The Everblades have been on quite a roll lately and last night was no exception.
I’m not going to pretend that my ongoing dislike of the Gladiators isn’t part of why I enjoyed the three game sweep of our least favorite divisional rival. Of course, most of my enjoyment comes from the Blades within striking distance of the divisional lead.
Overall, I’d call last night’s affair a pretty great game. Aside from some terrible officiating (which I’m beginning to accept is part and parcel with watching an ECHL game) and some terrible sportsmanship (something I’ve come to accept about the Gladiators), it was a pretty spectacular effort from the boys.
My favorite part of last night was Blades captain Mathieu Roy moving into second place in league wide scoring with his second hat trick in a week. Do you think you can find a more well rounded captain in the ECHL? Because I don’t really think that’s possible.
Of course, I could have lived without that extended 5 on 3 penalty kill in the first. I’m pretty sure it took at least a year off my life. Of course, my regular consumption of Germain arena concessions over the last couple of season could be more to blame.
Astoundingly, this is the first time I can’t say I’m not happy with every players effort. Honestly, I can’t recall the last time I made it through a game without thinking somebody was half-assing it. All the players are doing little thing that make a big difference too. Like shot blocking (did you see Merrifield drop Roy style in front of that shot last night? Pretty sure I stopped breathing for a minute) and back checking. It’s amazing to see such a huge change.
And since all that effort should be rewarded I’m unveiling my new favorite idea… The Swamp Hockey Three Stars of the Game!
This will be rewarded to the guys who played an amazing game, but didn’t score enough to get the medias attention. This is completely subjective and I’m not going to pretend that I won’t play favorites (I guess everyone should be glad Bobby Raymond was signed by the Checkers, huh?).
So anyway, here we go:
3. Mike Merrifield: I agree with a lot of other fans that he’s made a total 360 and become a hell of a forward.
2. Dan Milan: The new gritty, no-nonsense defenceman thing? Me gusta.
1. Rob Madore: Still not sure how the performance he put in yesterday (or the entire series) wasn’t recognized. Some of those saves last night were insane and facing 123 shots (a little less than double what the Gladiators goalie faced) throughout a three game series is even more insane.
I’m also going to award Mike Ratchuk an honary star for continuing to make opposing team defences look like they’re mini mites who haven’t really figured out the whole skating thing (also, it’s his birthday, and people are supposed to give you nice things on your birthday).
Last, but not least, a little roster news. The Blades acquired a defenceman from the Komets today. I think his stats speak for themselves.