Monday 29 February 2016

Trade DUD-Line Day

Trade Deadline Day is a waste of time. Many of the trades that the major networks wanted to see happen today actually went down long before the calendar flipped to the extra day in February. With social media being as prevalent in our lives as it is, why are the networks wasting entire programming days for 16 trades, many of which are minor-league deals that would get merely a mention on a sports recap?

I didn't watch any of Trade Deadline Day on TV. I was at work, and I had my phone handy so social media could keep me up-to-date on any of the latest news from the NHL world. It did a pretty good job in keeping me apprised of which minor-leaguer and draft pick went where, so I feel like I missed nothing from the "expanded coverage" that TSN and Sportsnet wasted on television.

We're not even going to talk about the trade deadline on The Hockey Show this week. There's no point. And, quite frankly, there's no point in having eight hours of "coverage" for 16 trades. It's time to dial this monstrosity known as "Trade Deadline Day" back since the business side of the NHL often means that the vast majority of deals go down in the last hour to two hours of these broadcasts.

Like the outdoor games, this spectacle has run its course.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Sunday 28 February 2016

The Rundown - Week 22

It's an all-playoffs edition this week on The Rundown as the CWUAA, RSEQ, and AUS are all into the semifinals while the OUA will cut the number of participating teams down from eight to four. Some series only needed two games while others used the full three games allotted to the series, and this made for some excellent and exciting hockey! Let's get into the playoffs on The Rundown!

Canada West Semifinals

G1 - MANITOBA at ALBERTA: Thanks to the men's hockey team claiming the prime time slot, the women's game was pushed to 2pm MT. It seemed that both teams weren't too excited about the time as there was no scoring and only a few chances through the opening 40 minutes of play. Manitoba, however, came to play in the third period. Alexandra Anderson ripped a slap shot past Lindsey Post at 6:59 to put the Bisons up 1-0. They would strike again when Venla Hovi's shot was stopped, but Lauryn Keen slid the puck past the prone Post for the 2-0 lead. Cassandra Taylor added an empty-netter with 47 seconds to play, and the Bisons took Game One with a 3-0 victory! Amanda Schubert continued her outstanding play in stopping all 25 shots she faced for the shutout win while Post suffered the loss.

G2 - MANITOBA at ALBERTA: The home team would finally find the scoreboard in this game as Hannah Olenyk blew past a Manitoba defender and went over the blocker of Amanda Schubert at 3:49 for the 1-0 lead. The two teams would battle into the third period at that 1-0 score before Alanna Sharman was sent in on a breakaway where she snapped a puck over Lindsey Post's glove at 3:52 for the 1-1 tie! That score lasted 62 seconds as Ashley Morin scored from her knees in the slot to give Alberta the 2-1 lead. Despite a crazy amount of pressure late, Post held the fort as Alberta took Game Two by that 2-1 margin. Post made 25 saves in the win while Schubert was on the losing end.

G3 - MANITOBA at ALBERTA: Would we see another five periods of overtime? Megan Eady's point shot clipped a Bison defender on the way to the net and eluded Amanda Schubert for the 1-0 Pandas lead at 6:17. Kayleigh Wiens would tie the game up as she popped a rebound past Lindsey Post at 10:55, and Karissa Kirkup showed a ton of dangle at 16:28 when she danced past a couple of defenders and slipped a backhander through the five-hold for the 2-1 Manitoba lead.

Cayle Dillon brought the Pandas back even when her point shot at 6:01 found its way past Schubert for the 2-2 tie. Manitoba would respond again, though, as Lauryn Keen won an offensive zone face-off only to have Venla Hovi pick up the puck and wire it past Post for the 3-2 lead 12:31. That lead would hold until late in the third period when the Pandas pressed with Post on the bench. Their hard work would be rewarded when Sasha Lutz found room past Schubert with 13.9 seconds to play, sending this game to overtime tied 3-3!

This one wouldn't go five minutes, let alone five extra periods. With Alison Campbell in the penalty box, Alexandra Anderson ripped a point shot that split the wickets on Post at 4:31 of the overtime period to give Manitoba the 4-3 overtime win! Schubert stopped 13 shots in the win while Post took the loss. Manitoba now advances to the Canada West Conference Final against either Regina or UBC!

G1 - REGINA at UBC: One team hit the scoresheet in this game, and it was a trio of "M" names that did the scoring. Brooklyn Moskowy scored at 18:20 of the first period, Carleen Mezsaros added a power-play goal at 19:08 of the second period, and Jaycee Magwood deposited a power-play goal of her own in the UBC net at 11:36 of the third period to lead the Regina Cougars to the 3-0 win in Game One. Toni Ross stopped all 28 shots thrown at her for the shutout win while Samantha Langford took the loss.

G2 - REGINA at UBC: Sometimes, the bounces don't go your way despite playing a good game, and this game was a good example. Kathleen Cahoon scored the only goal of the game at 11:38 of the first period as UBC tied the series up with a 1-0 victory. Danielle Dube didn't allow a goal on 25 shot attempts for the shutout while Toni Ross was on the losing end in this one. I'm almost certain the goalposts at both ends of the ice made about 20 saves as well as there were clangs all night in this game.

G3 - REGINA at UBC: This game started off well for the home side as UBC got goals from Rebecca Unrau at 6:51 and Haneet Parhar on the power-play at 13:06. Regina had chances, but Danielle Dube was equal to the task. The second period would go scoreless as both Dube and Toni Ross stood tall, so Regina needed a comeback in the third period if they hoped to move on.

Instead, it got worse. Kathleen Cahoon shoveled home a backhander 4:43 into the period for the 3-0 lead. Regina, needing a boost, turned on some serious pressure through the last 15:17. Kylie Kupper would one-time a power-play goal home off a loose puck at 12:56 to make it 3-1. And despite Jaycee Magwood scoring a power-play goal at 19:59, it was too little and too late for the Cougars as the Thunderbirds won 3-2 and took the series 2-1. Danielle Dube stopped 22 shots in the win while Toni Ross couldn't hold the T-Birds from advancing.

UBC will host the Manitoba Bisons from March 4-6 in the Canada West Conference Final with a berth to the CIS National Championship in Calgary, Alberta on the line!

Ontario Quarterfinals

G1 - GUELPH at LAURENTIAN: Laurentian took the lead late in the first period as Emma Leger beat Valeria Lamenta on the power-play at 17:21. Things were looking good for the Voyageurs as they went into the third period with the same 1-0 lead, but Guelph would find an equalizer. Christine Grant scored on Emily Toffoli at 3:45 to make it a 1-1 game. Neither goalie would allow another goal through 60 minutes, so it was off to overtime to find a winner! It would take 5:07, but Claire Merrick would put an end to the game with her goal as the Gryphons win in overtime by a 2-1 margin! Lamenta earned the win by stopping 26 of 27 shots while Toffoli took the loss.

G2 - LAURENTIAN at GUELPH: This game would get going in the second period as Laurentian jumped out to a 2-0 lead on the strength of goals by Morgan McCann at 10:32 and Taylor Weber at 17:06. It would become a 3-0 lead after Ellery Veerman scored on the power-play at 8:01 of the third period. The Gryphons would fight back as Kaitlin Lowy scored past Emily Toffoli at 14:16 and Jessica Pinkerton made it a 3-2 game at 18:34, but that's as close as Guelph would get as Laurentian forced a Game Three with a 3-2 win! Toffoli grabbed the win after making 29 saves while Valeria Lamenta was charged for the loss.

G3 - LAURENTIAN at GUELPH: Laurentian got on the board first after Samantha Morell's shot found net behind Valeria Lamenta at 8:23. Christine Grant tied the game for Guelph at 13:16 when she beat Emily Toffoli, but Ellery Veerman put the Voyageurs ahead again with her goal at 16:54. Guelph would tie the game before the horn, though, as Katherine Bailey scored on the power-play to make it 2-2.

Guelph would take the lead late in the second period as Averi Nooren dented the twine at 15:59 for the 3-2 Gryphons lead. There were chances for the Voyageurs to tie the game, but Lamenta held them off the board. Jessica Pinkerton would find the empty net at 19:34 as Guelph advances with the 4-2 win. Lamenta stopped 18 shots in the win while Toffoli took her second loss in three games.

G1 - QUEEN'S at NIPISSING: The Lakers opened the scoring 56 seconds into the second period when Ava Keis beat Caitlyn Lahonen for the 1-0 lead. It didn't last long, though, as the Gaels responded off an Addi Halladay shot that found room past Jacqueline Rochefort. We wouldn't see another goal for 44:02 as this game went into overtime tied at 1-1. It was in the extra period that Bronwyn Bolduc ended this game with her goal at 8:38 to give the Nipissing Lakers the 2-1 overtime win in Game One! Rochefort made 29 saves in the extended game for the win while Lahonen took the loss.

G2 - NIPISSING at QUEEN'S: This game was decided in 4:37 of play in the second period. Jade Gauthier scored at the 10:00 mark, Carly Marchment added a second goal at 13:14, and Marchment's power-play goal at 14:37 staked Nipissing to the 3-0 lead. Nadia Larocca would get Queen's on the board at 16:19 with her shot that beat Jacqueline Rochefort, but the Gaels were in a hole down 3-1 with one period to play. Mary Coughlin would score the only goal of the final frame on the power-play at 7:53, and the Nipissing Lakers advanced past the Queen's Gaels in a 2-0 sweep with the 3-2 victory! Rochefort made 28 stops in the win while Caitlyn Lahonen suffered her second-straight loss.

