St. John's Maple Leafs Home Opener: Preview and Review: Oct. 15th, 2003
It is Wednesday, October 15th, 2003.
The Boys Are Back In Town. The St. John's Maple Leafs get set to kick off another AHL season at Mile One Stadium tonight against the visiting Hershey Bears. Game Time is 6:05pm Eastern (7:35pm Newfoundland Time).
The Bears enter tonight's game having only played one game so far this season, a 4-4 deadlock against the Syracuse Crunch.
Bears Leading Scorers:
Shane Willis 1-1-2
Steve Brule 1-1-2
Charlie Stephens 1-1-2
Bears Goaltending Stat's:
Peter Budaj 0-0-1 with a 3.69 GAA and a .889 SPCT
Bears PIM Leader:
Gavin Morgan 4 PIM
Ex-Leaf DJ Smith started the season with the Bears but according to the Bears team web site Smith was recalled to Colorado on 10/12/03.
The Leafs enter tonight's contest having finished a two-game set this past weekend against the Manitoba Moose at the Winnipeg Arena. The Leafs won 5-4 Saturday night but lost 6-2 Monday. The Leafs are tied for 2nd in the North Division.
Leafs Leading Scorers:
Mike Brown 1-1-2
Kyle Wellwood 1-1-2
Brendan Bell 0-2-2
Brad Leeb 0-2-2
Leafs Goaltending Stat's:
Sebastien Centomo 1-0-0 with a 4.06 GAA and a .846 SPCT
Jamie Hodson 0-1-0 with a 5.91 GAA and a .818 SPCT
Leafs PIM Leader:
Marc Moro 14 PIM
Will Sebastien Centomo get the start tonight against the Bears?
Will Carlo Colaiacovo be ready for tonight's game after missing the second game of the series against the Moose with an injury?
How close are Luca Cereda and Harold Druken to returning to the line-up?
Will any players be sent down from Toronto?
Leafs Blow Lead; Bears escape with 5-4 Win, Brule Rules-Scores Game Winner.
Shocked, Disappointed, Unbelievable, Brutal are just some of the things that I heard people say as I left Mile One Stadium Wednesday night. The Leafs trailed 1-nothing after the opening 20 minutes, but gave the capacity crowd something to cheer about in the middle stanza with three goals and a 3-1 lead after 40 minutes. The Leafs added to that in the third, but then decided to stop playing the style of hockey that had put them in front 4-1. The Bears took advantage and scored four times to steal the victory. It was like watching one of those movies that starts out so-so, then heats up and then the ending stinks. It is a long season and things like this are going to happen but in the season opener it is a little harder to take.
The St. John's Maple Leafs ran into penalty trouble early in the opening period. The Leafs did give up a PP goal but it could have been worse. The Bears took a 1-nothing lead on a goal off the stick of Shane Willis, his 2nd of the season, with the assists to Mikhail Kuleshov and Brett Clark at the 4:14 mark on the PP. The Bears outshot the Leafs 15-7 in the opening period but half of those shots came on the man advantages for the Bears.
Special teams were key for the Maple Leafs in the second period. The Leafs scored three times in the second period, two on the powerplay and one shorthanded. The Leafs tied the game with a goal off the stick of Josh Holden, his 2nd of the season, with the lone assist to Kyle Wellwood at the 5:39 mark on the powerplay. The Leafs took a 2-1 lead with a goal off the stick of Captain Aaron Gavey, his 1st of the season, with the assists to Mike Brown and Chris Chartier at the 13:03 mark on the powerplay. Brad Leeb gave the Leafs a 3-1 lead when he scored his 1st of the season, an unassisted shorthanded marker at the 15:16 mark. The Leafs dominated the second period and their forecheck was key in creating a number of turnovers that led to good scoring chances. Shots in the second period were 16-7 in favor of the Leafs, 23-22 in favor of the Leafs through 40 minutes.
The Leafs penalty-killing unit struck again in the third period. The Leafs took a 4-1 lead on a shorthanded marker by Robb Palahnuk, his 1st of the season, unassisted at the 3:46 mark. The Leafs looked to have the game under control, but then it happened, the Leafs stopped playing hockey (stopped skating, stopped passing, stopped being aggressive, etc) and they totally collapsed. The comeback started at the 7:49 mark of the third when Gavin Morgan scored his 2nd of the season, with the assists to Steve Moore and Brett Clark on the powerplay. Things got worse for the Leafs when Shane Willis struck again, his 2nd of the game and his 3rd of the season, with the assists to Brett Clark and Pascal Trepanier at the 11:30 mark on the powerplay. The Leafs still held a one-goal lead but there was something in the air that made it feel like things were going to get worse and it did. The Bears tied the game with a goal the stick of Brad Larsen, his 1st of the season, with the assists to Charlie Stephens and Jordan Krestanovich at the 17:35 mark. It looked like the teams were headed for overtime, but then before anyone had a chance to think about the possibility of an extra frame the Bears scored again to take a 5-4 lead. Steve Brule scored his 2nd of the season and the eventual game winner at the 18:00 minute mark. The Leafs pulled goaltender Sebastien Centomo for the extra attacker with 1:31 left in the third period, but to no avail. Shots in the third period were 15-8 in favor of the Bears, 37-31 overall in favor of the Bears in the game.
GCHWP: Aaron Gavey
Leafs Record: 1-2-0-0
Sebastien Centomo 1-1-0 stopped 32 of the 37 shots that he faced.
The Bears went 3 for 7 on the PP.
The Leafs went 2 for 4 on the PP and they scored 2 SHG's as well.
Next Action: Thursday, October 16th, 2003 against the Hershey Bears at Mile One Stadium.