Monday, 15 October 2018

Matheson For A Pair

In the 1980s, the move that Mike Matheson pulled on Elias Pettersson on Saturday night probably would have been deemed a "good ol' hockey play". The injury that Pettersson suffered would have had fans calling him "soft" for getting "his bell rung", but things have changed over the last thirty years. As you're probably aware, concussions are at the forefront for professional sports, especially when it comes to the lasting effects of concussions, but the NHL seems to be steadfast in its assumption that concussions do not cause long-lasting effects on the human brain. Regardless of the NHL's stance, Elias Pettersson suffered a concussion due to Mike Matheson's body slam, and Matheson was called by the Department of Player Safety today to figure out how long he'll sit for regarding that body slam.

Again, I struggle to understand how old-school players such as Brad May, Kelly Chase, and Jason Strudwick seem to classify Matheson's hit and body slam on Pettersson as an "old-school hockey play" when rugged guys who played against them such as Mike Peluso, Matthew Barnaby, and Stu Grimson all were forced into retirement early due to concussions. Players such as Jeff Beukeboom and Kevin Kaminski had their lives derailed entirely by concussions, yet this gets a pass from the former players named at the top of this paragraph?

Elias Pettersson is 19 years-old, and he already has a concussion under his belt as an NHL player. Do we really expect him to have a long and prosperous career if plays such as Matheson's are allowed?

The Department of Player Safety saw two separate plays in terms of what Matheson did after he got dangled out of his jockstrap by Pettersson in the left corner.

"What causes this incident to rise to the level of supplemental discipline, is that it encompasses two separate and distinct acts," claims the DoPS in the suspension video. "First, Matheson pins Pettersson to the boards in a legal and effective defensive maneuver. Then with the puck long separated from the area, and Pettersson unable to defend himself, Matheson drives him directly downward and into the ice with force, causing an injury."

I agree with this statement 100%. The pin that Matheson put on Pettersson behind the net once he recovered from his defensive lapse is entirely within the rules. He simply uses his body to prevent Pettersson from moving along the boards, forcing Petterson to pass the puck away. Had that been the end of the play behind the net, we'd have no problem. Instead, Matheson follows up the pin against the boards with the body slam that caused Pettersson's head to hit the ice causing the concussion.

Was Matheson looking for a little retribution for the dangle that embarrassed him moments prior to this incident? Possibly. He'll never go on record in saying that, but the video shows that he kept his eye on Pettersson after Pettersson deked him out of his skates.
If anything, the body slam seems like a message to the rookie from Matheson. Matheson seemingly didn't like what Pettersson did in deking him off his feet, giving him the bump with the elbow as Pettersson went behind the net, and he followed up that elbow by dumping Pettersson on his head as a bit of retaliation.

As the Department of Player Safety's video stated, "This is not a hockey play."

It was announced today that Mike Matheson received a two-game suspension for this transgression, and I can't say that I'm surprised that it was a low number of games. Matheson has not been in trouble with the league before about his play, so the Department of Player Safety can't necessarily toss the book at him. Two games seems like it would be the maximum penalty that the NHL could assess without an appeal, so all's well that ends well, I guess.

The only problem? Elias Pettersson's return to the Canucks' lineup seems to be much further away than just two games. For a player who has eight points in five games, he's a big part of the early success of the Canucks. You can understand why Canucks head coach Travis Green and the Vancouver Canucks fanbase were still fuming today over the decision.

Be thankful that Matheson got something, Canucks fans. I had the NHL pegged for a simple fine due to his lack of questionable play, so that two-game break should be seen as something tangible. Yes, it won't bring back your star player, but it's likely the most the NHL could do with the NHLPA appealing this decision.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Sunday, 14 October 2018

The Rundown - Week 2

With six teams tied at 1-1-0-0 after the first week of play in Canada West, there was hope that we'd see some separation between the teams as Week Two got underway on Friday. Well, there was some definite movement in the standings after this weekend's games, and we'll take a look at who did what and what affect those actions had. Needless to say, some teams moved up while others moved down, and the only question was which way did your team go. Let's get those questions answered with today's edition of The Rundown!

UBC at MOUNT ROYAL: Two of those 1-1-0-0 teams met Friday night in Calgary as the Cougars hosted the Thunderbirds. Both sides came out of the gate flying as they went up and down the ice, but MRU got an early advantage when UBC's Celine Tardif was sent off for bodychecking at 5:18. Mount Royal went to work, and they capitalized just five seconds into the advantage when Daria O'Neill notched her first goal with a shot from the point off a clean face-off win that got through both the traffic in front of the UBC net and UBC netminder Amelia Boughn to put the Cougars up 1-0! UBC battled back, though, and they found the back of the net at 12:47 when Mathea Fischer unleashed a bullet that Mount Royal goaltender Zoe De Beauville couldn't stop, and the two teams would go to the intermission tied 4-4 in shots and 1-1 in goals!

Both Boughn and De Beauville came out with bricks and mortar in the second period as they both put up walls in their respective nets as neither team could solve the goalies. MRU did outshoot UBC 6-5, but we'd forge ahead to the third period in searching of goals to break this stalemate. Despite these two teams having several stern discussions with one another during breaks in play, neither could find the back of the net. In a scarier situation, Ireland Perrott was helped off the ice following an awkward fall with a few minutes to play, and she did not return. Let's hope she's alright.

With the horn ending regulation time without a winner, we'd go to overtime for a little extra time fun! Both teams had chances in the four-on-four overtime, but neither Boughn nor De Beauville flinched through the first five minutes of extra time, so we'd go to the three-on-three OT period. It was here where MRU's Megan Carver was whistled for a slash, and that gave UBC the opportunity they needed. Celine Tardif's shot with 14 seconds to play was the deciding blast as her shot eluded De Beauville for the 2-1 UBC double-overtime win! Boughn earned her first win with a 20-save performance while De Beauville suffered the loss after making 21 stops.

UBC at MOUNT ROYAL: I was expecting an appearance from Mount Royal backup netminder Emily Severson in this game, but the Cougars went back to De Beauville. UBC predictably turned to Tori Micklash for this game, so it was game-on for Saturday! Both teams brought a determined effort in this game as they went up and down the ice, but nothing would find twine until the 13:59 mark when Jenna Fletcher's shot found room past De Beauville to put the T-Birds up 1-0!

Just 1:38 into the middle frame saw the Cougars down by a pair when Emma Hall struck for the Thunderbirds to make it 2-0. MRU's Morgan Ramsey would be given two minutes to reflect on a bodycheck she threw at 2:48, but UBC would cut that time short when Ashley McFadden's shot found the back of the net at 3:56 for her first Canada West goal off Rylind MacKinnon's third helper of the night to make it 3-0 for the Thunderbirds.

Clearly, the two UBC goals in under four minutes was not how Mount Royal wanted to start the period, but they regrouped and mounted a few offensive bursts of their own. Micklash, however, stared down all attempts to preserve the 3-0 lead through forty minutes of play.

Despite outshooting the T-Birds 6-5 in the third period, Micklash was perfect on this night as MRU could not solve her. UBC played solid defence in front of their goaltender, and the result was a 3-0 win! Micklash stopped all 16 shots she faced for her first shutout of the season while De Beauville stopped 16 of 19 shots in the loss.

SASKATCHEWAN at CALGARY: Saskatchewan entered the weekend at 1-1-0-0 after their split with Alberta while the Dinos hosted their home-opening games with an 0-2-0-0 record following a sweep at the hands of the Manitoba Bisons. It wouldn't get any easier for the Dinos as they welcomed the other half of the last season's Canada West Final to Father David Bauer Olympic Arena. And it went pretty much how one would expect with Saskatchewan carrying the play in the first period to a large degree. If it weren't for another spectacular period by Kelsey Roberts who made 15 saves, this game may have gone off the rails early for Calgary. Instead, we went to the first intermission with no score despite the Huskies leading 15-4 in shots.

