Thursday, 17 January 2019

The Hockey Show - Episode 330

The Hockey Show, Canada's only campus-produced radio show that strictly talks hockey, wanders back into the spotlight tonight as Beans and I find our way back to the studio to talk about all things hockey on the planet! Ok, maybe not everything, but a lot of the bigger stories that we can squeeze into one hour of insanity! Wanna win something tonight? You should listen. Wanna chat hockey tonight? Phone lines will be open. Wanna play hockey tonight? Well, we can't help you there unless you need directions to a rink, but you should probably hit Google maps if you're already reading this on the internet!

Tonight, Beans and I will look at the plight of the Anaheim Ducks as they're currently mired in a 12-game losing streak but still find themselves in contention for a playoff spot, comedian Gerry Dee making women's hockey fans irate with his "Sports Reporter"-like promotional video for the CWHL All-Star Game, the Jets against the Nashville Predators with first-place in the Central Division up for grabs, the NHL announcing there will be no World Cup of Hockey in 2020, Jake Gardiner being booed by Leafs fans, the Bisons in action against the Regina Cougars, and a few other stories that have hit the wire this week. Again, Beans and I will be giving away some sort of prize tonight with the correct answer to a trivia question, so make sure you're listening at 5:30pm CT!

You might be wondering where the blurb about the UMFM app has gone. I'm going on record to say you can still use it, but the new UMFM website will fill the needs of our listeners because the new online streaming player is pretty awesome. If you're using an Apple device, the player doesn't seem to like Safari, but we highly recommend you use the TuneIn app found on the App Store. The UMFM app will currently work for you, but there's some work being done to realign it with UMFM's new website, so it may go silent soon. If it does, TuneIn. It's a solid app.

I'm changing up the social media portion as well. I'm losing faith in Facebook, so that option will slowly be allowed to drift off into the horizon. However, the other options still work! Email all show questions and comments to! Tweet me anytime with questions you may have by hitting me up at @TeebzHBIC on Twitter! We're here to listen to you, so make your voice heard!

Tonight, Teebz and Beans discuss the Ducks and their losing ways, Gerry Dee and the art of comedy, the Jets and their arch-nemeses, no meaningless September tournament, Gardiner being a scapegoat, the Bisons' upcoming weekend and much more only on The Hockey Show found exclusively on 101.5 UMFM, on the UMFM app, on the web stream!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Wednesday, 16 January 2019

Oh No

The goalie in question who blew a tire coming out of the corner is Barys Astana's Dominik Hrachovina. The player who scored the gift shorthanded goal is Spartak's Anatoly Nikontsev who tallied his 14th goal of the season off Hrachovina's stumble. To add a little salt to the wound, that was the only goal that Hrachinova would surrender after relieving Henrik Karlsson who gave up four goals on 13 shots.

The worst part? Barys would fall by that 5-4 score after both teams failed to score in the third period, making Nikontsev's shorthanded marker the game-winning goal.

Sometimes, the hockey gods are cruel.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Tuesday, 15 January 2019

Sawchuk Gets Celluloid Treatment

Legendary Winnipeg-born goaltender Terrance Gordon Sawchuk has been called a lot of things thanks to his hockey career. He was a Red Wing, a Maple Leaf, a Bruin, a King, and a Ranger. He was once called the winningest goaltender in NHL history. He's been named as one of the Greatest 100 Players in NHL history. I'm sure there are other words that his opponents used to describe him that aren't really fit for print as well, but I'm quite certain that prior to his death in 1970 he'd never been called "biopic topic". That will change in March when a biopic about Sawchuk's life and career hits the big screen in a theater near you in the upcoming film Goalie!

Sawchuk will be played by Newfoundland-born Mark O'Brien, a Canadian actor whose works includes Bad Times at El Royale, The Darkest Minds, Halt and Catch Fire, and Republic of Doyle. The 34 year-old is a lifelong Montreal Canadiens fan - as seen to the right - and he still plays in Los Angeles when he's not on the set of his next project. He's a good friend of former Canadien and author Terry Ryan, and he'll be the man behind the mask as Terry Sawchuk in the film. Among O'Brien's favorite players, according to his interview, are Saku Koivu, Vincent Damphousse, and Patrick Roy!

Hollywood star Kevin Pollak will assume the role of Jack Adams, the legendary GM. Pollak is best known for his work in The Usual Suspects, A Few Good Men, and, most recently, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. Georgina Reilly - O'Brien's wife in real life - will play Pat Sawchuk, Terry's wife, in the movie. Reilly is best known for her work on Murdoch Mysteries. The film was shot in the hockey hotbed of Sudbury, Ontario, the same city that Letterkenny is filmed.

The film follows Sawchuk from his youth as a kid growing up in Winnipeg through to his tragic demise in 1970 at the age of 40. All of his moves between the five NHL teams will be chronicled, and every one of his 400 stitches is reportedly account for in the movie. From the early press release, the movie is based largely the David Dupuis book Sawchuk: The Troubles and Triumphs of the World’s Greatest Goalie and the book of poetry Night Work: The Sawchuk Poems by Randall Maggs, the father of the movie's co-writers Adriana and Jane Maggs. Adriana Maggs also directed the film.

Maggs stated that she tried "to explore masculinity in a world where a man's worth is measured in the ways he is a warrior," noting that the movie was written specifically for O'Brien who is listed as one of the films executive producers. It seems that O'Brien's love of hockey has found a way to manifest itself in his work!

The announcement of this film came with some big news from Manitoba's film sector as well. While Goalie was shot in Sudbury, Winnipeg has been lucky enough to have had Jay Baruchel's hit film Goon filmed in the province. Why is this important? It was announced today that tax credit for labour in film and video productions made in Manitoba will be permanent, making film productions in this province hopefully a permanent fixture.

"Renewal of the Manitoba Film and Video Tax Credit and removal of the sunset clause signals to the local, national and international media production industry that Manitoba is in business for the long term," said On Screen Manitoba executive director Nicole Matiation in the release.

"This is an industry built on collaboration and it is the combined investments of government, production companies, service suppliers, unions and other private and public investors that have contributed to the growth of the Manitoba media production industry and it is that collaboration that will ensure it continues to flourish."

So while the film about a Manitoba goalie was shot in Ontario, the hope is that Manitoba becomes a far more attractive place to shoot films with this permanent tax credit being offered to film-makers and studios moving forward. As it stands, anyone who chooses to "produce film or video projects in Manitoba can get back either 45 per cent of a project's labour costs or 30 per cent of all production costs, and there are bonuses for shooting in rural or northern locations."

Having had the likes of Jared Keeso and Tim Cherry shoot the Don Cherry CBC movies here and the aforementioned Goon being shot here, it seems Manitoba is open for business for all movies and video production. While I'm not on the inside of any future projects being filmed here, my hope is that more hockey stories may be told in this great province. We seem to have a pretty track record when it comes to producing hockey movies here.

I'm already looking forward to seeing Goalie. Here's hoping it's a massive hit!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Monday, 14 January 2019

Incredible Night

I was a little preoccupied today as I was busy getting myself pretty for a major event tonight. I mentioned it last week, but tonight's the night for an exclusive black-tie event! I was lucky enough to be asked by the Bisons hockey programs to emcee their Hockey and Scholarship Fundraising Dinner, and I'm happy to report that I did my best not to ruin the evening. In saying that, I am proud to have met three incredible men as they were honoured by the hockey programs tonight in Dr. Wayne Anderson, Mr. Ryan Campbell, and Mr. Paul Maurice. The last guy's name you may recognize as the head coach of the NHL's Winnipeg Jets, but the other two men have led incredible lives since suiting up for the Bisons. I'll introduce you to them tonight.

Dr. Wayne Anderson was this year's recipient of the Gabe Pritchard Legacy Award which is awarded "annually by the men's hockey program to a recipient who exemplifies great Bisons pride and who has made an enduring and extraordinary contribution to Bisons men's hockey."

Dr. Anderson was a member of the Manitoba Bisons from 1960-1963 where he showed tremendous heart and passion as a player. In 1961-62, he was named as the team's most improved player, and he helped teach some of the players who came through the program in the following years about the importance of hard work as the 1964-65 Bisons men's hockey team is still the only men's hockey program in school history to capture the National Championship banner. At least to date, anyway.

Dr. Anderson's legacy doesn't end there. He was the 25th Chairman of the Board of Governors from 2002 to 2006 at the University of Manitoba after serving as a member of the Board of Governors for four years. As a result of this, he was awarded the Peter D. Curry Chancellor's Award for his service to the university.

Dr. Anderson has also been an important part of the Bisons men's hockey program in his post-playing days. He established the Bill Robinson Scholarship Award in honour of former Bisons head coach Bill Robinson. The award is given annually to a student-athlete in the men's hockey program that has shown the same hard work and motivation through improvement as Dr. Anderson did.

And thanks to current Bisons head coach Mike Sirant, I was informed tonight that Dr. Anderson hasn't missed a Bisons men's home game in nearly 50 years! That alone is more than impressive and deserves an award, but it was great meeting and speaking with one of the Bisons' best supporters in the history of the program in Dr. Wayne Anderson!

