Friday, April 10, 2015

Hitmen Take 1-0 Series Lead

Don't know what to make of that game. I though the game flow was a bit lopsided in favor of the Tigers, but they kept shooting themselves in the foot at the end of their plays. As a result the finish wasn't their and they gave the hitmen some opportunities to score that shouldn't happen.

Breaking out of their own end and coming up through the nuetral zone the Tigers played really well but once they got into the offensive zone it was like dawn approaching  a horde of trolls, with everything turning to stone once they started thinking about taking a shot on net.

They came out of the gate with a lot of nervous energy. Couldn't quite get the handle of the puck, even langhamer suffered through it, with a couple goals along the ice he normally stops. The Tigers handed the Hitman an early 2-0 lead with a few bad giveaways, and credit to the Hitman for capitalizing on their chances as they didn't get very many. It's not often 14 shots on goal will win  a regular season game, let alone a playoff game.

Even though the Tigers were down 2-1 going into the third period it felt like they would overcome it, but somehow off a scramble play, the puck was in the back of the Tigers net.

Turnaround Play
For me the moment happened when Mack Shields somehow made a cross crease unbelievable glove hand save. That moment it could have been the backbreaker that tied the game and opened the floodgates

Next Up
Both teams get a day off and then they play back to back games in Calgary Sunday, Monday

Monday, April 6, 2015

Round Two Schedule

Game 1: Friday, Apr. 10/15 @Medicine Hat 7:30pm
Game 2: Sunday, Apr. 12/15 @Calgary 4:00pm
Game 3: Monday, Apr. 13/15 @Calgary 7:00pm
Game 4: Wednesday Apr, 15/15 @ Medicine Hat 7:00 PM

 It's going to be a weird schedule with the Tigers starting the series @ home, and game 2 taking place @ 4 PM.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Off To Round 2!!!!

Series Summary
Game 1 2-1 Tigers
Game 2 1-0 Tigers OT
Game 3 2-1 Rebels
Game 4 5-3 Tigers
Game 5 4-3 Tigers

First Two Games
For the first 3 games the series was a defensive slugfest. The ref's put their whistle's away and there wasn't much room out there to move. The rebels were hitting everything, both teams were taking care of defense first and is slowed the offensive chances to a crawl. The Tigers found out early that they would be forced to dump the puck on many occasions.

The Tigers themselves were committing to Defense, and received great goal-tending from Marek Langhamer. Despite not scoring many goals they were patient and didn't get frustrated staying away from the after the whistle rough stuff, and didn't shoot themselves in the foot.

 The first two games could have gone either way. The Tigers were fortunate to come out with both games. They capitalized on a couple chances and it was enough, as the Rebels had a real tough time scoring goals.  I though Conner Bleakley was a force in game 1. I thought after that the rebels captain wasn't as strong. I suspect he wasn't fully recovered from an injury, as he missed a lot of time late in the season, and Cole Sanford laid him out with a strong hit at the end of game 1.

In Red Deer For Games 3 & 4
The rebels were absolutely fired up in game 3, and in game 3 they hit their peak. They played great as a team and at this point it did look a bit scary that this series would go 7 games. They outplayed the Tigers, and squeaked by them with a 2-1 score.  I'd say the puck possession was probably 65-35 for them, and after this game it almost looked like they found the formula to stopping the Tigers.

Game 4 Series Turning Point
I'm pointing to game 4 for the series turning point because it was in game 4 where the Tigers were able to adapt to the Rebels intense forecheck and come out with speed.  In the second period it was all Tigers as they hounded chance after chance and potted 2 goals in the second period.

They did a lot better job at supporting each other away from the puck. I think they adapted to the rebels strong physical play, and were more prepared to take a hit to make the play. They did a better job at owning their own space and had some pushback winning more one on one battles, which the rebels had previously held a bigger edge.

Game 5
Was similar to Game 4 in terms of game flow, however the Tigers didn't help themselves getting into penalty troubles. They were a lot more aggressive and took 7 penalties. The game was more free-flowing and I think because of that the refs called a few more penalties. Despite the tie game into the 3rd period, it just felt like it was a matter of time before the Tigers would score again. The Tigers had more chances, and it felt like the rebels were just hanging on.

Then with 1:46 left in the game Trevor Cos sniped the game winner top corner glove side.

I thought the Rebels goaltender had a real tough night in the net. He was fighting the puck as evident by some of the rebounds and close calls that were happening. Their were a couple goals scored he might have liked to have back.

Tigers Win 4 Game to 1.

Next UP
They await the winner of the Calgary Vs Kootenay series. Kootenay won their last 2 games and are taking the Hitmen to Game 7 Monday night.

If Calgary wins the Tigers start on the Road. If Kootenay wins the Tigers will start at home!