Just ten seconds into the middle frame, Delaney Frey was caught for slashing to join Merissa Dawson in the sin bin from the end of the fist period, and the Huskies went to work on the five-on-three power-play. 40 seconds after Frey was sent off, it was 1-0 for Saskatchewan when Leah Bohlken continued her torrid start to the season by notching the power-play marker past Roberts from the top of the face-off circle for her third goal of the season. The lead would be short-lived, though, as Calgary responded just 1:58 later.
Rookie Elizabeth Lang continued what she started in Manitoba as she potted her third goal of the season in as many games past Jasey Book as she finished off the three-on-two to make it a 1-1 game at 2:48! The scoring ended there, however, as the teams tightened up the defence and the goalies did their part. Through two periods, Saskatchewan held a heavy advantage in possession, a major lead in shots at 23-8, but the teams were deadlocked at 1-1!

It was only a matter of time before Saskatchewan finally broke through Roberts' wall, and they finally got the goal they needed late in the game when Bailee Bourassa found a wide-open Kayla Kirwan in front of Roberts, and the Huskies forward made no mistake in beating the Calgary netminder at 15:25 to put Saskatchewan up 2-1! Calgary would press late, pulling Roberts for the extra attacker with 57 seconds to play, but they wouldn't solve Book again in this game as Saskatchewan skated to the 2-1 victory! Book made ten saves in the win while Roberts was outstanding with a 30-save effort in the loss.

SASKATCHEWAN at CALGARY: In the second-half of the weekend series, it felt a lot like the first game in terms of how the opening period was played. Saskatchewan came out flying, dominated both time of possession and shots, but were thwarted time and again by Calgary's Kelsey Roberts. Like the night before, there was no score between the two teams despite the Huskies holding a 13-2 advantage in shots.

Like they did in the first period, Saskatchewan carried the play again. However, on one of their few opportunities, they mad eit count!
The Calgary Dinos grabbed the lead as Holly Reuther's centering pass was perfect in finding an unchecked Sara Craven at the top of the crease, and the Dinos forward made no mistake in beating Jessica Vance at the 14:19 make to put the home side up 1-0! Kelsey Roberts was still the big story as she was keeping the Dinos in this game far more than she should have need to as Saskatchewan held a 21-5 lead in shots through two periods of play.

An early third-period penalty on Rachel Paul at 1:27 for holding put the Huskies on the power-play, and they'd use it to tie the game. Kayla Kirwan scored her second goal of the weekend as she beat Roberts 29 seconds after Paul sat down in the penalty box, and this game was knotted up at 1-1. Both teams traded chances, and Jessica Vance needed to be at her best when she robbed Chelsea Court from claiming a game-winning goal, but there would be no winner found through sixty minutes so we were rewarded with free hockey!

In the four-on-four overtime period, the Dinos actually had the Huskies pinned in their zone for periods of time, outshooting Saskatchewan 4-1 in the five-minute span, but no goals would be recorded. In the three-on-three period, a scramble in front of Vance resulted in a two-on-one the other way for Saskatchewan, and Bailee Bourassa made the right decision in keeping the puck as she wired a wrist shot over Roberts' glove for the overtime winner at 3:48 of the double-overtime period for the 2-1 win! Vance picked up the win in stopping 20 chances while Roberts suffered her fourth loss of the season despite making 37 saves.

MANITOBA at ALBERTA: In the last five seasons at Clare Drake Arena in Edmonton, the Pandas have literally owned the Bisons with a 7-1-0-0 record. Manitoba, who entered the weekend with a 2-0-0-0 record, were looking to continue their two-game winning streak against the Pandas that they posted in Games Two and Three of the Canada West Semi-Final last season, including that exciting 1-0 Game Three final that went to four overtime periods! Would the Pandas continue their dominance over Manitoba at home?

I'll answer this one upfront: yes. The Pandas controlled the game from start to finish, and looked entirely like the best team in Canada West. Lauren Taraschuk was peppered early and often, and a Megan Neduzak penalty for holding at 6:05 was the first break that Alberta needed.
Autumn MacDougall would bank a pass from behind the net off Courtlyn Oswald who was defending out front, and Taraschuk had no chance to stop the puck as the Pandas grabbed a lead on the power-play at 7:29! At the end of the period, it was all Pandas as they held a 1-0 lead on the scoreboard and an 11-2 advantage in shots.

Alberta would continue their solid play in the second period, but Manitoba had chances on Dayna Owen. The only problem was that Owen was ready and willing to stop all shots as the Pandas closed out the period with the 1-0 lead intact and an 18-7 advantage in shots.

Manitoba needed to come out in the third period and get a goal, so they mounted furious pressure with a total of zero shots in the period. Yes, you read that correctly. Erica Rieder did hit the goal post with a shot, so it wasn't like they went twenty minutes without a shot, but they had no recorded shots on net as per the boxscore. With no recorded shots, that means there were no goals, and that means the Pandas took this game by that 1-0 score! Owen earned her first shutout in stopping all seven shots she faced while Taraschuk made 23 saves in suffering her first loss in ten months!

MANITOBA at ALBERTA: Manitoba certainly wouldn't have been happy with their performance one night earlier, but there's something to be said with Alberta kicking off the season against both Canada West finalists from last season. Head coach Howie Draper certainly had them ready, and the Pandas came to play once again on Saturday. Alberta started Manitoba-born netminder Halle Oswald in her first Canada West game while the Bisons were without leading scorer on the blueline Lauren Warkentin after she suffered an arm injury the night before. Would the changes make any difference?

Alberta brought the heat in the opening frame once more as they sent wave after wave of attacks at the Bisons only to be turned away by Lauren Taraschuk on all 13 opportunities. Oswald wasn't that busy at her end of the ice in making just six saves, and these two squads would enter the first intermission with no goals recorded.

The second period was a lot like the the first period with Taraschuk being the busier netminder and the Bisons chasing the puck. Autumn MacDougall has a glorious chance stolen away by Manitoba's big netminder, but the lack of execution by the Bisons was the bigger story in this period as they were once again outshot 11-3 and trailed 24-9 at the second intermission. If it wasn't for Taraschuk, Alberta would have built themselves an impressive lead by that point.

The third period saw the special teams come alive for the Pandas, and that led to the opening goal of the game.
Taylor Kezama broke out of her zone, escaped the checking of Karissa Kirkup, and spotted Alex Poznikoff who skated right by Alison Sexton in to open ice where she collected the pass and sniped a beautiful goal past the glove of Taraschuk just 42 seconds into the period while shorthanded to put the Pandas up 1-0! And they weren't done there.
Hannah Olenyk's shot zipped by Brielle Dacquay-Neveux and got through Taraschuk on the power-play at 13:23, and that was more than enough for the Pandas to ice this game as Manitoba couldn't solve Oswald with their eight shots in the period as Alberta posted a second-straight win via shutout with the 2-0 victory! Oswald won her first career start in Canada West with a 17-save shutout - also her first shutout in her career - while Lauren Taraschuk suffered her second-straight loss in a 27-save effort.

REGINA at LETHBRIDGE: Normally, games between Regina and Lethbridge have little fanfare. It is expected both of these teams will compete for the final two playoff spots once all is said and done this season, but tonight's game featured a little record breaking as one player went off and did something pretty amazing. We'll get to her performance in a second, but let's get down to business with the goal scoring.

Both teams dame out a little more on the defensive side as it appeared neither wanted to make the first mistake. Midway through the period, we finally got some solid offence as Martina Maskova showed some impressive speed in tracking down a loose puck that slid a little too far for a breakaway, but she turned it into a solid wraparound that got past a laterally-moving Alicia Anderson as Maskova got to the post first, and the Regina Cougars grabbed the 1-0 lead at 10:48! The remainder of the period would see an uptick in the offensive chances, but the Cougars closed out the period with the 1-0 lead and the 8-7 advantage in shots.

Early in the second period, Lethbridge's Alli Borrow beat Jane Kish with a shot, but the iron behind Kish kept the score at a 1-0 game. Whatever was said in the dressing room by head coach Michelle Janus seemed to resonate as the Pronghorns were certainly the more lively bunch in the middle frame, but it would Regina who doubled their lead. Lilla Carpenter-Boesch sent Jordan Kulbida streaking down the wing with a pass before she cut to the middle and made a great deke on Anderson to score on the backhand to make it 2-0 for Regina at the 12:30 mark! Despite being outshot 16-9 in the period, it was Regina leading by a pair of goals after two periods!

