Sunday, May 21, 2006

Keeping those home fans happy

Ted Nolan had to tell his young charges to settle down between the first and second periods, his Moncton Wildcats had found themselves taking too many penalties and playing into the hands of the WHL’s Vancouver Giants. But once they got Nolan’s message, the Wildcats began the trek back towards a debut win in the Memorial Cup, edging the Giants 3-2.

It was a highly entertaining game, indicative of the level of play when two league champions collide in a steamy rink, crammed full of excitable fans of the host squad. The Giants kept the crowd under control until the mid way point of the second period as they held on to a 1-0 lead over Moncton, however two goals in the final ten minutes of the second frame ramped up the noise level in the Coliseum as the Wildcats fans began to cheer their squad on to what would eventually be their twelfth consecutive playoff victory on home ice.

The hitting was fierce and the tempers rather short once Moncton got into the lead, as the Giants began to play the body more to make some space for their key scorers such as Gilbert Brule and Michal Repik.

The Giants don’t have much time to digest their loss; they have drawn kind of the short end of the scheduling stick in the tournament, playing once again on Sunday as they take on Patrick Roy’s Quebec Remparts.

The only thing they’ll have to look forward to on Sunday, is that any hard feelings from the Moncton crowd over Saturday’s game will be eliminated with the arrival of the Remparts in the rink, the largely pro Wildcat crowd has shown no sense of loyalty to their fellow QMJHL team and will probably be cheering on the Giants for a victory in their second tournament appearance.

The Wildcats next see action on Monday afternoon when they tangle with OHL’s Peterborough Petes. They no doubt will approach Monday's game with hopes of increasing their stats to a 2-0 record and keeping the hometown crowd in a joyous mood over the long weekend.

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