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PGS S52 Game 109 Carolina Kraken @ Newfoundland Berserkers
(This post was last modified: 02-14-2020, 01:10 PM by EricNCSU.)

Kraken Carolina Kraken vs Newfoundland Berserkers  Berserkers
Final Score: CAR 5 :: NEW 4  
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Good evening folks and welcome to the Carolina Kraken post-game show brought to you by Bojangles. I'm Joe Frazier with the Carolina Sports Network coming to you live from the Mile One Centre in St. John's Newfoundland. We had quite the game between these two clubs despite being on opposite ends of the standings. Let's look at some highlights from tonight. 

First Period:

Carolina started the game very aggressive but also a little reckless. Three shots in the first 30 seconds all miss the net, Micheal Fitted takes a shot with a tip from Alexei Rykov which goes high, Rykov collects the puck and shoots himself and misses wide. Newfoundland ices the puck and Carolina changes lines. Kenny Creller takes a shot that also misses wide but Tom Fiddler collects the puck and wrists it past Steven Vassallo for the goal! The first shot on net is a goal. Vassallo thought he had that one but it just trickled through his pads. Vassallo settles in and makes a few stops after that.  Seven minutes into the first Zbigniew Pokrywka skates the puck into the zone, he's got numbers, passes to Ricky Bobby who one-times it but misses wide. Alexei Rykov is waiting behind the net and he tucks it in on the wrap around! Vassallo was looking the other way. 15 seconds later Vince Chalut lays a nasty hit on Creller and knocks the puck loose, but he caught Creller up high with his stick and Carolina is going to go on the powerplay.  Creller is OK and stays out on the powerplay unit. Carolina sets up a cycle in the Newfoundland zone. Rykov loses the puck but it's picked up by Ricky Bobby who shoots but misses wide. Kenny Creller scoops up the loose puck and he spins and shoots. And it's in! High glove side, off the crossbar and in! A powerplay goal for Creller who took the high stick and then cashed it in himself. This game is quickly getting out of hand for Newfoundland. Not even halfway through the first and Carolina is up 3-0, however 9 minutes in, Newfoundland finally gets some offensive pressure on Carolina. Steve Harrington shoots, misses the net, collects his own miss and shoots again, just barely misses the far post. Riley Kuse has the puck and he snaps one and it's in! Short side past Mike Hroch who just couldn't get over fast enough. Newfoundland is finally on the board. In the 14th minute, Zbigniew Pokrywka skates into the zone again, passes to Alexander Wachter who one touches it to Tom Fiddler for the one-timer and he blasts one past Vassallo for his second of the game! And that's going to be the end of Vassallo's night as he gets pulled and replaced with rookie Ryan Aaron. Let's see if he can fare any better. Newfoundland finishes the period with a flurry of shots on Hroch but they are unable to solve the Carolina netminder and the horn blows. 

End of First - CAR 4 :: NEW 1

Second Period:

Newfoundland really needs to regroup here. Let's see if they can come out in the second and make some changes. Three minutes in and Slatt Potts takes a holding call and Carolina is going back onto the powerplay. This is not what Newfoundland needed. Newfoundland wins the faceoff and clears the zone, but the pass by Akira Ren is intercepted by Tom Fiddler and he passes to Alexander Wachter who's in all alone on Aaron and he goes forehand-backhand and tucks it around the pad. Aaron never stood a chance on that one and it's another powerplay goal for Carolina. Just after that, Kraken defenseman Ambacas Cuddles gets called for hooking and Newfoundland goes on the powerplay but they are unable to cash in. Two spectacular saves by Hroch keep the Berserkers off the board. In the 13th minute Newfoundland manages to get some extended pressure in the Carolina zone. Potts shoots and Hroch gives up a juicy rebound, Thomas Vanice shoots and misses the net, collects his own miss and shoots again, stop by Hroch but another rebound, another shot by Potts and Hroch finally grabs the puck and freezes it. Faceoff in the Carolina zone, won by MacTavish and Carolina briefly clears the zone but Newfoundland is able to dump the puck back deep into the zone. After a short rest the Potts/Vanice/Okabe line jumps back out onto the ice for Newfoundland.  Okabe intercepts a pass from Alexei Rykov trying to clear the zone and whips it across for the one timer by Vanice and this time he doesn't miss. Blows by Hroch and Newfoundland has their second of the game. Carolina still has a 3 goal lead but they have to be careful, Newfoundland out-shot Carolina 12-9 in that period and they seem to have finally found some life. 

