Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Tigers Sweep the Blades

3-1 Tigers Victory in game 4!

Game4: 3-1

I don't think even the most optimistic of fans would have expected the Tigers to sweep the blades in 4 straight games for the second consecutive year.

The Tigers elevated their game like they always do in the playoffs and Saskatoon had all kinds of trouble. Perhaps their grueling schedule to end the season played a part of it. I look forward to seeing this on sportsnet!

I didn't see Elgin Pearce on the ice during the third period, but he was out shaking hands afterwards.

I thought everyone played well. The Elgin Pearce, Trevor Cox, Miles Koules stepped up getting some big goals early in the series. I thought Derek Ryckman looked like a new defenceman winning all the small battles in his own end. Dylan Bredo was also a calming influence back their. Can't forget Cam Lanigan who shut the door and didn't give up many rebounds from the onslaught of perimeter shots that came his way.

I think the biggest things the Tigers did in this series was fight for every inch of ice, everyone was committing taking a hit to make a play, and they were able to get the puck out of their zone on the first try almost every time.

Late Edit: The Atmosphere in the Arena was pretty electric. When the Tigers killed off a 5-3 the Fans gave out a standing ovation.  Everytime Josh Nicholls touched the puck their was a chorus of boo's. Jake Doty was riling up the blades bench during warmups and the blades put out one of their third line grinders Collin Valincourt on the top line for the first shift of the game. Doty and Valincourt would engage each other in a fight with Doty setting the tone with a nice win.

Their were a few times where the blades had some pressure in the Tigers end at the end of a long shift and the Go Tigers Go chant started up. That type of situation wehre your legs stop moving the crowd helps put energy back into the legs of the players. The Arena was the loudest its been for the past couple years, but I know it can get much louder.....I look forward to another frenzied Arena for Games 3 and 4 against their next opponent, likely the Oil Kings.

The Tigers will get a chance to scout the Oil Kings Friday Night. Elgin Pearce mentioned on Twitter that he will be fine as he missed some of the third period.

Next Up: It is likely the Tigers will likely face the Edmonton Oil Kings in Round 2. They have a 3-1 series lead over the Kootenay Ice.  Edmonton Has a stifling defense who's penalty kill was off the charts for most of the season.

Thursday Morning Reading Material
Tigers Sweep Blades: So Long Saskatoon (Medicine Hat News)
Tigers Sweep Blades: Baseball Swings aren't Suspensions Worthy? (Yahoo Sports)
Blades Swept for Third Straight Year (Saskatoon Phoenix)

WHL Not Suspending Josh Nicholls

At the end of last nights game Josh Nicholls gave Hunter Shinkaruk a 2 handed baseball swing chop to the back of the leg. He was given a 5 minute major and game misconduct, however as time had expired the penalty was moot.

Saskatoon Blades reporter DAniel Nugent-Bowman is reporting the whl has chosen not to suspend Josh Nicholls.

 If you recall last year the whl suspended Darren Deitz for a 2 handed whack on Emerson Etem that rode up his stick into his chest and somewhat accidental.

I cannot fathom why the whl thinks that Josh Nocholls act at the end of Tuesdays game doesn't represent a suspension of some kind, whereas the Darren Deitz suspension last year did.  The baseball swing was not accidental, that type of incident doesn't belong in Junior hockey and it disgusts me that no supplementary discipline will come out of it.

MH News Article on What the League said

To sum up: The league said their was no suspension because they felt Shinkaruk embellished the play. While I agree with the embelish sentiment, I think no suspension is still a BS decision.

This decision does open up a topic of discussion.

 IMO suspension length should be primarly about the intent and the force of the foul applied.  I think if a player is injured or not should be taken into consideration but it shouldn't be the primary factor into the length of a suspension. Intent is the main focus.

I'm sorry WHL I've been a fan of this league since I was born but their is no justification you can make that says a 2 handed baseball swing slash that connects with another player should go unpunished.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Tigers Take Game Three 5-2

The Tigers came out with a huge first period. 4 First period goals in route to a 5-2 victory.
I thought the Tigers did an excellent job with getting the puck out of their zone on the first try, and creating offense from it.

They chased Andrey Makarov from the net after the first period. 

