Saturday, February 27, 2010

Blazers Avenge 12-5 Loss

Blazers defeat Tigers 6-3

Disappointing game tonight. Penalty troubles cost them late in the game.

A Few Notes:
Linden Vey one of the Tigers best players decided to meet his quota of 1 hit every 2 games, and he happens to hit someone from behind seconds after the Tigers just killed a penalty off. Unfortunately Taylor Gal also made a bone-headed hit and it resulted in Kamloops scoring the game winner on a 5-3 man advantage

IMO Vey hasn't been bad but he hasn't been himself lately, and I believe he can play better.

The Bad
Mark Isherwood has really plain sucked as of late. I've been hesitant to pick on Isherwood because he sometimes gets undeserved flak from everyone else. But his effort level and some of his decision making have been extremely poor. The first Blazer goal where Chase Schaber walked around him was pretty bad. Enough is enough
IMO he has regressed from last year.

Taylor Gal used to be a player where every game you would be amazed at the smarts and patience he showed on the Ice. Now he looks like a lazy player, who loses a lot of puck battles. He went from a point-per-game player to 3 points in his last 11 games.

Emerson Etem.... the pressure of being a potential first round NHL pick must have gotten to him. I dont see how any scout would believe he is a first round pick after watching him the last 3 weeks. He has disappeared, with the exception of a couple good shifts tonight. 4 points in last 11 games. He needs to step up his game.

Matt Mackay..1 assist in the last 10 games...

The bad continued....
Tiger Trap
The trap. Why is a speed team immediately laying of the gas and backpedaling to center ice when the other team has control of the puck? I understand if their protecting a lead late in the game, but in the first and second periods??? even when their behind a goal or two?? this confuses me.

I have seen the Tigers trap constantly shredded over and over this season. Look at the second period of last nights game against Kootenay. The Tigers worked that 2-1-2 system and gave kootenay all sorts of trouble being aggressive and cutting off passing angles before Kootenay hit the blueline.

Everytime I see the tigers backing off to center ice I shudder. IMO the tigers struggle when they aren't being aggressive in the attacking zone.

The Good
Thomas Kundratek I think he has stepped up his game a notch or two. HE has won a ton of puck battles in his own end, and has shown his ability to get hit hard along the boards and still maintain control of the puck. He has also fixed his problem of getting caught out of position. He has came out of the rut he was in and is looking like someone who should be playing in the AHL.

Bretton Cameron has gotten over his scoring dryspell and is doing what he does best, by working his butt off. He has laid some incredible bone-crunching hits lately as well.

Wacey Hamilton, Thomas Carr, Joey Frazer, have had consistent good games.

Scott McKay...The Tigers have started using him often as of late, and he has looked real good. I like his smarts and work ethic, he is only 17, perhaps a bit of a late bloomer, although he hadn;t been given much of a chance earlier with limited ice-time.

Cole Grbavac, Kale Kessey, and Dylan Bredo - they looked real good tonight. They saw 4th line minutes but played 75% of their ice time In the Kamloops end.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Wowowowee Tigers Defeat Ice 5-3

Can I just say its about time they stopped sitting back and started playing aggressive hockey again. For those of you that missed the game Tonight was a highly entertaining affair. Big hits, including the Tigers making 5-6 straight bone-crunchers right from the drop off the puck.

The Tigers grinded out the first period, went to attack mode in the second period, then after fighting some tough calls and PP goals from Kootenay, they made a nice tic tac toe play to score the game winner with a wide open net, and added an empty net goal. The refs were going back and forth calling either the initial penalty or the retaliation penalty, and I would assume both teams were a little frustrated with the calls.

Mark Isherwood, and Taylor Gal were involved in some fights. Isherwood beat up on Kootenay's Christian Magnus, and Taylor gal did very well in his fight Taking on a much biggger opponent in 6'4 Joey Leach, after he nailed Joey Frazer from behind.

The game was very physical, very chippy, and both teams were throwing slashes, and cross checks throughout the game.

Kootenay Has a very hot headed goalie, he doesn't like players skating near his crease, as he threw out multiple chops to the back of tigers legs in front of the net. I was a little surprised the ref was letting that go.

Their was one play where either Kale Kessey, or Cole grbavac skated behind the net to retrieve the puck while Kootenay's goaltender was behind the net attempting to pass it around out the otherside. One of them gave gave the goalie a slight shoulder as he walked by and Mathews made a big show of it, and the only penalty given out was to Kootenay's goaltender for diving.

Also Another thing of Note Jace Coyle wired a shot from the point, it went off one post, across the goaline hit the other post, and back out. They reviewed the play and called it no goal.