Again, the Pronghorns brought every bit of offensive they could find in the third period, putting pucks on net from every angle at every opportunity. The only problem was that Jane Kish had other ideas about this offensive onslaught. Brett Campbell and Alli Borrow were stoned on the power-play early in the period. Tricia Van Vaerenbergh was turned aside on a couple of opportunities. Kenzie Lausberg was denied on an outstanding post-to-post save by Kish. When the dust settled, the Pronghorns had outshot the Cougars 22-8 in the period and 45-25 on the night, but the final score was 2-0 in favour of the Cougars! Jane Kish was simply incredible in stopping all 45 shots she faced for the shutout while Alicia Anderson made 23 stops in the loss.

It is here where we'll write a little history because Jane Kish broke the Canada West record for most saves in a shutout performance on this night with her new 45-save standard! Kish broke a record shared by former Regina Cougar Jennifer Schmidt, set on October 18, 2013, and by Lethbridge's Alicia Anderson one week earlier. Her shutout was also the eighth of her career, tying the school record held by Schmidt. Needless to say, Friday night was a pretty historic night for the 21 year-old Kish when it comes to the record books at Regina and in Canada West! Congratulations, Jane!

REGINA at LETHBRIDGE: For the first two weeks of the Canada West season, defence has ruled the conference for the most part. We've seen a team hit four goals in a game just once - Manitoba over Calgary - and we've seen a combined five goals scored by both teams in one game just three times in 15 games this season. Regina and Lethbridge decided to show the rest of the conference what goal scoring looked like in this game.

These two teams came out flying with chances at both ends of the ice early on. Jordan Kulbida's slash at the 4:28 mark put the Pronghorns on the power-play, and they would cash in. Mattie Apperson found Alli Borrow open, and the Pronghorns sniper finally found a way to beat Jane Kish with her shot at 5:09 to put Lethbridge up 1-0. Late in the period, a harmless-looking shot from the wall by Jordan Kulbida handcuffed Alicia Anderson in the Lethbridge net, allowing the puck to find the twine as Regina tied the game at 14:55. The teams would head to the intermission knotted up at 1-1 with Regina holding a 14-11 edge in shots.

Early in the second period with Jodi Gentile in the sin bin, the Cougars power-play went to work. Jordan Kulbida fed Nikki Watters-Matthes, and she went high on the glove side past a screened Alicia Anderson for the 2-1 Cougars lead at 3:51. Later in the period, the Regina power-play struck again from the same combination of players as Kulbida fed Watters-Matthes, and she went high over the glove of Anderson again, this time from the top of the face-off circle, as Regina jumped ahead 3-1 at the 12:28 mark. Kish, however continued her stellar play in this period, denying all 13 shots by the Pronghorns as the third period loomed with Regina out in front.

Kish brought the solid goaltending into the third period as she denied all chances on an early Lethbridge power-play to shift momentum back to Regina, and they would capitalize once more on a power-play of their own after Tricia Van Vaerenbergh was given a break for tripping a Cougar. Jordan Kulbida would pick up her fourth point of the night when she set up Chelsea Hallson for the power-play marker to make it 4-1 at 8:16, and it appeared that Regina had this one wrapped up.

Or did they? Van Vaerenbergh got one goal back when she cleaned up a scramble in front of Kish by potting her third goal of the season at 11:40, and the Pronghorns were down 4-2. They would continue to pressure the Cougars as the game wore on, and they pulled Anderson with just over two minutes to play. That strategy would pay off for Lethbridge as Mikaela Ray was able to score in a goalmouth scramble at 19:20 to make it 4-3! However, Jane Kish and the Regina Cougars were able to weather the final 40 seconds of the game to claim the 4-3 victory on this day! Kish picked up her second-straight win with her 29-save performance while Anderson suffered her second-straight loss despite making 32 stops on the night.

CWUAA WOMEN'S HOCKEY
School Record Points GF GA Streak Next
Alberta
3-1-0-0
9 5 2
W3
vs MRU
Regina
3-1-0-0
9 11 8
W2
vs MAN
British Columbia
2-1-1-0
8 8 4
W3
vs CAL
Saskatchewan
2-1-1-0
8 6 4
W2
@ LET
Manitoba
2-2-0-0
6 7 5
L2
@ REG
Mount Royal
1-2-0-1
4 6 10
L2
@ ALB
Lethbridge
1-3-0-0
3 6 9
L3
vs SAS
Calgary
0-3-0-1
1 4 11
L4
@ UBC

The Last Word

This is entirely not about Canada West because there was a pretty big moment that happened out in the Maritimes where the UNB Varisty Reds women's team took to the ice for the first time in a decade! UNB's first game came last night when they hosted the Mount Allison Mounties in AUS action, and the woman pictured in the UNB uniform is Jennifer Bell. Why is she important? Well, she scored UNB's first goal of the season on the power-play just 21 seconds into the second period, so there's a little history for all of you U SPORTS trivia buffs. Unfortunately for the Varsity Reds, they fell in overtime to the Mounties by a 2-1 score, but they recorded a point in their first game back on the AUS circuit! Congratulations to the Varsity Reds on an amazing night of hockey, and you can watch the game in its entirety by following this link and going to the "Archive" section of page!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Saturday, 13 October 2018

Late-Night Radio

I spent most of my day keeping a low profile thanks to me accepting a late-night shift on UMFM. This one won't be hockey-based, though, as I'm going to venture outside of my normal comfort zone with a music show! From 1am until 3am CT, I will be doing the Electro Swing Thing on UMFM as part of Pledge-O-Rama! I don't know if you're familiar with electro swing music, but it's not very common here in North America and even less so in Canada compared to the US. If you're new to the genre, let's get you into it!

According to Thump, a publication from VICE, it's the worst kind of music that one can find on the planet. Ok, so that's not a strong start to this article, but if you're a fan of old-time music from the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s that you'd hear during the Big Band era, this music might scratch you where you itch. It's an upbeat, fun remixing of songs from the past combined with some electronic dance music-infused new swing songs written by some talented artists.

As an example, here is Benny Goodman's Sing, Sing, Sing remixed by The Correspondents, and this song kicks up the bass kick a couple of notches while staying true to the original song.
As you can hear, it's literally blends the bass-kick rhythms of EDM with the upbeat, big band sounds, and the result is a unique genre of music.

According to most accounts, the electro swing movement started in the 1990s, building from the work of hip-hop artists who sampled vintage swing music, and the music itself has shifted from sampling vintage swing music to artists who have incredible fanbases due to their sounds. In Paris, France, Caravan Palace is immensely popular, and they actually reached #3 on the Billboard US Dance Chart with their 2015 album Robot Face. One of the more popular tunes from that album was Lone Digger, written by the band, and featuring the amazing vocals of lead singer Zoรฉ Colotis and Camille Chapeliรจre's work on the clarinet.

Admittedly, this music may not be for everyone. I played in the jazz band in school, and I had an appreciation for good swing music. I love the music in the scene in Penny Marshall's A League of Their Own when the ladies are at the Suds Bucket, and the dance club scene in The Mask with Jim Carrey and Cameron Diaz is a ton of fun. From Brian Setzer and the Stray Cats to the Cherry Poppin' Daddies, from Glenn Miller to Michael Bublรฉ, there's some great swing music out there that deserves a look if you're searching for a new sound. Electro swing is just the pumped-up version of some of the great swing sounds currently out there.

I've mentioned Caravan Palace, but one should also look into Jamie Berry and some of the work and collaborations he does. Parov Stelar is a solid musician with immense talent while 11 Acorn Lane, Swingrowers, and Alice Francis all have amazing music waiting to be discovered.

