Sunday, April 30, 2017

Next Season

Key Off-Season Events

May 4th - WHL Bantam Draft
June 1st - NHL deadline to Sign 2015 Draft Picks
June 21st Golden Knights Expansion Draft
June 23/24 - NHL Entry Draft
June 28ish  CHL Import Draft (Can't find an exact date)

New NHL Team
This season their will potentially be 50 more contract spaces(most likely less) available with a new NHL team. At this point the Vegas team doesn't have an affiliate AHL team, but their GM has said mentioned that they are only looking for spaces for 6-8 players with an affiliate.

Next Season
Losses Guaranteed
Clayton Kirichenko
Steven Owre
Chad Butcher

Eligible Overagers(10)
John Dahlstrom(I)  -Drafted unsigned
Matt Bradley   -Drafted unsigned
Mark Rassell
Zach Fischer
Brad Forrest
Kristians Rubins(I)
Ty Schultz
Jordan Henderson
Nick Schneider - Signed
Michael Bullion

June 1st is NHL signing deadline for Dahlstrom/Bradley


Likely Losses
John Dahlstrom  - While he is eligible to come back, and could be sent back. Chicago has a lot of room in their minor league system.  Also with the Tigers heavy OA roster, it makes sense to spend that OA spot on an equally good offensive player while re-drafting the Import spot.  For that reason I feel Dahlstrom is unlikely to be a Tiger next season, even if he does get sent back.

Uncertain
Matt Bradley - He is drafted, Will he be signed or re-enter the draft? If he is signed, will he be back? If he comes back will the Tigers keep him? So Many questions.....

Montreal has a busy off-season with their AHL prospects. They tend to pump their AHL and ECHL affiliates with players and this season 11 contracts are expiring.  I'm not really sure what will happen to him.   My first instinct is that he may be back; However we will wait and see if Montreal will sign him, as that could change his story.

Nick Schneider - He is signed and he is talented, but I feel like he lost his focus entirely this past season. He has had an NHL contract for 2 years in a row, and played in a bundle of AHL games. He knows he can play at the next level.  I almost wonder if he met a girl and combined that with an NHL contract in his pocket, meant that he wasn't really as focused as he could have been.

He hasn't been able to prove he is a WHL starter material because he hasn't been able to play a full season as a starter.  He is a guy that I think would benefit from a change of scenery because the Tigers have given him the starters role 2 years in a row, and 2 years in a row the Tigers had to acquire goal-tending help.When he is on top of his game he is a really good goaltender,

The Flames have some strong AHL goaltending depth that are RFA's at the end of the season; however, their top 4 tenders are not signed as of yet for next season. The flames also just signed World Junior goaltender for Team USA in Tyler Parsons who likely leapfrogged over Schneider on their depth charts.

My initial instincts are that Schneider will be sent back. I feel that if he is sent back to the whl he will be traded.

Likely To Be Back, Potential for NHL Interest
Kristians Rubins
Zach Fischer*
Mark Rassell

I'm slightly nervous with these 3. I feel that all 3 will  be good enough to get NHL entry Level Contracts by the time they graduate the WHL.  I feel that all 3 players would benefit playing 1 more year of junior before going pro.

Zach Fischers' situation is also unique.. I would consider him a  "newAge" prospect. He wasn't even a consideration for the NHL in his draft year with injuries (35 games played with 13 pts). He sprung up into a physical power forward. For that reason he may generate substantial interest.

 I think their is good potential  he gets drafted in his 2nd year of eligibility. I also want to toot my own horn because last summer I kinda predicted a big point increase.  http://tigerturf.blogspot.ca/2016/04/next-season.html   


Mark Rassell  - I think he will get a camp invite this summer and a few teams will be keeping an eye on him. I think if he has another strong season(40+ goals) he will earn an entry level deal following his overage season.  I think most NHL would want to wait and see how he performs. If one team comes along and loves his game, their is an outside chance something could happen, but I expect he will be back and look to have a standout year.

Kristians Rubins - He suffered a shoulder injury just before christmas and played through the season. I felt he wasn't as good in the second half, and his shoulder could be a very good reason why.  He is having off-season surgery and may be out for the start of next the season. For that reason if the Tigers decided to keep him he will be back.

I kinda feel that all 3 should be back with more uncertainty towards Fischer.


Other OA Eligible To Come Back.
Brad Forrest
Ty Schultz
Jordan Henderson
Michael Bullion

Forrest/Schultz/Henderson - Man next year could be stressful for these 3. Their may not even be a spot for them to compete for with the Tigers. If the Tigers get unlucky and have a few guys plucked out they are very strong backup depth options.

If the Tigers decide to make any early off-season moves it may involving 1 or 2 of these 3.

