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PGS S52 Game 76: Kelowna Knights vs Carolina Kraken
(This post was last modified: 02-08-2020, 09:21 PM by mastersheep.)

Kelowna Knights 1, Carolina Kraken 2

Tonight, we are in Carolina for the first meeting of a home and home between the Kelowna Knights and the Carolina Kraken.  These two teams have not faced each other this season and both sport fairly modest records at this point.  The Kraken are coming off a tough loss to the Colorado Raptors and are looking to get back on track while the Knights have just taken one from the Anchorage Armada and hope to gain momentum from an otherwise mediocre start.

First Period
Knights : 10
Kraken : 5


The Knights came out hammering away at the net with a barrage of shots.  Late in the first and Knights winger Antti Antinen picked up the puck in the Carolina zone.  His initial shot just barely missed the far corner.  Center Ethan Duncan picked it up and was checked hard for his trouble, but the Kraken could not recover.  Antinen got the puck and rifled it home with just 1:07 left to the first intermission!  It took three swings, but he finally converted his 4th goal of the season to put the Knights on top 1-0.

Second Period
Knights : 11
Kraken : 8

Zbigniew Pokrywka Kraken Tripping at 16:16

At the start of the second, the Kraken looked to respond.  Just a bit past the halfway mark of this game and Scott Hamilton moved right on in and tucked it just under the pad of Luca Del Vecchio, tying the game at one a piece.  That’s a tough break for Del Vecchio as he had been stellar up to this point.  Buster Cherry picked up his first assist of his career on the play.  Zbigniew Pokrywka took a tripping penalty late in the period, but Kelowna was unable to convert.  At the end of 40 minutes, they headed to the locker room tied.

Third Period
Knights : 11
Kraken : 9

Ambacas Cuddles Kraken Roughing at 2:11
Michael Fitted Kraken Roughing at 10:14
Theo Golury Knights Tripping at 10:14
Erik Johansson Kraken Tripping at 16:13

Out of the gate, the Kraken got a quick start.  Stirling MacTavish won the faceoff in the Knights zone.  Defenseman Alex Ranch could not get the puck out of the zone and MacTavish found himself alone down low and buried it what would eventually be the game winning goal.  Immediately, the team would find itself in penalty trouble as Ambacas Cuddles got sent off for roughing less than a minute later.  The Knights were held shotless on this powerplay though.  At the mid mark, the teams had a bit of a scuffle when Michael Fitted took exception to a hard trip on Erik Johansson by Theo Golury.  Both were sent off, negating what could have been the first Kraken powerplay of the night.  Ultimately, the Kraken were victorious winning their 10th game of the season by a score of 2-1.

Despite being outshot 32-22, the Kraken managed to pull out a gutsy win at home thanks to a stellar performance from goaltender Mike Hroch and the defense preventing any real danger on all three penalty kills.  They bring their record to 10-5-1 on the young season while the Knights drop to 7-8-1.

Three Stars
First Star - Mike Hroch Kraken
Second Star – Scott Hamilton Kraken
Third Star – Stirling MacTavish Kraken

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(This post was last modified: 02-09-2020, 06:29 PM by Zombiewolf.)

Carolina Goalie Shines

Carolina Kraken's goalie Mike Hroch faced an onslaught of shots, however, he was up for the task as he only let in one goal. The only goal he let in came after some unlucky bounces, there was just nothing Hroch could have done. After that unlucky goal, Hroch was a brick wall as he saved shot after shot. He absolutely frustrated the Knights as there was just nothing they could have done. Even with three power plays, the Knights stood no chance as Hroch brought his A game. This was a game that the Knights absolutely should have won.

Hit of the game

The hit of the game came after 8 minutes and 40 seconds of the second period as Zbigniew Pokrywka absolutely decks Andrey Barbashev causing him to lose the puck giving the Carolina Kraken's an excellent scoring chance. Porkywka was out for blood this game as he registered three hits this game but this was certainly one to remember. Although, the Krakens did not register a shot on the ensuing turnover, this hit opened up the ice for them. It also caused Barbashev to seem more cautious with the puck for the rest of the game as he did not want to go through that again.

Power Play blunders

The Kelowna Knights power play squad could use some adjustments going forward as they had three chances to score and failed on all three. Their first power play came in the second period and they were able to get multiple shots off, however none of them were good scoring chances as they seemed to be trying to force it. Their next two power plays came in the third. The first powerplay of the third they recorded zero shots on net and basically chased the puck the whole time as the Berserkers did a good job at dumping the puck back into the Knights defensive zone. Their last power play came late in the third and they just couldn't turn it into anything. If the Knights were planning on making a deep run in the playoffs something has to change.