Again, this genre of music may not be your cup of tea. That's ok. I'm going to play a couple of hours of electro swing tonight on 101.5 UMFM with the hope that perhaps some of the kids coming out of the nightclubs hears it and finds it toe-tapping good. If you like either of the two songs embedded above, though, you might want to head down the rabbit hole and explore the wonderland of electro swing!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Friday, 12 October 2018

Talking Hockey

With both men's and women's hockey finally aligning their schedules in Canada West, it's nice to have everything going at once. It feels like hockey season again, and with hockey season comes hockey slang. If you've listened to the broadcasts on Canada West TV or UMFM, you know Kyleigh and myself occasionally use some hockey terms that may not be so apparent without a bit of a primer. "Biscuit in the basket", "flashing the leather", and "going shelf" are a few of the terms you may hear, but there are a pile more that may need a little translating and I'm happy to see the Calgary Dinos doing their part in aiding our viewers and listeners!

I'm not even going to set this one up because it's good. Here are the Calgary Dinos men's and women's hockey teams defining a few key terms you may hear around the rink this winter.
"Apple", "Salad, "Suey", and "Chirp" are all defined, but I'm surprised that captain Paige Michalenko didn't know what "salad" was. You'd think she may have heard that in the past, especially since she usually has the "flow" coming out of her "bucket", but perhaps no one "chirps" Paige about her hair?

In any case, this series should continue with the Dinos. I think they should put out a new video every week prior to their games, but that might be a nightmare for their social media and video people. Nevertheless, the first installment was solid, so let's hope there's a sequel!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Thursday, 11 October 2018

The Hockey Show - Episode 316

The Hockey Show, Canada's only campus-produced radio show that strictly talks hockey, is back tonight with a show that talks some hockey, but will focus on the major event happening tonight and all next week at the ol' radio station as UMFM kicks off its annual week-long pledge drive known as PLEDGE-O-RAMA! We do this every year at the radio station as we ask our listeners to give a little back to our independent transmission that goes out on the 101.5 FM frequency, and it kicks off tomorrow and runs through to next Friday! Our goal this year is $36,000 - entirely achievable, in my view - but we'll need some help from you, my readers and our listeners, to make that happen! Will you lend us some support?

Each year at this time of year at UMFM, we rally the troops for our annual pledge drive known as Pledge-O-Rama! UMFM, for those that are unaware, is a volunteer-driven, non-profit radio station located on the campus of the University of Manitoba where The Hockey Show and other great programming originates. The station has been operating since 1998, and your donations via the Pledge-O-Rama campaigns over the years have allowed UMFM to accomplish a number of goals including upgrading the transmitter (hear us farther!), gaining better technology so we can do things like remote broadcasts (Bisons football and hockey!), and making upgrades to UMFM's in-studio equipment and facilities (hear us clearer!). Basically, the money you donate goes directly into making our programming and our broadcast quality better!

If you're a fan of The Hockey Show, all we ask is if it's within your means to make donation in whatever amount it may be that you can afford so that we can continue to do great things like broadcasting Bisons men's and women's hockey, broadcasting from community arenas and events like we did in London, Ontario where the U SPORTS National Women's Hockey Championship was help, and bring great people on the show like we did all summer. While Beans and I won't see any money directly, UMFM will be using the money this year to set up a digital music library among the projects that have been identified by the Board of Directors so that UMFM continues to break new ground and implement new technology to make your listening experience better!

There are a ton of incentives for donating and UMFM is happy to provide tax receipts as an official non-profit entity in case you need to keep the government from putting their greasy mitts on your hard-earned dollars. When you donate, you can choose the incentive package for which you qualify or the tax receipt, and those will be sent out to you or can be picked up from the radio station itself (note that tax receipts will be produced closer to tax season!). As an incentive this year, The Hockey Show will enter anyone who makes a pledge to our show in excess of $50 into a draw for one of the following beauty prizes:

  1. HOST THE SHOW: you can sit in as a featured host with Teebz and Beans and debate all things hockey on a date of your choosing! We'll give away two of these to be used at any time by the winners within the next calendar year (before next year's Pledge-O-Rama).
  2. WE VISIT YOU: The Hockey Show will come out and do the show from your local rink within southern Manitoba! We'll gather up the gear, make our way out to your local team's rink, promote your team or a team of your choosing on the show, and do our one-hour of craziness from your community! We'll give away two of these to be used at any time by the winners within the next calendar year (before next year's Pledge-O-Rama).
  3. TEAM OF YOUR CHOICE: As you may be aware, The Hockey Show holds its Survivor: NHL Playoffs contest every year. If your name is chosen in the draw and options #1 and #2 don't work for you due to distance or some other factor, we'll give you a chance to call your own shot by selecting the team of your choice in this year's Survivor pool. Once your choice is made, however, there's no going back! The prizing for the winner is always worth more than $50, so your pledge may pay off in a big way if you choose your team wisely! There is one of these incentives to be won.

If you prefer social media, we try to remain up-to-speed there! Email all show questions and comments to hockeyshow@umfm.com! Tweet me anytime with questions you may have by hitting me up at @TeebzHBIC on Twitter. You can also post some stuff to Facebook if you use the "Like" feature, and I always have crazy stuff posted there that doesn't make it to the blog or show.

Tonight, Teebz and Beans talk a little hockey, give you information on how to see a concert for free, talk about your pledges and why they're important, and much more only on The Hockey Show found exclusively on 101.5 UMFM, on the UMFM app, on the UMFM.com web stream!

PODCAST: October 11, 2018: Episode 316

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Wednesday, 10 October 2018

All Good Things

It has been said time and again that all good things must come to an end. No, I'm not eulogizing this blog just yet, but I have decided to make some changes surrounding this blog that might be for the best. I've worked hard to keep people informed by using this blog, and to make that happen I was using my social media channels as promotional tools for the articles written here. Of note, with all the things that Facebook has done in the last few years regarding selling and allowing access to personal information from its users to third-party application developers to the hacks it has suffered to its insistence on adding advertisements, features, and news to timelines, it might be time to curb some social media usage for this writer.

While none of my personal information seems to have been bought or leaked, I'm quite comfortable in not having a personal Facebook account. Having a blog-based Facebook account that legitimately only had friends of this blog, accounts from pro hockey teams, and a handful of outside interests was fun, but there is so much garbage littering my timeline that I no longer find it useful.

I've taken the necessary steps to thin the herd on my Facebook timeline. I'd unfollowed accounts I once followed. I've remained friends with some people, but I have turned off their news feeding into my timeline. I've completely walked away from all pro hockey teams since they do nothing but clutter my timeline with the same news stories day after day and week after week. It's become a lot quieter on Facebook, but it's still not quiet enough.

Allow me to present Thomas Haden Church with my view on Facebook.
It makes it hard to get caught up with people you haven't seen for days, weeks, or months when they're posting their every activity to Facebook and/or other social media platforms. The art of a conversation is something that seemingly has been lost when I know exactly what one has been doing for the last few days, so why would I bother reaching out and finding out what one has been up to? If you know me, that's not who I am. I tend to be very social, and I enjoy engaging in a conversation and hearing about the yins and yangs in my friends' lives. Instead, we see every minute detail of people's lives on social media, so my asking you becomes redundant.

I don't use Instagram, I don't take selfies, and I don't post many images of myself on social media. I loathe being tagged in anything, and I often turn notifications off on my phone for everything except vital functions. Here's where a lot of people will find fault in me, but I don't care about your photos either. I know what your kids look like, I know what you look like, and I'm happy that you're experiencing life, but I want to get together with you and discuss all these things rather than seeing them on some social media site. I want to cultivate relationships, not add to your "Like" totals.

At the end of the day, people seemingly are craving social interactions from anyone rather than the very people they should be seeking that interaction from - friends and family. They count their likes and followers rather than fostering new friendships and maintaining current ones. People want to text rather than talk on the phone. I've been told to "send me a snap" from people I've just met rather than exchanging phone numbers despite those people needing a phone to use SnapChat. My brain struggles with this, and I am left rather discouraged by these interactions.