Red Deer lost tonight, so the Tigers jump back into a 5th place Tie, Red Deer with 1 game in hand. Kootenay Remains 5 points in front(2.5 games), both with 7 games remaining. Kootenay takes on Lethbridge tomorrow.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Team Canada/Tigers Schedule Conflicts Again

Friday Night the Tigers take on Kootenay at 7:30 PM. At the exact same time Canada will face off against the Slovaks in their Semi-Final matchup.

Playing for team Slovakia will be former Tigers forward Martin Cibak.

Best of the East Poll.

This is a copy taken the "White Board" which was published by Bruce Luebke in the Brandon Sun.

For the Poll's Full Results go here. I felt guilty for copying the whole thing, So I just included the results that involved the Tigers.

Emerson Etem Medicine Hat
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins Red Deer
Toni Rajala Brandon
Note: Top three rookie scorers in the
Eastern Conference.

Emerson Etem Medicine Hat
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins Red Deer
Quinton Howden Moose Jaw
Note: There was some thinking outside
the box here with several undrafted
20-year olds garnering votes but, in the
end, the young guys won out.

Mark Holick Kootenay
Willie Desjardins Medicine Hat
Lorne Molleken Saskatoon
Note: Interesting that Holick out-legs the
Canadian junior team coach for the
honour. Brandons Kelly McCrimmon
ended up No. 4 in the voting.

Carter Bancks Lethbridge
Wacey Hamilton Medicine Hat
Brent Raedeke Brandon
Note: Bancks is also captain of the
Hurricanes so he brings a lot to the table.

Medicine Hat
Moose Jaw
Note: There were no specifics given so
reasons could range from travel required,
the crowd, the building or, simply, the
quality of the opponent.

Swift Current
Medicine Hat
Note: Apparently theres some work to
do at Westman Place. Brandon was
nearly shut out in this category,
garnering only a pair of third-place votes

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Scoreboard Watching

The Rebels have defeated the Calgary Hitmen 5-4 in a shootout tonight and gained sole possession of 5th place by 2 points with 1 game in hand. The tigers slip to 6th

The Rebels play Calgary again on Friday.
What the playoff picture looks like now.

Stay ahead of Red Deer and the Tigers will probably* get to face Kootenay in the first round. Fall behind and they get to take on one of the big 3 (Brandon,Calgary,Saskatoon)

*It is worth mentioning that Kootenay still has an outside shot of catching the Big 3.

The Whl weekly report states that Bretton Cameron has returned from injury

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Kootenay defeats Tigers 3-1

At last minute I decided to go to the game. The attendance on the whl gamesheet says 4006. But I'm guessing there were only 1800-2000 people there. The arena was dead EMPTY.

The fans that did skip they game all they missed was another frustrating effort with a bundle of miscues and poor timing when a scoring chance developed.

Kootenay won 65-70% of the puck battles, and played a much much smarter game.

A lot of Kootenay's players have the hitting instincts of a player like Kale Kessey, and it contributed to the Tigers getting of their game. Kootenay didn't have an amazing game they just played a much smarter hockey game.

The Tigers are playing exactly the way they did last season after the Christmas break. Capable Beating the mediocre teams but have a real tough time with the good hockey teams.

They need to get back to the basics, or Kootenay will defeat them next friday just as they did tonight.
With that loss I cant see the Tigers getting Home Ice in the first round. 7 points back with 8 games remaining, Kootenay only needs to win at a .500 pace to clinch home ice.

Couple thoughts
One thing I thought that would help things is to move their neutral zone trap up 10-15 feet. Create more of a panic in the opponents D-zone, and force their defensman to make difficult decisions near the middle of the circles, to cut off the angles.

More D to D passes if there are no passing options present, with proper support.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Tigers Shut out Warriors 4-0

Bretton Cameron was scratched due to injury I assume. Although I heard rumours about a flu grasping hold on a couple players.

I thought Tyler Bunz had a strong game tonight earning his second shutout. He looked real confident out there. His body language gave the impression that he wasn't letting anything past him even more so towards the end of the game.

The Warriors had their chances but couldn't capitalize. The warriors had the Tigers on the ropes at times, however I thought the Tigers defenders were doing an excellent job at whacking away rebounds and tieing guys up.

The Tigers defenseman stepped up at key opportunities to score some timely goals. 3 of the 4 Tiger goals were scored by tigers D-MEN.

I thought that Taylor Gal, and Matt MacKay have struggled as of late. They need to pick up their game to provide that depth the Tigers boasted earlier in the season

I thought the Warriors were really throwing their weight around especially in the second period. Kale Kessey took notice and laid out a Moster hit on a warrior defender and then a fight with Dylan McIlrath.

I thought the Tigers played slightly above average overall. They played a very solid first period. I thought the Warriors won the second period and had about 3-4 prime scoring chances in the third period.

