Thursday 30 November 2017

The Hockey Show - Episode 271

The Hockey Show, Canada's only campus-produced radio show that strictly talks hockey, finally made it to Shilo Gunner Arena! As you may be aware, we're out in the Manitoba town known better for the military installation that makes up the majority of its population for a night of fundraising, fun, and some NHL alumni action! It sounds as though the majority of the rink's tickets have been sold, if not completely sold out by this point, so there should be a good crowd on-hand for a great night of hockey here in Shilo, Manitoba!

Tonight, The Hockey Show will begin its broadcast at 4:30pm on UMFM's Second Stream, the online stream that is separate from the radio frequency. We'll broadcast the entire show on the Second Stream tonight as we have a special broadcast that will involve some very notable NHL alumni! Of course, we'll have our normal 5:30pm to 6:30pm show via UMFM's 101.5 FM frequency, but I will be calling the PFC Shilo Stags game as they battle the NHL's Boston Bruins alumni team starting at 6pm! Among the players who are confirmed and in Shilo as you read this include Ray Bourque, Rick Middleton, and Terry O'Reilly, so this game is already star-studded just with those three names mentioned! If you want to listen to the full broadcast, hit the UMFM's Second Stream to listen to the extended show and the calling of the alumni game as The Hockey Show lends its support to Shilo, Manitoba in an effort to help raise funds for the Shilo minor hockey association!

Social media is a god place to catch up on everything going on, and we try to remain up-to-speed there as well! Email all show questions and comments to! Tweet me anytime with questions you may have by hitting me up at @TeebzHBIC on Twitter. You can also post some stuff to Facebook if you use the "Like" feature, and I always have crazy stuff posted there that doesn't make it to the blog or show.

Tonight, we talk Bruins, Shilo minor hockey, Shilo hockey in general, and we try to find a couple of big-name stars who may want to have a little radio time on The Hockey Show found exclusively in its entirety on UMFM's Second Stream!

PODCAST: November 30, 2017: Episode 271

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Wednesday 29 November 2017

Two-For-Two With Yellow

I always like it when players do something to make their looks unique in the world of sports. While I'm not suggesting not falling into form when it comes to wearing the team uniform, hockey players rarely get to personalize their looks unless one is a goaltender. The picture to the left was taken five days ago, however, when the Dallas Stars honoured long-time Star Jere Lehtinen as they retired his jersey. Lehtinen, as you'll see below, wore yellow skate laces when he played, so the current team honoured him by donning his iconic look against the Calgary Flames on November 24.

Lehtinen, seen to the right wearing his bright yellow laces, was drafted by the Minnesota North Stars 88th overall in 1992, and played his entire fifteen-year career with the Minnesota/Dallas franchise. There are images of him wearing white laces, but his time in Dallas was capped off by having the veteran Finnish player wear yellow laces. There haven't been many players who have worn laces other than white in the NHL, it's nice to see that Lehtinen, who always seemed to shy away from the spotlight, is being recognized for something that made him stand out.

So why is this important, you ask? Well, the Dallas Stars skated with the yellow laces on Friday at home against the Calgary Flames, and they won the game 6-4 to move to 12-10-4 on the season. Tyler Seguin had an outstanding night in registering the hat trick for half his team's offence, scoring the game-winning goal, and adding an empty-netter. Alexander Radulov had a goal and an assist, Antoine Roussel and Gemel Smith added singles, and Ben Bishop recorded the 34-save win.

Ok, so there's nothing special there, right? Well, the Vegas Golden Knights welcomed the Dallas Stars to Sin City last night. Vegas is neck-and-neck with the Los Angeles Kings for the Pacific Division lead, so they're no pushovers as they are 9-1-0 at home. With the Stars still wearing the yellow laces, let's go to the video!
Radek Faksa records the natural hat trick in the middle frame, Ben Bishop made 34 saves (again) in recording the shutout, and the Dallas Stars won 3-0. That's two wins with the "Lehtinen Laces" and you know how superstitious NHL players can be, right? I suspect we'll see these yellow laces until they lose.

The Dallas Stars: invincible with yellow laces? We shall see!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Tuesday 28 November 2017

Give A Toast!

Today is officially Giving Tuesday, and I don't usually partake in goofy promotions unless there's a significantly good cause attached to it. Asking me to toss my hard-earned money away on something frivolous is like asking me to cut off my right arm with a butter knife. It's never going to happen, and, quite frankly, it's a dumb request. However, when goofy promotional items are tied into a good cause, I tend to lean towards helping said cause by purchasing the promotional item. Canadian Tire and its Jumpstart program are doing some good work in helping kids who face barriers get into and stay into sports, and that's something I can say I fully support.

