Sunday, April 6, 2014

Tigers Face Elimination Series Tied 3-3

Well Games one and Two were pretty similar, but exactly opposites with how they played out. In game One it was Kootenay tieing the game  and winning the third period. In Game two it was the Tigers tieing it up, and winning the third period.

Game One

It was a pretty tight affair. Kootenay started the game very quickly scoring 1:50 into the game. The Tigers were able to take the lead with 2 goals by the top line with Cox and Sanford scoring on the powerplay. After that the Tigers offensive chances really dried up, and it was a big battle to get out of their end. By the time they had the puck they were often gassed. Kootenay's Rinat Valiev would score the game winner with just under 7 minutes to play.

Jake Doty was suspended one game for his instigator and fight at the end of the game. It started when Tyler Lewington ran over a kootenay player at the end of the game fairly soon after a faceoff. Their were 3 Tigers right overtop of him and Ice player Austin Vetterl came to his rescue pushing into the scrum. Vetterl kinda took on the wrong guy though as it was Doty and Labelle pushing back.....  Doty dropped the gloves threw a couple punches and Vetterl dropped his gloves as well, but quickly turtled after Doty was feeding him shots.    

Even in the Swift series the Refs were watching Doty closely. Doty is one to step in and defend his teammates, or get on someones case after they become a nuisance and the refs are really pinpointing and cracking down on him for the 3rd man in.

Game Two
Was pretty similar to game one, except the Tigers started adjusting to some of the stuff Kootenay was doing to lock them in their own end. I thought it was a game changer and opened up the Tigers offensive chances..   

Kootenay sends that first forward in their as fast as possible, and his sole job is to lay a hit, and get the Dman to make a rushed pass. IF the kootenay attacker is successful the Tigers start their breakout from near or behind the net and Kootenay's "offensive trap" locks them in their own zone with guys in passing lanes, and the second attacker coming in puts strong pressure on the winger to turn the puck over. It resulted in a lot of grind them out board battles, and some Kootenay Chances in the slot area.  Marek Langhamer has been playing phenomenal hockey to keep the Tigers in it.   In Game Two in the third period we saw the Tigers able to breakout from this offensive trap.

I think the winner of the series will be whoever is able to outmaneuver the other team in this chess match. Kootenay gets quite a few offensive chances off of this, and if the Tigers can minimize that kind of damage it wouldn't hurt their chances. You can bet both teams will be working on these areas during the 2 days they have off.

A positive note is that the Tigers were able to hold Reinhart, and Descheneau to 0 points in the first two games. 

Up Next: The Tigers visit Cranbrook Wednesday and Thursday for Games 3 and 4. 

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Kootenay Thoughts

In general the regular season doesn't mean much in terms of playoff success, however you usually can take the last 15-20 or so  games played as an indication of how the matchups will stack up. The Tigers played twice in Kootenay losing 5-2 both times, however over the course of the season neither team won in the other teams building this year.

Kootenay's Top scorers Sam Reinhart,  Jaedon Descheneau and Phillip/Franko did the Majority of scoring for the could compare that to the Tigers Valk/Sanford/Cox line who did the majority of scoring for the Tigers.

Kootenay's goaltender Mackenzie Skapski struggled a little in the Hitmen Series. He was pulled in games 3 and 4, and their backup Wyatt Hoffin finished the series with back to back wins. It will be interesting to see if they go back to Skapski or if they ride the hotter goalie in Wyatt Hoffin.. The Tigers faced Hoffin once back on January 29th with  a 6-2 win at the arena.

Injuries Edit: March 3rd
Gavin Broadhead, Anthony Ast, Hunter Shinkaruk weren't able to play a game in the first round. Steven Owre returned for the last couple games and saw lowered Ice Time.

Anthony Ast
The Newspaper had an article today which mentioned that Ast will likely be ready to go for Game 1.

Broadhead remains a bit of a mystery he may be out for a bit yet.

For Kootenay Tim Bozon has just been discharged from the hospital 4 days ago following a bout of meningitis. He will be flying back to France and entering a  sports rehabilitation clinic in the southwestern town of Capbreton.

Defenseman Tanner Faith is out with an upper Body injury who was listed as out for 3-5 months on the last WHL Injury Report, so it looks unlikely that he will be available.

Left Winger Ryan Chynoweth also appears out. The last WHL report says he was out indefinitely and did not play in the Calgary Series.

Kootenay Received Landon Cross back from injury In Game 3, and Landon peel back from injury in game 2.

Special teams
In round one Kootenay racked up 36 powerplay opportunities and scored 11 times on the powerplay, for a staggering 30%. The Tigers were 12.5% scoring twice in 16 opportunities. Going on past history the Ice always seem to score very timely special teams goals.

