Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Prospects Stumble in Rough Game

The Carolina Hurricanes' prospects picked up their first loss of the tournament today against the Atlanta Thrashers. The game appears to have been quite rough, with 17 infractions, including two majors for fighting.

In the first period, Atlanta's Jimmy Bubnick was penalized for boarding; Brett Bellmore went away for hooking; Elgin Reid dropped the gloves with Danick Paquette; Atlanta's Cody Sol was called for roughing; and Atlanta's Darryl Smith was called for holding and then slashing as soon as he hopped out.

Amidst all the penalties, Atlanta managed to score two 5-on-5 goals mid-way through. Matt Kennedy responded later with a 4-on-3 power play goal, apparently deflecting a shot by Michal Jordan. Kennedy has three goals this week. Josh Day also picked up an assist.

The second period saw more penalties, but no scoring. Drayson Bowman was sent to the box for kneeing; Atlanta's Cody Sol picked up a delay of game; Stefan Chaput was assessed a holding call; and Beau Schmitz was sent away for slashing. Still, the score remained 2-1 Atlanta heading into the third.

Goaltender Alain Valiquette got his first taste of action in the final 20 minutes. He gave up an early goal at the 1:13 mark, as Atlanta's Andrew Kozak netted his second of the game, putting the Thrashers ahead 3-1.

A minute later, Atlanta's Cody Sol was sent to the box for the third time, allowing Zach Boychuk to bury his third goal of the tournament. Assists came from Jamie McBain and Josh Day.

Trailing 3-2, Carolina was forced to kill off two more penalties, as Samuel Morneau was called for boarding and Jamie McBain for high-sticking. About halfway through the penalty to McBain, a trip by Atlanta put the teams at 4-on-4.

The Thrashers scored, making it 4-2, but Carolina, in reminiscent fashion, refused to quit. Harrison Reed, assisted by Brett Bellemore, brought the team within one with eight minutes left.

Unfortunately, Bellemore took a costly cross-checking penalty with under four minutes remaining. The Thrashers seized on the opportunity, making it 5-3 with just 3:05 on the clock.

Carolina picked up a power play moments later, but Atlanta landed an empty netter as the Canes pulled Valiquette for the 6-on-4.

Atlanta scored again with eleven seconds left, making the final 7-3.

The Thrashers ended with 46 shots on goal, the Hurricanes with 36.

Mike Murphy stopped 30 of 32 shots. Alain Valiquette blocked 9 of 13.

Despite the loss, Carolina has secured first place in the tournament's Eastern Division. They will play in the championship game tomorrow evening at 6:30 p.m. Their opponent will be determined by the winner of tonight's contest between the St. Louis Blues and Minnesota Wild.

Update: Tracking the Storm has a recap of the action. Hockey's Future chimes in. Brandon Sutter also added another post.