From the Jumpstart website, the mission of Jumpstart is simple: give all kids a chance to play.
Jumpstart is more than just about getting kids active. It's about giving kids from families in financial need the same chance to participate as their neighbours, their classmates and their friends. Whether it's the chance to try a new sport or to continue with a favourite one, no kid should be left out.

The vision of Jumpstart is simple: Canada, where all kids have a chance to fulfill their dreams.

Jumpstart is a national charity with a commitment to local communities. Organized sports connect kids to their communities. Canadian Tire Corporation recognized this and makes sure that money raised stays where it is donated. Canadian Tire Corporation is Jumpstart's biggest supporter as it funds all the general administrative expenses of Jumpstart, which means 100% of customer donations go directly to help kids in need.

Community Partners, like the Canadian Paralympic Committee, Boys and Girls Club, Maison de la Famille, URLS, Centre Jeunesse and numerous others work with local Jumpstart Chapters to identify the kids whose families need Jumpstart’s funding assistance to get them off the sidelines and into the game. What kids do is up to them; we’re here to help them do it.

Jumpstart: Giving Kids a Sporting Chance.
HBIC doesn't have the budget of the Canadian Tire Corporation. Heck, it doesn't have a budget for pens or paper. What it does have, though, is a writer who believes that all kids, regardless of any barrier that may potentially stop them from playing, should play. Supporting Jumpstart is a no-brainer for me, and I'm happy that my money is going to cause that I truly believe in.

In order to raise some additional funds with hockey season rolling around, Canadian Tire and Jumpstart called on three ambassadors to lend their names and faces to the campaign. Wayne Gretzky, Connor McDavid, and Jonathan Toews all jumped aboard the campaign, and Canadian Tire came up with the "Give A Toast" campaign. The three NHL stars above had their faces replicated out of metal and placed inside the toaster so that whatever item one wants to toast will end up with Greztky's, McDavid's, or Toews' face on the golden brown food. The cost for one of these toasters? Just $25. So I splurged on the greatest toaster in NHL history, the Wayne Gretzky toaster!

Upon opening the cardboard box that the Gretzky toaster was sent in, I was greeted with... another box? The red top of the box was nestled just blow the flaps of the shipping box, so it appears that Canadian Tire did their homework when it came to shipping these toasters in properly-sized containers. Both boxes feel sturdy and they were shipped via Purolator with no visible damage on either box, so I did what any kid would on Christmas morning: I removed the toaster from its cardboard encasement.

Not a bad looking toaster, if I do say so myself! Well, the box looks alright. There's an English and French side on all four sides. The smaller side talks about the #GiveAToast campaign, and reads, "Wow. What an incredible decision you've made. Not only have you purchased a toaster that makes every piece of bread a legend, but all proceeds from the purchase of this toaster go to Jumpstart, helping Canadian kids get off the sidelines and into the game. So from both the kids, and the bread, we say thank you." All the proceeds? I feel pretty good about my purchase now.

Upon opening the box, you get your standard warranty information and a user's manual. The warranty info was interesting in that it explicitly says, "This product cannot be returned to Canadian Tire stores." It makes you wonder if Canadian Tire sells this brand of toaster. Speaking of which, it appears to be a Pangea Brand toaster. Pangea Brands produces a number of licensed toasters including a Darth Vader toaster, a Domo toaster (which oddly looks similar to the Gretzky toaster model), NHL team toasters, and MLB team toasters. These specialized toaster images seem to be their thing when it comes to toasters. Reviews vary wildly depending on which site you check for the Pangea Brands toasters, but all I really care about is whether Wayne Gretzky looks like Wayne Gretzky on my toast.

The toaster, upon removing it from its branded box, is smaller than what I expected. As you can see on the ruler, it's only about eight inches in width, so this thing won't be able to toast foot-long hot dog buns or anything. The slots for toasting aren't very wide either, so thicker toast such as Texas-style toast will be a tight fit into the toaster. Overall, though, the aesthetic is pleasing. It has a very retro feel to it, the image of Gretzky on the side is a clear black-and-white photo of The Great One, and the cord is of decent length to be used in any kitchen. I'd say that for $25 I got what I paid for.

So how does it toast? That's the big question, right? Well, we're going to save that suspense for another few weeks. On December 21, 2017, I'll be bringing the toaster to the radio studio for The Hockey Show that night where we'll toast as many things as we can while posting the results to social media. White bread, brown bread, Pop Tarts, toaster strudels, waffles, hashbrowns... basically anything that can be toasted by a standard upright toaster will be tested to see how Wayne Gretzky's face appears on them! You'll have to keep your eyes peeled on social media that night as we toast The Great One in style!