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Thank you Brandon, Fish, GeckoeyGecko, Karey, Kit, takethehorizon, and Walrus for the sigs!


02-09-2020, 02:46 PMZombiewolf Wrote: Hit of the game

The hit of the game came after 8 minutes and 40 seconds of the second period as Zbigniew Pokrywka absolutely decks Andrey Barbashev causing him to lose the puck giving the Newfoundland Berserkers an excellent scoring chance. Porkywka was out for blood this game as he registered three hits this game but this was certainly one to remember. Although, the Berserkers did not register a shot on the ensuing turnover, this hit opened up the ice for them. It also caused Barbashev to seem more cautious with the puck for the rest of the game as he did not want to go through that again.

7's Turning Point of the Game: (109 words)
After assisting on the equalizing goal, Zbigniew Pokrywka was sent off for tripping just three minutes later. The resulting power play would pit a Kelowna team outshouting their opponent 20-12 against a Carolina team without their top defender. Rookies Erik Johansson and Ambacas Cuddles would take his spot and the two penalty kill lines would combine for 5 clears and not a single shot on goal over the next two minutes. That kill decimated the morale of Kelowna, they left the ice deflated at the end of the second intermission, and they came out flat to start the third, leading to the eventual game winning goal from Stirling MacTavish.

7's Unsung Hero of the Game: (110 words)
Joseph Weston of Carolina was all over the place tonight despite his mediocre zero point, -1 stat line. He won a defensive zone faceoff, and logged 4 minutes of ice time across Carolina's three flawless penalty kills, and intercepted 5 passes in his 18 minutes on the ice. It's a shame that the defensive minded winger played such a great game and won't be remembered for it, but it's exactly what you're looking from a veteran leader and alternate captain. His discipline and clean play will be a key component in the pursuit of the top playoff seed this year and the development of rookie two way winger Jimmy Wagner.

7's Save of the Game: (130 words)
Carolina's Mike Hroch stood on his head late in the game tonight. Holding on to a 2-1 lead after being peppered with shots all night, Hroch made the last two of his 31 saves of the night on Kelowna's last power play of the game. He swung left with the pass off the face off and managed to get in front of a rocket of a slap shot from Kalevolaripaavo Kaspertommevisnapuu and then got in to position for a diving save as Andrey Barbashev II tried to tap in the rebound into the empty net on Hroch's right. A perfect depiction of the night, as no matter what Kelowna did to give themselves easy scoring opportunities, the Kraken goalie was not going to let them leave Carolina with a win.

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Suffocating the Knights Top Line:

This one was a defensive battle through and through. To even dream of winning a low scoring game, you have to be sure your shut down line can get the job done on the other teams top guys. I've yet to see a better example of that than in this game, as the Knights top line was kept entirely neutralized and firing from the perimeter. The Knights got 0 points between their top line of Barabashev, Kaspertom, and Shepard. They managed to put up fifteen shots, but with the Kraken collapsing well in front of the net, they were mostly easy saves for Mike Hroch-- who put up a very nice 0.969 on the evening. All in all a performance to be proud of for the Kraken back end, especially for Bobby and Pokrywka who played a rock solid 20 minutes apiece while logging one point and a +1 between them.

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In a low scoring game like this with the higher ranked team dominating play from beginning to end, it's the small moments that build up to the goals which feel even more important than the goal themselves. For example, the sequence leading to the Kraken's first goal was a lightning quick sequence where Rocco Berni took a hit from Kraken's Wilhelm Schumacher, leading to Carolina's bottom pairing rookie Ben van Dijk to take the puck from his own zone, skate it all the way into the the Knight's zone and dishing it off. The 4th line for the Kraken's took that chance and made a beautiful tic-tac-toe play as Hamilton was the receiving end of a great rush up the ice by van Dijk.

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A very tough pill for the Knights to swallow in this one. They really appeared to be the better team and had far more opportunities, but they just could not convert. The credit here has to go to Carolina goaltender Mike Hroch, who put on a clinic in his duties as Frans Eller's backup in this one. Thirty-one saves on 32 shots. Zero goals allowed on three Kelowna power play attempts. Typically when your backup goalie draws the start you expect that your offensive players will need to step up if you want to come away with points. Mike Hroch put those concerns to bed in this one, stonewalling the Knights and giving the Kraken a crucial win out of their backup, who moved to an impressive 8-4-1 with this one.