Like the teens in this article from The Guardian, less is more for me.
While many of us have been engrossed in the Instagram lives of our co-workers and peers, a backlash among young people has been quietly boiling. One 2017 survey of British schoolchildren found that 63% would be happy if social media had never been invented. Another survey of 9,000 internet users from the research firm Ampere Analysis found that people aged 18-24 had significantly changed their attitudes towards social media in the past two years. Whereas 66% of this demographic agreed with the statement "social media is important to me" in 2016, only 57% make this claim in 2018. As young people increasingly reject social media, older generations increasingly embrace it: among the 45-plus age bracket, the proportion who value social media has increased from 23% to 28% in the past year, according to Ampere's data.

Look, I can sit here and preach about how we all need to look up from our phones, tablets, and laptops once in a while, but I have been just as guilty as the next person. It's becoming far more appranent, however, that I need to start doing what I have stated above - more real, authentic relationships in real-life with less social media posting and checking. I'm not saying that I won't go on Twitter where I do a lot of networking to see if I can grab a guest or two for The Hockey Show, but I will do less liking and retweeting on social media and less messaging on Facebook and via text, replacing those interactions with more phone calling and real-life meetings.

The older I get, the more I realize that these real-life friendships and relationships are the only "likes" that matter.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Tuesday, 9 October 2018

That Can't Be Right, Can It?

Occasionally, I find myself shaking my head in disbelief at what is found on social media. I appreciate those who try to bring news and information to the masses, but there are times when things are lost in translation or information is disseminated incorrectly. It's always a good idea to go to the source for said information when possible, and there were statistics posted on social media today that needed a little sourcing due to the unfathomable numbers posted. Let me be clear: this is in no way an attack on the person who posted the stats. It's simply a "check your sources" article because I had to double-take the information presented. And the tweeter? He was right.

Here is the tweet I am referencing, and I hold Patrick in the highest esteem for the work he does in bringing Russian hockey news to light via social media.
64-11? 28-0? That seems rather impossible, so I immediately needed to verify those numbers. After all, it's not like Salavat Yulaev is a terrible team, and Avangard Omsk hasn't really put together an SKA-esque team of all-stars.

Like I said, I hold Patrick in the highest esteem, and it seems his reporting is accurate if the KHL boxscore is to be believed.
According the linked boxscore, Avangard spent just 8:10 in the attacking zone in the second period where they put 28 shots on Salavat Yulaev's netminder Juha Metsola while Salavat had just 1:43 of time in the offensive zone, registering zero shots. They attempted five shots as there were five blocked shots recorded, but to be outshot 28-0 in a period is the very definition of embarrassing as a team.

The crazy part? Salavat Yulaev, as Patrick reported, won this game 3-2 despite being outshot 64-11! Dmitry Kugryshev scored at 11:45 and 14:45 while teammate Vyacheslav Solodukhin chipped in a goal at 15:38 to stake Salavat to a 3-0 lead on four shots as Avangard head coach Bob Hartley saw enough of Igor Bobkov and his .250 save percentage at that point, replacing him with Alexei Murygin. That 11.51 GAA in this game looks nothing like his season goals-against average of 1.74 along with a .924 save percentage, so it seems Bobkov was having an off-night in a rather spectacular way. Despite being outshot 15-5, Salavat held a 3-0 lead over Avangard after 20 minutes.

During that insanity known as the second period, David Desharnais scored and Maxim Chudinov added another goal on the power-play, so Avangard went 2-for-28 in this period. They posted a shooting percentage of 7.14% on a total number of shots that most teams average in a game, but Avangard trailed 3-2 after holding a 43-5 advantage in shots!

Yes, forty-three to five. You're reading that correctly. They scored twice on 43 shots - a 4.65% shooting percentage - while Salavat had three goals on five shots - a 60.0% shooting percentage - through two periods of play.

There were no goals scored in the third period as Avangard pummeled Salavat with shots again, winning the shot count by a 21-6 margin. Karill Semyonov led Avangard in shots with nine, but defenceman Cody Franson was right behind him with eight! Yes, former NHLer Cody Franson had eight shots in 22:13 of work while Sergei Shirokov, formerly of the Vancouver Canucks, led the forwards in time-on-ice at 21:34, but recorded a total of zero shots in the game.

Let me rephrase that: Cody Franson had 1/8th of Avangard's total shots in this game and scored zero times while Sergei Shirokov - eight goals already this season - didn't even put a puck on net to tie Franson in offensive output. If one removes David Desharnais' goal and assist on five shots, the former NHL players suiting up for Avangard would have recorded one assist on 19 shots. That's simply awful.

Kudos to Juha Metsola, goaltender for Salavat Yulaev, who stopped 96.9% of the shots he faced in this game. While there's no doubt that Salavat needs to tighten up their defensive game slightly - UNDERSTATEMENT MUCH? - the Finnish goaltender might be someone that Team Finland considers for future international tournaments. He's currently 9-2-0 with a 1.76 GAA and a .943 save percentage, and that's slightly better than his KHL career totals of a 2.07 GAA and a .929 save percentage. Imagine how good Metsola could be with a little defensive help!

A big stick-tap to Patrick for pointing out these rather staggering numbers from today's KHL games! Keep up the great work in keeping us informed about Russian hockey!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Monday, 8 October 2018

Canadian Turkey Day

It's Turkey Day in Canada, and that means it's a holiday for many today. I would be included in that group, and I am officially not doing hockey stuff today. There are games being played, but I'm going to relax, overindulge a little, and take a day off from everything - life, work, hockey, all of it.

With me getting slightly fatter off great food like turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, beets, and other delectable delights, I just want to say thanks to all those who stop by this place of craziness. I appreciate your readership, and I hope you'll keep coming back!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Sunday, 7 October 2018

The Rundown - Week 1

It feels good to be back, right? Welcome to another season of Canada West women's hockey and another season of edition of The Rundown! Each week, I'll run over the highlights of each two-game series in Canada West as the eight teams from BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba battle to see who will ultimately represent the conference at the U SPORTS National Championship which will be hosted by UPEI in Charlottetown in March 2019! The opening of this season saw Manitoba add the 2017-18 Canada West Conference championship banner and the 2017-18 U SPORTS National Championship to their wall, keeping the national champions in Canada West after the Alberta Pandas won in 2016-17. Will we see a Canada West three-peat? Let's get into today's edition of The Rundown!

CALGARY at MANITOBA: Thanks to Manitoba being the easternmost team in Canada West, the Bisons kicked off the season at home as the first game of the new season. There was a short banner-raising ceremony that the team held to celebrate the achievements of the team prior to the game, and then it was onto the 2018-19 schedule for both the Bisons and visiting Calgary Dinos!

Whatever the banner-raising pregame event did, it seems to fire up the Dinos because they came out flying. The Dinos pressed the Bisons for the opening five minutes with multiple shots on Manitoba's Lauren Taraschuk before their hard work paid off. Elizabeth Lang's initial shot was stopped, but the puck popped loose from Taraschuk and she lost sight of it to her right. The scramble with multiple bodies saw Lang follow her shot, and she eventually tapped home the loose puck to put Calgary up 1-0 at the 5:02 mark!

That goal seemed to awaken the sleeping giant as the Bisons began to shift momentum in their favour with sustained pressure in the Calgary zone following an early power-play. Coincidentally, Manitoba would use a power-play late in the period to draw even! After some good puck movement, Lauren Warkentin found a seam and wired a wrister high towards Kelsey Roberts, but it was deflected by Sheridan Oswald en route to Roberts, and the redirection was enough to find the back of the net as Manitoba pulled even at 1-1 at 15:04!
Both teams traded chances late in the period, but the two netminders, who sported two of the top-four save percentages last season, kept this game knotted up at one goal apiece after twenty minutes.

The second period was vastly different than the first period as Manitoba dominated in offensive zone time and time of possession through the middle frame as they played nearly the entire period in the Dinos' zone. With the advantage heavily in their favour, Manitoba grabbed the lead when Madison Cole won a puck battle and got the puck to Jordyn Zacharias in the corner. Zacharias skated unchecked out of the corner to the slot where she zipped a shot through Roberts' five-hole as Manitoba went up 2-1 at 8:38.