Watching Schneider getting pulled quickly and often towards the end of the year, if the Tigers give the goaltender an AO spot I feel it would be bullion.

Estimated Depth Charts (Bullion, Rubins,  (Br,RaFi)
I'm going to call the 3rd OA spot BrRaFi because of the difficulty and uncertainty of Bradley, Rassell, Fischer.

More on the Overage Debate further down.

Returning Defence
Kristians Rubins(20) Dylan Macpherson(19)
David Quenneville(19) Dalton Gally(19)
Cameron MacPhee(18)

Cole Clayton(17)
Layne Matechuk(17)
Daniel Baker(16)
Ryden Fedyck (16)
+prospects

Defensive Comments
I feel that the strength of this group will depend on Rubins or an equivalent #1 Dman.  If Rubins doesn't return, the depth and experience is average. If Rubins or equivalent does come back I think this group has potential to be above average.

Rubins and Macpherson should be a solid  #1 pairing. They also have a deadly PP Quarterback with Quenneville. Macphee and Gally bring physical presences.  I don't think it is quite championship material but it is a decent mix.


Returning Forwards
Max Gerlach(19 Mason Shaw(19) BrRaFI(20)
Josh Williams(16) James Hamblin(18)  Import(18/19?)
Tyler Preziuso(18) Gary Haden (18)  Ryan Jevne(19)
Ryan Chyzowski(17)

Josh Mcneil(17)
Baxter Anderson(17)
Dawson Heathcote(17)
Jaxon Steele(17)
Jalen Price (16)
Henry Rybinski (16)
+ Prospects

Forward Comments
The Tigers will have a very solid Top 4. (Shaw,Gerlach,brRaFi, Hamblin). Knowing the Tigers, they probably want to dress an impressive Top 6.  Their are multiple ways to do that but It will be tricky.

Jevne/Preziuso to anchor the 3rd line, fill in Haded/Chyzowski/Williams and it gives a very solid 3rd line and start of their 4th lines.


Potential Scenario
Offense First (Find a Top 5&6 to fill the Top 2 lines)
This scenario won't work if more than 1 of the BrRaFI combo don't come back.

5th Spot (Re-Draft Dahlstrom's Spot)
If they can find another Dahlstrom that would give them a Top 5. Easier said than done

6th Spot
Their are multiple ways to do this, but they are tricky. It would also involve keeping 2 OA forwards
1) Finding a new non OA starting goaltender.  (2F,1D overagers)
2) re-draft the Euro D spot.  (1G,2F overagers)
3) Aquire one through the trading of their extra O/A players
4) Go with a Top 5 and then hope that a forward like Prezusio stands out.

Imports
Since both current Tiger Imports are 20, the Tigers will be eligible to draft 2 new Imports. They may go into the year with an attempt to draft 2 very strong imports and just seeing what they can get and going from there.

Who knows maybe they draft 2 forwards in anticipation that they keep rubins, and have 2 forwards battle for 1 spot. Or maybe they go with 1D, and 1F and just see what training camp brings.


Summary of Thoughts For Next Season
I feel that next season the Tigers won't have a down year, but how well they do will really depend on how their off-season plays out. Right now their is potential from 3rd in the division to an unexpected Dark-Horse.

Brief Look at the Central
Calgary I need more time on their roster. First glance they look pretty average. Great top line depth

Red Deer if they loose Musil, and Spacek they will have offensive issues. I feel that they will have a down year if they loose both.

Lethbridge is interesting. They will have a very similar team to what they are dressing in the playoffs, minus Tyler Wong, potentially estephan. Their defensive core may be the same. If Estephan comes back one would expect they will have a real solid team.

Edmonton is still quite young and need some more time to develop some more depth/experience to their roster.

Tiger Extra O'A
They could very well have a short time to deal some very quality OA's next season. But we will see what they do at the CHL Import draft.



Thursday, April 20, 2017

Canes End the Tigers Season with Game 7 OT Win

Pre-Season

Hurricanes
Pre-season the Hurricanes were picked as early season favorites; however, problems in their dressing room changed their season drastically.   GM Peter Anholt stripped their core roster down and completely rebuilt the team, trading away 8 key returning players. Anholt was even fined during the season for public comments regarding players that he traded away.

As a surprising result the Hurricanes went from a team floundering, to one of the hottest teams in the league during the New Year. Despite 3 losses to the Tigers in the second half, the Hurricanes pulled off a .721% winning percentage and were the hottest team in the league down the stretch.

Tigers
Pre-season the Tigers were slated as the underdog competitor to Lethbridge  We knew they would have a top caliber offense and goal-tending coming into the season. The question mark was on their defensive side of the game as it was pretty abysmal in their previous season of missing the playoffs.