G1 - WATERLOO at WESTERN: There was a single goal scored in this game as the Warriors and Mustangs battled it out in a defensive chess match. Evra Levesque scored at 16:59 of the first period past Rebecca Bouwhuis, and Kelly Campbell took care of the rest as Western claims the 1-0 victory in Game One. Campbell stopped all 23 shots she faced in the shutout win while Bouwhuis stopped 18 of 19 in the loss.

G2 - WESTERN at WATERLOO: It's never a good showing when you don't score in two-straight playoff games. Western got goals from Anthea Lasis at 11:55 and Marlowe Pecora at 12:57 of the first period, Amanda Pereira 13 seconds into the second period, and Evra Levesque at 13:26 to pace the Western Mustangs to the 4-0 win. Kelly Campbell pitched a 37-save shutout to close out the series while Rebecca Bouwhuis lost her second-straight game.

G1 - LAURIER at TORONTO: These two teams were separated by ten points in the standings, but you'd never know it with how this series played out. Jacqueline Scheffel got Toronto on the board first when she beat Amanda Smith on the power-play at 11:20. Laurier responded with a power-play of their own at 15:40 when Robyn Degagne found a seam past Valencia Yordanov to tie the game, and they took the lead off Dollee Meigs' marker at 17:12 for the 2-1 Golden Hawks lead after one period.

Scheffel would strike again in the second period as she tied the game up at 2-2 at 14:47, and then we'd see the goalies take over. In fact, it was almost an hour between goals as both teams battled into overtime where we'd finally see a goal after 56:23 of play. Taylor Day dented the twine at 18:10 to give Toronto the 3-2 overtime victory in Game One! Yordanov made 19 saves in the extended game for the win while Smith made 18 stops in the loss.

G2 - TORONTO at LAURIER: It's always fun when the goaltenders show up and play on a different level from everyone else. Both Toronto's Valencia Yordanov and Laurier's Amanda Smith took their games to another level in this one as it took 65:12 to find a goal. Yes, that's right - another overtime between these two teams! Jessie Hurrell snapped a shot past Yordanov at 5:12 of overtime on the power-play to give the Laurier Golden Hawks the 1-0 overtime win and force a Game Three! Smith earned the win and shutout with no blemishes on 27 attempts while Yordanov suffered the loss despite stopping 20 of 21 shots she faced.

G3 - LAURIER at TORONTO: As you're aware, these two teams have already played eight periods of hockey, so what's a few more, right? Valenica Yordanov and Amanda Smith stared one another down some 200-feet away again as the two teams played scoreless into the third period. Lauren Straatman finally broke the dead-lock at 3:50 of the third period to put Toronto up 1-0. Laurier wouldn't go away, though, as Danielle Wark tallied for the Golden Hawks at 13:41 to make it a 1-1 game. And that's where the fun started.

The remaining 6:19 saw no goals, so it was off to overtime. The first overtime period solved nothing. The second overtime period produced the same results. We'd play into the third overtime period where this game and series would be settled. Dollee Meigs may have scored the biggest goal of her hockey career at 2:41 as the Wilfred Laurier Golden Hawks upset the Toronto Varsity Blues with a 2-1 triple-overtime victory to take the series 2-1! Amanda Smith had a whale of a game in stopping 41 of 42 shots fired at her while Yordanov was on the wrong end of the triple-overtime decision.

With the seedings still being a factor in who plays whom, Guelph would play host to Laurier while Western would play host Nipissing. The Gryphons and Golden Hawks will play their best-of-three semifinal series March 2, 4, and 6 while the Mustangs and Lakers would tangle on March 2, 5, and 6 in their series. The winners play for the McCaw Cup in the OUA Final starting March 12!

Quebec Semifinals

G1 - CONCORDIA at MONTREAL: The Stingers were looking for a big effort against Montreal, and they got the start they wanted. Marie-Joelle Allard found the back of the net on the power-play past Marie-Pier Chabot at 14:18, and the Stingers would take the 1-0 lead into the intermission. It would become a 2-0 lead when Suzie Sauriol's shot landed behind Chabot at 3:44 of the second period, and the Stingers would hold the fort through 40 minutes.

You can't count the Carabins out, though. Whatever was said in the intermission worked as Ariane Barker beat Briar Bache at 4:24, and they would tie the game 8:18 off Jessica Cormier's shot. The flurry of activity in the Stingers' zone didn't end there, but Bache would keep the Carabins from scoring as these two teams went to overtime! The first 20 minutes of free hockey decided nothing, so we'd move to a second period. Just 1:31 into the period with Concordia's Carol-Anne Gagne sitting for tripping, Barker scored her second goal of the game to give Montreal the 3-2 double-overtime victory! Chabot would make just 18 saves in the 81:31 of work while Bache stopped 37 of 40 shots in a losing effort.

G2 - MONTREAL at CONCORDIA: Much like they did in the regular season to Concordia, Montreal simply exerted its will upon the Stingers in this game. Alexandra Labelle put the Carabins up 1-0 at 1:13, and Ariane Barker made it 2-0 at 19:39. Concordia had chances and were outshooting Montreal 11-9 through two periods, but it would remain 2-0 after 40 minutes of play. Cassandra Dupuis would put the proverbial nail in the coffin at 3:07 of the third period with her goal as the Montreal Carabins advance with the 3-0 win! Marie-Pier Chabot was perfect on all 15 shot attempts for the shutout and win while Briar Bache suffered her second-straight loss.

G1 - OTTAWA at McGILL: The opening period would go scoreless, but the offence picked up in the middle stanza. McGill's Alexandria Serpico beat Maude Levesque-Ryan at 6:40 for the opening goal. Véronik Samson would tie things up for the GeeGees on the power-play when her shot got past Taylor Hough at 11:49. The Martlets would regain the lead at 17:07 when Gabrielle Davidson scored, and McGill would take a 2-1 lead into the third period.

McGill would make it 3-1 just 55 seconds into the final frame when Olivia Atkinson scored. Ottawa made things interesting when Camille Pauck-Therrien scored to make 3-1 at 6:16, but Gabrielle Davidson scored her second of the game 16 seconds later to put the Martlets up 4-2. That would be all the help that Hough needed as she backstopped McGill to the 4-2 win in Game One! Hough made 27 saves in the win while Levesque-Ryan took the loss.

G2 - McGILL at OTTAWA: It was do-or-die for Ottawa, and this game didn't start well. McGill jumped out to a 1-0 lead when Kelsie Moffatt beat Maude Levesque-Ryan on the power-play at 5:19 that would hold through the remainder of the period. The second period saw Ottawa come out of the gates on fire as Alex Lafleur beat Taylor Hough at 2:33 and Melodie Bouchard scored a power-play goal at 7:41 to give the GeeGees a 2-1 lead. That lead would be short-lived, though, as Melodie Daoust scored at 8:27 to tie the game at 2-2. McGill would take another one-goal lead into an intermission as Brittney Fouracres scored with 30 seconds left in the period for the 3-2 lead.

Ottawa tied the game up just 33 seconds into the third period as Melodie Bouchard found the back of the net. The 3-3 tie would hold through to the final horn of regulation time, so we'd need some free hockey to find a winner! The first period of overtime solved nothing, so we'd move to a second overtime period. 4:49 into this period, Melodie Daoust would beat Levesque-Ryan to send the McGill Martlets to the RSEQ Final with the 4-3 double-overtime win! Hough made 25 saves in her 84:49 of work while Levesque-Ryan stopped 37 shots in the loss.

Montreal and McGill will meet to determine the RSEQ representative in the CIS Hockey Championship in Calgary. The series starts on March 3 in Montreal before shifting to McGill on March 5. If a third game is needed, it will be played in Montreal on March 6!

Maritime Semifinals

G1 - ST. THOMAS at MONCTON: These two teams were separated by a point in the standings, so this should be an excellent series! Moncton opened the scoring just 38 seconds into the game as Jodie Dupere beat Taylor Cook for the early 1-0 lead. The Tommies would respond on the power-play later in the period as Kelty Apperson found twine behind Gabrielle Forget at 13:59. The Aigles Bleues would go into the intermission with the lead as Katryne Villeneuve scored at 18:48 for the 2-1 lead.

Emily Oleksuk would tie the game for St. Thomas at 13:09 of the second period, but Moncton would take the one-goal lead into the intermission again after Dupere scored her second of the game on the power-play at 16:46. The Tommies needed a boost, and they'd get one from Danielle Ring who scored at 8:03 of the third period to make it a 3-3 game. St. Thomas would then take their first lead of the game off Kelty Apperson's second goal of the game at 12:24! Taylor Cook was busy in the last 7:36, but she would surrender no additional goals as St. Thomas downed Moncton in Game One by a 4-3 score! Cook stopped 29 shots in the win while Forget took the loss.

G1 - MONCTON at ST. THOMAS: With the series shifting to Fredericton, Moncton was in a must-win situation. It started well for the home team as St. Thomas' Lauren Henman beat Emilie Bouchard just 28 seconds into the game. Katryne Villeneuve would square Moncton up at 8:21 on the power-play as she scored on Taylor Cook with her shot. Lauren Henman would restore the lead late in the second period as she found the back of the net at 15:45 for the 2-1 St. Thomas lead.

