Saturday, May 15, 2010

Deja vu in Brandon: Moncton blows 3-0 lead, drops 5-4 decision to Calgary

Game 2 of the Memorial Cup round robin between the Moncton Wildcats and Calgary Hitmen, the QMJHL and WHL champs respectively, ended in dramatic fashion when Tyler Shattock's goal with 1:18 left in the game broke a 4-4 tie and stole the win for the Hitmen after they trailed Moncton the entire time.

The story of the game however, was how much it resembled last night's macabre collapse by the Bruins at home against Philadelphia. Moncton dominated the game early and roared out to a 3-0 lead before giving up a late goal in the second period to give the Hitmen life. Just as witnesses saw at the TD Garden last night, so would the folks in Brandon watch as the top team early on would lose control and surrender momentum.

Moncton defenseman Brandon Gormley showed off his excellent mobility and poise throughout, and you can see why he's a highly-touted draft candidate. He assisted on David Savard's second period power play goal to give the Wildcats a 2-0 advantage, sliding a pass along the blue line to Savard, who made a nice headfake and toe-drag move inside before ripping a shot through Martin Jones's five-hole. Gormley also has a playoff beard at 18 that would put many NHLers to shame.

Calgary's comeback started when Capitals draft pick Joel Broda ripped home a shot on a two-on-one break to make it 3-2, but Alex Saulnier's second goal of the game, a power play marker scored when he took a pass in the corner, skated over to the near post and beat Jones with a low shot to the far side of the net, restored the two-goal advantage soon after.

The Hitmen struck back with a power play goal of their own as Giffen Nyren one-timed a Broda pass from the point into the back of the net, making it a 4-3 game. With a little less than four minutes left, Minnesota fourth-rounder ('09) Kris Foucoult (pronounced Foo-koh) batted a puck that hit the post, bounced down and hit Moncton goalie Nicola Riopel's right pad, and then skittered over the goal line to make it 4-4.

Then, when Savard tried to rap the puck around the boards off the glass deep in his own end, disaster struck. Instead of slicing around the rink and out of the zone, it bounced right back out in front of the net to Riopel's right. The Wildcats' goalie was slow to react, and by the time he realized Shattock was on top of him, it was too late. Shattock swiped at it, and the biscuit squirted through Riopel's legs to give the Hitmen the winning goal in a game they stole from the Wildcats.

Calgary defenseman Matt MacKenzie was solid, but didn't do much to stand out. Saulnier had his first two-goal game in major junior after scoring eight all season, but it went for naught, as the Wildcats choked the game away. Of course, it didn't have the high stakes Boston's crushing loss carried, but this is a tough setback for Moncton. They'll likely take out their frustrations on Brandon tomorrow afternoon. The Wheat Kings looked like a host city club, way overmatched against Windsor in a 9-3 thumping last night.

No comments:

Post a Comment