The second man honoured this evening is pictured to the left, and I honestly was shocked I hadn't heard of his statistical accomplishments before this night considering the rather incredible numbers he put up while wearing the brown-and-gold. That man is former Bisons sniper Ryan Campbell, and to say he's had an interesting life would be a major understatement!

Campbell played for the Bisons from 1988-1993, serving as team captain in his final two seasons with the program. In his 190 games with the Bisons, Campbell scored 96 goals and 128 assists for 224 points, earning him accolades that included being named the Bisons Rookie of the Year in 1988-89, a Canada West First-Team All-Star, the Bisons leading scorer, the Bisons MVP, and he was named as the University of Manitoba's Male Athlete of the Year in 1992-93.

While his skills on the ice were certainly impressive, Campbell also was very involved in campus and community life off the ice. He was recognized by the Bisons, Canada West, and U SPORTS for sportsmanship and ability as he was named the Canada West Dr. Gregg Award winner in 1992-93 for his high proficiency in athletics, academics, and community service. And it would be remiss if I didn't mention that Campbell also graduated with his Bachelor of Commerce degree with Honours while being named as the Valedictorian for his graduating class in 1993.

Campbell's hockey career didn't end there, though, as he made the jump across the ocean to the British National League where he suited up for the Guildford Flames for eight seasons. The Flames won the BNL South in 1997 and won the entire league championship in 2000-01, and Campbell was a big part of those victories as he scored 373 goals and 543 assists in just 474 games in the BNL! At the end of the 2001 season, Campbell's #10 was retired by the Flames as he moved into a new career after winding down his hockey-playing days.

Campbell has since earned his Certified General Accountants Professional Level designation in 2006, and he was named as the recipient of CGA Manitoba's Professional Level of Excellence in 2006 and CGA Manitoba's Meritorious Service Award in 2012. It was an honour to meet Ryan Campbell tonight, and I wish I could have seen him play before he hung up the skates professionally!

As for the guest of honour at tonight's event, Mr. Paul Maurice, everyone at the event had been waiting for his arrival. His speech was funny and inspiring. He spoke directly to the players with passion and conviction behind his words as he delivered his message. He thanked the many people in attendance for not only their contributions, but their overall support of the players and the programs in all ways they help. He was smart, articulate, caring, passionate, and inspirational. He was, in a word, perfect.

Maurice spent some time taking questions from the crowd in attendance as well, and he had some rather insightful answers to questions about chemistry in the room, his favorite player as a coach, and his views on last season's Western Conference Final series against the Vegas Golden Knights. I've seen some great speakers including the likes of Dennis Hull and Dale Hawerchuk, but if he ever tires of coaching I'm sure that Paul Maurice could spend the rest of his days very comfortable as a public speaker. He was incredible!

Again, I was honoured and humbled that I was able to welcome these three men to the event this evening, and I'm hopeful that the Bisons hockey programs made some incredible money with the amazing prizes they were offering. I'm not sure that I'll ever be asked back to emcee this event again - I'm hopeful! - but if this was my one chance, I feel like I was witness to an incredible evening of giving, guests, and 115 great people who are making Bisons hockey one of the premiere programs in all of Canada.

Thank you to all who attended and contributed to another great event!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Sunday, 13 January 2019

The Rundown - Week 10

If there's one group of people I need to congratulate in looking at this week's schedule of games in Canada West women's hockey, it's the schedule makers. With the points earned last weekend in the conference, this weekend's games could spell doom for some while giving others the security of a playoff spot if they could find wins. With every point mattering for seven of eight teams at this juncture of the season, playoff spots will likely be a major theme for the remainder of the season for the seven teams in contention. With that being said, let's see how this week affected the playoff picture on The Rundown!

FRIDAY: In what may have been the biggest series when it came to determining quarterfinal byes, UBC headed northeast over the mountains into Edmonton to meet the Alberta Pandas. UBC needed points to hunt down Manitoba while Alberta was looking to put more space between them and everyone else while claiming the first playoff spot. Dayna Owen got the call for the Pandas as they continued their three-goalie rotation while Tory Micklash was sent to the UBC net.

Just as they always do, Alberta came out ready to play and largely controlled home ice in the opening frame. Chances were had by the Pandas, but Micklash turned aside all eight shots she faced while Owen made three stops in a period were she didn't face a lot of tests. After 20 minutes, it was still 0-0 on the scoreboard.

The second period was more of the same as Alberta controlled most of the period, but one of the two shots recorded by UBC would find the twine. Madison Patrick fired a shot in on Owen which the netminder kicked aside, but Ashley McFadden was in the right spot to pot the rebound as UBC went ahead 1-0 at 8:58! Despite putting seven more pucks on Micklash, she kept her net clear of pucks through 40 minutes as UBC went to the third period with the one-goal lead!

It likely doesn't need top be said, but Micklash went ballistic in the third period as she shut the door time and again on the Pandas. UBC certainly found a few more chances, but Owen continued to keep Alberta within a goal with her play. However, Celine Tardif would cap this game off with an empty-net goal with 34 seconds to play as Micklash stoned the Pandas in the 2-0 victory! Tory Micklash made 27 saves to record her ninth win and fourth shutout while Owen made ten stops in the loss.

Highlight are below!

SATURDAY: For as rare as losses are for the Pandas at Clare Drake Arena, you knew they were going to come back with some fire in their bellies on Saturday. UBC, not wanting to mess with a winning setup, started Tory Micklash for the second day in a row while the Pandas came back with rookie extraordinaire Halle Oswald in an all-Manitoba goaltending match-up.

Just like the night before, the opening period saw no goals recorded largely due to Micklash's incredible netminding as she turned aside all seven shots sent her way. Oswald was far less busy as she only had two pucks to handle, but she too was perfect on both shots. Through 20 minutes, the score remained 0-0.

The middle frame showed more stalemate hockey, but it would be an Alberta penalty that triggered the first goal. Alex Poznikoff went for a skate while shorthanded, and her rush ended with a high shot that went up and over the short side on Micklash to put the Pandas up 1-0 at 13:12! Another Alberta penalty two minutes later would see the team with the advantage strike back as UBC's Rylind MacKinnon loaded up a wrist shot from the point that danced its way through traffic past a screen Oswald to find the back of the net at 16:03 to tie the game 1-1! The final four minutes of the period would go scoreless as we moved to the third period tied at one goal apiece!

The third period was a defensive battle as it appeared that neither side wanted to win as much as they were preventing a loss. Alberta held the advantage in shots with a 4-3 margin, but both Micklash and Oswald weren't interested in allowing a goal, so we were treated to free hockey with the game tied 1-1 at the end of regulation time!

Four-on-four overtime? Solved nothing.
Three-on-three overtime? Solved nothing.
Shootout? Found a winner!

Mathea Fischer would put UBC up in the shootout in Round One with a dangle that nearly caused me to pull a muscle as I watched, but Kennedy Ganser would tie the shootout up in Round Two. In Round Three, UBC's Emma Hall would be stopped as Alberta's Amy Boucher stepped to center ice.
Boucher's goal would send Alberta to the 2-1 shootout victory! Halle Oswald earned her sixth win of the season with her 12-save effort while Micklash was brilliant in the shootout loss as she stopped 27 shots.

Highlights from the game are below!

FRIDAY: While one could describe this series as the battle of the bottom-dwellers in Canada West, the reality is that Lethbridge has a legitimate shot at making the Canada West playoffs for the first time if they can continue gathering points. Calgary literally needed to win to remain relevant, and any losses this weekend would ultimately force them into the spoiler role. Alicia Anderson started for Lethbridge while Kelsey Roberts was tasked with Calgary's netminding in the first half of this home-and-home series.

The first period saw both teams come out firing as the Dinos opened the game with an early volley before the Pronghorns went the other way and peppered Roberts. Despite Calgary outshooting the Pronghorns by a 14-8 margin through the opening frame, Anderson and Roberts kept all shooters off the scoresheet as the game moved to the second period tied at 0-0.

After the teams traded early power-play chances, the Dinos would finally solve Anderson midway through the frame. Calgary won a face-off in the offensive zone back to Delaney Frey, and she went over Anderson's shoulder inside the far post at 10:10 to put Calgary up 1-0! Minutes late, Lethbridge would be whistled for a penalty, and the Dinos would strike again. Carley Wlad would be the beneficiary of a weird bounce off the crossbar and off the glass behind Anderson from a Dana Wood shot as Wlad banged home the rebound at 14:47 to put the Dinos up 2-0! The Pronghorns could not solve Roberts for a second-straight period, and we'd head to the third period with Calgary holding the two-goal lead and a 26-17 advantage in shots.

Early in the third, the Pronghorns would finally break the goose egg. Meg Dyer ricocheted a pass off the boards to Katie Breitkreuz, and Breitkreuz went shelf over Roberts' blocker at 1:38 to make it a 2-1 game! Minutes later, the Dinos would restore the two-goal margin as Rachel Paul went end-to-end, weaving around Pronghorns until before backhanding a shot high over Anderson's glove to make it 3-1 at 6:33! The Pronghorns continued to press as time wound down, but were thwarted by Roberts as we neared the final horn. A late scramble with all sorts of traffic in front of Roberts saw Jodi Gentile pick up the loose puck and snipe it home on the left side as Roberts was down and out on the right, and Lethbridge trailed 3-2 with 1:33 to play.