With the acquisitions of their 19yr old imports their was simmered hope that by seasons end they could compete with the top dogs!

  The regular season turned out incredibly well. The Tigers went through some growing pains mid-season when Kristians Rubins went down with an injury and Nick Schneiders hot start turned into getting pulled multiple times in consecutive games. Yet those were yet some minor flaws during a season where the Tigers plowed through their opposition with 3 scoring lines and scored a remarkable 350 times this season. Who needs defense?

The Tigers only had 1 less win than in their WHL championship record setting season of 06-07.
This team turned into and were considered heavy favorites for the first 2 playoff rounds.

Series Preview
Despite the Close distance and the longtime rivalry the Canes and Tigers have only met once previously in the playoffs. In the '90-91' season both teams were powerhouses in the conference and the Canes pushed the Tigers out in the 7th game during round 3.

This season was similar, however The tigers had soundly beaten the Canes3 times during the second half. The Hurricanes also had a whole line out with injuries. It was 3 Scoring Lines of the Tigers Vs 1 Scoring Line of the Hurricanes. On paper This was a series that should have been over before it started.

Hurricane Injuries
Unfortunately or fortunately for the Hurricanes they became victims of the injury bug. The bug hit them hard as their previous 7 game series with Red Deer took a big toll into their series with Medicine Hat.

During the series among the key Hurricanes man games lost to injury included: Ryan Vandervlis missed the final 2 games, Overage Zak Zborosky missed 5 games, Overager Matt Alfaro missed all 7 games, Zane Franklin missed 5 games,  Calen Addison missed 5 games

Hurricanes were forced to dress 5 affiliate players including 15 yr old Dylan Cozens and he picked up 5 points in 6 games.  Koletrane Wilson, Connor Lyons, Shawn Harke, Jayden Davis also saw icetime.

Why the Games Aren't Played on Paper
Call it poor coaching,  unable to take advantage of an injury riddle opposition, pure Hurricane Will, flawed hockey strategy, or just bad luck.  With the Canes having 5 regulars out of the lineup (2 of them Overagers) this was a David vs Goliath match-up.

The Tigers stormed out of the gate demolishing the Canes in the first game.  Lethbridge Hurricanes Captain Tyler Wong, directly and honestly came out publicly and ripped his team for having an embarrassing performance and it changed the outcome of the entire series. Tyler Wong's determination and will encapsulated their entire team, and they emerged victorious in the battlefield of Skill vs HardWork.

Wong & Estephan Show
The whl doesn't count minutes played in their stats, but if they had I wouldn't be surprised to see Hurricanes Captains Tyler Wong &  Giorgio Estephan above 27-28 minutes a game with the 2 overtime games that were played. That is pretty much unheard of at the forward position.

These 2 Players combined for virtually half their offense, scoring 12 of the Hurricanes 26 goals during the series. The stamina and strength these 2 showed picked everyone up on the Hurricanes bench and they played with ferocious determination to stall an opposition team that was lathered in offensive talent.

I hated him during the series but you can't help to become a big fan of Tyler Wong after all the hardships he went through with lethbridge the previous seasons. He put this years team on his back and lifted everyone else up. It isn't easy having affiliate players getting ice-time and beating  PointPerGgame 18-19 yr old WHL veterans but through his leadership and the Hurricanes strong coaching that is what they were able to do.

Hurricane Interviews
 I watched the webcast and saw 2 interviews from the Hurricanes which I felt summed up how they won.

Rebel broadcaster Cam Moon interviewed Head Coach Brent Kisio with an in period interview after the Tigers went up 4-3 during Game 7. He simply stated that his team will come back, that is what they do.

Moon also interviewed Hurricanes Captain Tyler Wong and I think Tyler Wong said it best. He directly and honestly said (paraphrasing here) the Tigers cheated offensively and Lethbridge hopes to take advantage of that. He was true to his words.

The Hurricane Captain  generated a 3 on 2 shorthanded rush after the Tigers cheated offensively with 4 forwards and a defenceman. Perhaps the Tigers were a bit Unaware of their defensive responsibilities, thinking goal scoring and not defensively on a powerplay like their mindset has been all season. But the Canes generated a 3 on 2 shorthanded rush, that led to Tyler Wong scoring the series Clincher and game winning heartbreaker.

Series Thoughts
The series was so close, the Tigers came so close to winning.  It was both very fun and very nerve-racking to watch. The type of hockey that you wonder if the players just acted out a scripted show between 2 longtime rivals.

 The Canes outworked and out-willed the Tigers with less than half their talent. They pulled the old strategy of strong goal-tending, collapsing down low, preventing prime chances in the slot, clearing rebounds and let the Tigers shoot themselves in the foot with their tendency to cheat offensively and being a bit too panicky on defense.