If you have the means today, folks, please give to a charity. Giving Tuesday is all about helping someone or people who are less fortunate that you. If you're in Canada and you want to see how the money that has been donated to Jumpstart has been spent, you can look up the information with this handy tool. The fact that they give demographics on how much has been spent on boys and girls is a good indicator that no child will be left on the sidelines. Isn't that what giving is all about?

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Monday 27 November 2017

I've Been Waiting 14 Years...

If you had to ask me what my favorite Disney/Pixar movie is, before you had even finished asking the question I would have blurted out The Incredibles. To me, there have always been family dynamics in Disney/Pixar films where a family - be it toys, bugs, monsters, or cars - has one of its members trying to re-unite with his or her family after finding him or herself and figuring out that families are stronger together than their individual parts are alone.

The Incredibles was no different, and Bob Parr aka Mr. Incredible, voiced by Craig T. Nelson, even says so when he tells his wife, Helen aka Elasti-Girl, voiced by Holly Hunter, that he's not strong enough to lose her. She responds by telling him that if they work together, they're stronger than Mr. Incredible could ever be. It's a common theme, but The Incredibles really drives home the family aspect while being a fun superhero film. Yes, I'm still a seven year-old boy when it comes to cartoons.

Needless to say, my excitement bubbled over on November 18 when Disney released the new trailer for The Incredibles 2, a sequel I've wanted since the original film came out 14 years ago! Here is the teaser trailer in all it's glory for those who are beyond excited for this movie like I am!
As you may recall from the original movie, we only got a glimpse at the powers that Jack-Jack, the youngest member of the Parr family, had at the end of the movie. It seems that Bob discovers that Jack-Jack has all sorts of powers in this movie as Elasti-Girl goes off to fight crime while leaving the kids with Mr. Incredible. I'm quite certain hilarity will ensue, but this is a Disney film so expect healthy doses of family interaction against villains, some internal family conflict, and a resolution at the end that will leave movie-goers feeling good about these elements.

The Incredibles 2 opens June 15th, 2018, and I'm letting you all know right now that I'll be incommunicado that day as I spend it at my local theatre with the Parr family!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Sunday 26 November 2017

The Rundown - Week 8

This may prove to be one of the most important weeks in Canada West women's hockey this season. We have the top-ranked team in the nation traveling to the second-ranked team's barn for a weekend series, the fourth-ranked team on the road against a team that has pitched shutouts in three of their last four games, a team struggling to score visiting a team with one of the best netminders this season, and a team that has lost three in a row hosting a team that desperately needs wins to remain in the picture. In other words, the storylines were a-plenty this week, so let's start working through them on this week's edition of The Rundown!

MOUNT ROYAL at SASKATCHEWAN: Mount Royal came into this weekend trailing Lethbridge by five points and sixth-place Calgary by seven points, so the Cougars really needed to hunker down and start earning points any way they could. Saskatchewan, having dropped two-straight games at the hands of the Pandas, fell from first-place to fourth-place last weekend, so they needed to rally this weekend to stay in contention for first-place. The first period of this series, though, went to the goalies as the game remained scoreless through twenty minutes. Mount Royal's Emily Severson stopped 13 shots while Jasey Rae Book was perfect on nine shots. Despite Severson having to stop Kaitlin Willoughby on a breakaway, both goalies looked strong as these two teams took the stalemate into the intermission.

The second period saw more chances as both teams looked to open the scoring. While neither goalie would budge early on, we would finally see the first goal scored late in the frame. Rachel Piitz hit Tianna Ko with a perfect pass, and she spotted Andrea Sanderson standing open in front of book. The tic-tac-toe passing worked to perfection as Sanderson zipped her shot past Book at 17:28 to put Mount Royal up 1-0! With Mount Royal outshooting Saskatchewan 9-3 in the period, the Huskies would have one final period to try to tie - and, possibly, win - this game!

Saskatchewan brought the firepower in the third period as they tossed 13 shots at Severson including a couple of scrambles in front of the Mount Royal net. Despite their aggressiveness, Severson was having none of it as the rookie was outstanding in denying the Huskies time and time again. Anna Purschke would ice this game with 36 seconds to play when she hit the empty net, and the Cougars would pick up the three points with a 2-0 victory. Severson was fantastic in denying all 29 shots fired at her for the shutout while Book suffered the loss after stopping 22 shots.