Despite the pressure mounted by Moncton, it would be Emily Oleksuk that scored the only goal of the period as she dented twine at 11:51 for the 3-1 St. Thomas lead. That score would hold through to the end of the game as St. Thomas advances to the AUS Final by sweeping Moncton! Cook stopped 20 of 21 shots for her fourth win in the playoffs while Bouchard suffered the loss in her only appearance in the post-season.

G1 - ST. FRANCIS XAVIER at SAINT MARY'S: 14 points separated these two teams in the regular season, but the post-season is a complete reset as we'll see in this series. The first 33 minutes of this game was dominated by the Huskies as they got goals from Caitlyn Manning at 14:04, Breanna Lanceleve on the power-play at 17:07, Laura Polak at 18:23, and Lanceleve again on the power-play at 12:22 of the second period to mount a 4-0 lead.

Comeback? Well, the X-Women weren't about to go quietly. Kara Power scored at 19:34 of the second period to make it 4-1. Schyler Campbell added a power-play goal at 1:55 of the third period to make it 4-2, and Jenna Macdonald would dent twine at 8:54 to make it 4-3! However, Rebecca Clark would allow no additional goals as she shut down the X-Women in the final ten minutes for the 4-3 Huskies win! Clark stopped 25 shots in the win while Sojung Shin took the loss despite stopping 32 shots.

G2 - SAINT MARY'S at ST. FRANCIS XAVIER: Game Two was a completely different story. The X-Women jumped out to a 2-0 lead after 20 minutes on the strength of goals by Lydia Schurman at 14:00 and Daley Oddy at 18:34. Caitlyn Schell got one back for the Huskies on the power-play at 19:40 of the second period, but the X-Women reasserted themselves in the third period. Oddy made it 3-1 just 51 seconds into the period, and Sarah bujold scored late at 19:04 to give StFX the 4-1 win! Sojung Shin picked up the win in stopping 28 of 29 shots while Rebecca Clark took the loss.

G3 - ST. FRANCIS XAVIER at SAINT MARY'S: Game Three goes Tuesday, so we'll have to update this game next week! It's a best-of-one, win-and-you're-in game for these two teams, so we'll see who advances to meet St. Thomas!

Lots of playoff action, and only a handful of teams remain. The Calgary Dinos have already punched their ticket to the CIS Championship due to their hosting the tournament, and they'll be joined by a few more teams come next weekend! If you have a chance, get out to any of the universities playing host to these games! You won't be disappointed!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Saturday 27 February 2016

Didn't Watch A Second

I'll be honest: the Stadium Series games have lost their lustre when it comes to the teams being included in the games. Today's teams were the Detroit Red Wings and the Colorado Avalanche - two teams who had a bloody and nasty rivalry at the turn of the millenium. That was 16 years ago. Today, they don't even play in the same conference any longer, so the rivalry has quieted immensely as the Red Wings play more of an Eastern Conference game. The players involved in the rivalry are long gone as well, so this game was just another meaningless game outside of the two points on the line. Ho-hum.

Because there have been so many outdoor games held in the vast number of stadiums not meant for hockey, the uniqueness of the venue doesn't even factor in for me any longer. The game needs to feature two teams that have a pure and real rivalry where hatred exists and both teams would kill one another for two points. Games featuring teams on the edge of the playoffs in either conference where no rivalry has existed for over a decade are, in a word, boring.

There needs to be a return to having fewer players giving canned responses to overly-used questions by reporters. There needs to be more personality in the game. When players like Jeremy Roenick, Patrick Roy, and Darren McCarty were trading barbs through the press at one another, the games meant more for fans who lived on the next sound bite from their heroes. We don't have that any longer, and the interest in games that feature less-than-stellar teams is lower than ever.

While I appreciate the fact that the Toronto Maple Leafs are celebrating a fairly important anniversary next year, if they're as terrible as they are this year, they should move that game elsewhere immediately. The 30th-overall team in the NHL should, in no way, get the benefit of a marquee event when teams like St. Louis and Washington should be rewarded for building excellent teams. I would have included Chicago in that grouping, but they seem to play an annual outdoor game and I sick of seeing them in these games.

I watched none of the game from Denver today where temperatures reached a glorious 18°C. That temperature is more akin to a round of golf than it is an outdoor hockey game. Despite Detroit winning 5-3 between these two wild card teams, the biggest news of the game was the wind that swirled the fake snow into the air during the third period. Thankfully, none of it hit the ice, but if that was the biggest news story we might need better teams to participate in these events.

One per year should be the rule. Like the NHL All-Star Game, we don't need more of these exhibitions. Maybe I'm in the minority here, but the alumni games are more fun for the fans. The chirping that went on between the Red Wings alumni and the Avalanche alumni made it feel like the late-1990s again, and it would be a great way of working the names of the alumni who may not be known to new fans into their vernacular. For the rest of us, it would harken back to days past where our heroes were larger than life.

I didn't watch one second of the Stadium Series game in Denver. I don't feel like I missed out on anything except another meaningless game that could have been played at the Pepsi Center instead.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Friday 26 February 2016

What If He Came Back?

I find it funny that an hour prior to the trade between the Chicago Blackhawks and the Winnipeg Jets that sent Andrew Ladd back to the Windy City we had discussed on The Hockey Show that Marko Dano would be the return for the Jets' left-winger. As you may have heard, there were other pieces involved in the Ladd-for-Dano trade, but there's a chance that the biggest piece in the deal in Andrew Ladd could wear Jets' colours again next season. It's a storyline that could happen if a few things fall into place. Hear me out on this.

There have been a ton of people lamenting the fact that the Jets traded Ladd. Winnipeg has been his home for the last five years. The cost of living here is one of the lowest in the league. He's beloved by fans, teammates, and management here, and he's been a part of the community in a big way. He's still a leader or in the top-five of most offensive statistics for the Jets. Why did we trade Ladd?

My thought on this: respect. The Jets want to see one of their core players win while he's still a major contributor to the team that lands him. Andrew Ladd plays the next few months in Chicago, has a good time, impresses a few GMs with his play alongside Toews and Hossa, maybe wins a Stanley Cup, and generates some interest in his services come July 1. Ladd hits the free agent market knowing that Chicago probably can't afford to keep his services, and learns that his $5.5 million to $6 million per season demand is a little high. Teams come back and offer the 30 year-old somewhere in the range of $4.5 million to $5.5 million. Ladd's camp will have to explore the offers.

That price range? That would interest Winnipeg. The problem is the quality of the offers that Ladd gets - namely which teams look most attractive to the veteran winger. But it would also mean another move with Brandy and the kids, another summer of moving vans and house-hunting, and another August of looking for schools and integrating into a community. All of that is hard work and really takes the fun out of the summer for a guy who has earned the right to have a summer off.

In other words, there's a chance that Ladd could return in July.

If Ladd wins a third Stanley Cup with Chicago, the move back to Winnipeg might be easier. If there are teams looking for that last piece of the puzzle - think Justin Williams to the Washington Capitals - Andrew Ladd might be that player. Ladd brings scoring, some speed, a good hockey sense, and some physicality - all traits valued in the NHL today. If a team like the St. Louis Blues or Los Angeles Kings or Anaheim Ducks came calling, Ladd would probably take that opportunity because winning a Stanley Cup is an opportunity afforded to very few in their playing days.

But July 1 will be a very interesting day for Andrew Ladd. There will be interest in him, and it will either increase or decrease based upon his salary demands once he hits free agency. If he drops, the interest might be high based on his body of work in the NHL and, most recently, with the Winnipeg Jets. Ladd and the Jets have said all the right things about wanting to stay and wanting to keep the captain in Winnipeg through to his trade yesterday, so what if this discussion of getting Ladd to return in the off-season has already happened?

Prior to completing the trade, all it would take is for the Jets to contact Ladd's camp and informing them that while they aren't happy about trading the captain, they can't let him walk away in free agency for nothing. That being said, they also could have indicated to Ladd's camp that when the winger hits free agency, the Jets would be re-interested in signing him because of his importance to the club. I'm not saying there's some conspiracy here, but it could happen.

I don't think there's any bad blood between the two sides. The trade happened because the Jets and Ladd couldn't find a number that worked. I don't believe either side wanted a trade, but the Jets have to get maximum return for a player they covet and are unable to sign. This trade was more about business and finding the best place for Ladd to win than it was about making changes to a roster to win now. I think both parties are aware of this fact, so circle back in the summer to the business and see if things work better at that time.

The captain may return in the summer if the math make sense.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Thursday 25 February 2016

The Hockey Show - Episode 179

The Hockey Show, Canada's only campus-produced hockey radio show, returns tonight with a call-in show as we'll start taking a look at the Trade Deadline! Of course, Winnipeg holds a big key in the trade deadline discussions as Andrew Ladd is still on the market for the right return, but there could be other Jets in play as well. We'll go through some of the potential destinations and roster returns Ladd would fetch if Beans and I were the Jets GM, and we'll look at other potential moves the Jets could make if they were going through a complete rebuild.