Lethbridge managed to reduce the Tigers strength of speed and pretty passing plays in tight to generate chances.

Props to the Hurricanes. I thought eventually a team would expose the Tigers defensively, but I didn't think the Canes had near the team to do it especially with a number of core players out of the lineup. I am still in shock and disbelief that the Hurricanes won

I felt the canes managed to expose the Tigers outdated hockey philosophy that mobility and speed will win games. It may overwhelm mediocre teams in the regular season, but the playoffs are a different story.

.The canes showed that they had the unsung heroes with the emergence of 15yr old Dylan Cozens.  Their grit, team-play, and hardwork of Tyler Wong and CO hung on for dear life and managed to outlast the attrition to injuries and skill of the Tigers team.

Tiger Overagers
As a longtime fan I feel so sorry for some of the overagers on this team. One minute they are battling in game 7 with expectations of at least another playoff round or two and the next second their junior hockey careers are over.

Steven Owre, Clayton Kirichenko, and Chad Butcher were all huge parts of this team. It still feels like yesterday when we were discussing in the comments how we thought both Owre/Butcher would turn out to be very good players after their 16 yr old years.

Clayton Kirichenko had an amazing year and improved leaps and bounds. IMO he turned out to be the best defenceman on this years squad hands down, and I would be shocked if  he isn't offered a pro deal. His game took off in the second half and I think he is worthy of a 3 year pro deal.

Brief Season Review

Tigers acquired 2 key pieces at the traded deadline in Michael Bullion and Jordan Henderson. Both players arrived on Hot streaks and it felt like the Tigers had solved some pieces to the puzzle. However by round 2 their Hot-Streaks had slowed  and they ran into a team determined to never say die.

Overall I'm slightly disappointed with the Tigers season. I think a successful year would be a 3rd round appearance. The Tigers were more talented than a round 2 exit.

The Tigers should be proud of all that they accomplished in the regular season. It is remarkably hard to win more than 50 games a season.  However in terms of overall satisfaction it leaves a bittersweet feeling.

Now this in my personal opinion, but I feel like they need to adapt their hockey philosophy and take a better look at their defensive side of the game.  They have the speed game down pat but I feel their coaches need to do a better job of teaching their players defensive smarts, positioning in the defensive zone and recognizing potentially dangerous situations. I feel that it has always been the Tigers biggest weakness and I feel that this weakness has cost them dearly the last couple seasons.

As a Tiger Fan who demands excellence, I am disappointed that I feel like this is the 3rd year in a row where they have slightly under-performed when it comes to their overall potential and talent level.

We enjoy and are greatly appreciative in the fact that the Tigers are competitive year after year, and that they have missed the 2nd round of the playoffs only twice in the last 15 years.

However is that what us fans really want? Second Round exits in the playoffs? It has now been 10 seasons since the Tigers have reached the WHL Final.

As a Tiger Fan I'm thankful for all the coaches have done, but I want a championship....
-TigerTurf



Wednesday, April 12, 2017

SERIES TIED 2-2

Tigers take a 3-2 OT win in game 4.
WOW, WHAT A GAME

That was a grind it out battle. The Tigers played really well, but were really unlucky in the first period

 First goal the Canes player actually lost the puck, and the Tigers accidentally kicked the puck right to Estephans' tape in the slot .

Second goal was a change up. Bullion was expecting a hard shot, but the shot was partially blocked right at release by a tiger stick. IT was a tricky shot.
---

 It feels like the Tigers changed the momentum of the series with that game. They were able to match the intensity of lethbridge, then they picked up their game. 
I thought The Canes legs started slowing during the second half of the game and the Tigers were able to get more chances after that.

Game 5 @ the Canalta Centre on Friday, cannot wait!!

Canes Take a 2-1 Series Lead

Thoughts
I re-watched the game and thought the Tigers played a pretty good first half of the game. Their defensive game I thought was a lot better than in game 2. Unfortunately it was their offensive game that suffered a little bit.

Hurricanes were 2/4 in the PP while the Tigers were 0/1. They need to be better disciplined and get their power-play clicking.

Bad-Luck Call
Kristians Rubins had a weak interference called against him. Unfortunately it was that bad call that changed the momentum of the game.

 A canes player basically cut Rubins off, slowed down and fell over on light body contact.
 Hurricanes managed to generate a lot of momentum off that powerplay and scored twice soon after.

Bluelines
The canes are attacking the Tigers at the blue-lines.  Almost every time the Tigers come up the ice they have 3 players at each blueline attacking the puck carrier. Hopefully the Tigers can notice this and have their players spread out or activate their defenceman to get through the muck.