MOUNT ROYAL at SASKATCHEWAN: As they say, one good shutout deserves another. Ok, maybe no one said that, but Saturday's game saw Emily Severson back in the net for Mount Royal after her clean sheet the night before. At the other end, Jessica Vance took to the blue paint as Saskatchewan looked to reverse their fortunes. It was good news for the home crowd on this night as Saskatchewan found the scoresheet! Abby Shirley fed Chelsea Broadhead in the slot as Severson committed to the shot. Broadhead, though, spotted Courtney Cormack and fed her the puck, and Cormack ripped it past Severson who couldn't recover at 13:51 mark to put the Huskies up 1-0! The entire first period was wild, though, as the two teams traded chances back and forth, but with Mount Royal leading 14-11 in shots, the Huskies went into the intermission with the 1-0 lead.

The second period didn't slow down as both teams wanted more. Severson made a couple of gorgeous saves to keep the Cougars in the game while Vance made at least three saves that keep the doughnut on the Saskatchewan side of the scoreboard. Another entertaining period of hockey would come to an end as Saskatchewan outshot Mount Royal 10-9, and still led on the scoreboard 1-0.

The third period saw Mount Royal pour the pressure on as they peppered Vance with shots, but it would be Morgan Willoughby's point shot that found its way through the forest of legs in front of the net and beat Severson at 9:40 to make it a 2-0 game. The insurance marker was more than was needed on this night, though, as Saskatchewan returned the favor to Mount Royal with their own 2-0 victory. Vance made 31 stops for the shutout win while Severson stopped 26 shots in the loss.

REGINA at LETHBRIDGE: The Regina Cougars are mired in a scoring drought of biblical proportions, having scored just one goal in their last four games. Lethbridge owns the most anemic of all Canada West offences as they average less than 19 shots on net, so this weekend's games might be low-scoring affairs. Regina was certainly the more aggressive team in the opening frame, and they would get rewarded by putting shots on net. Late in the period, Emma Waldenberger would use a Merissa Zerr screen to beat Alicia Anderson!

At 17:20, the Cougars took the 1-0 lead off that Waldenberger snipe! Kish would keep all puck from denting the twine behind her as Regina doubled up Lethbridge in shots 14-7 and led 1-0 after twenty minutes.

For two teams that have struggled to mount offence over the last few weeks, the struggles continued. Regina outshot Lethbridge 27-9 over the final forty minutes, but neither team could find the back of the net. Anderson was solid once more, and the Pronghorns defence kept a puck from crossing the line in the third period as they swept the puck off the line. At the other end, Kish wasn't tested often, but Lethbridge used a third period power-play to get some extended offensive zone time, but they couldn't solve Kish. In the end, Lethbridge simply ran out of time as Regina prevailed on Friday by a 1-0 score! Kish stopped all 16 shots she faced for her second shutout of the season while Anderson made 38 stops in the loss.

REGINA at LETHBRIDGE: There was hope that we'd see more offence on Saturday from these two teams after the one-goal game the night before. Regina was the more offensive team in the opening frame again, and they'd capitalize just as they did the night before. In her first start of the season, Jessica Lohues stopped Martina Maskova's shot, but Jordan Kulbida corralled the rebound, reached out past Lohues' pad, and banked in her fourth goal of the season off the post as the Cougars grabbed the 1-0 lead at 16:33. The Cougars would carry that one-goal advantage into the intermission after outshooting Lethbridge 13-8 in the frame.

The second period saw the Cougars really pressure the Pronghorns defence and Lohues, but they kept shots to the outside and cleared the puck wen necessary to relieve the pressure. Saves on Waldenberger, Magwood, and Lohues highlighted Lohues' work early in the period. The Pronghorns would finally get some room to breathe on a power-play late in the period, and they would find the net shortly after the power-play expired while holding the zone. Jodi Gentile fired a laser that Denzelle Bourgeois redirected through the five-hole of Morgan Baker at 16:01, and this game was all tied up at 1-1! That score would hold through the second intermission with Regina leading in shots 22-20!

With everything back on even terms, neither side was giving the other much room to operate in the offensive zone. It would be a turnover in the neutral zone that setup the next goal as Katelyn Breitkreuz picked up the errant puck and fed Tricia Van Vaerenbergh who went high over Baker's shoulder after breaking into the zone, putting the Pronghorns up 2-1 at the 10:54 mark! The Pronghorns would extend their lead four minutes later on a two-player advantage. Eryn Johanson's point shot was stopped by Baker, but no one picked up Kyra Greig and she potted the rebound at 15:37 for the power-play and, more importantly, the 3-1 lead.