Following the goal, the Pronghorns called their time-out, pulled Anderson, and sent six attackers out to see if they could extend this game. 22 seconds after the face-off, Ashley McCabe found Jordan Doram all alone in front of Roberts, and Doram zipped the puck between Roberts' legs to tie the game 3-3 at 18:49 in a rather unbelievable sequence of events! Neither team would find the net in the final 1:11, and we'd go to overtime to find a winner!

The four-on-four overtime period featured more quality goaltending as neither team could find the back of the nets, so we'd move to double-overtime and three-on-three play. Midway through the second overtime period, a shot by Katie Breitkreuz was stopped by Roberts, but Tricia Van Vaerenbergh came thundering in for the rebound, knocking the net off its moorings and the puck into the net. After a delay, officials determined the net had come off its pegs before the puck went in, and the goal was waved off as these two teams went back to work. However, it would be moments later when Van Vaerenbergh would truly end the game, beating Roberts with her shot with 35 seconds to play to give Lethbridge the 4-3 double-overtime win! Alicia Anderson picked up her sixth win by making 40 saves on the night while Roberts stopped 39 shots in the loss.

SATURDAY: The series would move slightly north for the back half of the home-and-home as the Pronghorns traveled to Calgary. The same story held true as the night before - Lethbridge needed points to track down Mount Royal and Regina in the standings while Calgary was looking to avoid being all but eliminated from the playoffs. Kelsey Roberts and Alicia Anderson would square off in the nets in a rematch from Friday's battle.

The teams traded chances early on, but it would be Lethrbidge who decided that scoring a little earlier than the third period might be beneficial. Eryn Johanson corralled a pass from Mattie Apperson and cut across the left face-off circle into the slot, opening up Roberts' five-hole as she moved laterally where Johanson slipped the puck n the backhand for the game's opening goal at 9:05! Calgary would respond minutes later on a 5-on-3 power-play when a Paige Michaelenko shot was kicked out by Anderson, but Laine Grace snuck in off the left side of the umbrella and backhanded the rebound past the Pronghorns netminder to tie the game at 1-1 at 14:14!
The final five minutes had no other goals recorded as we'd go to the second period with the single goal scored for each team.

Whatever was said during the intermission seemed to spark the Dinos as they came out to start the middle frame like they were on fire. They peppered Anderson with shots and were flying around the Lethbridge zone, but the Pronghorns' defence would not waver as they turned the attacks aside. That seemed to spark the visitors as the Pronghorns used the momentum built plus a little puck luck to find a second goal. Ashley McCabe was the recipient of a bouncing puck at the edge of the crease from Kianna Dietz, and she potted the puck into a yawning cage after players had fallen on top of Roberts. The officials agreed it was a good goal, and Lethbridge led 2-1 at 11:13! It seemed that the Dinos were poised to tie the game late in the frame but a pair of saves by the post and the crossbar kept this game at 2-1 as the teams headed to the third!

The third period saw the teams trade chances, but neither the goalies nor the posts were willing to concede any further goals. Despite outshooting the Pronghorns, the Dinos could not muster another goal as the Pronghorns picked up three points with the 2-1 win! Alicia Anderson notched her seventh win of the season in making 27 stops while Roberts fell short with her 18 saves.

FRIDAY: The battle of the rectangle province went for the second time this season as Regina traveled to Saskatoon for the first half of the home-and-home with the Huskies. Regina needed points to hold onto fifth-place against the persistent Mount Royal Cougars and the surging Lethbridge Pronghorns. Saskatchewan, meanwhile, had a chance to close the gap on third-place UBC with a pair of wins this weekend. Which team would help their own cause? Jessica Vance took the net for the Huskies while Jane Kish was in net for the Cougars.

The first period was all about goal-scoring and goaltending for the home squad. Saskatchewan jumped out in front at 6:56 off a Brooklyn Haubrich goal, and then followed that goal up 44 seconds later when Bailee Bourassa lasered a shot over Jane Kish's left shoulder into the top-right corner. Regina got themselves moving after that and generated a number of chances, but Vance wasn't having any of it as she denied those shots. With 1:06 remaining in the frame, Kennedy Brown knocked down a puck and took off on a breakaway where she went top-left corner over the glove of Kish to make it 3-0. The final minute would produce nothing else, so we'd move to the second period with Saskatchewan firmly in control with a 3-0 lead.

Morgan Baker was in the Cougars' net to start the second period as Sarah Hodges looked for something to spark her team. Unfortunately, the Huskies continued to bring the heat, but Baker was ready for the action as she turned away a number of chances early on. Saskatchewan would make good on one of their 14 shots in the frame as Abby Shirley solved Baker at 16:22, and it seemed that the Huskies were setting up a blow-out of their provincial rivals. However, Regina would kill Vance's shutout when Chelsea Hallson sent Jaycee Magwood and Emma Waldenberger in on a two-on-one just over a minute later. Magwood opted to keep and that was a good decision as her shot beat Vance at 18:54 to make it a 4-1 game.

The third period was all about Saskatchewan limiting chances and securing the lead through the final 20 minutes. They would indeed do that, using some early scoring to help them to a 4-1 victory on this night! Jessica Vance made 26 saves for her eighth win of the campaign while Kish suffered the loss in her 20 minutes of work, making 11 saves on 14 shots. For the record, Baker stopped 21 of 22 shots in her 40 minutes of relief work.

SATURDAY: The series would head south down Highway 11 to Regina as the interprovincial battle continued. The loss on Friday certainly didn't help Regina, but the three points earned by Saskatchewan made the gap between the fourth-place Huskies and fifth-place Cougars even larger. Jessica Vance took to the Saskatchewan nets once more while Regina came back with Morgan Baker after her strong performance one night earlier.

After both teams got their legs under them, the Huskies went back to work as they did one night earlier. Kennedy Brown sent a pass over to Sophie Lalor on a two-on-one, and Lalor waited just long enough to find a seam on Baker as she beat the Regina netminder between the wickets at 7:56 to put the visitors up 1-0. Regina, however, wasn't going to let this one get away while on home ice. Jenna Merk stripped a Huskie of the puck behind the net and threw it out front where Shaelyn Vallotton picked it up inside the blue line, stepped into a wrist shot, and beat Vance low on the glove side at 10:20 to even the score at 1-1! The final nine minutes saw Regina pour on all sorts of pressure thanks to a 5-on-3 power-play, but Vance would stand tall as the period ended with the score tied at one-goal apiece despite Regina leading 14-5 in shots!

The second period was highlighted by more goaltending as neither Vance nor Baker were interested in allowing the opposition to take a lead. That continued into the third period as well as neither Regina nor Saskatchewan could find an advantage. This would carry over into the four-on-four overtime period and again into the three-on-three overtime period. At the end of three full periods and two overtime periods, we were still tied 1-1 with Regina holding a 33-18 advantage in shots. We'd need a skills competition to decide a winner in this one!

It would take eight rounds to determine a winner, and that would include Baker stopping Bailee Bourassa and Sophie Lalor twice each while Jessica Vance stoned Jaycee Magwood twice. However, the only goal of the shootout would go to Regina when Jordan Kulbida zipped a shot under Vance's blocker for the winner in the skills competition! Regina would claim victory with the shootout goal as they prevailed 2-1! Morgan Baker picked up her third win of the season in stopping 17 shots while Vance absorbed the loss despite making 32 saves on this night.

FRIDAY: Manitoba traveled to Calgary to meet the Mount Royal Cougars as they stared at a six-point chasm between themselves and first-place Alberta while third-place UBC was three points back of them. Mount Royal needed to find points to try and leap Regina into fifth-place while holding off Lethbridge in their push for the playoffs. Manitoba opted to send Lauren Taraschuk to the crease while Mount Royal went with Zoe De Beauville.

Manitoba came out strong and carried the play in the early going as they caused the Cougars some fits with their speed and skill. This would help Manitoba draw the first penalty as Tatum Amy was sent off for a slash, and the Manitoba power-play would make the Cougars pay. Natasha Kostenko would find the first goal as she beat De Beauville at 10:23 with the player-advantage, and the Bisons were up 1-0! It appeared we'd go to the intermission with that score, but Karissa Kirkup had other ideas as she found the back of the net with 14 seconds left in the frame, and Manitoba would lead 2-0 when the horn sounded.

The second period was far more even in the play between the two teams, but a bodychecking penalty on Tianna Ko was what Manitoba needed to extend their lead. Jenai Buchanan would find room past De Beauville at 6:38 - eight seconds after Ko was sent off - as Manitoba took a 3-0 lead! It should be noted that early in the second, Mount Royal went down a defender when Victoria Byer went down and was in considerable pain. She was helped off the ice, and the Cougars would play the remainder of the second and the third with only five defenders. Here's hoping that Byer's injury is minor, and she's back on the ice sooner than later! The good news? They would start the third period needing three goals to even the game.