The Tigers generate a lot of speed coming out of their zone from their own blueline and the canes have a good strategy  to try and slow them down.


Activating Defenceman East & West
One thing that the Tigers are really good at, that has disappeared a little, is with their east/west passing in the offensive zone.

The Tigers didn't do a good enough job going around the horn D to D and back down low to open up passing lanes and getting the canes out of position.

The canes were pretty content collapsing down really low giving up the point sometimes and the Tigers didn't do a good enough job to generate chances off that.

Faceoffs in Hurricanes zone.
They have a set play going where upon puck control their forwards are taking off down the ice near the boards for long stretch passes to get out of their zone. I guess that is a fairly common play but the Tiger forwards need to be aware of that and try and get into the middle of those passing zones to make those passes difficult.

Wishing the Tigers best of Luck in game 4!

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Tigers Off To Round Two

Brandon's playoffs only lasted 6 days. The Tigers knocked them out with a commanding 4-0 sweep of the series.

The Wheat Kings limped into the playoffs and were without their star Nolan Patrick for the whole series. Brandon was also without Tanner Kaspick for game 4, and lost veteran defenceman James Shearer early in the game.

Despite those key losses game 4 was Brandon's best effort.

Brandon thought they had tied game 4 with a buzzer beating goal; however, luckily for the Tigers the Buzzer had gone off about 1 second beforehand.

Game 1: 7-2 Tigers
Game 2: 5-3 Tigers
Game 3: 6-2 Tigers
Game 4: 3-2 Tigers

Tigers averaged 49 shots a game during the series.
David Quenneville led the way in points picking up 3 goals and 9 points during round one.

For the first time in a while everybody was healthy for the Tigers and it led to the scratching of veteran defenceman Brad Forrest only seeing 1 game of action in the series.


Round 2
The Tigers will now await the winner of the Red Deer Vs Lethbridge series.  The Series is going to a game 7 which will be played Tuesday night in Lethbrdige

Friday, March 17, 2017

Schneider Sent Home

Duncan McGovern is the backup tonight.

Lethbridge announcers just mentioned that the Tigers sent Nick Schneider home. At this point I haven't heard anything else about this situation.

Schneiders last game he let in 4 goals in 8 minutes after Bulllion was pulled against Red Deer. This situation is bizzare.

Edit: The MH News article stated it was for medical reasons.
http://medicinehatnews.com/sports/local-sports/2017/03/18/triple-digits/

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Tiger Clinch Central Division & Will Play Brandon in Round 1

Brandon In Round One
Looks like the Tigers first round opponent has been decided. Red Deer defeated Calgary last night and Brandon defeated Moose Jaw.

As a result the Eastern Conference Playoff Picture is almost all set, with just Calgary and Saskatoon fighting for the 8th spot where Calgary has a big 3 point lead with 2 games remaining.

Eastern Conference
Regina Vs Calgary/Saskatoon
Moose Jaw Vs Swift Current

Tigers Vs Brandon
Lethbridge Vs Red Deer

Moose Jaw and Swift Current face each other in the final 2 games of their regular season.



Remaining Games - Potential 2nd Round Preview
Tigers have 2 games left against Lethbridge which are meaningless for both teams in the regular season; however, these games could set the tone going into a prospective Round 2 match-up should both favorites win their respective First round series.

Playoff Schedule
Game 1: Friday March 24th, in MH
Game 2: Saturday March 25th in MH
Game 3: Tuesday March 28th in Dauphin
Game 4: Wednesday March 29th Dauphin
Game 5: Friday March 31st, in MH
Game 6: Sunday April 2nd, in Dauphin
Game 7: Tuesday April 4th in MH



Thursday, March 9, 2017

Playoff Chase

How The Chase Stands Prior to the weekend.

MH  (5 games in 9 days)
Edmonton x2
Red Deer
Lethbridge x2

Regina (6 games in 9 days) 
Moose Jaw x 2
Saskatoon
Swift Current
Brandon x2

Lethbridge (5 games in 9  days) 
Calgary x2
Kootenay
MH x2








Lethbridge
Tigers are too close to Lethbridge to say they will get a first round matchup against Brandon. Lethbridge is something like 23-4-2-1 since the Christmas break. Based on that record and their remaining schedule it will be unlikely if the playoff race has been decided before their season ending head to head matchup.

 The good thing is that the Tigers are in control of their destiny. The Tigers hold the first Tiebreaker(totals wins) so Lethbridge needs an extra point to overtake them.

Regina
The Tigers recent loss to MJ put a dent in their sails in their bid for 1st in the league. Regina has a 5 point lead with 1 game in hand. Right now it looks unlikely the Tigers will overtake them.. Regina does have a couple tough games against MJ this weekend so we will see what the weekend brings.