Regina wasn't done, though. They used a power-play of their own to cut Lethbridge's lead to one. With baker on the bench, Tamara McVannel took a feed from Emma Waldenberger, walked in from her point position, and snapped a great shot past Lohues at 18:10 to make it a 3-2 game! Baker would head to the bench again as Regina finished this game off with the extra attacker, but Lohues held the fort to record her first win of the season in the 3-2 victory! Lohues stopped 28 shots in the victory while Baker made 27 saves in the loss.

MANITOBA at CALGARY: Kelsey Roberts and the Dinos welcomed the Bisons to town while riding a two-game shutout streak shutouts in three of their last four games. The Bisons, meanwhile, were riding a seven-game winning streak, so at least one of these two streaks was bound to end on Friday. Manitoba used their speed and skill early on to really put the Dinos on their heels, but it would be the Dinos who struck first on the scoreboard. Carley Wlad slid a puck over to Morgan Loroff, and her slap shot went off a Bisons defender's skate, surprising Rachel Dyck on the deflection as it found the twine.

Loroff's goal came at 13:32 as the Dinos went up 1-0! Despite keeping the pressure on the Dinos and outshooting them 13-6 in the period, the Bisons could not get anything past Kelsey Roberts in the opening frame.

Before the ice had frozen, the Bisons ended Kelsey Roberts' 176:46 shutout streak. Natasha Kostenko received a pass from Megan Neduzak and wired a puck past Roberts for the equalizer just 55 seconds into the frame! 3:10 later, Sheridan Oswald would get a stick on a blast from Alex Anderson, and her deflection was just enough to get past Roberts as well as the Bisons went up 2-1!

Calgary would rally back midway through the period. Chelsea Court fed Carley Wlad with a bank pass off the boards. Wlad streaked into the Bisons zone and let a wrist go from inside the face-off circle that Dyck stopped, but Wlad followed up on the rebound and snapped it home at 10:18 to make it a 2-2 game! 2:20 later, Manitoba jumped ahead again on the power-play as Jordy Zacharias beat Roberts, and 40 second after that goal, Alanna Sharman ripped a shot past Roberts on the power-play at 13:18 as Manitoba's lethal power-play came to life. The last six minutes of the period had no other goals as Manitoba outshot Calgary 11-7 in the middle frame and took a 4-2 lead into the second intermission!

Both sides decided to lock down their defensive zones in the third period. Manitoba still carried the play, outshooting Calgary 11-4 in the period, but neither side had any quality scoring chances. The Bisons were happy just to run out the clock on this game as thye skated to the 4-2 victory! Dyck made 15 saves in the win while Roberts stopped 31 shots in the loss.

MANITOBA at CALGARY: The pace in Saturday's game was a little slower with the short turn-around time. Just because the players were moving a little slower didn't stop their ability to score. Just like in Friday's game, Calgary would open the scoring as Delaney Frey's shot was stopped by Lauren Taraschuk, but Frey had the awareness to bank the rebound in off the Manitoba netminder.

Frey's goal came 5:35 into this game as the Dinos went up 1-0. That lead, though, would last all of 1:07 when Canada West's hottest scorer finished off a gorgeous two-on-one with Alanna Sharman, beating Kelsey Roberts at 6:42 to tie the game at 1-1! The Bisons would have more chances in the period, but the Dinos' defenders and Roberts were up to the task as the period came to a close. After one period, the Bisons led 10-7 in shots, but were tied 1-1 with the Dinos on the scoreboard.

Manitoba was all over the Dinos in the second period with periods of sustained pressure, but the Dinos continued to fend off the Manitoba chances. It seemed like Calgary found ways out of every situation, but Manitoba would finally get a puck to the back of the net. It looked like Calgary was going to clear the puck once again, but Natasha Kostenko forced a turnover. Alana Serhan found Courtlyn Oswald in the slot out of the scrum, and her initial shot was stopped. Oswald, though, followed her shot, grabbed the rebound on the doorstep, and buried the second opportunity at 13:48 to put Manitoba up 2-1! Despite Manitoba outshooting the Dinos 16-5 in the period, the Bisons only led 2-1 heading to the third period!

It was more of the same in the third period as the Bisons simply did not let up. They continued to retain possession in the Calgary zone for stretches of time, and absolutely smothered the Dinos when they did break the puck out. One of those breakout passes was intercepted by Manitoba's Venla Hovi, and the Finnish Olympian made a gorgeous move to deke Roberts before sliding the puck between the five-hole 12:19 to make it 3-1 for Manitoba. In the end, the Bisons were simply too much on this day as they outshot Calgary 15-3 in the final period to eliminate any chance of the Dinos coming back. In the end, the 3-1 score stood as the final! Lauren Taraschuk made 14 saves in her return to the Manitoba net while Roberts stopped 38 shots in a losing effort.

