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S51 Game of the Week - Episode 4


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Game 132: Wranglers vs. Express


Final Score: 2 - 4


It's a well known fact around the VHL that the most terrifying place to play this season is in the Calgary Wranglers home rink. The Calgary, after sucking up all the Free Agents more effectively than a Dyson Vacuum, have walked over the league, only losing twice in regulation before this game. Cologne can count themselves a little lucky, catching Weinstein on an off-day, but they still needed to put up the shots to test him, and they managed to do just that.  


Right from the puck-drop, Lincoln won it cleanly back to P. Hamilton, who carried it like he always does, over the blue line into the attacking zone, he looked up and fired a shot towards the net, which was tipped on its way to the net by a charging Mengsk for his 18th of the season just 12 seconds into the game, to the astonishment of the Calgary faithful. The period was a back-and-forth, high tempo affair, with both teams getting 12 shots off. However, Cologne struck again at the 14-minute mark on the powerplay, as Mengsk collected a loose puck from behind the net and fired it out to the blueline where Kyanon made no mistake of sending it back towards the goal, rifling it in under the crossbar to double Cologne's advantage!


The Wranglers played a great shut-down period in the second, limiting the Express to only 6 shots and earning 11 of their own, but luck was with Cologne. The Express' top-line forwards charged at the Wranglers, Jarvi sending Skovgaard the puck before hopping over the board for a change, Niels then slid the puck over to Lincoln, who passed back to Jarvi's replacement, Mengsk who one-timed it through the five-hole of Weinstein to make it 3-0. The Wranglers made something happen at 16:25 when Axelsson finally managed to beat Zhumbayev on their 20th shot of the game. 


The third period was a very even one. Another back-and-forth, high tempo affair. But again, Cologne were first to the mark, with P. Hamilton and Jarvi connecting for Jarvi's 20th of the season allowing the Express more breathing room. Axelsson would slot his second of the game with just 3 and a half minutes to go but Cologne would hold on  for a marvelous victory. 


It's very rare this season for Cologne to be outshot and win. The Wranglers fired away 35 to Cologne's 27, but it's big games like this that Cologne need to find that extra gear and turn up the quality of their chances, and that's exactly what they did. It was a gutsy win that provided them with some insight on how things could shape up in the off-season. 


3 Stars

1 - Arcturus Mengsk (COL)
2 - Theo Axelsson (CGY)
3 - Phil Hamilton (COL)

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