At the Arena I remember at times the Tiger controlled large parts of the play, but Kootenay somehow stuck around and timely goals made it close.  When the Tigers are playing well their game is spread out, with the defenseman jumping up if needed on the breakout, often able to carry the puck out themselves.....When they don't play well they bunch up and limit themselves to only 1 or 2 passing options in their own zone.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Tigers Move On To Round Two

Tonight it was more of the same. A tight-checking, battle for every inch, type game. I thought the Tigers were doing a very good job at getting the puck out on the first try preventing Swift Current from sustaining momentum.

A knuckle puck shot from the blue-line, which may have been deflected in was the only goal to beat Marek Langhamer.

Curtis Valk rifled a howitzer in off of Etu Laurikainen's glove and it trickled into the net giving the Tigers some extra juice in the third period.

The air was let out of the building when Chad Labelle potted his first of the series with only a couple minutes left in play. Their was a big scramble in front and Labelle was loose in the slot and looked to slide the puck in along the ice.

Series Thoughts
Give credit to swift for battling back into the series. Laurikainen played phenomenal giving the broncos every opportunity to win.  I thought this was a great series both teams played well defensively and the Tigers proved to generate a little more offense than what Swift Current could muster.

Up Next
Kootenay upset the Calgary Hitmen so the Tigers will get Home Ice for Round 2. The series will likely start this weekend at the Arena.

Kootenay has a big 1-2 punch in Sam Reinhart and Jaedon Descheneau, who managed to light up the Hitmen with 17 points each in 6 games.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Tigers Take 2-0 Series Lead

Game 1: 2-1 Tigers Victory
Game 2: 4-2 Tigers Victory

With the Injuries to Steven Owre and Gavin Broadhead, the Tigers were virtually playing with 3 lines for the first two games. The Young kids Allan, Mowbray, and Mathew Bradley drew in for the rare shift every once in a while. Sometimes getting thrown out with a veteran or two.

Both teams Top Two Lines received a ton of ice-time.

Game One
I really liked the Tiger's overall game. I thought their defensive play, and the ability of their defenseman to skate the puck out of their own zone was outstanding.

I thought the Tigers controlled big portions of the game. Swift Current's was unable to get any sustained pressure, as it was often one and done and the Tigers did an excellent job at getting the puck out of their zone on the first try.   I thought they forced the Broncos into numerous unforced errors, and made them hesitate on their decision making. I thought the Tigers had a lot more zone-time and the 2-1 score was semi-flattering to the broncos.

Game Two
Started out the same way game one did, except this time the Tigers didn't take a couple early penalties and it earned them a big shot advantage early in the game. They pressured early but the Tigers didn't have as many good quality scoring chances.

Unlike last Game Swift Current starting pressure in the mid-way point in the game. They started sustaining a little bit of pressure and had a little more zone time that the Tigers did. t

Late in the second period Swift Current took 2 penalties within 13 seconds of each other and it gave the Tigers a 5 on 3 powerplay for 1:45. Miles Koules would scored a HUGE goal to give the Tigers a 2 goal cushion at that point.  Swift Current had just started turning on the jets and this goal helped stave off their building momentum and switched it back into the Tigers Favor.

The Third period I'd say was the first period Swift Current won in the series. It was a nail biter as they scored 2 goals within 3 minutes to TIE the game.

Chad Butcher would score his 2nd consecutive game winner putting in a tight angle shot off a rebound to put the Tigers up 3-2, With 7 minutes left, and Trevor Cox potted an empty netter to seal the game 4-2.

Swift Current generated some momentum off of game 2, as they had the Tigers on their heels towards the end of the game.

I listened to a post game interview from the Bronco's Assistant Coach and he seemed a bit frustrated about how the Broncos' were unable to make plays once they crossed into Tiger's territory and wanted more out of some of this veteran players.

The Broncos liked to enter the zone from the outside and crashed the net and I think the Tigers were very prepared for this.  The Tigers gave a lot of Ice-Time to their top 6 and it made Defensive Line matching difficult for the Broncos because the Tigers had so much sustained pressure in the first few games. They were also able to lay a few good Hits on Julius Honka and got him to cough up the puck before he could skate it out.

It is possible that the Tigers will see Steven Owre back for Game 3. He is still Day to Day, but the coaches said he might be ready to go for Tuesday's game.

Swift Current is a different team in their own barn, as they had a .708 record during the regular season. The Tigers beat them their once 7-3 late in the season, as well as a 4-3 loss.

Game 3 Goes Tuesday 7:05 in Swift Current.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Blues Sign Vannelli

ST. LOUIS – St. Louis Blues President of Hockey Operations and General Manager Doug Armstrong announced today the club has signed defenseman Thomas Vannelli to an entry-level contract.
Vannelli, 19, has dressed in 59 games for the Western Hockey League’s (WHL) Medicine Hat Tigers this season, posting 41 points (14 goals, 27 assists) and 34 penalty minutes, while ranking second on the club with nine power-play goals.

Last season, the 6-foot-2, 165-pound defenseman recorded two points (one goal, one assist) and four penalty minutes in 11 games with the U.S. National Development Team of the United States Hockey League (USHL).

The Minnetonka, Minnesota native was originally drafted by the Blues in the second round, 47th overall, of the 2013 NHL Draft.