Interesting Factoid: Since Willie Took the Helm in the 2002/2003 season the Tigers they have only failed to make it to round 2 just once in the last 13 years.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Tigers Split in Red Deer. 3-1 Series Lead

Game 3 (2-1 Loss)
It was very similar to the first two games. The rebels shut everything down and it was a pretty defensive hockey game.  The Tigers had troubles generating offense, and didn't play as well as they could have. The rebels outworked the Tigers, and jumped to a 2-0 lead, before Sanford potted a goal with 8 minutes remaining. Lewington hit the post late in the game.  I thought the Tigers were a bit soft in their play, and didn't own their space. They did a lot of reaching in from the outside, and numerous passes went astray.  Red Deer was the harder working team and deserved the win.

Game 4 (5-3 Win)
Thursday Night's game broke the standard mold we have seen. The Tigers came to play and were the better team in the last half of the first period and owned the second period. In the second the Tigers had chance after chance scoring 3 times and amassed an 18-7 shot advantage.  Their power-play went 0/4 but generated a ton of shots, and swung the momentum their way.

The Tigers did a much better job at throwing everything on net, and 2 of their goals were generated off rebounds with traffic. Cox scoring off a rebound on a bad angle shot, and Owre scoring off a Vannelli shot from the point.  Sanford scored in the first with a nice shot from the outside slot, and Hunt scored five-hole on a breakaway in the third after the rebels started out with a strong push.

The Tigers led 4-1 before the Rebels got a couple goals off just throwing the puck on net. Bleackley banked one in off a Tigers defenceman, and Wyat Johnson scored a shothanded goal tipping the puck mid air on a shot thrown towards the net.

Next Game: Saturday Night @ The Arena

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Tigers Take 2-0 Series Lead

Full Lineup
Both Hockey games were very physical, grind it out, bump and grind, defensive hockey.
For the first time all year the Tigers had a full complete lineup that lasted more than one period.  The Tigers had Tyler Lewington out for game one serving a 1 game suspension.
He was back for game 2, and the Tigers had three regulars as healthy scratches.

First Game
Tigers 2-1

Second Game
Tigers 1-0 OT

The Rebels made a lot of adjustments and sent in a very strong 2 forecheckers, trying to cut off the D to D passes that the Tigers used in game 1 to break out under pressure.  It wasn't until the rebels started tiring out and couldn't maintain that strong forecheck pressure when the Tigers offense started getting more chances.

Overall both teams offensive chances were very limited. A lot of blocked shots and not very many prime chances on either side.

In Game 2 I thought the rebels came out really hard, and were debatable the better team after two periods in game two. In the third period both teams looked like they were starting to tire out. In overtime the Tigers were getting chance after chance, and had all the momentum.

In overtime the Rebels came within inches of winning the game. A bit ironic that in the post-game during game 1 Langhamer mentioned that He liked Ty Stanton blocking shots, but not so much from Ty Schultz.  Well Schultz managed to get a partial stick on a puck that beat langhamer and as a result the puck hit in the post instead of going in the net.

The Tigers jaunted up the other way, and Trevor Cox managed to slide a bad angle shot in past Rylan Toth for the game winner.

Two extremely tough games, half and inch separated a even series. The Tigers haven't given up a goal yet, and are playing pretty stingy defensively and getting great goal-tending from Marek Langhamer. It looks like Connor Bleackley the Rebels star forward has some kind of shoulder/arm injury, he wasn't as effective in game two, as he was in game one.  He took a 4 minute spearing penalty late in the third period that the Tigers failed to take advantage of.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Tigers Vs Red Deer In Round One

Round One opponent decided. The Hitman scored with 5 minutes remaining in their game against Kootenay to win the central division penant.

As a result the Tigers finish 2nd in the division, 3rd overall in the conference, and will faceoff against the Red Deer Rebels in round one.

The Winner of the Tigers Vs Red Deer series will face the Winner of the Calgary Vs Kootenay series.

Tyler Lewington
One game for game misconduct versus Saskatoon on March 21
So the Tigers captain will miss the first game of the series.

Tigers Say Goobye To "The Arena"

Tigers Vs Saskatoon
The Game had an olden days type of feel to it, as the blades have long been ousted from the playoffs and were playing for pride. I thought it was classy of them wearing their old blades jerseys.

 The Tigers were still in the running to capture a Central Division Banner so they still had something to prove. The game turned out to be a pretty physical affair, with a lot of rough stuff after the whistle. The Tigers were hoping to come out unscathed with 2 points, but the victory tonight proved to be very costly.

Dryden Hunt was involved in an after whistle scrum and it looked like a few players fell on top of him. When he emerged from the scrum he was holding his arm/shoulder and skated gingerly back to the bench and didn't return. Chad Butcher also took a hit to the head and missed a couple shifts, but returned to the game.

