Just like last year the tigers stumbled out of the gate in the first game.
Maybe a bit nervous? maybe too excited? Whatever it was Kootenay came ready and it only took them 6 minutes and 45 seconds to build a 2-0 lead.
Kootenay's forecheck was systematically sound, forcing the young tigers D-men to cough up the puck too many times. The tigers iced the puck far too often. I think Jerrid Sauer iced it 5 times and 3 of them were pretty unnecessary. When you have last change in the playoffs, icing the puck can be deadly, as it lets the opposition coach gets his matchups on the ice.
Kootenay did an excellent job of hanging back, waiting for a good pass, or waiting for a trailer, and their Defenceman were joining the rush at perfect times, and pinching in at the blueline at perfect times, often halting a tiger rush. At some points the tigers looked confused as to what to do in their own zone. I believe Kootenay also hit 3 or 4 posts. They created a bunch of good scoring chances, something the tigers have to fix. I noticed at a distance kootenay's shooters went high blocker side quite often, and were shooting across the ice when they had the chance.
It took until the 8 minutes mark when Wacey hamilton Knocked Eric Frere on his butt twice and laid a solid hit on Zach Sim to wake the tigers up. The building came alive and the tigers started to get some offense going. A few minutes later Hamilton scored the first tigers goal that ricochet off the backboard and hit Lazuruk's skate and went in the net.
A 17 yr old shouldn't have to be the one to put the team on his back and say hey, lets get the lead out.
Only 2 d-man came to play tonight for the tigers and that was Bendfeld and Isherwood, the rest had off nights. But the defense was only half the problem, too many times the forwards coughed the puck up just inside the blueline giving Kootenay odd man rushes.
Kootenay's goaltender Kris Lazaruk didn't have a strong game, he was giving up juicy rebounds, but kootenay's defenceman did a nice job of clearing them.
If you take away the bad start its a 3-2 game going into the third. I dont remember seeing colton grant on the ice for the last 2 periods? I think i may also have seen another minor injury/bruise to a tiger player but I'll keep that info hidden. I hope the Hamilton line starts tomorrow, to create some energy right off the bat.
It also appears as if tonights game wasn't a sellout. The whl page has attendance at 3903. The whl page however is sometimes wrong. The building looked pretty full, however their were quite a few sellers at the front door.