ALBERTA at UBC: The first-ranked team in the nation crossed the mountains to visit the second-ranked team in the nation as we got the heavyweight battle for which we've been waiting all season. The Pandas and Thunderbirds finally met for their first series of the season in Vancouver, and there was electricity in the air as the puck was dropped. The two teams showed speed and play-making early, but neither UBC's Tory Micklash nor Alberta's Kirsten Chamberlin flinched. An Alberta penalty would be the cause of the game's first goal. With Autumn MacDougall in the penalty box, Ireland Perrott found Cassandra Vilgrain who had enough time and space to fire a puck past Chamberlin at 12:14 to put the T-Birds up 1-0! Late in the period, the Pandas looked to tie the game, but the officials determined that Kennedy Ganser cross-checked a UBC defender before the puck found the back of the net, so the goal was waved off. Alberta would kill off the late penalty, but UBC would take the 1-0 lead to the intermission.

Another early penalty take by the Pandas would prove costly. Hannah Clayton-Carroll's shot was stopped by Chamberlin, but Logan Boyd was on the doorstep and she jammed the rebound home for the power-play goal at 1:29 to put UBC up 2-0! The back-and-forth affair continued, but Alberta would get one back six minutes later as they used the power-play to their benefit. Lindsay Weech's point shot found room past traffic in front and eluded Tory Micklash at 7:12 to cut the deficit in half as UBC led 2-1! The two teams would trade chances over the last twelve minutes, but we'd go to the break with UBC still up by a goal.

Alberta came out of the tunnel with a fire in their skates, and they looked for equalizer early. Micklash turned away a couple of opportunities, but a UBC mistake midway through the period was costly. The T-Birds turned the puck over inside their own zone, and Amy Boucher picked up the loose puck and skated in alone on Micklash. She snapped the puck past Micklash at 11:19, and we had ourselves a 2-2 game! Alberta continued their assault on the UBC net, but Micklash withstood the barrage as Alberta outshot UBC 13-3 in the period. And that meant we would get some free hockey between the top-two teams in the country!

The T-Birds killed off the remaining 23 seconds of a Brielle Bellerive penalty to start the overtime period, and then were rewarded with a power-play midway through the period after Alberta's Taylor Kezama was called for elbowing. On that power-play, Ireland Perrott fed a streaking Shay-Lee McConnell from the half-wall, and McConnell made a great deke to get past Chamberlin and backhand the puck into the yawning cage for the overtime winner at 3:09! UBC takes this game by a 3-2 score! Tory Micklash stopped 25 shots in the overtime win while Chamberlin suffered the loss in a 16-save effort.

ALBERTA at UBC: If Friday's game was any indication of how these two teams play the game, Saturday's game was going to be mighty entertaining! The two teams would switch their chosen goalies for the game as Alberta's Dayna Owen got the call while Amelia Boughn set up in the blue paint 200-feet away. Normally the veteran starters, both Owen and Boughn were outstanding in the opening frame as Boughn stonewalled a fired-up Pandas team early on following their overtime loss the night before. Alberta controlled the play for the majority of the period as they led 8-2 in shots, but it was Boughn who shone brightly as the Pandas and T-Birds went into the first intermission in a scoreless game.

An early penalty in the middle frame called on the T-Birds looked to be the edge that the Pandas needed, but it would be UBC's penalty killers who made good while down a player. Dayna Owen misplayed a puck badly behind her net, and the puck slid into the slot area where Jaedon Cooke pounced on it and scored perhaps the easiest goal of her season thus far to give the T-Birds a 1-0 lead at the 1:00 mark with the shorthanded goal! The Pandas would be given another power-play opportunity later in the period, and they wouldn't make any mistakes on this one. Hannah Olenyk set up Autumn MacDougall as she beat Boughn on the power-play to make it a 1-1 game! The remainder of the period again saw Alberta peppering Boughn with shots once more, but Boughn stood her ground to take this 1-1 game into the second period with Alberta leading in shots by an 18-6 margin overall!

The third period was another example of just how good Alberta is as they buzzed Boughn and the UBC net while holding sustained pressure for lengths of time. And just like in the second period when Alberta was generating chances and was given a power-play to work with, the T-Birds took advantage. Off a face-off win, Alexa Ranahan chipped the puck off the glass and let Emily Costales catch it as she beat the Alberta defence down the ice. Costales drove to the net and punched the puck past Owen for the T-Birds' second shorthanded marker of the night and, more importantly, the 2-1 lead at 7:24 of the third period!

