by Vince Maranto on 01/11/12 at 01:00 PM ET
Viktor Stalberg collected his first NHL Hat Trick last night to help push the Hawks past Columbus, 5-2. I know that I have dogged Stalberg in many a blog this season and during the off season. Because of that, this is were a lesser man would mention that the 3rd goal was into an empty net, and that it was against the WORST team in the NHL, but I am above that. He also scored goals number10, 111, & 12 last night. 7 of the 12 goals he has scored this season have been against the Blue Jackets. I’m just say’n. Either way, the Hawks DESPERATELY needed a win, so congratulations to the kid.
In the net for the two teams was Crawford, 15-10-3, and Curtis Sanford, 6-8-3. I really didn’t know much about Sanford before this game. However, this kid played great for the first 2 periods. It has been a while since an opposing goalie has stolen a game from Chicago, and I thought that this was going to be it. The Hawks also faced a coach in his first game, Todd Richards. This seems to happen every time a team changes coaches.
Ben Smith (my man) was called back up from Rockford to replace Sharp (3-4 weeks, wrist). The lines were, 1) Stalberg, Sharp, Kane 2) Hossa, Bolland, Hayes (my other man) 3) Mayers, Bickell, Smith 4) Shaw, Frolik, Brunette. Montador & O’Donnel were the #3, D pairing.
In the 1st period, Toews almost scored with a redirect off his head. The puck went off a skate, off his head, and then off the post. On the way down, the Hawks Captain hit his head on the other post and left the game. He did return, stitched up, a couple of shifts later. It was scary, especially after just losing Sharp. The boys were thwarted by Sanford ealy. They only ended up with 5 shots on goal, but every one seemed like a legitimate scoring opportunity. Montador received a 5 minute fighting penalty, along with a double minor (unsportsmanlike & instigator) and the 10 minute misconduct. This was after he and Boll (remember that name) squared off after a hit on a teammate. No score after one.
More big saves for Sanford in the 2nd period, Boll and Mayers fought this period after another hit on a teammate. Mayers got the 2 minute instigator along with the 10 minute misconduct, this time. Dave Bolland scored short handed to go up 1-0 . Columbus tied it shortly there after on another scrum in front of the net won by the opposing team. There were assorted P.K’s, 4 on 4’s and P.P.‘s throughout the period. Stalberg scored his first to make it 2-1 Hawks. They were out shot again this period 14-13 .
In the 3rd, Stalberg scored during a delayed penalty, 3-1.. A mere 27 seconds later, Ben Smith scored on a nice backhand move, to go up 4-1. Then AGAIN, another goal mouth scrum, with the Hawks failing to show any type of dominating presence, resulted in a goal, 4-2. There was another P.K & a P.P., but nothing ensued. With 1:50 left, Sanford was pulled. Stalberg missed the empty net, but then got in and stuffed it home. He was of course, the #1 Star of the Game..
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