Regina had been outscoring opponents at a torrid pace of just over 5 goals scored a game for most of the season. They had a very intense 2nd half of the schedule. They recently completed a stretch of 15 games in 24 days.  They've lost a young 17yr old Jake Leschyshyn injured indefinitely earlier in february.

 As a result their scoring dipped from 5 goals a game to about 3.67 goals a game in their last 18.
I feel that their schedule and having players banged up is a big factor in their scoring decrease, but perhaps their young 17yr old was also big piece of the depth on their team.


Calgary/Red Deer/Saskatoon
Their was a big game on Wednesday where Saskatoon defeated Calgary 6-2. It gives Saskatoon a 3 point lead for the last wildcard spot.  However Calgary is also just as close to capturing the 3rd spot in the Central division, because they are only 4 points back of Red Deer, and those 2 teams still meet once next Wednesday.

That matchup has playoff implications for either Medicine Hat or Lethbridge; whoever, ends up as the 2nd seed.


TigerTurf's Potential Playoff Matchups
Tigers Vs Brandon  (70%ish Chance)   (status quo)
Tigers Vs Calgary   (4%ish)  (Calgary pulls ahead of red deer and the Tigers loose to Leth)
Tigers Vs Saskatoon (2%ish) (Tigers beat Regina or Saskatoon beats Brandon)
Tigers Vs Red Deer (24%ish Chance) ( Leth pulls ahead of MH)

This Weekend
This weekend the Tigers play Edmonton Twice. The Oil Kings have already been eliminated from the playoffs. However I would suspect the Tigers would want to hammer them hard seeing as the Oil Kings were the ones that eliminated the Tigers last Season in the TieBreaker Game.

Lethbridge plays Calgary twice. Calgary has a 1-2 record against lethbridge this season and the Hitman are fighting for their playoff lives.




Friday, March 3, 2017

Tigers Defeat Regina 6-4

WoW. The Tigers gave Regina their 3rd straight loss. This one initially appeared to be in Regina's hands as the Tigers didn't show up to play until mid-way through the second period. They also lost defenceman Kristians Rubins in the first 5 minutes.

First Period

Rubins Injured & Regina Scores
Kristians Rubins took an awkward hit in the corner and headed to the bench. Meanwhile Regina had turned on the puck and out-manned the Tigers down low. Regina's Austin Wagner would be the beneficiary as the Tigers looked a little confused to what had transpired on that play. A quick pass out from behind the net and Wagner beat Bullion from the slot.
1-0 Regina (Austin Wagner (28). Assists: #77 Adam Brooks, #15 Braydon Buziak)


First Period Summary
Chances: 7-3 Regina

Tigers were a little jittery. They had 2 bona-fida chances that missed. Unfortunately Rubins hasn't been back on the ice after the hit. The Tigers outshot Regina 12-10 but Regina was the better team.

Second Period

2-0 Regina (Nick Henry (32) scores. Assists: #6 Chase Harrison, #23 Sam Steel)
Doesn't start off any better. David Quenneville coughed the puck up in his own zone then went for a skate into the corner following a guy who didn't have a puck. Meanwhile Regina fired a slapshot on net which bullion stopped but the pats outmanned the Tigers at the net. The rebound went right off of Brad Forrest a couple inches away from the goal-line and Nick Henry had probably his easiest goal of the year.

3-0 Regina  (Josh Mahura (15) scores. Assists: #77 Adam Brooks)
Regina would go up 3-0 on a deflection from Matt Bradley. Josh Mahura threw a wrist shot towards the net and Bradley changed the direction at the bottom of the circle and tipped it passed Bullion

Tigers Call a TimeOut - They look like they spent the day reading newspaper articles and made themselves nervous. Their playing January hockey which isn't good.

3-1 Tigers Goal (Jordan Henderson (6) scores. Assists: #27 Mark Rassell)
Mark Rassell with some good work capturing the puck off a turn-over and runs into the zone. He finds the trailer Jordan Henderson who fires a wrist shot  top corner passed a screen Tyler Brown

3-2 Tigers Goal (Mark Rassell (33) scores. Assists: #28 Jordan Henderson, #16 Max Gerlach)
Tigers score a few minutes later. After a few straight shifts in the pats zone Henderson off the rush waits for the Trailer and finds Rassell coming in late. Rassell wires it in top shelf. Almost a carbon copy of their last goals except Rassell, and Henderson switched places.

4-2 Regina Goal  Sam Steel (45) scores
Ugg The Tigers have been pressuring lots lately and had the powerplay. Unfortuantely their momentum completely died when  Kirichenko coughed the puck up at the blue-line and the leagues leading scorer does what he does best and scored on the breakaway.