We'll also talk about this guy and his recent turbulence in the KHL. Ilya Kovalchuk reportedly has been suspended by head coach Sergei Zubov for a number of incidents that resulted in Kovalchuk being stripped of the captaincy in St. Petersburg and reportedly scratched for the opening-round playoff games. Kovalchuk has not played in the last two games for St. Petersburg, and word out of Mother Russia is that the superstar is a little unhappy with the treatment he's receiving. One report today on Twitter had this information.
Kovalchuk’s four-year contract with SKA is set to expire following the 2016-17 season, but if he opts out you'd have to expect him to try a return to the NHL. He wouldn't be eligible to sign with an NHL team unless all 30 teams agreed to his inclusion, and he'd still be a member of the New Jersey Devils due to his voluntary retirement. With the way he's played this season with SKA combined with his latest problems with team staff, I'm not sure New Jersey would be able to trade his rights at this time. My guess? He's not coming back to the NHL any time soon, but we'll discuss the possibility.

The phones are wide open tonight, and we're expecting your trade deadline calls! Dial us up at 204-269-8636 (UMFM) to give us your best Ladd trade scenario! Make sure you tune your radio dial in the Winnipeg region to 101.5 on your FM dial or listen live between 5:30pm and 6:30pm CT on your web-enabled device at the UMFM webpage to get in on the action! 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. It's a look at a former Thrasher and a possible former Jet and everything in between tonight on The Hockey Show only on 101.5 UMFM!

PODCAST: February 25, 2016: Episode 179

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Wednesday 24 February 2016

Antler Banter: Season 1, Volume 43

The Moose finished off their two-game series against Rockford before moving to Milwaukee for a game and then moving on to Des Moines, Iowa for a two-game battle with the AHL Wild. In theory, the Moose could have a major win streak going if they can down Rockford and Milwaukee before taking on the league's worst team in the Iowa Wild. Not that Manitoba can claim to be anything better than Iowa at this point in the season as the Wild sit within striking distance of the Moose, but the latest point streak has helped the Moose build confidence and keep them from the bottom of the standings. The Moose play a couple of tougher teams before visiting a team they should beat on this week's edition of Antler Banter!

The Games

On Friday, Manitoba led 2-0 on a first-period power-play goal by Scott Kosmachuk and a second period goal by Thomas Raffl before Chris DeSousa made things a little interesting at 12:02 of the third period by bringing the IceHogs within a goal. JC Lipon would restore the two-goal lead on an empty-net shorthanded goal at 17:21. Cameron Schilling would score on the power-play at 19:38 for the IceHogs, but the last 22 seconds ticked off without further red lights lit as the Moose took the second game in the two-game set by a 3-2 score. Eric Comrie made 37 stops in the victory while Mac Carruth suffered the loss as the former Tri-City American out-dueled the former Portland Winterhawk. The Moose improve to 15-27-4-5.

The Moose moved north up the highway to Milwaukee, Wisconsin where they met the Admirals on Saturday night. The Moose have had excellent success in Milwaukee this season, and this game added to that success. Max Gortz scored at 4:54 of the first period, and then it was all Moose. Brenden Kichton scored 19 seconds later, and Matt Halischuk, John Albert, and Scott Kosmachuk added third-period goals to lead the Moose to a 4-1 victory for their fourth-straight win and sixth game with a point. Connor Hellebuyck stopped 31 pucks while Marek Mazanec took the loss in this game. The win moves Manitoba to 16-27-4-5.

The Moose loaded up the bus and headed west for Des Moines, Iowa where the Iowa Wild were waiting for a Monday night match. Iowa jumped out to the 2-0 lead on goals by Brett Bulmer and Zac Dalpe after 25 minutes of play, so the Moose had to dig out of the hole they found themselves in. Patrice Cormier got one back midway through the second period, and Chase De Leo would tie the game 1:37 into the third period as these two teams were knotted up at 2-2. Iowa would rain on the Moose parade, though, as Dalpe scored his second goal of the game with 1:52 remaining and Leland Irving withstood a late rally as the Wild downed the Moose 3-2. Irving stopped 33 shots while Hellebuyck made 30 saves in the loss. The setback sees the Moose record to fall to 16-28-4-5.

With the win and point streaks over, the Moose looked to start a new one tonight. Thomas Raffl got the visitors on the board early as he scored a power-play goal just 4:04 into the game. Iowa would tie the game late in the second period when Zack Mitchell hit the scoreboard with 1:16 to play in the period. Former Moose defenceman and current Iowa Wild rearguard Maxime Fortunus put the Wild up 2-1 at 9:53 of the final frame, and that would be all that Steve Michalek would need to pick up a win as the Wild held on for the 2-1 victory. Michalek stopped 21 of 22 shots he faced while Hellebuyck dropped his second-straight game. The Moose fall to 16-29-4-5 on the season.

Fronk Conditioning

Jiri Fronk was assigned to the ECHL's Tulsa Oilers on Friday. Fronk has six goals and a helper in 21 games for the Moose this season. I thought he was having an effective season in his first pro campaign, but the Moose are looking for a little more growth, I guess. I don't think Fronk will be there long, but he'll suit up with the Oilers for a few games.

New Opportunities?

With the trade deadline approaching, there has to be some concern in Moose camp about the future. The Moose have a number of prospects that could be included in trades if the right deal comes up, so I don't think anyone outside of a handful of players - Hellebuyck and Comrie most notably - should sit comfortably. Veteran players on the Moose such as Jay Harrison, Matt Fraser, and Thomas Raffl could also be moved if the Jets want more of the youth into the lineup. We'll see what happens come next week, but the Moose have chips that could be included in any deal.

Next Week

The Moose welcome Charlotte to Winnipeg where they'll play a two-game set. The Moose are 1-2-1 against Charlotte this season, so they'll look to win the season series with a pair of wins this weekend. Charlotte has fallen off its early torrid pace to sit in fifth-place in the Central Division, but they're still 17 points better than the Moose. The Herd will have to come in ready to play against a team that desperately needs points to keep pace with Grand Rapids and Lake Erie. It should be a good test, but they played extremely well against Rockford and Milwaukee - first and second in the Central - so this shouldn't be thought of as an impossible task.

We'll check in next week and see how the Moose did right here on Antler Banter!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Tuesday 23 February 2016

Losing An Innovator

His name isn't going to be the catalyst to a flood of memories of what he did for the game, but the game of hockey does owe Kevin Stubbington some major thanks for the work he did in and around the game. Kevin, as seen to the left, will be best remembered as the man who designed the stop sign patch and who lobbied for it to be placed on the backs of all minor hockey jerseys to prevent players from being checked from behind at the grassroots level. You might be asking why I am speaking like Kevin is no longer involved in hockey. I am sad to report that Mr. Stubbington passed away today at the age of 64 due to complications from shingles and pneumonia.

Beyond being the stop sign innovator, the former Windsor Minor Hockey Association member's idea led directly to the S.T.O.P. program or "Safety Towards Other Players" program which the OMHA adopted to raise awareness of the dangers of checking from behind. The message in S.T.O.P. and the stop sign patch soon were mandatory for all Minor Hockey Associations throughout Canada.

"At first when he brought it to the board we were kind of skeptical, 'How's that going to work? A stop sign on a jersey?' And then he brought all the documentation, the reasoning for it and we said 'Hey, let's try it,'" Dean Lapierre, Mr. Stubbington's long-time friend, told CBC News. "He wasn't looking to make a profit, he just wanted the word to get out there. The big part was when you saw the Olympic teams during their tryouts have them on the back of their jerseys for Team Canada. Then you knew it really hit it big."

What might have put an exclamation point on the stop sign campaign was the Dr. Tom Pashby Sports Safety Award that was awarded to Mr. Stubbington in 2007. The award is given to Canadians who "have made a significant contribution to prevent catastrophic injuries in sports and recreational activities." With every minor hockey player across Canada wearing the patch, the number of injuries seen from checks from behind has decreased. They haven't been eliminated entirely, but the game is much safer at the grassroots level thanks to Mr. Stubbington's simple innovation.

When he wasn't working in making hockey safer, Mr. Stubbington was a security guard at Chrysler's Windsor Assembly Plant. He also coached hockey teams in Windsor and was a member of the Windsor Minor Hockey Association. Needless to say, his passion was hockey and the S.T.O.P. program was developed in 1996. Since 1999, over 400,000 patches have been distributed across the world as a reminder of player safety and respect.

"The OMHA caught wind of it and before you know it, you see them everywhere across North America and other parts of the world," Lapierre said to the CBC. Indeed, they are used by a vast number of hockey associations across North America, and have been seen in Europe.

Personally, I respect and applaud the innovation that Mr. Stubbington created. Checking from behind is dangerous on a number of levels as there's a risk to not only the necks and spines of players who are driven into the board, but a risk of concussions as well as the head is usually the first point of contact against the boards in a hit from behind. The fact that Mr. Stubbington came up with this made-in-Canada solution to help reduce the number of serious injuries is something we all should be proud of and should give thanks to his idea.

We lost a good man in Kevin Stubbington today. Remember his name every time you see a stop sign on a minor hockey jersey.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Monday 22 February 2016

When Games Cross Days

Playoff hockey, as you know, feels like a different sport altogether. The tension is high, the excitement for both players and fans is through the roof, and there's anticipation that every shift might just a player's last if he or she isn't successful. Playoff hockey is also unique in that there is no shootout - teams play until a winner is found, and time becomes nothing more than a tool for comparison when games run long. Despite the fatigue players may experience, the game must go on until a winner is found. When games cross into second days, you know it's an epic night of hockey.