Later in the period, Jenai Buchanan made a great read in jumping into a passing lane and intercepting a Dinos breakout pass at center ice. Buchanan turned the puck up ice on a three-on-two, and her low shot from the left wing to the far post forced Roberts to kick out the left pad, leaving the rebound in the slot area. Lauryn Keen, playing the trailer on the three-on-two, went to the net, and, before Roberts could react, Keen had chipped the rebound up and over Roberts' outstretched pad for the 3-1 lead at 15:32!
The Bisons would continue their pressure, but the horn would sound to send the teams to the dressing rooms with the Bisons leading by a pair.

The third period saw chances for both sides, but both Roberts and Taraschuk were equal to the tasks. Roberts made a number of key saves, including robbing Emilie Massรฉ twice in the period while Taraschuk was solid in turning aside chances by Annaliese Meier, Delaney Frey, and Sara Craven. Despite pulling their goaltender with 4:30 to play, the Dinos could not generate another goal while Manitoba missed the open net with longer-distance shots on several chances. When the final horn sounded, the Bisons had captured victory with the 3-1 win! Taraschuk made 13 saves in the victory while Roberts stopped 19 shots in the loss.

CALGARY at MANITOBA: The second half of the opening weekend's series went in the afternoon between the Bisons and Dinos, and it appeared that one Manitoba line came fired up on this Saturday. After missing Friday night's game, Natasha Kostenko got into the Saturday game early as she was in her normal spot on the ice in front of the net where she whacked a rebound off a Sheridan Oswald shot past Kelsey Roberts just 3:46 into this game for the early 1-0 Manitoba lead! That line would double the lead exactly fifteen minutes later when Lauryn Keen found Sheridan Oswald in stride, and Oswald's initial shot was stopped but no Calgary defender could corral the rebound before Oswald got to it and fired it past Roberts for the 2-0 lead at 18:46!

Manitoba continued to forecheck with determination in the second period, but were denied repeatedly by Roberts on good chances. While it seemed as though Manitoba had the advantage in both possession and zone time once again, a power-play for the Dinos saw them cut the lead in half. The top of the box for the Manitoba penalty killers got caught lower than where the coaching staff would like, and this allowed Paige Michalenko, who received a pass at the top of the right face-off circle, enough time to look over the zone and make a great cross-ice pass to Elizabeth Lang. Lang caught Lauren Taraschuk moving as she went high on the glove side with her shot, and the Dinos rookie had her second goal of the weekend at 13:11 to make it a 2-1 game! The two teams had chances late in the period, but we'd go to the third period with the 2-1 Manitoba lead holding.

Manitoba would continue their pressure in the final frame, and that pressure saw them force Calgary into taking a penalty midway through the period. On the ensuing power-play, the Bisons used some good puck movement to get the puck to the middle of the ice and on Lauren Warkentin's stick with traffic in front of Roberts, and Warkentin zipped the puck past the screened netminder to put Manitoba up 3-1 at 8:13! Moments later, a wild scramble in front of the Manitoba net saw Chelsea Court stopped in tight by Taraschuk, but it seemed that she had her bell rung as the Manitoba netminder stayed down on the ice for an extended period of time following the stoppage of play. As a result, Bisons fans got their first chance to see rookie goaltender Erin Fargey in the Manitoba crease, and the Alberta-born netminder didn't disappoint as she showed off an outstanding glove save in her 10:46 of work.

Even with an extended period of play with an extra attacker late in the game couldn't give Calgary the boost to find another goal, but Madison Cole won a puck battle along the half-boards in the Bisons' zone late in the game and fired the puck at the yawning cage for her first U SPORTS goal! When the horn sounded, the Bisons had posted the 4-1 victory to take both games over the visiting Calgary Dinos. Lauren Taraschuk was credited with the win with a 15-save effort in 49:14 of work while Kelsey Roberts suffered a second-straight loss despite making 34 saves. Just for the record, Erin Fargey did make the one recorded save in her 10:46 in the crease.

ALBERTA at SASKATCHEWAN: It was a big Friday night for the Saskatchewan Huskies as they had their own celebration in opening and christening the brand-new Merlis Belsher Place! With the men's squad on the road last week against Alberta, the women's team was the first to play in the new arena that replaced the ancient Rutherford Arena, and the hosts had a great crowd on-hand to help them as a recorded 1046 fans came out for the game!

The first goal wasn't your normal first-goal-of-the-season as the Huskies scored shorthanded! After being assessed a too-many-player bench minor late in the period after some good back-and-forth play by the two teams, Leah Bohlken picked up a loose puck in her own zone as she broke out all sorts of wheels, chipped the puck off the boards past the Alberta defender, and decided to take the shot on the two-on-one before zipping a shot past Dayna Owen high glove side at 18:12 for the first goal of the year for the Huskies, the first shorthanded goal of the season, and the first-ever goal at Merlis Belsher Place!
Saskatchewan took that 1-0 lead into the intermission after the two teams played a fairly even period.

Owen was outstanding in the second period, robbing several Huskies who had prime scoring chances, while her counterpart in the Saskatchewan crease Jessica Vance had her own moments of brilliance in stopping the Pandas at all points including stopping Amy Boucher on a breakaway. With neither goalie surrendering a goal in the middle frame, we'll jump to the third period!

It looked like there might be an equalizer scored early in the third period, but Autumn MacDougall's effort resulted in a swollen goalpost behind Vance as she rang her shot off the bar. Both teams traded chances, but neither team could find the back of the net. With one minute to play, Owen went to the bench for the extra attacker, but it made no difference as last season's Canada West Goalie of the Year pitched another shutout as the Huskies won 1-0! Vance stopped all 24 shots she saw for her first shutout of the season while Dayna Owen deserved a better fate after stopping 16 of 17 shots she faced.

As an aside, major kudos to Saskatchewan for their player videos this season. Here's Leah Bohlken's player video, and I truly believe that more Canada West teams should be doing these kinds of videos to highlight their players on social media.

ALBERTA at SASKATCHEWAN: Last year's fourth-place finisher at the U SPORTS National Championship already had one win under their belts over the Pandas, so the only question was whether they could sweep the weekend series away from UofA. It was a markedly different game from the drop of the puck as the Pandas played with some serious ferocity in the opening minutes, peppering Jessica Vance with shots, but the Saskatchewan netminder would let nothing by. The Pandas were thwarted time and time again by Vance as the 2017-18 Canada West Goaltender of the Year appeared to be in midseason form just four periods into this season after stopping all 13 attempts by the Pandas. Not to be outdone, Alberta's Kirsten Chamberlin was perfect on eight shots as the two teams went into the intermission tied at zeroes.

The two teams continued the battle into the second period, and it would Saskatchewan who broke the stalemate early. Leah Bohlken's wrist shot from the point eluded traffic and Chamberlin to dent the twine behind the Alberta netminder at 3:42 of the second period, and the Huskies claimed the 1-0 lead. That lead, however, would be short-lived as the Pandas stormed back 34 seconds later! Kennedy Ganser notched her first of the season from a very sharp angle that Vance couldn't cover after making an initial save, and we were knotted up at 1-1. Midway through the period, Ganser put a shot on Vance that the netminder stopped and looked to cover with her pad, but the always-dangerous Autumn MacDougall was in the right spot to poke it under Vance's pad before she could smother it at 9:20 to put the Pandas up 2-1! The Huskies pressed for an equalizer later in the middle frame, but Chamberlin was on her game in robbing Bailee Bourassa's one-timer on the power-play with less than a minute to go in the period to keep the Pandas' lead intact.

The third period saw the two goaltenders tested again, but both Vance and Chamberlin was stellar in their respective creases. Saskatchewan pulled Vance with 58 seconds to play and had some intense pressure in the Pandas' zone, but they simply could not solve Chamberlin. The Alberta Pandas held their 2-1 lead to the final horn, evening their record to 1-1-0-0 on the season with the victory! Chamberlin stopped 25 shots for the win while Vance absorbed the loss in a 32-save effort.

