now isn't working in our favour,” Charron added, “and we have to make some changes and get some confidence. Our frustration is coming from not scoring.”

Lets look back to the Kerry Eggers piece about Game 5
 "We like Mac playing the puck," Green told the media. "He has been pretty good with that philosophy of leading the play in situations. There, he probably should have gone off the wall with it."
Later, Green told me, "We're not going to tell Mac not to play pucks. He's good at it. He's a big part of our breakouts. That one we'd like back, but I would never tell him not to play the puck."
But with so much on the line? In a 1-1 game in the third period with the WHL title at stake, shouldn't Carruth have played it more conservatively?
"You know what? Our team is not a team that plays conservatively," Green said. "I don't want Mac thinking about it. He has to go on his gut feeling on plays like that. If that's what he felt like, I'd have him do it again."
 From that same piece:
 Carruth, a four-year veteran who turned 21 in March, often strays from the net to direct the puck to a teammate. But if he had that one to do over again?
"I'd have made the same effing play," said Carruth, although he didn't say effing. "I'd have probably gone somewhere else with it, though. I'd have put it somewhere else."
"We're still up 3-2," Carruth told me, his teeth clenched a bit. "It's not the end of the world. Our backs aren't up against the wall. We're good."

Of course, that Carruth gaffe only hurts you if you don't score more than 1 goal - and they got picked up with that Leipsic goal.  I said before the series that the 2nd line will win it for the 'Hawks, and the above picture showing De Leo oh-so-close to doing just that.  His line has been excellent all playoffs, and just couldn't get on the board, despite a good night for all 3 of them.

You could get frustrated with a powerplay that's only connected twice all series, except that they only had 2 attempts last night.  Then again, Edmonton had ZERO powerplays in Game 5, and are 0-fer in the series.

Also related to secondary scoring, its too bad that the 'Hawks wasted a goal from Joey Baker.  I mused on twitter that they probably have won every game he's ever scored in, and was hoping to continue that trend.

Here's what the Baker goal looked like from where I sit.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for shedding light on Carruth's style of play. I wish all of the finger pointers would take a gander at your blog.