Manitoba and Saskatchewan just rewrote some CIS history in their epic battle.

The Bisons met the Huskies in their CWUAA quarterfinal match-up over the weekend, and Game Three of the best-of-three series spilled into Monday morning thanks to a five-overtime battle waged between the two teams. Saskatchewan took Game One by a 3-0 score before Manitoba won on Saturday in a 5-1 victory that set up the rubber match between the two squads. I'm not sure that anyone would have guessed that the game would end on Monday morning, but it was 12:01am before we had a winner crowned in the deciding game.
Finnish Olympian and Manitoba Bisons forward Venla Hovi redirected a shot past Cassidy Hendricks in the eighth period of play, and we'd have a decision after 139:02 of action. The previous longest game record in Canada West women's hockey action happened with Saskatchewan involved as well. The Regina Cougars downed the Huskies 2-1 in Game Two in 2014 after 122:30 of play. The CIS women's hockey record - and is the longest game played by either the men or women - is held by Queen's and Guelph. Those two teams battled for an impressive 167:14 in Game 1 of the OUA women’s hockey final before Queen's notched the 2-1 winner. The Manitoba-Saskatchewan game now ranks second-overall in length for either the men or women.

"I'd go on the ice maybe 15-20 seconds, get off and just collapse on the bench," Bisons defenseman Erica Rieder told Russ Hobson of Global News. "All of us were just drained by the end of it and so when that puck finally went in, it was just a very exciting moment."

Amanda Schubert was the busiest of the Bisons on the night. The netminder made 66 stops in the victory with her only blemish coming on a third period goal by Lauren Zary. The vivacious goaltender couldn't hold back the smiles as she met with reporters earlier today.

"I was very relieved," said Schubert. "I didn't quite make it to the celebration. I collapsed on the ice. I was a little exhausted."

Hovi's goal came 88:24 after Zary tied the game at 10:38. It was a full 138:51 between Manitoba goals as Lauren Keen scored just 11 seconds into Game Three. Hovi's line, which has been Manitoba's best line for the last couple of weeks, is really clicking as she, Lauren Keen, and Amanda Sharman have found some great chemistry. Hovi spoke about the overtime winner.

"It felt pretty good to end the game, in the first place, and it was great to score the goal but our line did great work before that and I just happened to tip it into an empty net," Hovi told Darren Zary of the Saskatoon StarPhoenix. And what about the record-setting game? "That was great and it was great that we won, too. It was pretty exhausting but we definitely worked hard to deserve the win."

The only problem with an outstanding game like this one is that there has to be a loser. Saskatchewan certainly played well enough to win the game and series, but they ran into a hot goaltender in Schubert and a team that just wouldn't be put away. Cassidy Hendricks made 40 saves in the loss Sunday night/Monday morning, and this game will undoubtedly sting for a few weeks if not months with the young ladies of the Huskies squad. None of the ladies should hang their heads, though. They were competitors all season long.

The Bisons, on the strength of their victory, will now travel to Edmonton next week to tangle with the top-seed in the Alberta Pandas in one of the CWUAA semifinal series. This one definitely favors the home side if regular season statistics are to be believed. Alberta was 3-1 against Manitoba with three shutouts, but there are a ton of similarities between the two teams if you look past the head-to-head win-loss record. This series will undoubtedly come down to goaltending where Lindsey Post has been the best netminder in western Canada for the last few seasons, but she's shown some vulnerabilities this season with some faces in the lineup. Manitoba will have to exploit the chances they get to win this series!

I've been saying it all year, folks. Get out and see CIS women's hockey. It's amazing!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Sunday 21 February 2016

The Rundown - Week 21

The playoffs started for two conferences while the other two confirmed who would attending their respective dances. I have to admit that I was a little disappointed that my local team didn't host a playoff game, but teams that win get to host. We'll look at those games first as work through the conferences, but the CWUAA and AUS will see two more teams eliminated from this article after this weekend. Let's get to The Rundown!

Canada West Playoffs

G1 - CALGARY at REGINA: The third-seeded Cougars would host the surprising sixth-seeded Dinos in one of two quarterfinal CWUAA match-ups. The opening goal in this game came late in the second period when Chelsea Perepeluk banged home a rebound past Hayley Dowling at 19:28 for the 1-0 lead. It should be noted that the Cougars, to that point, had outshot the Dinos by a 36-6 margin, so credit Dowling for keeping the Dinos even remotely close to that point.

Bronwyn Stevens would tie the game early in the third period as she beat Toni Ross at 1:21, and it appeared the chess match would continue. Except it didn't. Just ten seconds after Stevens' goal, Caitlin Dempsey took a pass as she streaked down the right wing, made a move to the middle, and ripped home a high wrist shot over Dowling's shoulder for the 2-1 lead.

Calgary would run into some penalty trouble midway through the period, and Regina made them pay. Kylie Gavelin scored at 7:18 and Jaycee Magwood added another power-play goal at 9:01. With the 4-1 lead, the Cougars simply sat back and defended their lead as they claimed victory in the opening game. Toni Ross stopped 13 of 14 shots she faced while Dowling took the loss after making 41 saves on the evening.

G2 - CALGARY at REGINA: It was do-or-die for the Dinos on Saturday night, and I expected a much better effort. Both teams delivered on this expectation as the checking was tight, chances were created and thwarted, and neither team gave the other many scoring opportunities. However, there was a goal scored.

Bailey Braden redirected a Nikki Watters-Matthes shot between the legs of Hayley Dowling while on the power-play at 7:24 of the opening period, and the Cougars would jump ahead 1-0. There would be no scoring in the second period as the two teams traded chances, but the Dinos applied the pressure in the final frame as their season was on the line. The only problem was that Toni Ross was equal to the task as she held the Dinos off the scoreboard for the 1-0 victory! Ross stopped all 29 shots thrown at her for the shutout while Dowling took the second loss in as many games despite stopped 27 of 28 shots.

Regina, being the third-seeded team, will travel to British Columbia for a best-of-three semifinal series against the UBC Thunderbirds next weekend.

G1 - MANITOBA at SASKATCHEWAN: The Huskies, as the fourth-place team, hosted the fifth-seeded Manitoba Bisons this weekend. The Bisons are starting Rachel Dyck in this game despite Amanda Schubert's recent success against the Huskies, so we'll see how this plays out. The home team would strike first, though, when Kaitlin Willoughby finished off a pass from Lauren Zary on 2-on-1 at 13:32 for the 1-0 lead.

After a scoreless second period, there would be more goals in the third period. Willoughby would add her second of the night with seven minutes to play after converting a good passing play that involved Julia Flinton and Leah Bolken. Willoughby would close out the scoring after firing a shot from center into the empty Manitoba net with 1:36 to play as Saskatchewan takes the opening game by a 3-0 score. Cassidy Hendricks stopped all 21 shots sent her way for the shutout while Dyck stopped 28 of 31 in the loss.

G2 - MANITOBA at SASKATCHEWAN: Manitoba needed a win after a shutout loss the night before, and we'd see Amanda Schubert get the start in this one. It would be Saskatchewan who scored first, though, as Julia Flinton scored on a screened Schubert at 18:43. Manitoba, however, would tie things before the horn as Venla Hovi redirected an Alanna Sharman pass past Cassidy Hendricks on a 2-on-1 at 19:47 to send the teams into the intermission tied at 1-1.

Hovi would make it a 2-1 game midway through the second period when she found a loose puck at the side of the net and buried it past Hendricks at 9:57. Alanna Sharman then got in on the act as she made a move around a defender and snapped a shot by Hendricks at 16:35 for the 3-1 lead. Keen, after assisting on all three goals, added another goal at 5:03 of the third period, and Kaleigh Wiens split the Huskies defence and beat Hendricks at 14:37 to put the Bisons up 5-1. Schubert stood tall through the entire game as she earned the victory in the 5-1 win. Hendricks would take the loss, but this series would need all three games to decided a winner.

G3 - MANITOBA at SASKATCHEWAN: With the knowledge that Regina had already booked their flights to Vancouver, Regina and Manitoba met in the rubber match to determine which squad would travel to Edmonton to play the Alberta Pandas next weekend. Manitoba jumped out to an extremely early lead when Lauren Keen continued her weekend of strong play as she scored just 11 seconds into the first period to put the Bisons up 1-0.

The next goal wouldn't be seen until 10:38 of the third period when Lauren Zary found room past Amanda Schubert, and the Huskies and Bisons would close out the period tied at 1-1. Who would have guessed that we'd witness history tonight as the Bisons and Huskies would play the longest game in CWUAA women's hockey history! Venla Hovi deflected a shot at 9:02 of the fifth overtime period past Cassidy Hendricks to give the Bisons the 2-1 overtime win and the 2-1 series win! Amanda Schubert made 66 saves in the 5OT win while Hendricks suffered the loss on a night where it seemed unfair to send one team home. I'll have more on the historic night in Saskatchewan tomorrow, but the Bisons advance!