Nicolette Seper would beat Taraschuk midway through the third period to ruin the shutout bid, but Erica Rieder would ice the game with an empty-netter with 18 second to play as Manitoba locked down the defensive zone to secure the 4-1 victory. Lauren Taraschuk made 19 saves to record her conference-leading tenth win of the season while De Beauville suffered the loss despite stopping 28 shots.

SATURDAY: Manitoba came into Saturday's game looking for the sweep and all six points while Mount Royal needed to find a split in their efforts to hunt down the Saskatchewan-based Cougars. Lauren Taraschuk would head back to the blue paint for Manitoba while Mount Royal opted to go with Emma Pincott in the matinee.

The Cougars came out as the aggressors in this game and they had chances early, only to be denied by Taraschuk. The period would begin to shift in Manitoba's direction as they had a power-play midway through the period, but came up with nothing to show for it. The defensive stance seemed to push the Cougars, and they'd take a lead with less than five minutes to play in the frame when Camryn Amundson out-muscled a defender to get off a backhander that eluded Taraschuk on the short side to give MRU the 1-0 lead at 15:39! The Cougars would maintain their first lead of the weekend through to the intermission.

It seemed that the Bisons simply couldn't find their game on this afternoon as the Cougars opened the second period by blitzing the Manitoba defence over and over, but, while the Bisons may have bent, they certainly didn't break. They would find themselves square later in the period when Alanna Sharman - who had missed the entire first half of the season - scored her first goal of the campaign on a slapper than beat Pincott at 14:03. Give Taraschuk credit as she held the fort in the second period as the two teams went to the the third period knotted up at 1-1.

Both teams traded chances in the opening of the third period, but it would be a power-play midway through the frame that put the Bisons ahead. Alanna Sharman scored her second goal of the game past Pincott at 10:04 to put Manitoba up 2-1. Five minutes later, Lauryn Keen decided to put on a display of talent while shorthanded that can only be described as "dazzling"!
Keen's amazing shorthanded goal at 15:07 put Manitoba up 3-1, and Mount Royal was running out of time. Pincott would head to the bench with 1:19 remaining, but it would be Jordy Zacharias who iced this game with 16 seconds to play into the empty net as the Bisons skated to the 4-1 victory! Lauren Taraschuk made 18 stops for her eleventh win of the season while Emma Pincott suffered her first loss of the season after making 18 saves.

School Record Points GF GA Streak Next
44 47 16
42 57 29
vs REG
British Columbia
37 41 26
34 34 28
vs LET
28 35 46
Mount Royal
24 28 47
vs ALB
22 26 44
9 22 54
vs UBC

The Last Word

Well, after a number of surprises this week in terms of who beat who, the overall net change in the standings was zero. The races got a little tighter thanks to those wins, but every team is in the same place as they were last week. That being said, there are some things to note for this upcoming week.

With Alberta visiting Mount Royal, Alberta can clinch a playoff spot with a victory of any sort on Friday OR a Lethbridge loss at the hands of Saskatchewan at any point this weekend. There are 24 points remaining this season, Alberta is 22 points ahead of the Pronghorns, and Alberta holds the tie-breaker right now as the season series is 2-0 in their favor.

With Manitoba hosting Regina, the Bisons can book their ticket to the playoffs with any combination of four points earned this weekend OR by earning one point on Friday AND having Lethbridge lose in regulation time to Saskatchewan on Friday. There are 24 points remaining this season, Manitoba is 20 points ahead of the Pronghorns, and Manitoba holds the tie-breaker right now as the season series is 2-0 in their favor.

With Calgary hosting UBC, the Dinos will officially be eliminated from playoff contention if UBC wins both games in regulation AND Mount Royal earns four points against Alberta in their two games. There are 24 points remaining this season, Mount Royal is 15 points ahead of the Dinos, and the teams have split the season series 1-1 thus far. If Mount Royal fails to earn four points or if Calgary earns points in any way, the Dinos are still in the hunt for the final playoff spot for at least one more week.

What makes this upcoming weekend's games a little more intriguing is the fact that Mount Royal and Alberta are 1-1 against one another this season with each team winning at home. The series this weekend will also be a home-and-home, so fans of the Cougars are hoping to recreate the same magic they found in Week Three when the Cougars beat the Pandas 3-1 in Calgary.

The playoff picture is slowly starting to take form, and it's the most exciting time in Canada West with seven teams legitimately vying for six spots. While no one is writing off the Dinos just yet, if they adopt the spoiler role and play like they have nothing to lose, we might be talking about eight teams vying for six spots following this weekend.

As Andy Williams sang, it really is the most wonderful time of the year!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Saturday, 12 January 2019

Craft Day

I'll be the first to admit that my artistic talents start and end with stick people. I've never been particularly artistic in any way when it comes to taking images from my mind and putting them on paper or canvas, and I cannot tell you how much respect I have for those that can make that transfer. Today, though, I and approximately 20 other people joined The Athletic's Murat Ates at the Good Will Social Club to design Valentine's Day cards for some very deserving people! And just for reference, the cards above and to the left were made by my good friend, Alyssa, whose artistic abilities are leaps and bound beyond my own.

Stitching Hearts, an organization founded by Winnipegger Meg Crane, started delivering the cards to women at Siloam Mission a few years ago, and it has since began to branch out to other cities and areas to do the same in those communities. All of the cards collected are delivered to shelters for women and children who have requested the cards through Stitching Hearts, and the enthusiasm for making cards at the event today that Ates organized was felt through the entire three-hour period.

As per this CBC article, "Crane and her movement sent out 337 cards in Winnipeg. In the second year, the project sent a total of 1,400 cards across the country. The following years, about 2,000 cards annually have been mailed to shelters in North America." The hope is that the work done in Winnipeg this year not only surpasses the 337 cards from the first year, but crushes every other number that has come before it.

When it comes to using his reach through the hockey world to attract volunteers, Ates recognizes the significance in having a disproportionate number of men volunteer to make cards as men are usually responsible for women and children needing space in shelters.

"Men are disproportionately the perpetrators, so organizing a men's event is a small act of restoration," said Ates told CBC's Ahmar Khan. "I think that's meaningful."

Ates added that the people who indicated they were coming to the event weren't coming alone. "It's meaningful that parents want to come and have conversations with their sons. It's that kind of generational change that reduces and helps end domestic violence," Ates said. "Any important social change is a generational one. It starts at home. It starts with families."

Indeed, there was a gentleman with a son at the event. There were couples at the event. There were tables of men who arrived together to make cards. There were tables that were pushed together as individuals became teams who made cards together. Supplies were shared among neighbouring tables, and creativity flowed freely as laughs were heard often and smiles were seen all afternoon. At the end of the three-hour event, everyone who was there had piles of cards on their tables, and collectively there had to be hundreds of cards made. To call the effort anything but extraordinary would be selling the work done by everyone in attendance way too short.

I had an outstanding time at the event today as I met some new people, made a bunch of cards, and had a pile of laughs. Full credit to Murat Ates for this event, and I plan on making it an annual craft day for me going forward. I really believe in why Stitching Hearts is doing this, so expect to hear more about this event on a future episode of The Hockey Show as well as future promotion of events like this.

Thanks for making me aware of this, Murat, and keep up the amazing work!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Friday, 11 January 2019

TBC: Born Into It

There is something distinctive about being a fan of any team. We rationalize and justify moves made by our favorite teams that we'd scorn if any other team made the same move. We pay outrageous prices to watch our teams perform, in some cases travelling long distances to see them compete for victory. What actually makes us a fan? That philosophical question can't be answered in one sentence, but one man attempts to examine his own fandom in today's entry into Teebz's Book Club. Teebz's Book Club is proud to review Born Into It, written by Jay Baruchel and published by HarperAvenue, a division of HarperCollins Publishers Ltd. Jay talks about how his upbringing, the city he called home, and the surrounding aura of the Montreal Canadiens swept him into their fanbase and how the history of the team, specific star players, and his own life have prevented him from straying from the pack.

If you don't know who Jay Baruchel is, he's legitimately one of the people to keep an eye on in Hollywood and across the world. From his bio, "Writer, actor, director and comedian JAY BARUCHEL is also part owner and chief creative officer of Chapterhouse Comics. He is best known for his roles in Knocked Up, Tropic Thunder, This Is the End, Almost Famous, Million Dollar Baby and the Goon movie franchise (he wrote both screenplays and directed the sequel). He is the voice of Hiccup Haddock in the How to Train Your Dragon movies and series. Born in Ottawa and raised for the most part in Montreal and later in Oshawa, Baruchel now lives in Toronto, where he continues to cheer for the Habs." Baruchel can be followed on Twitter at @BaruchelNDG.

Having met Jay Baruchel at a book signing for this book, I have to admit that I heard the words being read in Jay's voice as I made my way through the pages. The words chosen by Baurchel to tell his story may see you need a dictionary as his chosen diction is very accurate to how he feels. There are words that may trip up the casual reader, but don't let this discourage you. As stated, these words are very accurate in conveying the point and the message of what Jay is saying, and I commend him for his range of diction in expressing himself. The man is very intelligent, and this trait is shown throughout Born Into It by his command of the English language.