End of Second - CAR 5 :: NEW 2

Third Period:

Newfoundland comes out for the third period with a lot of energy. They're looking for an epic comeback here.  Six minutes in and MacTavish takes a penalty for holding the stick. Newfoundland goes on the powerplay. The Berserkers get established in the zone and put on a passing clinic. Disisde Dayudie passes it to Okabe, back to Dayudie, pass to Jukka Timonen, back to Okabe, pass to Vanice, back to Timonen at the point, cross-ice to Dayudie for the one-timer and he scores! Smoked that one past Hroch. Things are getting a little chippy. Newfoundland has some new energy and lays a couple hits, including a doozie by (Clean) Andrei Kostitsyn on Alexei Rykov that Alexei was slow to get up from. At the 16 minute mark, Creller takes a minor penalty for hooking and Newfoundland is going back on the powerplay. Carolina is losing their discipline in this game and they need to buckle down. Akira Ren skates the puck into the zone and plays give and go with Cody, pass to Cody, back to Ren, back to Cody who shoots and misses just wide but Ren collects it and tucks it five hole on a sliding Hroch and in! Another powerplay goal for Newfoundland and they are within one! Two minutes left and Newfoundland pulls the goalie for the extra attacker and throw everything they've got at the net.  Shot by Potts misses wide, collected by Vanice who shoots, save by Hroch but he can't hang on to it, shot by Okabe misses the net, shot by (Clean) Andrei Kostitsyn blocked by Wyatt Ruschkoff, who is hobbled by it slightly, shot by Steve Harrington blocked by Ambacas Cuddles, shot by Dayudie and Hroch finally freezes the puck. Not over yet though.  Gregory Stiemsma wins the faceoff to keep the zone for Newfoundland, shot by Cody and Hroch hangs on again. Micheal Fitted wins the faceoff and clears the zone for Carolina and the horn goes. Carolina barely hung on to that one.  Newfoundland outshot Carolina 14 to 2 in the 3rd period but just couldn't quite make-up the difference.  Bad luck for rookie Ryan Aaron who takes the loss, despite only letting in one goal. 

End of Third - CAR 5 :: NEW 4

Win: Mike Hroch (CAR), 32 saves from 36 shots - (0.889), 60:00 minutes
Loss: Ryan Aaron (NLB), 10 saves from 11 shots - (0.909), 45:30 minutes
No Decision: Steven Vassallo (NLB), 7 saves from 11 shots - (0.636), 14:30 minutes

Let's take a look at the Cheerwine Three Stars of the Game:
Third Star, with 1G, 1A, and a +1 Kenny Creller (CAR)
Second Star with 2A and a +2 Zbigniew Pokrywka (CAR)
And the First Star with 2G, 1A and a +1 Tom Fiddler (CAR)

In my opinion, one of the stars should have been Alexander Wachter with a goal and an assist, including the game winner, but I'm not sure what the voters look at when they vote. That's going to do it for us here from St. Johns. We'll see you tomorrow night, back home in Charlotte as the Kraken take on the Anaheim Outlaws. Goodnight folks!

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(This post was last modified: 02-14-2020, 02:15 PM by Lime.)

A valiant effort from the Berserkers to stay in the game after going down 4-1 in the first period. As you mentioned, Newfoundland ramped up their shooting to put points on the board and it was just not quite enough to send them into OT. But more importantly was shutting down that Carolina offense in those second two periods. 9 shots in the second and just 2 in the third is absolutely insane from the Zerks defense and they should be able to take a lot from this game about what obviously didn't work in the first period and how they were able to adjust in the final 2. All in all the take away from this game is that a 3 goal lead just isn't easy to squander, and boy did the squids try by giving up 2 from power plays in the third. Lots to talk about in the locker room after this one.

Posting up 2 goals, an assist, and penalty, Tom Fiddler was everywhere this game. But the one place it seems he didn't show up was the faceoff circle. Fiddler peddled out an unimpressive 5/21 on faceoffs this game. This definitely contributed to the lack of shots taken because Carolina could just could never get possession of the puck. That's not to say the rest of the centers put on a show... The only standout was MacTavish who is sitting on a cool 71% tonight, and 60% on the season. He's actually sitting at 2nd best FO% in the league. Move this man up to line 2! Or maybe don't be completely reactionary. Maybe just kick Fiddler off the team? In either case, it was big breaks and big breakdowns tonight for Carolina. Could we be seeing some instability forming in this top team? Will it affect their chances going into the second half of the season? Will they ultimately win the battle but lose the war to the Berserkers who will lift their first Four Star Cup this season? Stay tuned.