The Pandas wouldn't go quietly, though. Alex Poznikoff took a pass from Kiara Machry and somehow slipped the puck past Boughn while below the goal line for a rather uncharacteristic mistake by the UBC netminder, but the goal would count regardless as Alberta tied the game at 2-2 at 9:45. It looked like the onslaught that the Pandas were delivering would pay off a few minutes later as Alberta got another puck past Boughn, but the referee ruled there had been interference with Boughn from the traffic in front and the goal was disallowed! Despite Alberta's 14-2 margin in shots in this period, this game would go to overtime!

In the scrum that happened at the end of the third period, Jaedon Cooke was assessed a cross-checking at the 20:00 mark, so the T-Birds would start the overtime period with three skaters to Alberta's five skaters as Cooke joined the already-penalized Kirsten Toth in the sin bin. The T-Birds managed to kill off the Toth's remaining penalty, but they just couldn't turn away the Pandas any longer. With two seconds remaining in the penalty, Autumn MacDougall took a pass from Cayle Dillon, squared up to the net, and wired a shot over Boughn's shoulder into the top corner at the 1:58 mark to give Alberta the 3-2 overtime win! Dayna Owen had a rather quiet night as she stopped six of eight shots she faced in 61:58 of work while Boughn deserved a better fate after stopping 31 shots fired at her in the overtime loss.

School Record Points GF GA Streak Next
32 36 25
vs UBC
27 34 24
vs MRU
British Columbia
27 31 23
25 25 21
18 25 30
vs SAS
15 17 20
14 13 22
vs LET
Mount Royal
10 17 33

The Final Word

With the midway point of the season now played, it's time to hand out some midseason awards compliments of yours truly. These are completely of my own choosing, and the randomness of the awards is strictly on me. If you don't like it, you're welcome to submit your votes in the comments. In the end, I don't get a say on wins what award, so it's all for fun anyway!

OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE MIDYEAR: Jordyn Zacharias - Manitoba. She leads the conference in goal-scoring and points. This one was pretty easy.
Honourable mentions: Alberta's Autumn MacDougall and Manitoba's Venla Hovi.

OFFENSIVE DEFENDER OF THE MIDYEAR: Cayle Dillon - Alberta. Same as above - she leads all rearguards in scoring. No surprises here.
Honourable mentions: Alberta's Taylor Kezama and Manitoba's Alexandra Anderson.

GOALTENDER OF THE MIDYEAR: Alicia Anderson - Lethbridge. I was really torn over giving this to Anderson when it could have gone to Manitoba rookie netminder Lauren Taraschuk, Calgary's Kelsey Roberts, or Regina's Jane Kish, but it came down to three things: goals-against average over the amount of work, team standing in the conference, and where would the team be without that player. Calgary would still miss the playoffs if they started today, so Roberts was eliminated. The workload that Anderson has compiled versus Taraschuk took the Manitoba netminder out of the race, and I'm not sure that Jessica Lohues can win games like Morgan Baker can for Regina when it comes to making the playoffs. Because of that, Anderson's importance to Lethbridge's success moved her a hair's breadth ahead of Kish.
Honourable mentions: Calgary's Kelsey Roberts and Regina's Jane Kish.

ROOKIE OF THE MIDYEAR: Lauren Taraschuk - Manitoba. The rookie netminder has been more important to helping Manitoba attain first-place in the first-half of the season than anyone else. While Ireland Perrott is having a great season for Vancouver and Kirsten Chamberlin has been a steadying force for Alberta's netminding, Taraschuk's statistical superiority over Chamberlin makes her the obvious choice for this award.
Honourable mentions: UBC's Ireland Perrott and Alberta's Kirsten Chamberlin.

POWER-PLAYER OF THE MIDYEAR: Autumn MacDougall - Alberta. Given to the player who excels when her team has the extra player, this really came down to who is helping her team rack up the power-play goals. The diminutive MacDougall has been a giant on the power-play where she has scored five of her six total goals on the season while adding two power-play assists. Of her 11 points, seven have come with the extra attacker. MacDougall has scored just under half of her team's power-play goals. No one else has that percentage of points on her team's power-play.
Honourable mention: Manitoba's Erica Rieder and Manitoba's Alanna Sharman.

COACH OF THE MIDYEAR: Jon Rempel - Manitoba. It's rare that a coach can win Coach of the Year in successive years with all the player movement that happens in university hockey, but Jon Rempel has his Bisons on a nine-game winning streak, they're first in the conference, they're the highest-scoring team, and they have the best power-play. For a guy who doesn't coach offence, he sure has recruited a helluvan offensive team!
Honourable mentions: Lethbridge's Michelle Janus and Alberta's Howie Draper.