Born Into It takes you through several pieces of Jay's life that are interwoven with his eternal love for the Montreal Canadiens. Jay talks of growing up in Montreal where his dad lived his life through his love of the Canadiens and an illicit affair with drugs while his mother did everything she could to keep Jay and his sister from this life. While there was a lot of good days in Jay's life growing up thanks to the Canadiens and his family, there were the occasional days where things were not always rainbows.

The move that the Baruchel family made to Oshawa seemed to be where Jay's love for the Canadiens became steadfast as he found himself living squarely in Toronto Maple Leafs country. Despite living where the blue-and-white were the topic of choice each and every day, Jay's love of the Canadiens made him a bit of an outsider. This was also exemplified when he was 18 and moved to Los Angeles only to seek out Les Canadiens once more in a new city in a new country where hockey was solely known as the Los Angeles Kings. Through these moves in his life, Jay's love of the Canadiens never wavered thanks to the Canadiens being imprinted on him in his earliest memories, and this unwavering love of Montreal's NHL team is the basis for the first-half of Born Into It as Jay explains how deep the bleu-blanc-et-rouge runs in his veins.

One of the highlights you'll find as you read through Born Into It are the emails Jay has decided to send to various opponents of the Canadiens against whom les Canadiens have a long-running legacy. Whether these emails are real and were sent is of little consequence; rather, they serve to illustrate the histories these various teams have with the Canadiens and how Jay, as a fan, has been tortured by these meetings. Of all of them, I actually enjoyed the email written to the Quebec Nordiques the most as it really provided some insight as to how the two NHL franchises were not only fierce rivals on the ice, but served as political machinations within the province of Quebec during a time where separatism was a common word in everyday language.

Like any good hockey fan, Jay uses a chapter in his book to address the elephant in room - fighting in hockey. The argument he makes for fighting is entirely the arguments made since the game was first played while he also takes the opposite side in stating why fighting is a rather ridiculous part of the game on the whole. He doesn't approve or condemn the act of fighting on skates, but he does swing the pendulum over to the players who do so and the long-term health of those players before bringing it back to how we, as fans, condemn assault but cheer for hockey fights. He writes,
The point is, all of pro sports is an ethical risk. All of it is, arguably, an uneasy relationship between what one believes and exemptions one makes for one's favourite athletes. Competitiveness may not be a sin, but it is hardly a virtue either, and it, along with greed and pride and vanity and tribalism, is not just on display in pretty much any professional sport in the world, but is a defining aspect of sports. An athlete needs not just the will to win, but the overwhelming desire to. This is what we expect of them, what we require of them. We require them to be greedy on our behalf, because we want them to win as much as they can. We require them to be proud and to honour their sweater, and we hold particularly dear the team members capable of moments of individual brilliance. We require them to sacrifice their bodies for the glory of our neighbourhoods.
That paragraph illustrates the brilliance of Jay Baruchel as he describes the exact dichotomy of how fans cheer for a guy throwing and taking punches on the ice, but will condemn a guy doing the same thing in the street. It describes entirely what it is to be a fan of any team in any sport and how we often let our fan biases override the logic and sensibility we normally possess when it comes to everyday life. It might be the most perfect paragraph of why we love sports as a society, but struggle with right and wrong when our sporting heroes falter.

Born Into It likely won't make it onto any school curriculum reading lists or any list connected to Oprah's Book Club, but that's entirely why this book should be read. Born Into It won't make you question reality or prompt you to pick up a sign and join a protest. It's literally one man's quest to explain his undying fandom for hockey's most storied team. Perhaps it will make you examine your own fandom as well, but whatever the case Jay Baruchel has penned an outstanding book that takes you into the inner workings of his love for the Montreal Canadiens. It was a highly enjoyable read about a man for whom I have the utmost respect, and this makes Born Into It an easy candidate to receive the Teebz's Book Club Seal of Approval!

You can find Born Into It at most bookstores and libraries, but I caution parents that this book has a lot of R-rated language in it. I'd recommend this book for adult readers unless you're comfortable with your younger readers absorbing a large quantity of words they likely shouldn't be using. If you're a fan of any sports team and have always had questions as to why you fell in love with them, Born Into It is a good way to take a step back and examine your own fandom!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Thursday, 10 January 2019

The Hockey Show - Episode 329

The Hockey Show, Canada's only campus-produced radio show that strictly talks hockey, finds its way back on the radio airwaves and over the internet tonight as Beans and I settler for the 329th week of doing this. In seeing that number, it dawned on me that we've been doing this weekly thing for a long time now and we needed to step up our guest roster for 2019. No, we didn't get a pro hockey player for tonight's show despite the efforts we put forth in trying to get one, but we got the next best thing. It's always an honour when we bring in someone smarter than us to talk hockey - literally, every guest we've ever had - and tonight's guest is not only smarter than us, but he's also doing something awesome for the community!

This guy to the left? He might be one of the most talented writers covering the Winnipeg Jets today. That's Murat Ates of The Athletic who covers a lot of the Winnipeg hockey scene, and Beans and I are proud, humbled, privileged, and honoured to welcome him to The Hockey Show this evening! Murat is doing an amazing thing on Saturday where he and a pack of volunteers will meet at the Good Will Social Club at 625 Portage Avenue from 2-5pm where they'll make Valentine's Day cards for women and children currently staying at shelters! This is one of the best ideas of altruism I've seen in a while, so we'll talk to Murat about the event on Saturday before getting into Patrik Laine's goal-scoring woes and why he seems to be struggling, Elliotte Friedman's comments about how Brandon Tanev might be the odd-man out come free agency this spring, the Jets having three games in-hand on the Predators with a January 17 showdown looming, Sergei Bobrovsky being suspended by the Blue Jackets, and Murat's thoughts on the NHL All-Star jerseys revealed yesterday made out of plastic fished out of the ocean! It should be a great show with one of the best journalists in the city in Murat Ates tonight at 5:30pm!

You might be wondering where the blurb about the UMFM app has gone. I'm going on record to say you can still use it, but the new UMFM website will fill the needs of our listeners because the new online streaming player is pretty awesome. If you're using an Apple device, the player doesn't seem to like Safari, but we highly recommend you use the TuneIn app found on the App Store. The UMFM app will currently work for you, but there's some work being done to realign it with UMFM's new website, so it may go silent soon. If it does, TuneIn. It's a solid app.

I'm changing up the social media portion as well. I'm losing faith in Facebook, so that option will slowly be allowed to drift off into the horizon. However, the other options still work! Email all show questions and comments to! Tweet me anytime with questions you may have by hitting me up at @TeebzHBIC on Twitter! We're here to listen to you, so make your voice heard!

Tonight, Teebz and Beans welcome Murat ates to the show as they discuss Valentine's Day cards for a good cause, the Jets, Bobrovsky, All-Star Game threads, and much more only on The Hockey Show found exclusively on 101.5 UMFM, on the UMFM app, on the web stream!

PODCAST: January 10, 2019: Episode 329

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Wednesday, 9 January 2019

Understand The Art

The man to the left is comedian Gerry Dee. Gerry Dee is a successful comedian with his own TV show that just finished its final season before he goes on tour across this great nation. Like any comedy, though, you may not find Gerry Dee funny, and that's fine. Comedy is a subjective thing, and what I may find funny may be far different than what you find different. C'est la vie, and I accept that. What I don't accept, however, are people criticizing the artist without understanding the art. Allow me to explain this sentence.

Gerry Dee decided to have a little fun with some of the CWHL All-Stars today in helping to promote the players, the All-Star Game, and the league itself. Gerry's style of comedy when it comes to interviewing athletes usually sees him pander and call out the athletes in a series of chirps that one normally wouldn't expect from an interviewer. This style was on full display when former Canadian sports highlight television network The Score hired Gerry Dee to run a bit called "Gerry Dee: Sports Reporter" where he used this pandering interview style with a number of high-profile athletes. As an example, he interviewed NBA legend Charles Barkley and, well, things kind of got out of hand with Sir Charles.
Maybe you found this interview goofy and dumb. That's cool. Again, comedy is subjective. There were a lot of people who found this funny, however, and it's why Gerry Dee remained as a fixture on The Score until the network was bought by Rogers Media.

This is the point where I likely will draw ire from the women's hockey community because it seems that the immediate reaction to Gerry Dee's video today was a pure demonstration of the blatant ignorance, oft-seen assumptions, and amazing stupidity made by those who call themselves experts in the coverage of the sport.

First, let's look at Gerry Dee's video about the CWHL All-Star Game before we go any further. Here is the video that was posted to twitter today by the comedian.
It seems that Gerry Dee has reprised a role that he once did for The Score with his chirps towards the best women's hockey players on the planet. The key in this is that Gerry Dee is not only very aware of who these women are, but has the utmost respect for them as both a hockey fan and comedian. He is a hockey fan that not only follows the game, but is very well read in the sport.