It should be noted that while Calgary didn't win a game in the playoffs, they will participate in the CIS Women's Hockey Championship as the host team. Calgary will now have approximately one month to prepare for that tournament. The Regina Cougars will play the UBC Thunderbirds in Vancouver next weekend while the Alberta Pandas will host the Manitoba Bisons next weekend in Edmonton in the second semifinal.

Ontario Results

It's the final week of games in the OUA, and there was some definite movement in the standings as teams secured playoff positions.

LAURIER at RYERSON: Ryerson's Victoria Chapman put the Rams up 1-0 at 4:52 after beating Lauren Webber with her shot. We'd have to jump ahead to the second period for the next goal as Madison MacCulloch evened the score off her shot that beat Alex Armstrong at 15:20. With no scoring in the third period, this game went to overtime. Dollee Meigs would ensure this game didn't last long as she found the back of the net just 1:01 into the extra time as Laurier wins this one by a 2-1 score. Webber stopped 28 shots for the win while Amrstrong suffered the loss.

WESTERN at WATERLOO: Western would get this game started as Catherine O'Connor scored 2:43 into the game. Waterloo would tie things up in the second period when Alyssa Gee beat Kelly Campbell at 9:32, but Evra Levesque would put Western back on top after she scored on Stephanie Sluys at 15:43. Brittany Clapham would make it 3-1 just 39 seconds into the third period, and that score looked to be enough. Waterloo's Paula Lagamba scored with 1:09 remaining, but that was as close as the Warriors would get as the Mustangs took this game 3-2. Campbell stopped 25 shots in the win while Sluys was on the losing end in this game.

YORK at TORONTO: The Varsity Blues took control of this game from the start. Jacqueline Scheffel scored on the power-play at 10:31 and Taylor Day added another at 16:45 for the 2-0 Toronto lead through one period. They added another pair of goals in the second period as Day added her second on the power-play at 9:25 and Meagan O'Brien added another at 11:49 to make it a 4-0 Toronto lead.

Lauren Straatman would make it 5-0 on the power-play at 7:24, and Kristi Riseley made it 6-0 at 17:49. York, however, wouldn't go silently. Lauren Cavarzan scored at 18:10 for the Lions and Kristen Barbara made it 6-2 at 18:48. The Lions wouldn't muster any further comeback, though, as Toronto skates to the 6-2 victory. Valencia Yordanov picked up the 18-save win while Eva Hall took the loss.

RYERSON at WATERLOO: The Warriors opened the scoring at 19:37 of the first period when Alison Hanson beat Sydney Authier for the 1-0 lead. Paula Lagamba extended the lead at 14:00 of the second period with her goal. Ryerson would get one back when Melissa Wronzberg snapped one past Rebecca Bouwhuis, but that would be the only puck to get past her. Waterloo takes this game by a 2-1 score. Bouwhuis stopped 27 shots for the win while Authier suffered the loss.

GUELPH at BROCK: The first goal would be seen at the 5:00 mark of the second period when Brock's Jazz Kennedy scored on the power-play past Valerie Lamenta. Guelph's Kelly Gribbons would find space past Jensen Murphy at 18:40 to tie the game, but Laura Neu scored at 19:23 to put the Badgers up 2-1 through 40 minutes.

Gribbons would even things up in the third period when her shot dented twine at 8:04. Guelph would take the lead at 13:14 when Sophie Contant's shot found the back of the net for the 3-2 advantage, and Lamenta would allow no more as the Gryphons took this game 3-2. Lamenta stopped 26 shots in the win while Murphy was on record for the loss.

WINDSOR at YORK: There were a bunch of goals scored, so let's get this one going. York's Amy Locke scored at 4:36. Dana Somerville made it 2-0 at 6:49. Raeanna Kelly put the Lions up 3-0 at 12:50, but Windsor would get one back before the end of the period as Shawna Lesperance scored at 13:52 to make it 3-1 through 20 minutes.

Lesperance would strike again at 8:49 of the second period while on the power-play, and Shailyn Waites would tie the game for Windsor with her power-play goal at 14:15! However, York used a power-play of their own to take a 4-3 lead off an Erin Locke goal at 18:22. 30 seconds later, Justine Treadwell found the back of the net to put York up 5-3, but Windsor's Taylor Conte would score with 31 seconds left in the period to cut the lead to 5-4.

Both York's Ingrid Sandven and Windsor's Megan Lee were perfect through the third period which meant that York took this game 5-4! Lee took the win while Sandven took the loss despite only allowing two goals. Sandven relieved Hannah Slater after she gave up the three first-period goals to York in her 12:50 of work.

QUEEN'S at LAURIER: Queen's Megan Farrell beat Amanda Smith at 7:31 of the first period for the early lead. Laurier's Jessica Prevette would get the Golden Hawks back on even footing when she beat Caitlyn Lahonen at 1:21 of the second period, but Queen's would take a 2-1 lead into the second intermission after Katrina Manoukarakis' power-play goal at 14:21. Queen's Courtenay Jacklin would score a power-play goal at 14:34 and an empty-net goal at 19:18 to give the Gaels a 4-1 victory. Lahonen made 29 stops for the win while Smith took the loss.

TORONTO at UOIT: Jacqueline Scheffel opened the scoring at 13:44 when she beat Tori Campbell, giving Toronto the 1-0 lead. Nicole Gorda beat Katey Teekasingh at 2:57 in the second period to draw the Ridgebacks even, but Taylor Day would restore the one-goal lead for Toronto at 15:43. UOIT would even the score again at 17:03 off Kassidy Nauboris' goal, but Toronto would go ahead 3-2 on Lauren Straatman's late goal at 19:37!

UOIT would score the only goal of the third period as Rachel Budden scored with 50 seconds remaining in the game to force overtime! The only problem is that overtime would solve nothing as these two teams remain tied 3-3 through the two added periods. We'd go to a shootout to find a winner in this one. UOIT's Nicole Gorda would score on the first shot, and Tori Campbell would stop all three shooters to give UOIT the 4-3 shootout win over Toronto! Campbell earns the win while Teekasingh takes the loss in her first start this season.

QUEEN'S at BROCK: Queen's came out of the gate on fire. More specifically, Jessica Wakefield came out of the gate on fire as she put Queen's up 2-0 with goals at 4:52 and 17:09. Clare McKellar put Queen's up 3-0 at 9:49 of the second period. Kyla Crouse made it 4-0 at 12:04. Brock's Cara Sayles would cut into the lead with a power-play goal at 13:31, but Queen's restored the four-goal lead at 16:21 with McKellar's second of the night. The third period would go scoreless, giving the Queen's Gaels the 5-1 win. Claire Warren picked up the win in a 19-save effort while Jensen Murphy took the loss. Stephanie Sluys replaced Murphy after the fourth Queen's goal, playing 27:56 and making 12 stops.

School Record Points GF GA Streak Next
60 78 31
vs LAU
48 63 44
vs LGH
45 62 36
vs WAT
45 57 39
vs NIP
44 54 46
41 62 41
38 45 50
32 47 62
28 37 52
27 45 59
25 67 84
23 49 79
12 30 73

Playoffs start next weekend with the top-eight teams facing off. In keeping with the seeding tradition, the highest seed would then move on to face the lowest remaining seed, and the two mid-level seeds would playoff against one another. It all starts next week in Ontario!

Quebec Results

The three teams at the top were looking for that top-seed status while Concordia was trying to fend off Carleton. Let's run through these games to see how the five teams finished in the RSEQ!

CONCORDIA at McGILL: The Stingers had no answer for Melodie Daoust. Daoust scored at 14:07 of the first period, again at 7:49 of the second period, and finished off the hat trick with an empty-net goal at 19:32 of the third period. Concordia's Erica Porter did score on the power-play at 3:26 of the third period, but that goal was negated by Pamela Psihogios' goal at 6:59 as the McGill Martlets skated to the 4-1 win. Taylor Hough made nine saves for the win while Katherine Purchase suffered the loss.

MONTREAL at OTTAWA: This one had definite playoff implications as two of the top teams in the RSEQ battled. Montreal's Marion Allemoz opened the scoring at 12:21 when she beat Sarah-Maude Labrecque, and Maude Laramee would make it 2-0 with a goal just 29 seconds later. Vickie Lemire would cut the deficit to one goal before the end of the period when she beat Marie-Pier Chabot on the power-play at 17:45.

Véronik Samson would draw Ottawa even at 7:48 of the second period, but Montreal would restore the one-goal lead off Emmanuelle Passard's goal at 12:03. It was looking more and more like the Carabins would take the two points, but Carol-Ann Upshall found space past Chabot at 19:16, and this game would go to overtime! Overtime solved nothing, though, so it was off to the breakaway challenge. Cindy Lauren scored on Ottawa's second shot. Melodie Bouchard scored on Ottawa's third shot, but Montreal remained alive with a Jessica Cormier goal in the fourth round. However, Emmanuelle Passard couldn't score on Montreal's fifth attempt, so Ottawa took the game in a 4-3 shootout final! Labrecque picked up the win while Chabot took the loss.

OTTAWA at CARLETON: This game had a crazy finish. Nicole Miners put the Ravens up 1-0 on a power-play goal that beat Sarah-Maude Labrecque 1:30 into the second period. Melodie Bouchard would tie the game for Ottawa 1:04 later, but Carleton would jump ahead at 5:15 off Mackenzie Coney's goal. Ottawa would send the game into the intermission tied at 2-2 after Shanie Deschatelets found the back of the net at 16:04.

