It was an intense and fast game right from the first puck drop and it wasn't too far into the first period that it was clear that if players didn't make a concerted effort to remain calm and focused, the you know what could easily hit the fan. The Wings beat the Blues in overtime by a score of 6-5, but it was a wild ride and despite taking a 3-1 be the early moments of the second period. By the end of the 2nd the Wings trailed 4-3 and it felt like the 3rd would be a victorious come back, or a collapse of frustration and violence. Despite having an incredibly young and inexperienced team, the boys chose determination and focus to pull off their eventual win.
No one in a Wings uniform wears the "C" except for the Wings Captain (which I love), so Ryan Sproul, Martin Frk, and Zach Nastasiuk are all wearing well deserved "A"'s on their jerseys for the tournament.
|Martin Frk||Tomas Nosek||Anthony Mantha|
|Tyler Bertuzzi||Andreas Athanasiou||Colin Campbell|
|Marek Tvrdon||Zach Nastasiuk||Jarome Verrier|
|Brandon Robinson||Dominic Turgeon||Blake Clarke|
|Mattias Backman||Ryan Sproul|
|Richard Nedomlel||Joe Hicketts|
|Ty Stanton||Marc McNulty|
How It Went Down
Just 6:07 into the 1st period, Anthony Mantha gave the Wings the lead with Martin Frk and Mattias Backman assisting. Nosek sent Frk into the offensive zone with the puck but Frk wasn't able to get the shot off and the Blues got the puck and exited their zone. Martin Frk came back hard on the Blues player and allowed Mattias Backman to get the puck back, pass it to Mantha. Boom, 1-0 good guys. Less than two minutes later, Tyler Bertuzzi is called for a hooking penalty, and only 14 seconds into the penalty, Ty Rattie put the puck past a screened Jared Coreau. Tie game. That didn't last long however, because two and a half minutes later Hicketts plays a little give and go with Andreas Athanasiou and AA goes bar down to give the Wings a 2-1 lead that held until the end of the period.
The second period started out a little rougher for the Wings, but 3:41 into the period, Anthony Mantha bats in a Martin Frk shot right out of the air. We're tied at 2. This is where the zamboni started careening out of control for the Wings. C.J. Yakimowicz scored for the Blues when it appears that Jared Coreau's glove got a hole in it at 6:04 of the period. Jerome Verrier took an elbowing penalty for the Wings, and the Yannick Veilleux scored on the ensuing power play. About two minutes later, Ryan Sproul takes a tripping penalty and 8 seconds later Marc McNulty takes a high sticking penalty and a minute into the Blues 5 on 3 power play, Thomas Vannelli makes the Wings pay. Suddenly the Wings find themselves not only in a parade to the penalty box, but also down 4-3 at the end of the second period. The Wing were going to have to re-group during intermission and come out more disciplined, calm, coordinated, and not let any frustration creep into their heads.
There was only a little lingering 2nd period odor for the first few minutes of the 3rd period, and the Wings were looking a little more like their 1st period selves. Six minutes went by and after the frequent scoring in the first two periods, it started to feel like no one was going to score again. But wait, what's that I see? Jerome Verrier gets the puck from behind the net right to Zach Nastasiuk right out in front, and Zach Nasty ties the game at 4-4 with 14 minutes left int he game. Then, with only 5 minutes left in the third, Jaedon Descheneau gives the Blues the lead amid a clusterfuffle in front of Jared Coreau. Now it was time to get nervous. The Blues had a 5-4 lead with less than 5 minutes left and I had forgotten what that level of nervousness and excitement felt like. Was there anyone who could help us now? Anyone who could come through and give the Wings the change to win the game in overtime? The PA announcer comes on and warns us that there's only a minute left in the final period. The Wing are in the offensive zone buzzing, throwing anything at the net they can, trying to get just one puck in and extend the game. Anthony Mantha, Tomas Nosek, Martin Frk, Ryan Sproul, and Mattias Backman are on the ice. Surely, if anyone can come through, it's one of them. Blahsill pulls Coreau for the extra attacker, and on comes Tyler Bertuzzi. Little Bert battles for the puck in the offensize zone corner, it squirts free and.... trickles out right to Ryan Sproul at the point. Sproul had the puck, takes a second to get it right where he wants it, looks up and sees there's 4 players and a goalie between him and the net, winds up, he shoots...HE SSCCOOREEESSS! Ryan Sproul has tied the game with 51 seconds left in regulation and the Wing are still alive! It was all I could do not to jump and cheer right there in the pres box.
We were headed to overtime, but before sudden death (or life), the zam came out to do a dry scrape of the ice. It was the eerie calm before the storm. As the zam made it's rounds, a few of the players stayed on the ice, stretching, skating in circles, and just trying to stay warmed up and loose. Blashill gave final, animated battle instructions, the teams switched ends, and who does coach send out for 4 on 4, but Anthony Mantha, Tomas Nosek Mattias Backman, and Ryan Sproul (Coeau too, of course). Overtime was a little scary, and what may have otherwise been small mistakes at 5 on 5, almost dearly cost us at 4 on 4. Then, 3:10 into overtime, with Martin Frk, Tomas Nosek, Richard Nedomlel, and Joe Hicketts on the ice, Nedomlel is up behind the net and next to the goalie in the offensive zone, and Joe Hicketts is left to man the blue line alone. Tomas Nosek hangs back a little and gets the puck at the right point, passes it to Frk who goes to the net. While almost everyone is focused on Frk and trying to keep him from scoring, Hicketts sneaks up on the opposite side and somehow Frk passes the puck through the mouth of the crease right to Hicketts who has a wide open net and buries the puck. THE WINGS WIN IN OVERTIME! Hicketts' game winner is "officially" unassisted, but Tomas Nosek and Martin Frk earned assists on that goal, and the set up and pass by Frk was fantastic.