The next 2 Tiger Home Games are against the Ice. You could say this is a do or die for Home Ice. A pair of tiger wins against Kootenay would put them 1 point back with the Ice holding 1 game in hand.

The tigers might as well pretend that this is game 6 with kootenay having a 3-2 series lead. Because its a fight for home ice and the Tigers might very well be in this position later down the road.

Pair of Weekend Games

While the Tigers remained Idle during the week. The rebels have managed to catch up in the standings. Red Deer defeated Prince George last night and is now tied with us in 5th place with 74 points each. Red Deer has 1 game in hand.

Tigers vs Moose Jaw
Two struggling teams will take to the ice Saturday in Medicine Hat when Moose Jaw pays a visit. Moose jaw is holding on to the last playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. The Warriors are 3-6-0-1 in their last 10 games. They are on their last game of a 7 game road trip which saw them take on the 5 U.S division teams.

I understand that Moose Jaw has a very quick group of forwards, and a pretty good top 2 lines. Sometimes they have difficulty in putting together a full 60 minute effort every game

Tigers Vs Kootenay
The Tigers take on the Kootenay Ice on Sunday. I haven't decided yet but I'm leaning towards skipping the game in favor of watching the Canadian Olympic team take on the U.S.A.

From what I understand Kootenay has developed a bad habit as of late having slow starts out of the gate. The Tigers will need to try and pounce early. Todd Mathews Their starting goaltender is very capable of stealing games.

Injury Situation
The whl website lists both Bretton Cameron and Wacey Hamilton as day-to-day, with shoulder and leg injuries.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Scoreboard Watching

It looks like the Rebels are really making a push to pass the Tigers in the standings.
The rebels are 2 points back with 3 games in hand.

The rebels have a game tonight in Saskatoon a win would tie them with the Tigers in the Standings. The rebels play the Tigers one more time in the regular season

There is still an outside chance of the Tigers catching up to Kootenay in the standings, but they would need to win all 3 games outright against the Ice, and then hope the Ice loose their 2 games in hand.

edit: The rebels got squashed 8-1 by Saskatoon. They remain 2 points back with 2 games in hand.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Wheat Kings Down Tigers 5-1

I didn't hear what happened to Bretton Cameron but he was a scratch for tonight's game. Apparently Wacey Hamilton left the game in the third period with a leg injury

I wasn't expecting the Tigers to win tonight but I'd hope they'd at least make it entertaining. The Tigers appeared to gain a little bit of momentum near the end of the second period, however Brandon scored a quick goal to start the third and they didn't look back.

Willie was trying all sorts of line combos trying to get something going. I thought Brandon completely controlled the game, with the exceptions of 5-6 minutes near the end of the second period Someone call Austin Powers because someone has stolen the Tigers mojo.

I noticed a couple bad habits that they seem to be developing. On the powerplay one person is hanging on to the puck too long letting the other team get their box set after every pass.

Their passing decision have been just terrible. In the offensive zone the unforced errors they are committing is very frustrating to watch.

That's also their third straight game with a too many men on the ice penalty. Something which the Tigers had been fairly good at avoiding.

I think when a team is really struggling offensively they just gotta start throwing everything at the net, looking for rebounds and make it hard for the goalie to see the shot. Eventually something will give way. As a team their confidence looks a little lost. The important thing is to look back after every shift and ask yourself did I keep my feet moving, and give my best effort?

Their are only 10 games left in the regular season.

Broncos Defeat Tigers 4-1

I didn't watch the game, but it was an even 1-1 game until, the broncos broke out of their scoring slump and potted 3 goals in the third period.

That makes just 1 Tiger win in their last 6 games, and it wont get any easier for them Sunday when the Wheat Kings pay a visit. Brandon has been on a hot streak lately earning at least 1 point in each of their last 10 games.

Brandon has a fast aggressive team that keeps coming at you. When they smell blood they will sometimes doubleshift their top 2 lines for extreme pressure. The tigers will get their chances only if they use their quick neutral ice transition game. The Tigers will have to try and limit the panic in their own zone by making sure the puck gets chipped out passed their blueline, and making sure 2 forwards are always helping out backchecking. Adding a few PP goals wouldn't hurt either.

Scoreboard Watching
The Home ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs seems to be slipping away pretty fast. Kootenay has 3 points and 3 games in hand on that last spot. (The Tigers still get to play the Ice 3 times)

Furthermore adding Fuel to the Fire, the Red Deer Rebels have gained a ton of ground on the Tigers. The rebels are 4 points back with 3 games in hand.

As of right now it is impossible to predict who they will play in the first round of the playoffs. If the Tigers play well down the stretch it will probably be kootenay. However if the Tigers play mediocre or poor, it could easily be Brandon, saskatoon or calgary.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Blades Defeat Tigers 5-3

Frustrating game to watch. It seemed like it was just an off night for the forwards, even Linden Vey had a rare bad game. There were a ton of missed passes and they shot themselves in the foot taking unnecessary penalties. Actually I thought the Defensman played pretty well, but the forwards with a couple exceptions played pretty poor.