It's easy for me to look at the reaction from the American women's hockey writers and fans today and take comfort in knowing that their ignorance being displayed is a direct result of them not knowing who Gerry Dee is and not knowing his previous work. This ignorance doesn't excuse their brutal overreaction and absolute misinformed opinions about Gerry's video and the purpose of it, but why bother learning about the artist when you can simply crap all over them for one piece of art that hits your desk?

It's a little harder for me to understand Canadian women's hockey writers and fans in not knowing who Gerry Dee is or what he did, but it occurred to me that the majority of those who took offence to what Gerry did in his video are young and likely had no clue that Gerry did his Sports Reporter bit on The Score ten years ago and likely never watched his popular TV show titled Mr. D. Not to generalize too much, but their ignorance is likely due to them not paying attention to sports during their formative prepubescent or teenage years. That's not a free pass for what they said today about Gerry Dee or his work in the video, but, again, why bother taking the time to learn anything about the artist when you can simply tear him apart?

I sat there today reading all the vitriol spewed towards Gerry, and one scene from a movie popped into my head because it literally is what happened here today with Gerry Dee.
Every single person who hopped onto social media and ripped into Gerry Dee is Will Hunting. And everything that Sean, Robin Williams' character, said in this clip is entirely right about each and every one of you who decided that Gerry Dee was the worst human being on Earth - you don't have the faintest idea of what you're talking about.

All it would have taken was a quick glimpse at Gerry Dee's twitter timeline to see this post from January 7.
Maybe the next thing you would have done is used the old Google machine to find out who this Gerry Dee guy is and what this Sports Reporter thing is all about. Even if you didn't see the tweet from two days ago, maybe it's a good idea to find out who this Gerry Dee guy is before grabbing the pitchforks and torches to hunt down this male who disparaged your precious women's hockey... even though he didn't. At some point, I'd expect that all of these women who call themselves "journalists" who were calling for Gerry Dee's head might get into a little background research on this Gerry Dee guy to find out who he is and what he stand for, but apparently that expectation is setting the bar impossibly high to clear because it seems very few decided to understand what Gerry Dee was doing in this video.

Not getting the joke doesn't give you the right to attack Gerry Dee personally, though, and that will never be acceptable in any form. The burden of explaining the joke doesn't fall on Gerry either, so stop attacking him because you don't get it. That's your problem, not his, so stop accusing him of things he never did.

To those who watched the video and got the comedy - including the majority of players in the CWHL - good for you in catching that Gerry isn't serious and is actually doing a bit. To those who failed to grasp the concept of Gerry's video and went off about his disrespect and disservice to the players and league, I'm sorry you missed the joke entirely. I hope to have brought a little clarity as to why Gerry's video is funny, and I totally get it if you still don't find his brand of comedy funny. That's what makes us different, and that's perfectly acceptable.

If you attacked Gerry for this video, just know that you're not the butt of the joke. You're simply an ass.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Tuesday, 8 January 2019

Black Tie Affair

Ladies and gentlemen, if you're anywhere near the Winnipeg area on Monday, January 14 and are looking for an upscale event to attend, let me direct you to the University of Manitoba Bisons Hockey Scholarship Fundraising Reception being held at the Journey to Churchill location at Assiniboine Park Zoo. It promises to be an outstanding time with some great guests and some amazing prizes for those in attendance!

Yes, I realize that the $200 price point for tickets is high, but this event is being limited to 150 people maximum. Because of this limited availability of tickets, the price is higher than one may expect, but there's also a good reason for that higher price. The grand prize at the event is a trip for two to Churchill, Manitoba to see the polar bears in their natural habitats which features airfare, hotel, and tundra buggy costs all being covered! The cost for this grand prize is estimated to be worth north of $5000, so it easily makes that $200 ticket worth the price of admission!

The guest speaker is also a man whose time and knowledge of hockey is in demand as Winnipeg Jets head coach Paul Maurice will say a few words to the audience in attendance. There may even be a question-and-answer period based on how much time Paul's speech fills, so if you want to feel like a member of the Winnipeg sports media and toss a question at the coach, you have to be in attendance to do so!

The only unfortunate part is that I've been asked to emcee the event. I know - bad decision by the Bisons on that one, but at least I get to dress up and look somewhat like I know what I'm doing even though we all know that's not true. But it is my hope that you'll come out and help the Bisons add a little cash to their hockey scholarship fund by joining myself, Paul Maurice, and the Bisons men's and women's hockey teams on Monday, January 14.

Your attendance could allow a deserving young man or woman a chance to go to university, and that's the kind of opportunity every young man or woman deserves.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Monday, 7 January 2019

Seems Too Convenient

With all the controversy swirling about the possible relocation of the WHL's Kootenay Ice to Winnipeg, the last thing you'd think they need is more controversy. The fans have virtually stopped going to games in Cranbrook, and I don't blame them after having their local team taken from them. Having watched the Jets leave for the sandier horizons of Arizona, I certainly can empathize with those fans. Again, this is one team that seemingly needs less controversy, but they seemed to have kicked the hornet's nest once more today.

Assistant coach and former NHL player Roman Vopat was dismissed by the team reportedly on Friday for his criticisms of Team Canada head coach Tim Hunter for decisions he made during the World Junior Championship. Vopat's image and description is no longer on the Ice's webpage, and it was reportedly removed as early as Friday before the Ice played in Medicine Hat against the Tigers.

While there are always consequences to what one may write on social media, it seems that what Vopat wrote was closer to a seasoned hockey professional speaking his mind as opposed to directly criticizing Hunter. As an example, Vopat added his two cents to the thoughts of Kyle Wellwood, another former NHLer, in the following tweet:
Yes, the part about "doesn't have the guts" might have crossed a line, but I would believe that Vopat has the experience to make the distinction about the pros and cons of calling out a player for not playing well versus calling out a player who certainly was caught embellishing some of his reactions in getting hit.

Vopat didn't stop there, though. A few days later, he tweeted out the following after Max Comtois' penalty shot was stopped in overtime:
As true as Vopat's words are in this tweet, his tweets on January 2 seemed to be the breaking point that caused the Ice to make the decision to relieve Vopat of his coaching duties. I understand that the Ice might be playing nice in order to curry favour with the CHL, WHL, and the Moose Jaw Warriors, but this seems a wee bit too convenient when it comes to being a legitimate reason to dismiss Vopat. Maybe I'm just beating the conspiracy theory drum here, but these tweets hardly seem like enough to warrant firing a guy.

The team released the following statement today that read, "Roman was a part-time resource for our coaches on home game days and was released from his consulting agreement based in breaches of team policy, including our social media policy and his consulting agreement."

If the Ice are indeed on the move and the owners and/or general manager of the Ice felt that Vopat wasn't the best man for this consulting job when it came to starting anew in a new city or simply felt he was no longer needed, firing him now due to these tweets is a convenient out for the team rather than looking for specifics for which they can terminate him. There were other tweets on his past that certainly could be considered worse than the ones above, so this seems like it was just a convenient way of letting Vopat go.

There could be other reasons that aren't apparent to any of us outside the rink which would fall under that "team policy" portion of the statement, but you'd think that the team would have been quicker to release Vopat from the consulting job if he was violating policies as they stated. Again, I might be way off-base here (likely), but these tweets hardly seem like they'd warrant a termination.

A suspension? A reprimand? Sure. But firing a guy? I can't see it.

In any case, Vopat is now a free agent once again. If the Kootenay Ice are moving, this is just one more move that seems out of step. I don't believe they'll hear a ton of negative response to this move due to their fans having mostly abandoned them already, but this just feels wrong based on the evidence above.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Sunday, 6 January 2019

The Rundown - Week 9

Welcome back to The Rundown! I hope your holidays were merry, your meals were festive, your parties were rocking, and everyone made it home safely! Are we ready to knock off some of those holiday meals with an uptempo workout? Canada West women's hockey resumed this weekend as the second-half schedule got underway, and there were some solid matchups to begin the second half. A battle for first-place? A team possibly moving into second-place? All sorts of jockeying for fourth-place through sixth-place? An upset or two? The second-half already has storylines so let's get into them on this week's edition of The Rundown!
If there's one thing that you may expect after a break, it's that the teams come back rested and ready to go. The Cougars and Pronghorns certainly made that true as Lethbridge's Alicia Anderson and Regina's Morgan Baker decided to put on a little goaltending clinic for their teammates in the opening game of this two-game set. The first period was all blanks despite both teams doing all they could to try and score on the two netminders. Despite Regina leading 14-10 in shots through the opening 20 minutes, the game remained 0-0 thanks to the work of Anderson and Baker.

Regina's Martina Maskova was whistled for a bodycheck early in the middle frame, and that sent Lethbridge to the power-play where they would strike! Katelyn Breitkreuz fed a perfect pass across to Kyra Greig who one-timed a blast low past the lad of Baker at 3:01 to give Lethbridge the 1-0 lead on her power-play marker! Regina would ramp up the offence after that as they looked to equalize, but Anderson stood tall once more in the blue paint, helping the Pronghorns hold that one-goal lead through 40 minutes of play despite being outshot 21-13.