Tyler Lewington Suspended
Tyler Lewington was very angry at the blades players after Linden Penner was pushed into the blades goaltender on a scoring chance. Lewington was involved in a fight at the goalmouth but the refs broke it up after a couple punches were thrown, he then managed to shake off a ref and then engage another blades player in a small tussle.  As a result he was handed 2 fighting majors, an instigator, a 10 minute misconduct, and a game misconduct. The Game misconduct is his 3rd of the season and warrants an automatic 1 game suspension. It is possible he picks up another game due to his actions in the game.

He had a crazy night. 1 Goal, 2 assists, +4 rating, and 32 PM's.

Marek Langhamer played the first 2 periods and Nick Schneider played the 3rd period. The Tigers ended the game on a 7 minutes penalty Kill.

Game Giveaways
The Game featured some beach-balls getting tossed around when the Tigers scored. The Tiger Girls were giving away lots of hats and shirts.

Their was a chance to shoot for $45,000 draw. The fan had to put the puck through a small opening, but didn't manage to pull it off.

The 50-50 was at a record $9491 dollars, which wasn't the season high. The season high was 10,515 but that was only after the previous game prize of $2700 went unclaimed.

Post-Game Ceremony
Their were some 67 alumni at the game and the Tigers honored them one by one, after a small slideshow of pictures.  (I think half of them play for the Calgary dinos)

Bob Ridley was the MC, and WHL Commissioner Ron Robison also spoke and made a great impression calling Tiger Fans the greatest fans in the WHL, and spoke about some of the records that are held by Tigers Players.

Brennan Bosch the Game 7 WHL championship  double overtime hero also spoke on behalf of the alumni.

Their were some videos of some historical and memorable moments from the past 45 years from the Tigers franchise. Also included were small snippets from current NHL'ers as well as Willie Desjardins, and Trevor Linden on what playing/coaching here meant to them!

At the end a new banner was raised. A banner commemorating the past 45 years of tiger hockey at The Arena. It was a very fun night and hopefully their are at least a couple more months of hockey left in the old barn!

Playoff Opponent
After a 72 game season it is still unknown. The Tigers await the fate of the Hitman vs Kootenay game sunday. If the Hitman fail to get 2 points the Tigers will play Kootenay. If the Hitman beat Kootenay, they will play Kootenay in the playoffs, and the Tigers will face Red Deer.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Scoreboard Watching

Updated March 18th
Tigers Games Left
Hitmen Games Left
Red Deer Games Left
Kootenay games Left

8th Place
The Combination of Edmonton losing and Kootenay winning, put Edmonton 3 points back of Kootenay with Edmonton only having 2 games left.  So This means that Edmonton falls into the unlikely category of being first round opponents of the Tigers. Kootenay needs just 1 point gained, or 1 Edmonton loss of points to clinch at least 7th. This means Edmonton moves to the likely category of finishing in the 8th place wildcard spot which would mean a first round Matchup against Brandon.

The Red Deer loss also puts them 3 points back of the Tigers and Calgary.

First Round Potential Matchup
Kootenay -  55%
Red Deer -  45%

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Stretch Run

So Once again while compiling the stats, part of the WHL site doesn't show up(This time the Scheduling system). This has happened quite frequently during the season clicking on player names, or schedule links.  I have long since changed all my bookmarks to   as their "backup" or old site is much more reliable. Frustrating to use.

Playoff Picture

Tigers Games Left
Ktn(A), EDM(H), PA(H), PA(A), SASK(A), SASK(H)
Hitmen Games Left
RD(A), Leth(A), Leth(H), RD(H), KTN(A) KTN(H)
Red Deer Games Left
Kootenay games Left
MH(H), RD(A), Leth(A), CGY(H), CGY(A)
Edmonton Games Left
Leth(A), MH(A), RD(H), RD(A)

First Round Opponent?
It is almost guaranteed that the Tigers won't know their first round playoff opponent until the last game of the season. Calgary and Kootenay play a home and home, Red Deer and Edmonton play a home and home. Those points will effect the standings by a huge degree.

At this point it is still up to the Tigers control on where they will finish. 4/6 games against non-playoff teams.  If they finish 2nd it will likely Red Deer, If they finish 1st it will be either Kootenay or Edmonton. At This point I'd say its Even Stevens on all 3 teams on possible opponents.

Kootenay holds the Tiebreaker over Edmonton. The Tigers currently hold the Tiebreaker over Calgary. Both calgary and the Tigers play 3 games in 3 nights this weekend.

New playoff Format
This system benefits a high seed team in a lower calibre division. If we look at the other division Brandon is licking their chops @ their position. They will play the 7th (conference seed) in round one, then either the 8th/5th (conference seed) in round two if they make it that far. If they play like they can, they will be well rested for whoever pops out of the central division.

Saturday, March 7, 2015


Tonight's game vs. Kootenay is delayed by 1 hour due to mechanical difficulties with the Ice's bus.

VIA Medicine Hat Tigers Facebook