LETHBRIDGE at UBC: In case you had forgotten about last year, Lethbridge's netminder Alicia Anderson was a one-woman show when it came to seeing the Lethbridge Pronghorns women's hockey team play. I lamented on occasion that if Lethbridge had any sort of transition game to go from their defensive shell to offence, they could win games simply by letting Anderson make saves. In saying that, welcome to the 2018-19 season where the Lethbridge Pronghorns may have found a solution to not having some sort of transition game.

Power-play goals by Tricia Van Vaerenbergh at 8:31 and Kyra Greig at 14:00 of the first period was more than enough for Anderson to earn the win as she was a wall against the UBC Thunderbirds on this night. The T-Birds weren't passive participants, though, as they poured 19 shots on Anderson in the first period only to be denied each and every time. The same happened in the second period when UBC threw another 17 shots at Anderson only to come up empty on the scoreboard once more. Despite pounding Lethbridge with 41 shots, Anderson was unbeatable on this night as she pitched the shutout for the Pronghorns in helping Lethbridge down UBC by that 2-0 score.

Yes, that transition game by the Pronghorns is still a concern - they only had 26 shots on this night with the majority coming on their seven power-play opportunties - but if the special teams show up and can find goals for the Pronghorns, that might be enough for them to get past some of the better teams in Canada West. It's not a perfect solution by any means, but a win is a win is a win and no one is asking how when how many is the only thing that matters and the Pronghorns already have one on the season! Anderson was spectacular in stopping all 41 pucks sent her way while Amelia Boughn took the loss after making 24 saves.

LETHBRIDGE at UBC: After seeing how well Alicia Anderson played on Friday, you can understand if she requested Saturday off for a little rest and relaxation. However, I was under the impression that playing Anderson in every game for every minute the Pronghorns are on the ice was the Lethbridge strategy for every game. Nevertheless, we got an early appearance from Jessica Lohues in this season, and it's nice to see the Pronghorns giving their underused backup netminder a chance to shine. The only problem? UBC was a little more focused in Saturday's game after being shutout in their home opener.

Lethbridge was the first to hit the scoreboard in this game after UBC's initial pressure was stifled. Tricia Van Vaerenbergh wired a shot while in full flight from the left side that got past Tory Micklash over her shoulder for the early 1-0 Lethbridge lead just 7:21 into this game. 2:19 later, the Thunderbirds found their first goal of the season from a player who led the team in goals last season.
Hannah Clayton-Carroll stripped the puck from the Lethbridge defender breaking out of the zone, and she made no mistake going high on the glove side on Lohues to even the game at 1-1 at the 9:40 mark! The teams would trade chances through the remaining ten minutes, but they would retire to the dressing rooms with the game still in question at 1-1.

The second period saw both teams mount some offence as they looked to take the lead. Lethbridge put 12 shots, including two power-play opportunities, on UBC, but Micklash stood tall. At the other end, UBC had 13 shots, including a pair of power-plays, and it seems that extra shot may have been the key to this period. UBC grabbed a lead late in the frame when Shay-Lee McConnell got in on the scoring action.
McConnell picked up the puck in the neutral zone and went high from the right side on Lohues to make it 2-1 for the T-Birds with 2:54 to play in the period. After forty minutes of play, UBC looked to close out a 2-1 game.

Indeed, it seemed as though the T-Birds were intent on not letting Lethbridge up off the mat as they came out with pressure and firing on all cylinders once more. It paid off after six minutes when a familiar name scored her second goal of the game as Hannah Clayton-Carroll found the back of the net with an insurance marker at 5:57 to help the UBC Thunderbirds claim their first win of the season with the 3-1 victory. Tori Micklash made 21 saves in the win while Jessica Lohues stopped 33 shots in the loss.

MOUNT ROYAL at REGINA: It was the battle of the Cougars to open the season for these two schools as the Mount Royal Cougars travelled east to Saskatchewan to meet the Regina Cougars. The opening period saw the home side pepper Mount Royal's Zoe De Beauville with 13 shots, but none of those shots were elusive enough to get by the netminder. Mount Royal, while less prolific with their offence, was more efficient on their seven shots as Kate Scidmore used some nice moves to get around a Regina defender before snapping a quick wrister past Jane Kish at 17:03 to put MRU up a goal through the intermission.

The Regina Cougars would get that goal back midway through the second period on the power-play when Jaycee Magwood fed a cross-ice pass to Shaelyn Vallotton, and she ripped a slapshot past De Beauville at the 10:39 mark as Regina continued to hammer shots on the Mount Royal defence and netminder. After two periods, Regina held a 21-10 advantage in shots, but the game was tied 1-1.

The Mount Royal Cougars jumped ahead on the scoreboard early in the third period on a power-play of their own when Tatum Amy tapped a puck home from the top of the crease in front of Jane Kish at 4:55 to put MRU up 2-1. Just under seven minutes later, Emma Waldenberger found a loose puck on the power-play that De Beauville couldn't smother off an Ireland South shot, and the big forward deposited the puck in the yawning cage to make it 2-2 with 8:12 to play.

This game appeared to be destined for overtime as time wound down, but the Regina Cougars had other plans. With less than a minute to play, Jordan Kulbina picked up the pick with a head of steam and tore down the right wing where she got a shot away on De Beauville. De Beauville made the initial save, but Jaycee Magwood went to the net and found the rebound, banging it past De Beauville at 19:12 for the 3-2 victory! Kish made 16 saves for the win while De Beauville took the loss after stopping 27 shots on this night.

MOUNT ROYAL at REGINA: Regina looked to keep the momentum rolling early in the season while Mount Royal wanted to split the weekend games as the two teams entered Saturday's action. Things got off to a good start for the Regina Cougars when rookie Jenna Merk grabbed a puck mishandled by the Mount Royal defenders, broke in on Zoe De Beauville, and went high on the netminder for her first U SPORTS goal while shorthanded no less at the 4:22 mark to put Regina up 1-0!

Mount Royal wouldn't be down for long as Anna Purschke used some keen hand-eye coordination to bat a puck out of midair past Morgan Baker off a Breanna Trotter shot, and the Alberta-based Cougars squared the score at 1-1. The shots were also even at seven apiece through the first twenty minutes so neither team had any sort of advantage going into the middle frame.

That second period saw no entries on the score sheet regarding goals and assists as the two teams again recorded seven shots apiece, but none of those 14 combined shots got behind Baker or De Beauville. Just as they had done one night earlier, the two Cougars teams in Canada West went to the third period tied 1-1.

Regarding first goal celebrations, Mount Royal wanted in on the fun, so they had one of their prominent rookies tally her first U SPORTS goal early in the third period!
Breanne Trotter picked up the puck out of the corner, makes a nice move to sidestep the Regina defender before denting the twine on the far side with Morgan Baker down on the ice to make it 2-1 for Mount Royal just 1:02 into the period, and the celebration for the rookie was on! After the excitement died down, Mount Royal extended their lead midway through the period when Anna Purschke scored her second of the night while shorthanded when she beat a Regina defender to get into the open before going high glove side on Baker to make it a 3-1 advantage for Mount Royal at 9:25!

1:01 later, Emma Waldenberger decided to show everyone her definition of "power forward" as she came down the ice, overpowered a Mount Royal defender to get position, and made a nice move in dragging the puck along the crease to beat De Beauville to make it 3-2 in favour of Mount Royal. With 1:52 to play, Morgan Baker went to the bench for the extra attacker as Regina looked to even the game, but the Mount Royal Cougars did everything they needed to do in order to win this game 3-2 despite a furious push over the final two minutes from Regina. De Beauville stopped 17 shots for the victory while Baker stopped 17 shots in the loss.

