Goaltenders and Defensive Play
Saturday's game was the first time the Tigers let in more than 2 goals in a game. Both Tiger goalies are #1, and #2 in GAA, in the whl. Schneider hasn't lost a game yet with the Tigers.
Last Saturday saw the Hitmen score 5 goals by planting a forward in front of the net almost every time they were in the Tigers zone. You can bet other teams will pick up on that and try to use a similar strategy, so the Tigers defense will have to get better at boxing guys out.
Their defense has been strong. They will give up a chance every once in a while, however it is usually only one and done.
Everyone knows he is a great player but I like the aggressiveness and attitude he is showing. A lot more physical and hard to play against. Might need to tone down on the refs, but I like his increased aggression.
His confidence is picking back up. He had a terrible start IMO, but is showing a lot of poise and confidence with the puck. He is another player that is hard to play against with love taps, getting under the opponents skin. He is starting to show more of a play-making side to his puck carrying. His long reach and skating has a lot of potential. I also like the aggressiveness he has been showing.
Very hard work ethic in both zones. He has already equaled his goal total of last year. His speed is a bit deceiving.
I think saying this guy was poised for a breakout year, everyone would look at you and say duuhh. He is off to a very fast start with 10 goals in 13 games, and is a player the opposition should keep an eye on when he is on the ice. The way he plays its hard to catch up to him to knock him off the puck.
Has almost doubled his point totals from last season in 1/3 of the games played. Very good at protecting the puck down low with playing a speed game, he is also one of the more physical forwards. He has improved a ton, and I feel the coaches are way more confident putting him on the ice compared to last season.
He has so far won me over as one of the better new defenceman. This point in the season is usually the time the rookies/new players start to fade a bit from fast starts, but yesterday's game against Calgary blew me away with how much he has improved this year. I think he will make the NHL scouting Lists by seasons end if he keeps up his consistency and solid play. He is winning battles against more experienced opposition. Seeing a young player do that is often a sign of becoming a breakout player. It is still early in the season, but lets hope he can keep it up as he is playing really well.
Against Calgary there were a couple times he looked like a 16 yr old rookie in his own zone. He was reaching out past his centre of balance deadening his speed, and his pokechecks weren't very effective. On a good note his shot from the point already looks pretty deadly, and has a solid first pass. He will take a bit of seasoning defensively, but has future powerplay Quarterback written on him.
The odd guy out on the back-end but he has been filling in very nicely up front. Bringing a solid presence with a strong work ethic up front. I have really liked him filling in on the 3rd/4th line. His defensive experience is great to have. Sometimes with the 3rd and 4th lines, having them out in your own zone can be a bit frightening, but having staples as a Defenceman out there on the wing can be more comforting.
Kind of saw this slump coming a few games away. He has stopped moving his feet, doing a lot of gliding. At this level when you don't move your feet or hesitate I think your more likely to get injured. I'd like to see him keeping his feet moving 100% of the time just to get back into a groove. Their were spurts of it last game against calgary, towards the end and hopefully getting that empty net goal is a bit of a confidence boost to get him going again.
Listed out as week to week...
6 on 5 Play
Against Calgary was awefully scary. How many times calgary passed to the 6th guy at the faceoff circle, then either shot, or went cross ice was dangerous. The Tigers were running around in their own zone, and I thought they were a bit lucky to get that empty netter.
The Tigers have played them 4 times, and have taken 7 of 8 points. They only play them 2 more times real close together in February.
The Tigers take on the Rebels in Red Deer Tuesday. They had a real hard fought game last time they played each other.
Next Saturday at home the Tigers have a big matchup against Brandon. Brandon is the other team in the conference that is off to a really hot start. It will be the best offence in Brandon, vs the Best Defence in the Tigers.
Edit: Adding More
Bringing a very solid play every night. I thought last season at the midway point he was performing below expectations, and searching the blog you could probably find comments somewhere mentioning it. Towards the end of last season something clicked for him. In the playoffs he was night in and out one of the best Defenceman on the ice. He has continued that strong play this season. He has stepped up with a big brother mentality taking care of teammates and providing a physical force when needed. Very defensively solid.
Not really sure how or why he went from being a player fans liked to pick on to becoming more of a fan favorite in one season.... He is playing a little more aggressively(maybe thats it), and not afraid to stand up for his teammates in scrums. He has found a liking to join the rush in key times providing another outlet, when the forwards do some good defensive work down low, and are a bit behind.