The blades looked to switch up their attack in the second period and scored a couple goals but the Tigers made a small adjustment and continued to get chances. In the second period the blades looked to be playing desperate hockey however looked a little spent in the third period.

Josh Nicholls of the blades is probably likely to be suspended for game 4. He gave Shinkaruk a 2 handed slash to the back of the leg after the game ended. He was given a 5 minute major and game misconduct. If the blades go out in four that could carry over to the memorial cup.

Tigers will go for the series clincher tomorrow night!
The arena was a couple hundred fans short of a sellout.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Tigers Take Game 2 3-0

The Tigers lead the Series 2-0
Game1: 4-1 Tigers
Game2: 3-0 Tigers

They have the blades fuddled as I thought the Tigers played a strong game from start to finish. The Tigers fired 43 shots on net and had a bunch of scoring chances.

The Tigers play in their own end and neutral zone has been a huge difference slowing the Blades down and the forwards are being patient making the right plays to fight for every inch of extra ice.

Tonight the Tigers had a lot of chances but it was the lucky bounces that helped them score some goals. In the first Period I thought the Tigers outplayed the blades but didn't have much on the scoreboard to show for it.

In the second period the blades got into all kinds of penalty trouble taking 5 penalties.
 In the second Period On a 5 on 3 Miles Koules shot was partially re-directed right to Trevor Cox and he opens the Scoring again with a shot from the Slot. 1-0 Tigers.

In the third period the Tigers Koules, McVeigh, and Pearce completed a very pretty 3 on 2.
Pearce hesitated and tried a pass to Koules but it got re-directed right to Logan McVeigh. McVeigh then made a nice pass over to Miles Koules who had a wide open net. 2-0 Tigers

The Tigers sealed the deal when Boston Leier, and Tyler Lewington 2 on 1'ed a puck past the blades defender battling for the same puck and it was Tyler Lewington who popped it into the open net.
3-0 Tigers

Both teams now have a 3 day rest. If at all that should help the Blades look over video and try to make some tweaks. Both teams will be rested.
Prior to the Game Blades Jessy Asltes was given a TBD suspension for Hitting Matt Staples. They showed the Replay on Shaw and It looked like Astles came from the blindside. Staples probably has a concussion so Astles might be given more than one game.

I think a lot of people expected a 2-0 Series Lead however I think 99% of them thought it would be in favor of the blades.

I don't know what to say, the Arena should be off their rockers for games 3 and 4 on Tuesday.  Bring your jerseys, your noise-makers, your boisterous uncle? I wanna see a sea of orange To support these boys for their Hard Work!

As of 2:00 PM Friday afternoon their were still tickets left.


Blades Jessey Astles Suspended

The suspensions is to be determined. I'm not exactly sure but It could have been the hit on Mat Staples.  Staples was injured in the game, and I don't recall seeing the hit.

Astles plays a physical role on the blades team and has just recently returned from a cut wrist injury. He only had 2 points in 22 games this season

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Tigers Take Game One 4-1

 Tigers take a 1-0 Series Lead

First Period
Tigers came out with a really good period of hockey, minus the opening couple minutes. Saskatoon had a glorious chance to score as they hit the post and the followup player whiffed on an open net.

After that the Tigers did an excellent job at getting out of the zone and creating offensive opportunities.

Trevor Cox put the Tigers on the board first. On a 3 on 2 Elgin Pearce hesitated to gain some space and found Cox in the Slot. Cox wired a shot up top 1-0 Tigers

With a minute left in the period the Tigers would Catch Saskatoon flat footed. Jake DOty fed a perfect pass to Hunter Shinkaruk for a breakaway. Shinkaruk went backhand to forehand and beat Makarov for a 2-0 Tiger Lead.

Second period
Honestly I thought both teams played like crap. The Tigers stopped doing some of the little things that was giving them offensive opportunities but they were stil boxing out Saskatoon down low. Saskatoon managed to get on the board on the powerplay.

A shot from a bad angle would bounce right in front into the slot and Shane McColgan would roof it. 2-1 Tigers. The momentum was definitely turned.The Tigers only prime chance came when Leier danced around a defender and fed Sanford who shoveled a quick shot along the ice, but it was stopped by an outstretched Andrey Makarov.

