When many people recall the greatest game of hockey they’ve ever watched, they think of games like the Miracle on Ice, or the Canada 2010 Olympic Gold Medal Game. However, with me being the oddball that I am, I prefer games like when the Canadiens lost to Columbus 10-0 that one time. Alternatively any time the Leafs play Boston in game 7. So it is with great pleasure that I recap my second favourite game of the VHLM regular season, this matchup between Miami and Houston.
This was a game that didn’t really matter a whole lot standings-wise. The Houston Bulls had a historically bad season, winning a mere 8 games. Miami on the other hand had a pretty firm grasp on the final wildcard spot, with Yukon and Halifax both tanking their seasons. It was expected by anyone with half a brain cell to be an easy win for Miami, but the result was not so simple.
If you take a quick look at the index and look at the shots category, you can immediately see this was a period that Miami completely dominated on paper. With the shots being 16-3 in the first in favour of Miami, your first thought should be “Wow, this is going to be a blowout”. Houston had other plans, however. At 6:40 in the first period Casey Scott scored on Miam’s goaltender Bacon, on what was only Houston’s second shot of the game to open the scoring. To add further insult to injury, Riley Knight Gee scored 39 seconds on Houston’s third shot of the game and last shot of the period, making the score 2-0. Miami had a dominant second half of the period allowing Houston no shots and restored the lead in similar fashion to Houston’s two quick goals. Kosmo Kramerev scored at 16:44, and Dakota Lamb scored a minute and two seconds later at 17:46.
You can expect that Miami’s coach was furious after the first half, kicking garbage cans, throwing water bottles, et cetera. You would expect that they would go out there and really stick it to the worst team in the league. However, in hilarious fashion Houston forward Wilhelm von Luxembourg won the opening faceoff back to Riley Knight Gee, who skated into Miami’s zone and scored 10 seconds into the period. At this point Miami’s goaltender had a save percentage of .250, which is just awful. It’s really a wonder that Bacon stayed in the game at this point. The rest of the period was largely uneventful. The period ended with the shots tied 5-5, and Houston leading 3-2 thanks to Gee’s second goal of the game.
If Miami’s coach wasn’t completely livid after his team’s poor performance in the first, you can rest easy knowing he probably had a complete mental breakdown following the second. Miami really had to pull up their socks, and they did just that. Houston was completely shut down in the third, only managing a single shot. Miami’s offense on the other hand was running on all cylinders. Drew Minott, Houston’s goaltender, really had a workout facing a ton of shots throughout the period. It’s pretty likely that Miami had most of the possession of the puck as well, considering Houston only had one shot. Things were looking pretty good at this point for Miami, but they had just one problem. They were shooting on net like madmen, but none of their shots seemed to actually be going into the net. With time winding down and Houston still in the lead, the announcement came; “One minute remaining in the third period”. It was at this exact moment that Bacon was pulled from the net. They were hoping for a miracle. Miami only managed a single shot on net in that final minute, and it was a desperation shot by Rocket with 9 seconds remaining. It was a miracle that didn’t occur, although on the other side of the ice a miracle had happened for Houston. They won a game.
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