Because Vanelli was drafted out of the US, it is possible that he plays in the AHL next year. (even though next year he is only 19)

 The Blues have a lot of defensive depth in their minor league system so he could still very well return to the Tigers next year.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Playoffs Round One

With the Last Game in the Season Swift Current Overtakes Kootenay with a victory over Moose Jaw.

Game 1: Swift Current @ Medicine Hat   Friday, March 21                7:30
Game 2: Swift Current @ Medicine Hat   Saturday, March 22           7:30
Game 3: Medicine Hat @ Swift Current   Tuesday, March 25            7:00
Game 4: Medicine Hat @ Swift Current   Wednesday, March 26       7:00
Game 5: Swift Current @ Medicine Hat   Saturday, March 29           7:30 *
Game 6: Medicine Hat @ Swift Current   Sunday, March 30              7:00 
Game 7: Swift Current @ Medicine Hat   Tuesday, April 1                 7:00 *

Curtis Valk Wins the WHL Hardest Working Player of the Year Award. Congrats Curtis!!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

2 Games Left

Last Edit: March 13th

Friday's Game In Lethbridge Re-scheduled For Sunday @ 4:00 PM

Remaining Games

Leth @ Tigers   .230 March 15th
Tigers @ Leth   .230  March 16th

One week left in the regular season.

Tigers  Clinch Home Ice

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Tigers Defeat Brandon 6-1

Just a quick brief summary.

A very good game by the Tigers. They took control of the game from the opening shift and never let go. Curtis Valk's opening goal put him on a 15 game point scoring streak.

The Tigers were down sparkplugs Chad Butcher and Gavin Broadhead to injuries and are listed day to day.

It was great to see Koules with a 4 point night as he hasn't hit the score-sheet and hasn't looked himself the last couple games on the road trip. That first goal gave him his confidence back. Markus Eisenschmid also had a good game for himself and is on a season high 3 game point streak.

I don't know why but it seems like Sanford gets 3-4 prime scoring chances every game. The refs reviewed a play where it looked like the puck was in Curtis Honey's pads which were in the net...after a review it was deemed no goal and he received a penalty shot and was stopped trying to go five-hole.

Anthony Ast came very close to getting a hat trick.


I thought after the first period Brandon came out hitting in the second but they couldn't really sustain strong enough pressure. The Tigers were using quick passing plays to get out of their zone, and their accurate passing transition game led to quite a few rushes up the ice with speed. A lot of guys played well including Marek Langhamer. He did't get tested too often, but the few chances Brandon had Marek stopped some high quality shots.

Up Next: Tiger play in Red Deer tomorrow.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Edmonton Defeat Tigers 5-1


First Period
I thought the Tigers got off to a very good start. They started the game outshooting Edmonton 7-0, with a 1-0 lead, before the Oil Kings showed up to play hockey.

Some good linematching led to the Tigers first goal, as the Oil Kings top D pairing was tired, and out came the Tigers top line. Valk got his stick on a point shot tipping it past Tristan Jarry.

2nd and Third
I thought the second and third periods were controlled largely by the Oil Kings. They finished every hit, and went out of their way to make sure they finished every hit, and it really slowed the Tigers forwards down.

Instead of coming out 3 was 1 or 2 against 3 and a dump in.    You could see it on the ice they were struggling in the 2nd and had no legs in the third period. Perhaps it was because of their 3rd game in 4 nights, but I think the Oil Kings finishing their checks also had a lot to do with it as well.

The Tigers have been playing decent hockey as of late, but tonight wasn't a good night for them.
This loss further pushed a nail into a coffin with their hopes of getting first pace. It puts the Oil Kings 7 games ahead, with 21 remaining in the schedule...The Tigers do play the Oil Kings 3 more times.

The Radio guys were giving a lot of credit to Tristan Jarry, and while he did play well, the Oil Kings also hit 3 posts, and they held the edge in the flow of play.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Rockets Defeat Tigers 5-4

Well I thought tonight the better team lost, and I think that is a really good sign considering Kelowna is rated the #1 team in Canada.

The Tigers got more prime scoring chances than the rockets. They buried a couple but were still a bit snake-bitten around the net. Marek Langhamer in his first game back had an up and down night stopping a couple really good shots, but let in 2 weak goals that he knows he should have had.

I thought the Tigers could have used a timely powerplay goal. They have fallen to 19th overall on the PP.

Career Firsts
Their were 2 firsts tonight. Newcomer Anthony Ast scored a goal on his first shot on net, making it his first goal as a Tigers. Kyle Becker got into his first WHL fight against rocket Carter Rigby who got the better of Becker is a very short fight.

I thought a lot of guys played really well tonight, except I thought Tommy Vannelli played like he was tired.
The Tigers built a 3-0 Lead after one period, but let off the gas, and let Kelowna back into the game. Kelowna scored 5 straight goals until the Tigers scored their 4th and were pressuring very heavily as the game ended.