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Comment 1:

The Casper the Friendly Award: Most ice time without recording a single stat - Wyatt Ruschkoff, CAR

The title of the least visible player on the ice goes to Carolina's defenseman Wyatt Ruschkoff. The second-pairing defender played 17:28 for the Kraken but did not record a single point, did not take a shot on goal, hit anyone, block a shot, or take a penalty, and was an even plus-minus on the day. He also did not play any time on the penalty kill. While a mistake-free game is desirable from your defense, Ruschkoff didn't provide much to his team otherwise this game. On the Kelowna Knights, Morgan Forestier had a similarly blank stat line, but he did win 71.4% of his faceoffs, so he gets a pass.

Comment 2:

Warrior of the Game: Zbigniew Pokrywka, CAR - 1 A, 3 hits, 1 blocked shot 21:11 TOI, 2:14 PK TOI

Pokrywka was a minute-eating machine this game, playing more than 21 minutes, many of them in tough situations. He leads his team in minutes played, and he showed it this game by being out there for a crucial late penalty kill with Erik Johansson in the penalty box. The rugged blueliner is feared by opposing forwards crossing the blueline with his huge hits, and this game was no different, landing three bodychecks. He wasn't afraid to sacrifice the body when it mattered either, blocking a critical shot deflection by Theo Golury with less than two minutes left in the game to keep his team up by one. Pokrywka showed off his offensive side too, feeding unheralded winger Scott Hamilton with a perfect pass to set up the game-tying goal halfway through the second period.

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Sig credits to @Carpy48 and @Nokazoa

1. A unusual game for the Kelowna Knights, a low scoring, tight affair with the Kraken. The Knights had one of the most dynamic offences in the SMJHL this year, so to see them held to a single goal in a game is a little bit odd. Even more surprising is when you look at the shot toals and the amount of opportunities that the Knights must have missed out on or had stolen from them by the goalie (which I'll touch on later). Kelowna put up 32 shots in this game, to Carolina's 22. Andrey Barbashev II let the Knights with 7 shots, and Ryan Shepard even racked up 5 dingers, which were all turned aside.

2. What an unreal performance coming from Carolina Kraken goaltender, Mike Hroch. In his thirteenth appearance of the season, Hroch collected thirty one nifty little saves to add a win to his total, this being his eighth. Hroch was able to shut down some big players on the Knights, including previosuly mentioned Shepard and Barbashev, but also Theo Golury and the Finnish winger whose name I'm not even going to attempt to spell. This performance was enough to earn Hroch first star of the night honours and some serious confidence going forward. This strong start definitely kickstarted him on his way to being prepared for the season.

3. The faceoff battle is also something to note in this matchup, as oen of the first stats that I saw was Michael Fitted's faceoff numbers of eight wins out of twenty four total faceoffs. Morgan Forestier was the king of the faceofff dot tonight, winning fifteen of his twenty four draws. We're talking Patrice Bergeron numbers here, folks (or Gabe Vilardi if we want to stay more recent [as in the last week]). The Knights topped the Kraken in the dot over the entire game, winning forty two to Carolina's thirty six wins. Tom Fiddler was the real bright spot for the Kraken, winning fourteen fo twnety five draws, which is still sub optimal, in my humble opinion.

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All Praise My Crotch
This game was a close one ending in a 2-1 score and the Carolina Kraken can honestly give all the praise and thanks to their goalie Mike Hroch for coming through in this game to get the win. Hroch made a total of 31 saves on 32 shots, really shutting down the Kelowna Knights' offense despite their best efforts. After letting in a goal in the first period to Antti Antinen, Mike Hroch was absolutely lights out and shut the door, allowing the Kraken to make a comeback, scoring goals in the second and third period. This game was won by Mike Hroch.

Faceoff Woes
The Carolina Kraken really struggled on the face off dot in this game versus the Kelowna Knights. They honestly were brutal and this is likely a big reason why the Knights outshot the Kraken by so much in this game. There were some really scary numbers from some of the Carolina Kraken centermen. Stirling MacTavish, who really prides himself on his playoff ability won over half of his faceoffs of course and Tom Fiddler had a decent night winning 14 out of 25 draws, but Michael Fitted was horrible at the dot. He won 8 faceoffs out of 24, only one third of his draws.

In some games, some players really just do not do much out there. Even if your team wins, you may not have contributed too much to this win, honestly just taking up a roster slot on the ice. This is very true for Carolina Kraken defenseman Wyatt Ruschkoff. Ruschkoff must have just been skating around in circles out there on the ice tonight because he showed up in no way on the scoresheet. in seventeen minutes and twenty eight seconds of ice time, Wyatt Ruschkoff recorded no goals, assists, points, plus minus, shits, hits, shot blocks, penalty minutes, or faceoff wins or losses. He did NOTHIN out there.

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