3rd Period
I was starting to get nervous as the Tigers weren't pressing and the Blades were getting a lot of zone time. Miles Koules layed a hit on a Blades Forward at the blueline which created a 2 on one turnover. Trevor Cox fed Elgin Pearce on the far side and Pearce rifled a shot an inch away from the far post beating Makarov who didn't have much of a chance. 3-1 Tigers

Dylan Bredo would score on an empty net from his blueline to seal the deal. 4-1 Tigers

I don't want to post anything strategy related, but it seemed like the blades were having a tough time with the Tigers defense boxing the players out. They managed a lot of shots but not a whole lot of 2nd shots, to the credit of Cam Lanigan, and the Tigers defense. Even guys like Shinkaruk were chipping in, as he prevented Michael Ferland from getting a second whack at a puck in a dangerous situation.

Trevor Cox, Elgin Pearce, and Miles Koules line provided some excellent secondary scoring.

I thought the Tigers 4th line was also key in the first period as they played often and had the Blades in their own end quite frequently. Game 2 goes Friday Night in Saskatoon, and the Tigers have a chance to steal two.

It looked like Matt Staples suffered an injury in the game and had to leave.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Tigers VS Blades on Shaw TV

I don't know if this is a good thing or a bad thing. The last time a Tigers playoff series was broadcast on Shaw they were swept in 4. I think the Tigers only have 1 victory in TV games in the last 2 years.

Game 1 - Thurs Mar 21 7:05 PM Medicine Hat at Saskatoon
Game 2 - Fri Mar 22 7:05 PM Medicine Hat at Saskatoon
Game 3 - Tuesday, Mar 26 7:00pm Saskatoon at Medicine Hat
Game 4 - Wednesday, Mar 27 7:00pm Saskatoon at Medicine Hat
Game 5 - Friday, Mar 29, 7:05 Medicine Hat at Saskatoon*
Game 6 - Sunday, Mar 31 6:00 Saskatoon at Medicine Hat*
Game 7 - Tuesday, Apr 2 7:05 Medicine Hat at Saskatoon*

This series starts early so the teams get 3 days off beween games 2 and 3.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Tigers Close Season on A High

Tigers blew the Canes away 7-2 with a feisty game down at the Arena to finish the season with 75 points. Good enough for 7th place in the conference.

The Tigers winning percentage in the first 36 games = .444
Tigers winning percentage in the last 36 games = .597

That's quite the improvement. 

Their was a period in November where it seemed whatever the Tigers did they couldn't win a game. They had 1 less point in September than they did in November, and September was a 1 week month.

It was after the 7-2 beating on New Years day in Saskatoon that the Tigers found their game and started rolling off a couple win streaks.

 The Tigers remained relatively injury free for most of the year. Their were some small injuries here and their but nothing too major, with the exception of the Injury to Blake Penner.

The Tigers will go into the playoffs with Ty Stanton, and Blake Penner listed as out for 1 week on the injury report that came out on Monday. So if we go by that report both should be healthy by playoff time.

 Game Highlights
The Tigers scored 4 goals on the powerplay, including two 5 on 3 goals against 16 yr old youngster Christopher Tai in net

It was good to see the Tigers powerplay clicking again, they will need it in the playoffs.

Boston Leier made a couple highlight reel moves, including his one play where he undressed 16 year old Rich Pilon and scored a backhand beauty on the goaltender.

Matt Staples looked good playing at forward he scored his 2nd goal in as many games.

Tigers VS Blades
October 14th Saskatoon 6 @ Tigers 3
January 1st  Medicine Hat 2 @ Saskatoon 7
Febuary 16th Saskatoon 4 @ Tigers 3
March 8 Tigers 3 @ Saskatoon 6

I'm thinking that Shaw TV may choose this series to broadcast in round 1. As the Saskatoon/Tiger market may have higher ratings than calgary/swift or Edmonton/kootenay. Although they may go with Kamloops and Victoria in the other conference as their are 3 Matches with US division Teams.

The blades have a quality top notch goaltender in Andrey Markov. Their a team full of 19 year old's and they have size up and down their lineup.

Last year the Tigers unexpectedly took the blades out in 4 straight games.

