Monday, March 18, 2013

Playoff Matchups Round #1 2013

Eastern Conference

(1) Edmonton Oil Kings vs. (8) Kootenay Ice
Oil Kings:
- Strengths - Very deep. Balanced scoring. Formidable defense.
- Weaknesses - Complacency. Shaky goaltending at times.
- Strengths - High octane top line. Enthusiastic club.
- Weaknesses - Not very deep, lack of offense from blueline.
Prediction: Oil Kings in 4

(2) Saskatoon Blades vs (7) Medicine Hat Tigers
- Strengths - High end top line. Defense is stout, goaltending strong.
- Weaknesses - Underachieved a lot of the year. Bottom end scoring.
- Strengths - High energy offense. Goaltending can steal a game.
- Weaknesses - Defensively suspect. Club not deep.
Prediction: Blades in 5

(3) Calgary Hitmen vs. (6) Swift Current Broncos
- Strengths - Great blend of skill and grit. Solid defense.
- Weaknesses - Immobile defense. Scoring comes and goes.
- Strengths - Solid defensively, Great goaltending.
- Weaknesses - Lack of scoring depth. Overall team speed.
Prediction: Hitmen in 7

(4) Red Deer Rebels vs. (5) Prince Albert Raiders
- Strengths - Balanced scoring. Strong goaltending. High energy club.
- Weaknesses - Lack of high end scoring. Smallish club.
- Strengths - Very balanced team. Methodical. Solid goaltending.
- Weaknesses - Lack of high end scoring. Inconsistent club.
Prediction: Rebels in 7

Western Conference:

(1) Portland Winter Hawks vs. (8) Everett Silvertips
Winter Hawks:
- Strengths - Top end scoring. Great team defense. Solid goaltending.
- Weaknesses - Smaller team. Battling complacency.
- Strengths - Decent defensively. Gritty, hard working club.
- Weaknesses - Lack of scoring. Lack of depth.
Prediction: Winter Hawks in 4

(2) Kelowna Rockets vs. (7) Seattle Thunderbirds
- Strengths - Great team depth. Solid goaltending. Solid defense group.
- Weaknesses - Team size is average. May have already peaked.
- Strength - Solid goaltending. Run & gun club.
- Weaknesses - No high end scoring talent. Defensively weak.
Prediction: Rockets in 5

(3) Kamloops Blazers vs. (6) Victoria Royals
- Strengths - High end offense. Defensively sound. Solid goaltending
- Weaknesses - Lack of offense from defense. Smaller forwards.
- Strengths - Excellent blend of skill & grit. Goaltending can steal a game.
- Weaknesses - Defensively weak. Easily give up on games.
Prediction: Blazers in 5

(4) Spokane Chiefs vs. (5) Tri-City Americans
- Strengths - High team hockey IQ. Solid top line. Strong team defense.
- Weaknesses - Inconsistant goaltending. Lack of scoring depth.
- Strengths - Balanced club. High gamesmanship.
- Weaknesses - Inconsistant goaltending. Smallish club.
Prediction: Chiefs in 7

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Game Report: Saskatoon 3 Edmonton 2 (SO)

EDM K. Lowe (15) (D. Wruck, D. Musil) 11:02

EDM D. Wruck (22) (C. Lazar, D. Musil) 10:44

SAS B. Walker (32) (M. Stransky) 4:13
SAS S. McColgan (19) (J. Nicholls, D. Siemens) 8:31

No Scoring

S. McColgan Goal
M. Stransky Miss

H. Samuelsson Miss
S. Legault Miss
T. Cheek Miss

Andrey Makarov 39/41

Laurent Brossoit 35/37

1. Brenden Walker C - Walker played a hard nosed game for the Blades on this night. Constantly finishing his checks on the forecheck and in the face of Oil Kings defenders all night. His hard work was rewarded as he scored the opening tally for the Blades that started the comeback. Walker plays a griity style but has a n offensive dimension to his game as shown by the 32 tallies this season. Comparable to a Brad Marchand type. An agitator who can manufacture offense. Walker is a key piece on a deep Blades forward unit.
2. Andrey Makarov G - Makarov started slowly but got much stronger as the game went on. The more shots he faced, the more into the game he was. Gave up a softy to Keegan Lowe, had no chance on Dylan Wruck's spectacular goal, but didn't give the Oil Kings a sniff after that, including the shootout where he kept all three shots out of the net. Makarov is a cool customer that doesn't get rattled in the net too often. Has a short memory and just keeps making saves regardless of the score. It's a good trait for a goaltender to have. Short memory but solid structure.

1. Dylan Wruck LW - Most dangerous Oil Kings forward on this night, including scoring a highlight reel goal that gave the Oil Kings a 2-0 lead. The Oil Kings are blessed with skilled offensive forward, but Wruck is as important as any of them. Player with a high motor that senses when its time to make a play. A great blend of determination, hustle and skill wrapped in the stout frame of Wruck. It will be interesting to see how the rest of Wruck's hockey career goes once his time with the Oil Kings is done.
2. Keegan Lowe D - Lowe may have the quietest 15 goals from a defenseman I have ever seen. For a player that is known for battle level and "in your face" type hockey, Lowe has developed an offensive facet to his game this season. Not sure how his offense will translate at the pro level but his 15 goals are needed on a defensive unit that is known more for its defense than offense. Lowe has grown exponentially in his time with the Oil Kings. He came into the WHL as a greenhorn, but will be walking out as an all around, dependable defenseman.