The third period saw Regina start with a power-play that carried over from late in the second period, but Anderson was having none of that. There were two additional early calls that went against the Pronghorns as well, but the Lethbridge penalty-killers and Anderson turned the Cougars away time after time. Lethbridge shut down the middle of the ice, kept pucks to the outside out of danger areas, and did everything they needed to in earning the 1-0 win over the Cougars in Regina! Anderson pitched her fifth shutout of the season to earn her fifth win of the season in stopping all 27 pucks she faced while Morgan Baker suffered the loss despite stopping 15 of 16 shots sent her way.

SATURDAY: Lethbridge's win on Friday moved them to six points behind the fifth-place Cougars and just four points back of the sixth-place Mount Royal Cougars, so there was a lot on the line in Saturday's game when it came to competing for playoff spots. Could Lethbridge pull off the sweep and really put pressure on the three teams ahead of them or would Regina rally for the split and restore the gap between them and the Pronghorns? It would be up to Alicia Anderson from Lethbridge and Jane Kish from Regina to backstop their teams to victory.

The game was somewhat like the night before as both teams came out looking for chances, but Regina would fall into some penalty trouble midway through the period. Kish and the Regina penalty-killing units would come up big and shift the momentum back to the home side in which they forced Lethbridge into a hooking penalty to negate the remaining few seconds on the second of two Regina penalties. That would prove big because moments after Elise Endicott got out of the box, the Cougars power-play struck when Jaycee Magwood somehow found room between Anderson and the post from below the goal line at 16:33 to put Regina out in front 1-0! That score would hold into the intermission after Jane Kish closed the door on Alli Borrow late on a breakaway as the Cougars maintained their first lead of 2019.

The Pronghorns found themselves in a bit of a pickle in the second period as four straight penalties were called on them in the middle stanza. As a result, the penalty killers got an extended workout with Regina having eight minutes of extra attacker time. The good news? Regina was only able to capitalize on one of those four power-plays. Jaycee Magwood and Lilla Carpenter-Boesch played a little give-and-go on the left side before Magwood beat Anderson with a backhander that put the Cougars up 2-0 at 12:45 on Magwood's second power-play marker of the game. While Regina poured on the offence in a period where they outshot Lethbridge 13-3, they could only muster the one goal to send them into the second intermission with the 2-0 lead.

Early in the third period with all sorts of traffic in front of Anderson, Regina defender Tamara McVannel threw a shot into the crowd and it pinballed past Anderson to make it 3-0 with Emma Waldenberger getting credit for the goal as the bumper at 5:51. Lethbridge stormed back less than two minutes later when Jodi Gentile's slapshot was stopped by Kish, but Alli Borrow popped the rebound past her at 7:56 to make it a 3-1 game. Anderson would make her mark on the comeback as well, robbing a pair of Cougars with some absolute thievery as she kept the deficit to two goals. That seemed to spark the Pronghorns late as a pair of Cougars were sent to the box and Anderson went to the bench to set up the 6-on-3 attack where Borrow found Kyra Greig with a backdoor pass at 17:15 to make it a 3-2 game! Lethbridge continued to press with time counting down, and a glorious chance was blocked by Ireland South with seconds remaining that helped Regina hold onto the 3-2 victory! Kish made 18 saves in her sixth victory while Anderson was on the losing end of a 23-save performance.
This series had some interesting stories as UBC was looking to track down Manitoba in the standings while Mount Royal had a chance to move from sixth-place into as high as fourth-place depending on other results. Both teams needed points, and it would be up to UBC's Tory Micklash and MRU's Zoe De Beauville to prevent the other from taking them from their respective teams. UBC was also hosting Sexual Assault Awareness Month on Friday night as UBC forward Shiayli Toni organized the night's information tables for all in attendance to visit. If there's one thing that cannot be stressed enough after all we've seen in the media and on the news, it's that sexual assault victims usually have trouble coming forward to share what happened to them. As the shirts worn by volunteers stated on this night, "We Believe You". That can't be stressed enough, so kudos to the excellent work by Miss Toni on organising this evening!

On the ice, the two teams looked to break out of their holiday routines early, but it was UBC who showed good puck possession and ways to get pucks to the net as they outshot the Cougars 12-5. The only problem is that none of those shots found the twine in the opening period, so we'd move to the second period tied 0-0.

The period started much the same until UBC was whistled for a call. That penalty was killed, however, and it seemed to give life to the T-Birds as they began to skate a little harder. They'd draw a penalty when Tatum Amy committed a trip, and the UBC power-play took to the ice where a face-off win back to Celine Tardif was blasted by the defender and tipped in front by Hannah Clayton-Carroll past De Beauville for the power-play goal and the 1-0 lead at 7:43. Again, that seemed to spark UBC as they danced into the zone three minutes later and Emma Hall found Rylind MacKinnon with a cross-ice pass that MacKinnon made no mistake with as she buried the shot to put UBC up 2-0 at 10:43!

The Cougars, sensing this game may be slipping away, decided to mount a little offence of their own when Tianna Ko skated the puck into the UBC end and spotted Tatum Amy. Her cross-ice pass was tape-to-tape with Amy, and Amy's shot went over the shoulder of Micklash at 15:56 to make this a one-goal game. That 2-1 UBC lead would hold through the remainder of the period, and we were off to the third!

The final frame saw both teams with chances, but the netminding of Micklash and De Beauville wouldn't allow another puck past. In saying that, you've likely already concluded that UBC held onto that 2-1 lead to victory, and you'd be right! Micklash earned her eighth win of the season in stopping 12 shots while De Beauville made 29 stops in the loss.

SATURDAY: If the game one night earlier was tightly-contested, Saturday's game one-upped the previous night. 13 minor penalties were called in the game - 7 against UBC and 6 against MRU - but the power-play units for either side were hardly effective. UBC opted to start Amelia Boughn while Mount Royal surprised many by giving Emma Pincott her first start and appearance of the season. And in a rather unique twist, it appears that Pincott shed her traditional #35 tonight for a rarely-seen #78 on her jersey if the boxscore is to be believed!

The two teams really put on a defensive showcase in the first period as shots were blocked, chances were limited to the outside, and the goalies took care of the few chances that did get through to them. After 20 minutes of play, UBC held a slight lead in shots at 5-4, but the score remained 0-0 despite MRU having three power-plays and UBC having two of their own.

Three more power-plays for either side in the second period was part of the story, but it was one UBC penalty that made all the difference as Tiffany Chiu was sent off for interference at 15:58. The ensuing Mount Royal power-play saw Tatum Amy spot a streaking Tianna Ko from below the goal line, and Amy's pass was of surgical precision as she threaded the needle to Ko who redirected the puck past Boughn at 17:02 to put the Cougars up 1-0 at 17:02! The Cougars would take that lead into the second intermission despite being outshot 13-8!

The story in the third period was Emma Pincott as she continued to stymie the UBC attack. She was brilliant in helping the Cougars snap a UBC 15-game winning streak against them that stretched back to 2012-13 as Mount Royal prevailed by that 1-0 score! Pincott, in her first start this season, earned her first win and first shutout in denying all 21 shots she faced while Boughn took the loss in a ten-save effort.
The Dinos came into Saskatchewan needing wins if the playoffs were going to be a remote possibility this season. The Huskies, for their part, needed wins to stay ahead of both Regina and Mount Royal, so these games had meaning for both teams as the second-half kicked off in Saskatoon. The other interesting thing is that Saskatchewan opened the second half of the schedule in some unique uniforms as it was Play For A Cure night at Merlis Belsher Place! The ladies played host to a raffle for a number of key prizes while auctioning off these special jerseys all game long with all proceeds going to the Canadian Cancer Society's volunteer driver program! Well done, Huskies, on looking fabulous and doing an outstanding job in helping a very worthy cause!

The two teams played a rather quiet first period with both sides trading power-play chances. Kelsey Roberts stopped all four shots sent her way while Jessica Vance was equal to the task on the six shots she faced with an Emily Upgang breakaway being the only real quality scoring chance of the frame. Through 20 minutes, the score remain knotted up at 0-0.

Calgary took an early penalty in the second period where the Huskies had chances once more, but Roberts and the Dinos' defence stood tall in killing off that penalty. They'd do the same thing again midway through the period, but it would be the fourth trip to the penalty box that cost the Dinos. Leah Bohlken spotted Emily Upgang on the backdoor and slid a cross-crease pass over to the awaiting Upgang who redirected the puck past a prone Roberts to put the Huskies up 1-0 at 17:02 with the power-play marker! After two periods, Saskatchewan had the one-goal lead thanks to a 21-4 shots advantage in the middle frame!

The teams wouldn't find much more scoring early in the third period, and Calgary missed an opportunity on the power-play to tie the game. As time pressed on, the Huskies seemed in control of the period as they had possession for long periods of time. A late power-play saw Leah Bohlken fire home a cross-ice pass from Bailee Bourassa to put the Huskies up 2-0 at 18:02, and Kennedy Brown would ice the game with 16 seconds to play with an empty-netter to give Saskatchewan the 3-0 victory. Jessica Vance posted her fourth blank sheet and seventh win of the season in stopping all 11 shots she faced while Kelsey Roberts was fantastic in a losing effort in 30 saves, 20 of which came in the second period alone!