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1st Period Barrage

Carolina came out of the gates strong in this one and practically put the game out of reach by the end of the 1st period. The Kraken scored their first goal just 48 seconds into the game on a nice play from Tom Fiddler to pick up the loose puck and put it top shelf on a sprawled out Steven Vassallo. Carolina did not let up from there and potted their second of the night 7 minutes into the game on Alexei Rykov’s 10th goal of the year. Kenny Creller kept the goal scoring rolling on the power play just 33 seconds later. Newfoundland managed to stop the bleeding with a goal of their own, but Carolina went back up 3 goals on a goal from Tom Fiddler, his second of the night and the period. Ultimately the 3 goal lead was too much for Newfoundland to battle back from.

Goaltender Analysis

Steven Vassallo had a night to forget for the Berserkers with only 7 stops on 11 shots. In fairness to him, Newfoundland clearly were not read to play at the start and hung him out to dry on a number of occasions. After Vassallo was yanked 14:30 into the first period, Ryan Aaron came in and played well behind a rejuvenated Berserker team. He ended the night with 10 saves on 11 shots, good for a 0.909 save percentage.  On the other end of the ice, Mike Hroch played well enough to hold off a surging Berserkers team stopping 32 of 36 for a 0.889 save percentage. Hroch had some particularly important saves in the third period to shut the door on Newfoundland’s comeback hopes.

Comeback Nearly Achieved

After going down 4-1 in the first period, Newfoundland was in a hole. That hole got even deeper when Carolina scored their 5th of the game on a power play only 3 minutes into the second period. Facing a 5-1 deficit, the Berserkers strapped themselves in and really started to outwork the complacent Kraken. Newfoundland got pucks deep and started converting their puck cycling into real scoring chances, ultimately converting on a Thomas Vanice goal with 5 minutes to go in the 2nd. Down 3 heading into the third period, the Berserkers came out buzzing and forced the Kraken into taking some uncomfortable penalties. Newfoundland converted on their first PP to take the game within 2 and then scored later in the period to bring them within 1. The Berserkers couldn’t complete the comeback however, as Kraken goalie Mike Hroch made some key saves in a last minute flurry of activity on his doorstep.

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Comment 1:

Goalie Glimpse
This was a really high scoring game from both teams, with Steven Vassallo having a weak night, letting in 4 goals on 11 shots. The stand out netminder from this one was Ryan Aaron. Coming in to relieve Vassallo 15 minutes into the first period, he had a very solid night in relief. His defense played a big role, allowing only 11 shots, but he only let one second period goal in on the powerplay - good for a 0.909 save percentage. Aaron was rock solid besides that, and was the reason that Newfoundland was able to get back in the game after surrendering 3 goals in the first 8 minutes of the game. Coming in as the backup, Aaron made a few huge stops to calm down the team, and his stout play inspired them to storm back to within one with 3 minutes left. (146 words)

Comment 2:

Rookie of the Game:
Jukka Timonen of the Newfoundland Beserkers had a very solid night as a rookie defender. Playing 21:43 of ice time for the Beserkers, including almost 4 minutes of power play time and 1 minute of PK time, he did it all for the young team. Timonen chipped in 2 assists - one on Newfoundland's lone first period goal in an attempt to stop the bleeding, and the second on a sweet backdoor pass for Disisde Dayudie on the power play early in the third to cut the lead to two. Timonen finished -1 on the night, which is pretty good considering he plays top line minutes, and Carolina exploded out of the gate. Jukka has 5 goals and 9 assists on the year, so expect this game to fuel a points streak leading into playoffs.

Comment 3:

Shot Block of the Game:
This goes out to a trio of blocks by Carolina rookie Ambacas Cuddles. Early in the second, with the Kraken up 5-1, the Beserkers won the face off in the Carolina zone. Desperate to make it a closer game, they loosed a flurry of shots on net. The first one by Thomas Vanice missed the net, and then Rintarou Okabe fired one off. Cuddles blocked that shot, as well as the subsequent shot 4 seconds later by Vanice. Cuddles was saved from having more bruises when a penalty was called. Then later in the 3rd, with the clock winding down and Newfoundland trying to send the game to overtime, Cuddles blocked a Steve Harrington shot that was the 6th shot by the Beserkers in a span of a minute. This key block helped seal the game for the Kraken.

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(This post was last modified: 02-14-2020, 07:12 PM by Nhamlet.)