Carol-Ann Upshall put Ottawa up 3-2 at 1:41 of the third period, but Carleton wasn't going away. Jennifer Semkowski buried a goal on the power-play at 6:39, and this game would hit the final horn tied up at 3-3. Overtime solved nothing, so it was off to the skills competition. Ready? Eight rounds would go by without a goal scored. Melodie Bouchard would score in the ninth round, but Carleton's Tawnya Guindon was equal to the task. In the 14th round, Upshall would be stopped, but Carleton's Leah Scott found the back of the net to give Carleton the 4-3 shootout victory! Hailey Perreault made 42 saves in regulation plus 13 more in the shootout for the win while Labrecque is on the losing end in this game.

MONTREAL at CONCORDIA: Montreal had already wrapped up first-place while Concordia had clinched fourth-place, so this game would be a preview of next week's playoff series. Ann-Julie Deschenes put Concordia up 1-0 at 17:10 after she beat Elodie Rousseau Sirois. Montreal would tie things up while shorthanded in the second period as Audrey Gariepy beat Briar Bache while down a woman to make it a 1-1 game. Concordia would get out of the second period with the lead, though, as Claudia Dubois scored on the power-play to put the Stingers up 2-1 after 40 minutes.

Gariepy would add her second goal at 9:20 of the third period to draw the Carabins even. There was some intense pressure in the Concordia zone late, and it would Alexandra Labelle scoring with 24 seconds to play to give Montreal the 3-2 win. Rousseau Sirois made ten saves in the victory while Bache took the loss.

School Record Points GF GA Streak Next
32 72 34
vs CON
28 54 33
vs OTT
25 59 57
@ McG
14 32 51
10 23 65

Montreal will play Concordia while McGill and Ottawa will meet in the best-of-three series scheduled for next weekend. While it's hard to imagine that Montreal will lose two of three games, Ottawa and McGill could be one of the best series in the country if it lives up to the statistical billing.

Maritime Results

G1 - ST. FRANCIS XAVIER at MOUNT ALLISON: One team hit the scoresheet in this game. Jenna Pitts scored at 9:26 and Kara Power added a second goal at 12:48 to put the X-Women up 2-0 after one period. Taylor Dale popped home a power-play goal at 4:03 of the second period, and it was more than necessary as StFX took Game One with a 3-0 win. Sojung Shin pitched a 29-save shutout for the victory while Keri Martin was on the losing end.

G2 - MOUNT ALLISON at ST. FRANCIS XAVIER: Mount Allison got on the board early in this game as Samantha Bujold beat Sojung Shin on the power-play just 1:41 into the game. StFX would tie things up when Connor Garagan beat Keri Martin at 5:05, and they would take the lead before the end of the first period when Heather Tillsley found the back of the net at 14:24 for the 2-1 StFX lead.

That score would hold through the second period, so we'd move onto the third period where Nicole Corcoran made it a 3-1 game after she scored on the power-play at 4:01. The Mounties would use a power-play of their own to make it 3-2 when Kara Anthony scored at 4:54, but StFX would use another power-play goal off the stick of Taylor Dale at 8:07 to go up 4-2. Kara Power then scored shorthanded at 12:53 to give StFX a 5-2 lead, and that's how this one would finish as the X-Women advance to the AUS Semifinal. Shin stopped 16 shots for the win while Martin suffered her second-straight loss.

G1 - DALHOUSIE at ST. THOMAS: The Tigers jumped out to an early lead as Jesse Rietveld scored on Taylor Cook 33 seconds into this game to put Dalhousie up 1-0. They would make it a 2-0 game at 14:10 when Taylor Reichheld found the back of the net. The Tommies would get within one goal before the end of the period when Kelty Apperson beat Mati Barrett at 16:18 to make it a 2-1 game.

Apperson took over the second period. She scored shorthanded at 11:37 and added her hat-trick goal at 19:40 to put the Tommies up 3-2 after 40 minutes. Lauren Henman scored at 11:30, Teah Anderson added another shorthanded marker at 13:05, and Marina Sergina capped the game off with her goal at 15:12 as St. Thomas scored six unanswered goals in the 6-2 victory. Cook stopped 21 of 23 shots while Barrett took the loss.

G1 - ST. THOMAS at DALHOUSIE: St. Thomas opened the scoring in the second period when Emily Oleksuk scored on Jessica Severeyns on the power-play for the 1-0 lead. Kenzie Macphee would draw the Tigers even at 1:33 in third period when she beat Taylor Cook with a shot. Kelty Apperson put the pressure on the Tigers with her goal at 15:06 to put the Tommies up 2-1, and Teah Anderson would end Dalhousie's season with an empty-net goal at 19:16 as St. Thomas takes Game Two by a 3-1 score. Cook stopped 16 shots in the win while Severeyns suffered the loss.

St. Francis Xavier will face-off against the Saint Mary's Huskies in one semifinal while St. Thomas will meet up with the Moncton Aigles Bleues in the other semifinal. Both series start on Tuesday, so these series could be done by the time the weekend rolls around. We'll see how each series goes!

There will be lots of playoff action to report next week, so tune in then!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Saturday 20 February 2016

Phenomenally Ageless

I'm not sure there's any way to deny the legacy and the longevity of Jaromir Jagr's career as anything but phenomenal. From winning a Stanley Cup in 1991 to moving past Brett Hull's 741 career goals tonight, Jagr appears to be having more fun now than during his domination of the 1990s in the NHL. The 44 year-old, who has publicly stated that he wants to play until he's 50, picked up goal #20 tonight against the Winnipeg Jets. More importantly, it was goal #742 as he is now third all-time in the NHL when it comes to lighting the lamp. Not bad at all!

Here is the goal that moved him past Brett Hull.
If you want the answer as to whom Jagr scored on to move into third-place on the NHL's all-time goal-scoring list, that would be Michael Hutchinson. If you're asked who assisted on the goal, your response should be Jussi Jokinen. Jagr, for what it's worth, didn't feel as if the achievement as important as we may be making it out to be.

"It's great, but I don't really think about it, to be honest with you," Jagr told reporters after the game. "I don't feel like I played really well for a few games, so I wanted to make sure I play a little bit better today. I had a little more jump, so it was pretty good."

Not only did he have a little more jump, he certainly had some stealth on the first goal that tied him with Hull. Jagr cut through the slot area and deflected a shot from Dmitry Kulikov that went high on Hutchinson to tie the game as 1-1. In the old days, he'd have one or two defenders hanging off him or hacking him. Today, he snuck in from the high slot to find a gap in coverage, and he got a stick on Kulikov's shot. His timing, hand-eye coordination, and his reading of the play are still better than 99% of the players assigned to defend against him.

He may not have the same wheels as he once did in the 1990s where he could pull away from defenders with a couple of strides, you can see Jagr adapting his game to some of his diminishing skills. His body positioning along the boards is still among the best in the game, but he finds open spaces to create shots and scoring chances as opposed to using his speed and reach like he once did. This is why he's still a 20-goal scorer at age 44: the man puts in an extraordinary amount of work to continue to play at a high level.

Jagr should be included among the names Gretzky, Howe, Lemieux, Richard, and Orr. He's playing at the NHL level and being highly-productive when most players have been on the golf course for years. He works harder than most NHL players, and he does so to stay on top of his game so he can remain productive. And while he may be more than 50 goals from Gordie Howe's 801 career goals, if he plays until he's 50 that number may be passed as well.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Friday 19 February 2016

Memorable Fifth Goal?

There were many questions as to why the Buffalo Sabres would accept David Legwand in the trade for goaltender Robin Lehner, but it was clear that Legwand hadn't aged well in terms of remaining a productive center in the NHL. His nine goals were the lowest of his career at that point, and he slid down the depth chart for the Senators. He appears to be in the same situation for the Sabres where he's playing down the lineup, but he picked up his fifth goal of the season tonight.

With Buffalo leading 1-0 against the Columbus Blue Jackets tonight, Legwand does what any player should do while shorthanded and needing a change: he dumps the puck down the ice high into the air. This allows he and his linemates to change while the opposition recovers the puck. Except that Columbus doesn't recover this one.
I'm going to say that Columbus head coach John Tortorella probably never expected Buffalo to score a shorthanded goal 180-feet from the Columbus net, but David Legwand's fifth goal of the season somehow eluded Joonas Korpisalo and found the back of the net. Buffalo would take a 2-0 lead on the goal en route to a 4-0 victory so it's not like that goal changed the dynamics of the game in a large way, but the distance the goal was scored at is something with which Korpisalo and Tortorella won't be happy.

This may very well be David Legwand's last season in the NHL, and that could be the last goal he scores in the NHL. If it is, it might be the longest "final goal" in any player's career who isn't a goalie. It won't go into the record books if it is, but it's a pretty cool distinction if it is.

Of course, all it would take is for Legwand to score another to wipe out that distinction. I'm sure the Buffalo Sabres and David Legwand himself wouldn't turn down another goal from the veteran.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Thursday 18 February 2016

The Hockey Show - Episode 178

The Hockey Show, Canada's only campus-produced hockey radio show, returns tonight with our resident Calgary Flames fan to discuss a number of things in Calgary. Of course, he's been doing a ton of other stuff in the meantime, including moving to Montreal, but this hockey fan is a guy who we can't say enough good things about and he's always welcome on the old show. He's made multiple appearances before this one, but it's been a while since he's been on thanks to his uber-busy life!