Second Period Summary
Chances 14-9 Regina

This was an up and down period. It was closer but Regina still had a small edge in scoring chances. The Tigers have given up 7 good scoring chances both periods. They need to cut this down if they want to win this game.

The Tigers started off the second looking a bit lost, then came on very strong towards the end of the period. They had all the momentum untill Sam Steel scored shorthanded.  Hopefully the Tigers can up their game in the third. It looks like Rubins is done for today he hasn't played since the 5 minute mark of the first period.


3rd Period 
The Pats start the period with the powerplay. The Bullion wall makes a big cross ice save and made it looked easy. After that the Tigers start putting on some pressure.

4-3  Tigers Goal Clayton Kirichenko (11) scores. Assists: #21 Chad Butcher, #11 Steven Owre +/-

The Tigers turned on a 4-2 and a pretty passing play put Kirichenko in front of the net with Tyler Brown and Connor Hobbs deked out on  their knees.

Hard Shot and a Fight
A Connor Hobbs onetimer almost took out Michael Bullion temporarily. Bullion took it off the body and was down for a couple minutes.

Chad Butcher took a big hit behind the net and Clayton Kirichenko took exception against Dawson Leedahl. Leedahl landed 2 solid shots which took down Kirichenko. Kirichenko had a good shot of his own go off Leedahl's visor.

Kirichenko would get the instigator penalty. I was thinking this seemed a little Ill timed, but the Pats had a little bit of momentum going, and giving them a PP would be risky. Luckily the Tigers killed it off and the momentum changed.

4-4 TIE  (Chad Butcher (24) scores. Assists: #39 Zach Fischer)
The Tigers get a very lucky goal. The puck squirted out from behind the net and into the feet of Josh Mahura. I've never seen a goal quite like this before.

 Mahura did a full 360 spin looking for the puck except the centripetal force kept the puck in his skates until he slowed down. Unfortunately for him he pin-balled the puck right through his own goaltenders Five-Hole.

5-4 Tigers Lead (Steven Owre (24) scores. Assists: #28 Jordan Henderson, #6 Dylan MacPherson )

Jordan Henderson took a shot from near the boards and Brown looked to have an easy save, but Steven Owre stuck his stick out and managed to tip the puck just inside the post.WoW

6-4 Tigers  (Zach Fischer (30) scores. Assists: #19 David Quenneville)
Fischer managed to score from near center ice a little while after Hobbs had hauled down Mason Shaw.

Chances 18-15 Regina
Game Summary
Puck luck turned a complete 180 this period. 4 Unanswered goals, including 3 in the last 6:15.

The Tigers weren't that great during the first half of the game and as a result Regina out-chanced them during the game.

The Tigers had a few unfortunate plays bite them in the butt which put them down 3-0 early. I felt like they were kinda struggling with their legs and their timing was a bit off during the first half of the game.

The Captain Kirichenko sure made up for his PP mistake to Sam Steel. He was an assist shy of a Gordie Howe hat-trick in the 3rd period. Scoring a goal and standing up for Chad Butcher after Butcher took a hard hit behind the net.

For the Tigers Dylan Macpherson and Jordan Henderson stepped up bigtime in the loss of Kristians Rubins. They both had ice against some very good players and were a combined +6.

What a roller-coaster type game.

Playoff Picture
That was a huge victory as Lethbridge also won and remain 4 points back. Tigers close to within 3 points of Regina, however Regina has 2 games in hand. The Tigers finish their 3 game road-trip in Moose Jaw tomorrow.

Lethbridge Games
Saskatoon
Edmonton
Calgary x2
Kootenay
Tigers x2

Tigers Games
Moose Jaw
Kootenay
Edmonton x2
Red Deer
Lethbridge x2



Regina Games
Calgary
Brandon x3
Saskatoon
Swift x2
MJ x2

Right now the Tigers are on pace to playing Brandon in Round 1 as the Wheat Kings have a pretty substantial 7th place lead.

However..
Their is a possibility that Lethbridge could catch up and the Tigers would face a Red Deer or Calgary.
Their is also a possibility that the Tigers could Catch Regina and play (Calgary,Saskatoon, Red Deer)

It isa bit ironic that if the Tigers move up or down instead of playing Brandon they would play calgary/red deer or saskatoon. Travel wise would seem a better match.


Friday, January 20, 2017

Tigers Defeat Regina 8-5

Regina's #1 goaltender Tyler Brown is out day to day with an injury. They called up 16yr old Max Paddock and gave him his 3rd career whl start.

First Period

Tigers start this game on fire....They had some good pressure to start the game in the pats zone.