Sleepy Berserkers

You won't win a game in the first 20 minutes of a game but you can certainly dig a whole big enough that you're likely going to lose it. It became a matter of too little, too late for the Berserkers who failed to show up in the first 15 minutes of the game and needed a goalie change to wake them up. Even then that wasn't enough as they needed to have 5 straight powerplay opportunities between the 2nd and 3rd periods before they realized they were in a position to actually do something than roll over for the Kraken who had stopped skating, knowing that they had the game in the bag.

Mike Hroch Clutches the 3rd Period

While surrendering 2 goals on 14 shots may not seem like something to sing praises about, Hroch did more than enough of his fair share in dampening Newfoundland's spirits by offering little in the way of 2nd chance opportunities. Hroch absorbed 12 shots and only spilling 4 of them. The 2 quick rebound attempts that the Berserker players did manage to jump on in the 3rd period were also turned aside. The toughest flurry to turn aside began in the 17:50 mark of the 3rd period where the Berserkers took 6 shots in the next minute but could not find the tying goal between blocks by Ambacas Cuddles and Wyatt Ruschkoff and the necessary saves by Hroch.

Top 6 depth became the difference

The two top lines on both sides neutralized each other while the Kraken's 2nd line was the overwhelming difference tonight. The 2nd line trio of Fiddler, Wachter and Creller put up a combined 7 points. Not surprising given the difference in experience as Carolina's 2nd line are veterans with 3, 2 and 2 years of experience in the SMJHL respectively The Newfoundland 2nd line group could only manage 2 points between the three of them as the two rookies of Steve Harrington and Andre Kostitsyn were heavily challenged with the responsibility. Riley Kuse being the old man tasked with babysitting carries a whopping one year of experience.

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(This post was last modified: 02-22-2020, 03:12 AM by jeffie43.)

The Kalakar Award (Awarded to the Best Player)
I believe Tom Fiddler deserved the award this game as he showcased an incredible ability to ensure the puck got to the net this game. Whether it be two rockets from his stick that found the back of the net or the beautiful feed to Alexander Wachter on the Power Play. He performed at a high level all game, and he did this all efficiently by scoring twice on 5 shots, showcasing a 40% shot percentage. Unfortunately he would fall victim to a poor call by the refs in the 2nd period after accidentally bumping into a member of the Berserkers in front of the men in stripes but he would bounce back well in order to win the Kalakar award.

The Jack Kanoff Award (Most physical player)
The Kanoff award of the game goes to Ambacas Cuddles who really had a thing for the puck today. They stopped it 3 times by themselves with 3 blocked shots, giving it their all on the ice. Cuddles showed the whole world what they could bring to the ice this game and if I had to sum it up in one word, it would be sacrifice. As in they were willing to sacrifice their body in order to watch the team succeed They may not have had any hits but the shots blocked said a lot about their ability to take one for the team defensively and led to them taking home the Kanoff honors. However, with that being said, there was a major honorable mention with Kenny Creller earning 3 hits and 1 shot blocked.

The Gabriel Johnson Award (Most Useless Player)
This game’s Gabriel Johnson award goes to...multiple people! This highly prestigious award will be shared by the two teammates, Ben van Dijk and Buster Cherry! Ben van Dijk did absolutely nothing in 5 minutes and 26 seconds on the ice, essentially putting up 0s across the board with nothing to show for it. On the other hand Buster Cherry had 12 minutes and 31 seconds on the ice, only to put up 0 stats and only getting 3 faceoff wins out of 7, which is not even that good... It was just not the Carolina duo’s day as they had accomplished nothing on the ice and did not really have anything to show for it.

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"Lowlights" sponsored by Leidos:

Your lowlight of the night for this one goes to Steven Vassallo of the Newfoundland Berserkers. In what was a rather even first period in terms of general play, Vassallo made the scoreboard look anything but even with his performance in the cage for Newfoundland. The Kraken were able to light up Vassallo for four goals on only 11 shots in 14:30 of play in the first period. That's good for a 63.6-percent save percentage and got him pulled for Ryan Aaron who went on to stop 10 of 11 Kraken shots. Newfoundland ended up staging a valiant, late comeback, but the damage done in the first period was just too much to overcome.

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Save of the game

After abysmal start for the home team, and a goalie change, Newfoundland Berserkers are looking to start a comeback. They get a huge chance to get back on the scoreboard when a low shot by Akira Ren creates a juicy rebound for Vince Chalut. The hopes about Newfoundland comeback was rudely denied by Carolina's goalie Mike Hroch. With strong lateral movement Hroch is able to stretch his pad across the crease and keep the puck outside of the net! Chalut will sure think about that shot when he goes to sleep tonight. Even though the game was pretty one sided at this point, these are the saves that keeps the momentum from changing sides. Awesome stuff by Hroch!