CWUAA WOMEN'S HOCKEY
School Record Points GF GA Streak Next
Manitoba
2-0-0-0
6 7 2
W2
@ ALB
Regina
1-1-0-0
3 5 5
L1
@ LET
Mount Royal
1-1-0-0
3 5 5
W1
vs UBC
Lethbridge
1-1-0-0
3 3 3
L1
vs REG
British Columbia
1-1-0-0
3 3 3
W1
@ MRU
Saskatchewan
1-1-0-0
3 2 2
L1
@ CAL
Alberta
1-1-0-0
3 2 2
W1
vs MAN
Calgary
0-2-0-0
0 2 7
L2
vs SAS

The Last Word

There's not much to be said after one week of play. With six of the eight teams sporting 1-1-0-0 records and goal differentials of zero, we probably won't see much separation until November as teams figure out systems and what works best for them against their opposition. It is nice to see, however, a number of rookies getting in on the scoring early in this season as that shows the solid talent bring recruited by these teams and it bodes well for the future of Canada West women's hockey. The first U SPORTS Top Ten should be out later this week, and I expect the 2-0-0-0 reigning U SPORTS National Champions to open the season at #1 as Manitoba continued their strong play in the first weekend.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Saturday, 6 October 2018

Jewels And Fire

How about that snazzy bling? That would be Venla Hovi's ring commemorating her U SPORTS National Championship that were given to the 2017-18 Manitoba Bisons women's hockey team at a post-game celebration following today's win over the Calgary Dinos. It goes without saying that Venla is a pretty special player, having earned a bronze medal at the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics before hustling back to join the Bisons for Game Two in the Canada West Semi-Final, eventually helping them capture the Canada West Championship and the U SPORTS National Championship. The Finnish Olympian entered the CWHL Draft this summer and was selected by the Calgary Inferno, so the question had to be asked: what's next for Venla Hovi?

I had the opportunity to speak to one of the most decorated hockey players to ever wear the Bisons logo after the game, and it's pretty clear that she's looking forward to the next chapter of her life out in Calgary. Venla leaves on Wednesday for the Alberta city to join the Calgary Inferno for the 2018-19 CWHL regular season and beyond, and I have a feeling she'll be playing with Finland in Saskatoon at the 2019 Four Nations Cup in November before returning home to Finland when Espoo hosts the 2019 IIHF Women's World Hockey Championship.

"I'm excited to get back out there and play," Venla said, smiling, "but I'm a little scared too. There's so many good players, and I don't really know anyone. I just hope I play well enough."

I don't think there's any doubt that she'll play well enough as she's proven on the international stage, and she'll get to play alongside some players who will undoubtedly help her raise her game as she suits up next to Brianna Decker, Zoe Hickel, Rebecca Johnston, Brianne Jenner, and Blayre Turnbull. Hovi has never been one to shy away from raising her game to a new level, and there will be a ton of opportunity to do so at the professional level.

From what she said, Hovi will be forced to wear a new number as teammate Dakota Woodworth is currently wearing her familiar #9. It sounds like she settled on #7 as her new choice, and there have been some rather solid players who wore #7 in Calgary before Hovi.

American Joe Mullen helped the Calgary Flames win a Stanley Cup while scoring 190 goals in the regular season. A young lady from Edmonton named Brittany Esposito wore #7 for the Inferno prior to this season where she helped the Inferno win the 2016 Clarkson Cup while scoring 83 points in 93 career games. Of course, high-scoring defenceman TJ Brodie currently wears #7 for the Flames. Current teammate Erica Kromm also wore #7 back in the day when the Team Alberta was still a thing as well. Needless to say, Hovi should keep this trend of long-running success for players wearing #7 on the ice in Calgary going!

I'm not going to lie when I say that it won't be the same around Wayne Fleming Arena without Venla. Her drive was infectious with the other players both on and off the ice, and her passion for the game might be unmatched as far as I've seen. And in knowing what she's done on the ice at the U SPORTS level and the international level, her smile lit up the rink and she always had time for fans, especially the smaller fans who wanted to meet an Olympian!

Calgary is getting a great woman who loves the game of hockey, and I'm sure fans of the Inferno will become enamored with Venla just as the fans of the Manitoba Bisons are. I'm hopeful that the Bisons will take some time to see their former teammate play professionally this season as the Bisons visit Calgary for a date with the Dinos on November 30 and December 1 while the Inferno host the Markham Thunder on December 1 and 2! And if, for some reason, those dates don't work for the Bisons, perhaps they'll consider January 11 and 12 when they visit Calgary to battle the Mount Royal Cougars while the Inferno are at home that weekend against the Toronto Furies!

That last set of games could be awesome as there's a chance that Sami Jo Small, General Manager of the Toronto CWHL club, could be traveling with the Furies! Sami cheered from afar as the Bisons captured the U SPORTS National Championship, so it might be a good chance for the Bisons to meet another Olympian from Winnipeg! Of course, Sami Jo Small could be scouting players from the Bisons that weekend, so it might be a good time for a number of seniors to get their A-game in order!

I will say it was an honour to be able to call games featuring Venla Hovi as she is a true professional when it comes to her approach on and off the ice. She was a delight to speak with for interviews, she's a wonderful ambassador for the game, and I have no doubt that she'll bring the same passion to the Inferno. Embrace her, Calgary. She's an amazing woman!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Friday, 5 October 2018

New Tapestries

In 2008, Malcolm Gladwell published his bestseller entitled Outliers. It’s within this book that Gladwell frequently talks about how it takes 10,000 hours to master a skill, noting it as "the magic number of greatness" based on the research of Anders Ericsson. Yes, scientists have debunked this number of hours in several studies, but it should be noted that it took somewhere around 2400 hours of game play last season, not to mention countless hours in the gym and at practice, for the Manitoba Bisons women's hockey team to finally claim greatness in capturing the U SPORTS National Championship. Tonight, as seen in the image above, the newest banners hung in Wayne Fleming Arena were unveiled!

First off, let me say that it was amazing to see all the people out for the opening game of the season for Canada West women's hockey. While attendance on the boxscore stated there was 450 people in attendance, the rink sounded louder and looked fuller than 450 people. Regardless, it was encouraging to see a good crowd early in the season to help celebrate the first national championship banner being hung in Wayne Fleming Arena in 53 years.

Having the seniors from last season return was also a special touch and a classy move by the Bisons. Alana Serhan, Nicole Carswell, Charity Price, Rachel Dyck, Olympian Venla Hovi, and captain Caitlin Fyten were all in attendance to help commemorate the occasion, and I'd be lying if I didn't wish they were still in uniform and in the lineup for this Bisons squad. All six graduates of the program helped in unveiling the U SPORTS National Championship banner which they all had a major part in helping the team win!

Among the esteemed and distinguished guests that joined the crowd at Wayne Fleming Arena were Minister of Sport, Culture and Heritage and MLA for River East Cathy Cox, His Worship Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman, President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Manitoba Dr. David T. Barnard, MLA for Fort Richmond Sara Guillemard, and UMSU President Jakob Sanderson! All five dropped pucks for the ceremonial face-off between Calgary Dinos captain Paige Michalenko and Manitoba Bisons captain Erica Rieder!

The ceremony wasn't long, but I'd be remiss in not sharing the actual moment of the banner unveiling courtesy of MLA Cathy Cox's Twitter account!
The gentleman wearing Sheridan Oswald's jersey in front of the camera is Director of Athletics and Recreation Gene Muller, so it seems like everyone who is anyone regarding the University of Manitoba was in attendance! In all honesty, it was pretty surreal to see all these great people out supporting the Bisons women's hockey team, and here's hoping this won't be their last appearances this season or in any season!

Of course, there was a game to be called, and I'm proud to report that new UMFM play-by-play announcer Kyleigh Palmer did an outstanding job in calling the game! For having never called a game one month ago to today's action, Kyleigh has shown some impressive growth as a broadcaster, and I am happy to have her as a partner for this season's action! Make sure you tune in to our broadcasts all season long on UMFM or on Canada West TV!

I'll have more on this game and all the games on The Rundown on Sunday as I do every week through the Canada West hockey season, so make sure you come back for those breakdowns. You can officially view the new banners at any home game you'd like to attend at Wayne Fleming Arena, and make sure you let me know if you're in the barn! Shout-outs will happen, and maybe we'll get you doing a little more on our fun broadcasts!

Congratulations to the University of Manitoba Bisons women's hockey team on all their success last season! While it's fun to reminisce, we have new chapters to write!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!