Steven Owre gets the Tigers on the board on the PP with a top shelf shot.

Off a broken play James Hamblin flips the puck to the net and it rolls off the young Paddock's blocker. Mark Rassall somehow gets a stick on the rebound. Maybe a bit of luck off a young goaltender.

The next goal was a beauty by Mark Rassall.  Rassall completely undressed a recent acquisition for Regina in Dawson Davidson(from kamloops) in front of the net and poked the puck in five-hole passed Paddock.

The Tigers jumped out to a very quick 3-0 Lead.

Pats Comeback
Honestly the pats were really lucky here. Both goals were PP goals. Both penalties the Tigers took were accidental calls.

The one call was a high stick but they took the wrong player to the box. Kirichenko high sticked a pat  player on a back-hand follow through(which shouldn't be called)  They took the wrong player Matt Bradley to the box.

It was Connor Hobbs with a one-timed blast from the point with traffic in front that beat Schneider. Schneider just missed this one. It hit his blocker but the shot was hard enough that it was a glancing stop and deflected into the net.

Pats Second Goal
Macpherson accidentally tripped a pats player in the corner, Going for a pokecheck that hit the skate.

Here Sam steel walked the perimeter and passed over to Adam Brooks. The Tigers here resorted to some bad habits. Brooks was at the far boards, but none of the Tigers had their heads on a swivel, and Schneider didn't go post to post properly.

Brooks scored on a shot where he didn't get good wood on the shot from the boards. It could have been prevented.

Score: 3-2 Tigers

Final Chances:
I calculated the Tigers out-chanced the Pats 7-6

Second Period
It seems Connor Hobbs is a plus 1000 against the Tigers but he made a mistake on this one. He lazily went into his own end and made an outlet pass that was intercepted.

Some quick passing by the Tigers turned into a rocket shot by John Dahlstrom that the young Max Paddock probably should have corralled.

Sam Steel Show
Moments later Sam Steel would chase Nick Schneider from the net. A puck squirted out from the board and Steel was given an opportunity to fire a wrist shot from the slot.

Schneider lost his crease positioning and steel's shot beat Schneider stick side up high.
The Tigers pulled Schneider after this play

John Dahlstrom Show
The Tigers would reclaim a 2 goal lead.  In the high slot off a pass a hard shot Beat Max Paddock Blocker side. A negative of a younger goaltender in net. Dahlstrom's hard shots are proving tough for Paddock to stop.
5-3 Tigers

In this period the pats had a lot of pressure in the Tigers zone. Michael Bullion made a number of high quality saves to keep the Tigers in the game. If not for him this game might be tied. Tigers got away from their strong positioning that they displayed in the first period.
Total Prime Chances: 12-11 Regina.

Third Period
The pats opened up with a lot of pressure.Michael Bullion made a number of highlight reel saves, one which you will likely see in the WHL weekly Top Ten.  The Brandt Centre already had their red lights on, a darkened arena, and smoke going off behind the net before they realized Bullion made the save.

Pats Tie the Game
However the Pats kept pressing and would tie the game.
The pats 4th goal was complete luck. Jeff Dewitt was  turned around and attempted a pass though his legs. mason Shaw tried to stop the pass with his skates and he re-directed it past Bullion.
5-4 Tigers

Moments later  Zach Fischer was a little too slow getting back and left his man an opportunity to receive a pass in the high slot. Dawson Leedahl popped the puck in top shelf 5-5 TIE

Tigers Finish Strong
Another misplay by Connor Hobbs. he was pinching but got caught and no-one was covering for him. Steven Owre made him pay with a hard shot from the top of the circle which beat Max Paddock.
6-5 Tigers

Off a broken play Zach Fischer rang the puck off the post. The puck landed right in front of Paddock. Paddock momentarily put his glove over the puck but lifted it up, and the puck kept it's momentum going into the back of the net. 7-5 Tigers

Fischer also got an empty netter after Regina pulled their goaltender early.
Final Score 8-5 Tigers
Final Chances: 16-19 Regina

Summary
The Tigers started the game very well, perfect positioning but got extremely unlucky with 2 accidental penalties which resulted in Pats PP goals.

The Tigers took advantage of a young goaltender in net with 8 goals. Micheal Bullion came in relief of Nick Schneider and played outstanding hockey.

The pats out-chanced the Tigers in this one but Bullion made some very good saves which kept the Tigers in the game when Regina was pressing. Rassall, Owre, Dahlstrom, James Hamblin had very strong games for the Tigers.

This is likely a good confidence booster for most of the team beating the #1 team in the CHL without 2 of their better defenceman. The Tigers first period was one of their better periods they have played the past 10-15 games.