IMO it seems like when the Tigers played the blades this year it was a mental thing where they gave them too much respect.  The blades were built to go to the memorial cup through a lot of trades, so nobody is expecting the Tigers to give them much of a challenge. Every other Tiger fan I run into says they dont expect the Tigers to win a game. It would be extremely satisfying to see the Tigers knock out the Memorial Cup Hosts in the first round.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Tigers Vs Saskatoon in Round 1

PA won, Swift Won, and Kootenay lost.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Tigers Officially Make the Playoffs

 The Tigers defeated PA 2-1 in OT. Lethbridge got hammered 9-0 by Calgary.
  The Tigers will start the playoffs on the road.

Marek Langhamer stopped 37 of 38 PA shots for his 5th win in a row and his 8th win in 9 games.
Hunter Shinkaruk was the overtime hero. According to the WHL site the Tigers failed to get a shot in the third period.

Even though the Tigers won, PA still got a point. To catch them in the standings for a shot at the Rebels in Round 1 the Tigers will have to go undefeated and hope PA only gets 2 of their last 6 points. So its a longshot.

The Tigers have the Tiebreaker over Swift Current. Kootenay has the Tiebreaker over the Tigers.
Kootenay lost tonight so it opens up a 5 point gap, Kootenay with a game in hand. Combo of 4 points gained/Kootenay points lost secures at least a 7th place finish.

The Broncos have 2 games against Regina left. The Tigers face Calgary, and Lethbridge twice.
Kootenay faces Lethbridge twice and Calgary Twice.

The Tigers still control their own fate because if they win out with 3 games left they will face Calgary (outside shot at Red Deer)

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Scoreboard Watching

 By the time you read this on Thursday their will be 10 days left in the regular season. 1st Round playoff matchups are still all up in the air.

Last Night the Broncos lost to Moose Jaw 2-1.
So It gives the Tigers a game in hand on 6th place, but they face a tough blades team on Friday.

Lethbridge continues their free fall and lost to Red Deer.

The Tigers only need a combo of 3 points gained/ lethbridge points lost to at least force a tiebreaker game for the 8th spot. 4 points to guarantee a playoff birth.

Red Deer's pair of victories also means the Tigers can no longer catch them. If the Tigers should make the playoffs, it is now certain they will start them on the road.

It is still possible that the Tigers could face any of the top 4 teams in the first round should they make the playoffs.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Tigers Defeat Hitmen 5-2

The game has been pushed back to 6:45 due to the snow-storm hitting the Hat.

Good Luck to everyone that does go and stay safe! I decided to stay home for this one.

 Sounds like Marek Langhamer had another strong start in net. He has rolled off 4 straight wins, and has victories in 7 of his last 8 games.

He is making excellent progress for a guy who is being groomed for the starters role next season.

Derek Ryckman scored his first goal of the season.

The Hitmen  are a very possible first round matchup if the Tigers can hold of the Bronco's and Ice charges.

The magic number to clinch a playoff spot now sits at a combo of 5 Tiger points earned or 5 Lethbridge points lost.

Up Next: Tigers take a 4 game road trip to face Saskatoon, Prince Albert, Calgary and Lethbridge

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Scoreboard Watching

 Catching Red Deer or PA is pretty much out of the question now. 7 points back with 7 game remaining. The Tigers would have to go undefeated to stand a chance.

On the plus side Red Deer beating Kootenay ate one of their games in hand.
Swift Current beat Calgary so they tie the Tigers with 69 points.
 Swift Current has a lot of OT losses so the Tigers stay in 6th with the tiebreaker.

Lethbridge lost in overtime so the Magic Number to clinch a playoff spot is 9 points gained/ Lethbridge points lost.

Tigers have a big game against Kootenay Saturday Night. A loss would put then pretty much even with Kootenay, a point up but Kootenay would have a game in hand. A win would put them 5 points up Kootenay having a game in hand.

Kootenay is by far the least penalized team in the league.If the Tigers can play like they did in the second half of the game against Kootenay like they did during wednesday's game eventually they will crack Mackenzie Skapski.

Injury Note: Apparently Blake Penner had a skate cut during practice friday. It sounds like he will be out of the lineup for a while.