I was disappointed that Kale Kessey's ice time has been reduced. He rises up the the challenge in physical contests. What happened when he was given a shift on the top line? they scored a goal.

They should bring back that that infamous powerplay when they made that run to the memorial cup, or just start loading up on point shots with traffic because their powerplay has been painful to watch.

These guys look a little worn out to me.....

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Tigers Defeat Raiders Handily 6-0

I thought the Tigers looked rather good in the first period. Everyone was working really hard, and for a change they were rewarded with 3 goals in the first period. After that they just set it on Cruise Control. I was especially pleased with Linden Vey's backchecking. Every shift he is the first forward back in the zone.

Tyler Bunz with his first shutout in the whl
. Hopefully its a first of many.
I have been pleased with the Performance of Cole Grbavac. A good majority of the battles are won by putting yourself in good body position, and I thought Grbavac displayed that skill off tonight.

I thought the Veteran Players played pretty well. I bet Willie called that Timeout in the third to remind the players that Bunz was still looking for his first shutout.

Tristan King had a very nice goal whacking the puck out of mid-air and into the net. I thought he had a bit of a rough game he got hammered pretty good a couple times, and almost looked like he was being keyed on.

Joey Frazer put the "How do you do" on Raiders Defencemen Brenden Wall, that move was just sick.

Thomas Carr dropped Yaworski in a second period scrap. Yaworksi got into another fight but I couldn't see anything from my angle, it looked like a lengthy bout. I'll have to watch it on when they put it up.

Gotta give praise where its do and I thought referee Trevor Hanson did a tremendous job. He was communicating with the players, and didn't call penalties for the sake of calling penalties. The other ref in the game was average IMO.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Hitmen Defeat Tigers 2-0

The Tigers just couldn't get anything past Martin Jones, he is playing like a brick wall that absorbs every puck thrown at him.

The Tigers outshot Calgary 11-2 in the third period, but Jones made every stop look routine. It looks like the Tigers used all their goals up beating up on Edmonton and Prince Geeorge last week.

With the loss tonight it puts the Tigers 2 points behind calgary, and Calgary has 4 games in hand.

If Calgary keeps up their .685 winning percentage the Tigers would have to go undefeated to close the season to catch and pass them. It basically means that the Tigers chance of winning the division is now very faint. (We can Hope that Calgary goes on a losing streak)

It now looks like its more of a question of trying to take Home Ice Advantage from kootenay. Kootenay is essentially just 2.5 games in front of the Tigers, and the Tigers still get to play them 3 times.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Hitmen Defeat Tigers 4-1

I saw quite a few scouts in the stands tonight. I thought it started out as a playoff type game, but the refs called 3 penalties early which I thought were unnecessary. I really disliked the officiating tonight, oddly enough it didn't really effect the outcome of the game. The Hitmen were the better team and deserved the win.

I thought the Tigers were the better team in the first period, but then after that the Hitmen Took control of the game. Whatever their coach said to them in the first Intermission worked. The Hitmen simply outworked the tigers from there on out. I was also impressed with their defensive coverage.

I thought the Bubnick, Shattock, Broda line played a real strong game, I also liked the play of Tyler Fiddler and Kris Foucault, I thought they won a lot of 1on1 puck battles.

I also thought the Hitmen showed a lot of team spirit in the hockey game. When one of their players blocked a key shot on the Penalty Kill their bench erupted in cheers.

For the Tigers I didn't like the play of King, or Kundratek. Kundratek kept getting caught pinching in, and King kept trying to stick handle in the opponents feet. I thought Emerson Etem was also a bit invisible tonight.

An Intersting note: With the Hitmen winning tonight there is a 3 way tie for first in the division. However Calgary and Kootenay have 3 and 4 games in hand. You can never count the tigers out, but unless Kootenay or Calgary falters a bit the tigers might be starting the playoffs on the road.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Linden Vey Player of the Month

Tigers' Linden Vey Named Husky WHL Player of the Month

He was also named the Tigers fans choice player of the month as well as Tiger of the Week

CALGARY, AB. - The Western Hockey League announced today that forward Linden Vey, of the Medicine Hat Tigers, has been named the HUSKY WHL Player of the Month for January.

The 18-year-old forward from Wakaw, Saskatchewan, notched 25 points through the month of January finding the net eight times and accumulating 17 assists to go along with a +4 rating. Vey led all WHL players in scoring through January, picking up points in 13 of his 15 games played, six of which were multi-point nights, including two five-point games, elevating him to the Tigers' scoring lead this season