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Comment 1) Early blitz by Kraken too much for Berserkers to handle

If you are a Newfoundland fan, you can not have been happy with how this game started, with the first kraken goal coming just 41 seconds into the game when Tom Fiddler sent a wrister past the goalkeeper Vasallo to deliver a statement that the Kraken were focused and ready for the game. Newfoundland looked powerless most of the period to stop the Kraken from getting several dangerous opportunities, many of which turned into goals. The only bright spot for the Berserkers came when Riley Kuse was able to collect a loose puck in the offensive zone and fire one in the net. It kept Newfoundland from being completely out of the game, but in the end it would prove to be too much.

Comment 2) Penalties play factor, but Carolina overcomes

A total of 9 penalties in the game played a big factor in tonights result. Carolina had three Power play opportunities and were able to convert 2 times for an excellent 67%. However despite the Karaken's relative dominance in the 1st period, they were unable to put their opponents away due to a undisciplined and sloppy game, taking a massive 6 penalties, and giving the Berserkers plenty of opportunities to get back in the game. The Berserkers would take advantage and net 2 power play goals, which helped close the lead to 1. While Carolina was able to hold on for the win in the end, they certainly cant be happy about giving their opponent so many chances.

Comment 3) Goalie Recap

Vasallo has certainly had some great performances so far this year, but this was certainly not one of them. He only saved 7 of 11 shots before he was pulled. The Bererkers had to turn to their backup Ryan Aaron, who played excellent in relief and helped stabilize Newfoundland while they were attempting their comeback. The defense in front of him certainly solidified and Aaron only faced 11 shots on goal, of which he saved 10. An excellent start to the game for the Carolina goaltender Mike Hroch turned slightly sour as the Berserkers turned on the jets in the 2nd and 3rd periods. Facing 6 separate Power plays was a tough task and Hroch did just enough to keep his team ahead in the end, saving 32 of 36 shots.

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Last game of Week 5 for ACE’S CRANKIN HITS! We’re in Newfoundland as the visiting Carolina Kraken are in town to take down (I mean on) the Newfoundland Berserkers. This was a rather interesting tilt, with the Kraken coming out with a four goal first period, and the Berserkers fighting back to make it interesting with the Kraken emerging victorious by a score of 5-4.

(Clean) Andrei Kostitsyn is the guy that we’re focusing on today for our pugilistic interactions.

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Mr. Kostitsyn introduces himself to Alexei Rykov. Rykov suddenly decided that he didn’t want to stand up anymore, and would prefer to spend his time on the ice. It was kind of Andrei to assist him in that process.

RIP Dangel. See you on the other side, brother.

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In order to win a game of the beautiful sport of hockey, many sacrifices must be made by the players of the winning team. No player sacrified their body more for the greater good than rookie defenseman of the Carolina Kraken, Ambacas Cuddles. In eighteen minutes and twenty five seconds of ice time, Ambacas Cuddles blocked 3 shots, the highest number of anyone who played tonight. Thanks to Ambacas Cuddles' defensive efforts, the Carolina Kraken were able to hold on to a lead and finish this game with a win. If Cuddles did not block those shots, they may have completely changed the game.

Savin' It
Sometimes, your goaltender really stands on his head and wins your team the game. In this game versus the Newfoundland Berserkers, Carolina Kraken netminder Mike Hroch made a ton of saves in order to give his team the win in this contest. The Berserkers really poured on the pressure in this game, taking a grand total of 36 shots in the game, really peppering Hroch. Mike Hroch turned 32 of these shots away, doing enough for his team to win the game. Mike Hroch did not let the high volume of shots from the Berserkers phase him and thanks to his efforts, the Kraken were able to win.

Big PP
One area of the game of hockey that is often overlooked is the area of special teams, the power play and penalty kill. In this game, the Carolina Kraken's powerplay was extremely lethal. Against the Newfoundland Berserkers, the Kraken's powerplay operated at a 66.6% success rate scoring on 2 out of 3 chances on the man advantage. The Berserkers had no room for mistakes and no room to get lazy and take dumb penalties as the Kraken would make them pay on the scoresheet. Both Kenny Creller and Alexander Wachter picked up tallies on the powerplay and this was the big difference maker in the game.

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