He is a star on one of Canada's most acclaimed dramas in 19-2 where he plays Montreal police officer Ben Chartier. That role earned him the 2015 Shaw Media Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Continuing Leading Dramatic Role. He's started a brand new CraveTV and Comendy Network series that you might remember us talking about in Letterkenny where the good ol' boys of Letterkenny inform us of their country-fied problems. The Loop's Amber Dowling wrote an article about how he should be your next big TV crush last January, and his star continues to rise after parts in the Don Cherry movies on CBC, Elysium with Matt Damon, and Gozilla with Bryan Cranston. The Hockey Show is proud to welcome back the man seen above in his Letterkenny outfit, Mr. Jared Keeso!

Tonight, we'll get an update from Jared on his acting career, the work being done for 19-2's third season, getting Letterkenny up and off the ground, and any new projects he may have in the works. We'll find out how he's adapting to life in Montreal after moving there for 19-2, his favorite Montreal foods and restaurants, and whether he's become a true Montreal Canadiens fan. Being that he's still a huge Calgary Flames fan, we'll also get his thoughts on the playoff scene for Canadian teams, what the Flames may do at the trade deadline, and his reaction to Dennis Wideman's 20-game suspension for his abuse of an official.

Because Jared will be calling in tonight, the phones will be closed for calls! However, make sure you tune your radio dial in the Winnipeg region to 101.5 on your FM dial or listen live between 5:30pm and 6:30pm CT on your web-enabled device at the UMFM webpage! 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. We welcome back a friend and one of Canada's best actors in Jared Keeso tonight on The Hockey Show only on 101.5 UMFM!

PODCAST: February 18, 2016: Episode 178

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Wednesday 17 February 2016

Antler Banter: Season 1, Volume 42

After picking up a point against Toronto and giving away two points to Texas last week, the Moose needed a better effort in the second-half of the two-game set against Texas before they welcomed the sliding Chicago Wolves to MTS Centre. Chicago has had Manitoba's number all season, so the Moose would have to try and capitalize on a Chicago team that's been dealing with call-ups and poor play in recent weeks. Following that, the Moose would hit the road against Rockford where they'd have a morning game on February 17 as the IceHogs welcomed children from the area to the rink for School Day! My only hope was that the Moose wouldn't be schooled as there would be a better-than-good chance of seeing AHL All-Star Michael Leighton in this series. Let's take a look at how the Moose fared this week on Antler Banter!

Lone-Point State

This game was straight out of the 1980s with all the goals scored. Scott Kosmachuk opened the scoring just 1:09 in with his 10th of the season. Nic Petan got in on the act at 9:25 with his sixth goal, but Texas would cut the lead to one goal off Derek Hulak's goal for the 2-1 Moose lead through 20 minutes. Brenden Kichton's fifth of the season put the Moose up 3-1 at 5:32 of the second period, but the Stars would rally back. Esa Lindell scored at 8:59 and Jason Dickinson scored at 17:19 to tie the game up at 3-3 through 40 minutes.

Things came unhinged in the final frame. Ludwig Bystrom put Texas up 4-3 at the 2:59 mark. Julius Honka made it 5-3 at 6:04, and Curtis McKenzie appeared to have driven the nail in the coffin at 8:16 as Texas led 6-3. However, Manitoba wasn't done. Josh Morrissey added his third of the season at 9:58, and Nic Petan added his seventh goal at 11:56 to bring the Moose within a goal. The Moose would continue to pressure the Stars, and Julian Melchiori would dent twine to tie the game at 17:58 in what can only be described as an incredible effort from the Moose.

This game would go to overtime, but nothing was solved in the extra period so we'd need a skills competition to find a winner. Austen Brassard scored for the Moose to get things going, and Travis Morin would tie the breakaway challenge in the second round. Nic Petan couldn't beat Maxime Lagace on the third shot, and Texas would find the winner off Jason Dickinson's stick for the 7-6 shootout victory. Wowzers. Lagace picked up the win despite giving up six goals while Eric Comrie took the loss in relief of Jussi Olkinuora. Comrie stopped 11 of 13 shots in his 22:41 of work while Olkinuora stopped 17 of 21 shots he saw in 42:19 of work. With the loss in extra time, the Moose fall to 12-27-3-5 on the campaign.

Same Old Script

The Moose jumped out to a 2-0 lead after one period against the Wolves on the strength of goals by John Albert and Chase De Leo, but the Wolves rallied in the second period to tie things up. If this feels like 1996 all over again, it looked a lot like 1996 as well as the Moose, seen to the right, wore their original jerseys from the first season they arrived in Winnipeg! Man, those are exceptional jerseys! It was nice to see the Moose honouring their roots with the old IHL uniforms back on the ice.

Unfortunately, it felt like 1996 when the Chicago Wolves won this game in overtime. Danny Kristo, who played a few hours south of Winnipeg at the University of North Dakota, scored at 3:13 of the extra period to give the Wolves the 3-2 win. Jordan Binnington stopped 35 of 37 shots sent his way in the win while Eric Comrie took the loss in extra time. The Moose pick up another point, though, as their record moves to 12-27-4-5.

Wolves Get Mauled

There were thoughts that the second game of the two-game set against Chicago could be ugly, but it turned out that the Moose might be showing some signs of life, albeit months too late. Josh Morrissey and Matt Halischuk got Manitoba out to a 2-1 lead through the opening period. After a scoreless second period, Manitoba exploded for three-straight goals in the third period as Austen Brassard, Nic Petan, and Jiri Fronk put the home side up 5-1 in what I'm going to say has been Manitoba's best period of the season. A late Chicago goal couldn't bring the high of a big win down as Manitoba beat the Wolves for the first time this season by a 5-2 score. Connor Hellebuyck was outstanding in stopping 39 of 41 shots in the win while Jordan Binnington was on the losing end in this one. Manitoba improves to 13-27-4-5 with the win!

No Early Morning Blues

The Moose rolled into Rockford for a Wednesday morning game. There are always complaints about these morning games in the AHL in terms of how they disrupt a player's normal routine, but every team seems to have one of these games on their schedules. For Rockford, they were hosting kids from schools in the Rockford area at School Day with the IceHogs, so there were lots of little fans on-hand to cheer on the home side!

Tanner Kero would give them something to be excited about with his shorthanded goal just 3:52 into the game. JC Lipon would tie the game three minutes later to send the two teams into the intermission knotted up at 1-1. Manitoba would add a pair of goals from Patrice Cormier early in the second period to jump out to a 3-1 lead before Mark McNeill would pull the IceHogs within a goal. Unfortunately for those in attendance, the Moose didn't stop. John Albert made it 4-2 and Cormier would finish off the hat trick and, in turn, the IceHogs as Manitoba skated to the 5-2 victory! Kudos go out to Cormier who scored a power-play goal, an even-strength goal, and a shorthanded goal in his hat trick! Connor Hellebuyck picked up his second-straight win since his return from the Jets while Michael Leighton took the loss. The Moose see their record improve to 14-27-4-5 with the win, and move past the Iowa Wild and out of the AHL cellar with the two points!

Connor's Back

With the return of Ondrej Pavelec to the Winnipeg Jets, Connor Hellebuyck's two-way contract meant he was the odd-man out. As a result, he was returned to the Moose, and his addition to the lineup has already paid dividends for the struggling AHL club. Hellebuyck looks every bit the goaltender of the future for the Jets, so I suspect that this move might be the last time we see him in a Moose uniform. I doubt he'll be with the AHL club next season.


Because the Moose were now in a three-goalie situation, Jussi Olkinuora was re-assigned to the ECHL's Tulsa Oilers. Olkinuora has appeared in six games for the Moose with rather amateur stats in a 5.13 GAA and a .864 save percentage. While there's still hope that Olkinuora can be a solid AHL netminder, I'm not sure he's doing anything to prove he deserves another contract with the Moose. A good finish to the ECHL season will help, though.

Over And Out

The Moose also announced that they had outright released Kelly Zajac. Zajac had played in 14 games, recording one assist, but he seemed to be good at the little things the Moose needed - face-offs, penalty-killing, and veteran leadership. Here's hoping the 27 year-old will land on his feet. He's a better player than his Moose stats show.

Moving On

After recording six of eight points in their last four games, the Moose will pick up where they left off in Rockford. The second game of the two-game set goes Friday night, and there's hope that Manitoba can earn their first three-game win streak of the season. They'll drop in on Milwaukee on Saturday where they've had a ton of success, but the Admirals have certainly been playing better as of late. That should be an excellent game to see if Manitoba is indeed on the upswing. They'll close out the road trip by crashing Des Moines, Iowa for a two-game set with the Wild. If there's one team the Moose should beat this season, it's the Wild, but nothing is a given in the AHL.

If the Moose can play as well as they have over the last two games in the next four, I'd say the Moose have an excellent chance at chasing down the Binghamton Senators for 28th-overall in the league. Yes, it sounds worse than it is, but the Moose need to find small victories after their start to the season. Right now, they're playing well, and that has to continue!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!