As always, here's your obligatory Huskies GIF.

SATURDAY: Calgary's loss the night previous night was a serious blow to their playoff hopes, but not all was lost yet as a split with the Huskies would still be a positive result. Saskatchewan was looking to distance themselves from the pack in the hope that they may host a playoff series, so this was a big night for them when it came to points. Surprisingly, both teams went with their backup netminders in this one as Calgary called upon Kira Wasylak while Saskatchewan opted to start rookie Camryn Drever!

Calgary came out as the team with some spark as they created chances early, and they were rewarded for that aggressive play. Priya Sidhu drove down the wing before centering a pass to Taylor Beck that Drever kicked aside with her pad, but Diane Hitchings was in the perfect spot to gather the rebound and chip it past the Saskatchewan netminder at 4:44 to put the Dinos up 1-0! That seemed to wake up the Huskies as they dominated the remainder of the period. It would be a late power-play, though, that got them even on the scoreboard after peppering Wasylak for most of the frame. Shyan Elias' point shot was stopped, but Abby Shirley was on the doorstep to shovel the backhander home past Wasylak at 15:41 to make it a 1-1 contest through 20 minutes of play.

The second period started the same as the first did as Calgary grabbed a lead. Sage Desjardins picked up a loose puck caused by the turnover created by Rachel Paul, and she wired a a wrister high over the glove of Drever at 6:02 to put the Dinos back out in front by a 2-1 margin! Saskatchewan's offence didn't quite have the same room to operate as they did in the first period, and it seemed like the Dinos would escape to the intermission with their lead intact. However, a late press by the Huskies saw the cycle game working well enough to spring Elias to the middle where her shot was stopped, but Shirley was there to clean up the rebound once again as she roofed the puck over Wasylak to make it 2-2 at 19:12!

With the score deadlocked at 2-2 to start the third period, both teams stepped up the offence as they looked to pick up three points in the standings. Unfortunately for Calgary, the only penalty called in the third period was against them and it cost them. With Carley Wlad watching from the sin bin, a goalmouth scramble saw the puck pop loose in front of the far post where Leah Bohlken stood, and she poked the puck home at 14:07 to put the Huskies up 3-2 with the power-play marker!
The final five minutes saw Drever stand tall as her and the Huskies defended that one-goal lead until the final horn as they claimed victory by that 3-2 score! Camryn Drever made 15 saves for her third win of the season while Kira Wasylak made 28 stops in the loss.

Once again, a Huskies GIF for your enjoyment!
The marquee match-up of the weekend had all the traits of a heavyweight fight as the second-ranked Manitoba Bisons hosted the fourth-ranked Alberta Pandas in a series that likely would determine who will win the Canada West Conference's top seed for the playoffs. Manitoba came out of the break two points back of the Pandas for first-place in the conference, and they started goaltender Lauren Taraschuk on Friday. At the other end, head coach Howie Draper was off in Japan coaching the Canadian women's U18 team at the U18 World Championships, so assistant coach Leah Copeland handled the bench boss duties, opting to start Kirsten Chamberlin in a goaltending rematch of last year's Canada West semi-final!

It wouldn't take Canada West's top teams long to engage in some north-south play as the track meet began. Both teams showed good chances early on, but both Taraschuk and Chamberlin were equal to the task. The game began to show more physical play as the period went on, but each team had an unsuccessful power-play through 20 minutes as they went to the first intermission deadlocked at 0-0.

And early power-play for the Pandas got them rolling in the second period. Cayle Dillon's shot was redirected by Kennedy Ganser at 2:45 to put Alberta up 1-0! The period was a showcase for both teams' special teams as there were seven minor penalties called, but it would be Alberta would would make a second power-play count later in the period when Kelsey Tangjerd set up in front of Taraschuk and tipped home an Abby Krzyzaniak blast to make it 2-0 at 10:54! Alberta was rolling at this point, using their speed and skill to skate circles around the Bisons, and they'd strike again before the end of the period as Autumn MacDougall turned on the jets down the left wing and fired a low shot to the far post that eluded the pad of Taraschuk to make it 3-0 at 16:30! At the end of 40 minutes, the Pandas held a 3-0 lead over a listless Bisons squad.

Now you might be thinking this game is over, right? Whatever was said to the Bisons in the second intermission by coaches Sean Fisher and Rob Voth seemed to light an inferno under the Bisons. First, Jordy Zacharias tipped an Alex Anderson rocket from the point past Chamberlin on the power-play that carried over from the second period at the 32-second mark to make it 3-1! Following another call against the Pandas, Lauryn Keen took a cross-ice pass on the left face-off dot from Jenai Buchanan on the right point, and she wired a shot over Chamberlin's right shoulder at 5:44 to make it a 3-2 game! With the crowd and benches energized once more, these two teams brought the fire for the remaining 14 minutes of the game with chances at both ends of the ice. However, the Bisons simply could not find one more puck to push across the Alberta goal line as the Pandas held on to win by that 3-2 score! Kirsten Chamberlin made 22 saves on the night for her sixth win of the season while Lauren Taraschuk absorbed the loss in 32-save effort.

SATURDAY: With Manitoba now five points back of Alberta in the standings and UBC breathing down their necks just two points back of the Herd, Manitoba needed a big win today. The Pandas, of course, weren't about to let Manitoba up off the mat without a fight, so they came in looking to wrap up a weekend sweep and stand eight points above their next closest competitor. Lauren Taraschuk was back in the net for Manitoba while the Alberta goaltending carousel continued with Halle Oswald getting the start for the Pandas.

The first period set the tone for the game as both sides pressed for chances, but were denied by the netminders and some solid defence. Alberta would hold a 10-8 lead in shots, but the game would remain tied at 0-0.

The second period? More of the same. In what seems to be a common trend for games featuring Alberta and Manitoba when playing in Winnipeg, we'd go to the third period still tied 0-0.

And wouldn't you know it? We saw more goaltending and defence in a period where Manitoba killed off an extended 5-on-3 power-play opportunity for the Pandas late in the frame. It was off to overtime tied 0-0, but Alberta had a commanding 28-19 lead in shots thanks in large part to that extended power-play time.

The four-on-four overtime period was controlled by Alberta for the most part, but Manitoba had a couple of chances. The Pandas couldn't find a way to break the Manitoba defence or find a seam on Taraschuk, so we'd go to double-overtime still tied at 0-0.

We would finally see a winner here. After Manitoba killed off a penalty where they had a glorious chance to end the game, Alberta came back and used a bit of a cycle to cause a bad switch by the Bisons defenders which allowed Abby Benning to walk into slot where she zipped a shot low on the blocker side of Taraschuk and just inside the post to give Alberta the 1-0 double-OT win! Halle Oswald was outstanding in her return to her home province as she made 23 saves for her fifth win and fifth shutout of the season while Lauren Taraschuk did all she could, but came up just short in a 34-save effort.

School Record Points GF GA Streak Next
42 45 13
vs UBC
36 49 27
British Columbia
33 38 24
30 29 25
vs REG
26 32 41
Mount Royal
24 26 39
vs MAN
17 20 40
vs CAL
8 18 48

The Last Word

With Alberta winning all four games against Manitoba, they own the tie-breaker if Manitoba were somehow able to catch the Pandas. That being said, Manitoba needs finish the season ahead of Alberta if they want the top seeding for the playoffs. Needing seven points with five weeks to go might be a virtually impossible task with how Alberta has played this season, so Manitoba needs to change their focus and worry about holding off UBC and Saskatchewan while hoping they get a pile of help from everyone else when it comes to Alberta losing.

UBC may lose their hold on third-place next weekend with their travels to Clare Drake Arena in Edmonton. Saskatchewan has Regina in a home-and-home series, and they'll be looking to not only overtake UBC but possibly catch and surpass Manitoba with a little help from Mount Royal. It's almost a certainty that two of Manitoba, UBC, and Saskatchewan will host quarterfinal games if Regina loses both this weekend to the Huskies, but it's certainly up in the air as to who will play when.

Lethbridge has a glorious opportunity to really put pressure on Regina and Mount Royal if they can sweep the Dinos next weekend. Having Lethbridge in the mix for a playoff spot is certainly a huge success for them, and I'm hoping they can find a few more wins to make things interesting. While it's way too early to talk about all the various tie-breaker scenarios, having seven teams competing for six playoff spots is always good for hockey.

There's still a ton of hockey to be played with 30 total points on the line for each and every team. Alberta can clinch a playoff spot this weekend if they earn five of six points from UBC, making them the first team to qualify for the postseason. If Lethbridge were to lose both games, Alberta would clinch a spot regardless of wins or losses while Manitoba would clinch a playoff spot as well with five of six points earned against Mount Royal.

The postseason picture is starting to come into focus as we get closer, and there should be some solid hockey played down the stretch with every single team needing points. We'll see who sits where upon the conclusion of next weekend, but I have a feeling that there will be movement in the standings before all is decided.

Man, I love this game!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!