BREAKOUT PLAYER OF THE MIDYEAR: Deanna Morin - Alberta. This award is given to the non-rookie player who has exceeded all expectations based on last season's performance. Morin is leaps and bounds ahead of where she finished last season. In 27 games last season, Morin scored one goal and added five helpers. In 13 games this season, she has four goals and six assists. She's on pace to break her career highs of six goals and 18 points that she scored in 2014-15, and that will be a huge help to the Pandas down the stretch.
Honourable mentions: Saskatchewan's Emily Upgang and UBC's Hannah Clayton-Carroll.

MOST OUTSTANDING PLAYER OF THE MIDYEAR: Alanna Sharman - Manitoba. While some will say I'm a homer for this pick, Sharman has been everything for Manitoba this season. She's tied for second in conference scoring, she plays in all situations, Coach Rempel will often move her to lines that need an offensive spark, and she's one of the leaders on the ice for the Bisons. Her absence last season was noticeable on the ice and the bench for Manitoba, and she has been a force at both ends of the ice for the Bisons this season. Without her, the Bisons are just a different team. That speaks volume to how outstanding she has been for Manitoba this season.
Honourable mentions: Lethbridge's Alicia Anderson and Saskatchewan's Kaitlin Willoughby.

Agree? Disagree? Think I'm absolutely a homer? Sound off in the comments!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Saturday 25 November 2017

Off The Grid

It is the season, folks, where holiday parties begin to take over the landscapes on weekend, and people in and around your office become festive and merry in the efforts to really try to inject the holiday spirit at the workplace. Tonight, I will be partaking in one of these office Christmas parties, but I'm pretty certain it will be far different than the TJ Miller movie Office Christmas Party. At least I'm hoping it won't get that crazy.

While I generally don't mind the idea of a formal get-together where our office staff trades in jeans and golf shirts for dresses and suit-and-tie outfits, I would almost prefer the informal attire where we sit and have a laugh comfortably. Instead, I'll be donning a suit and whipping up a trinity knot in my chosen tie because I like wider knots. Let's just say that I'm learning important life lessons from The Knot-thletic Twitter account.
In any case, I hope your Saturday night is festive and merry and filled with lots of hockey. I'm going to try to catch a couple of games on the TV at the lounge of our chosen restaurant for the formal dinner. I'm sure that the majority of the male Christmas party attendees will eventually congregate where the hockey games are being shown, so I doubt I'll be lonely in the lounge.

If our Christmas party does end up like TJ Miller's fictitious party did, expect a Kickstarter or GoFundMe page to be posted sometime late tonight to help pay for bail.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Friday 24 November 2017

Taking It On The Chin

Thanks to the US Turkey holiday, we got ourselves a few rare afternoon games on a Friday in the NHL. Among the handful of games kicking off the slate of games today was the Anaheim Ducks hosting the Winnipeg Jets as the Central Division team looked to take their second-straight victory off a California-based team following their 2-1 win over Los Angeles. While we did get an entertaining affair on a warm California afternoon, one Jet might be sitting for a handful of games for some careless stick work.

With the Jets leading 3-1, Hellebuyck made a save to smother the puck, and the normal outcome of a goalmouth scramble ensued as scrums developed on the ice. Off to Hellebuyck's right, Corey Perry cross-checks Ben Chiarot, causing those two to exchange words and get their hands up. The only problem is that Chiarot's hand held the butt-end of his stick.
Wow. You can understand why Perry may have been angry after seeing his chin at the end of the scrum. As the announcers described, the butt-end that Chiarot delivered to Perry's chin had the Ducks' forward irate, and you can understand why as that butt-end, while unintentional, did some significant damage.

Don't be surprised of Ben Chiarot gets some time to watch from the pressbox after that butt-end. The image to the right is what Perry's chin looked like post-game, and that's a pretty significant butt-end that Chiarot delivered to break the skin and reportedly "needed 20 stitches, including some below top layer of skin" to close the wound as per Frank Seravalli. You basically can see the outline of the top of the stick on Perry's chin, so Chiarot delivered that butt-end - again, intentional or not - with some decisive power. Once the whistle is blown, kids, you gotta be in control of your stick. There are no two ways about it.

If I'm the Department of Player Safety and George Parros, Chiarot gets a game. He's a first-time offender, but the crime he committed on the ice was pretty serious. Butt-ending someone is a dirty play at any moment, and that kind of play cannot be allowed, tolerated, or justified in any way. Let's hope that Chiarot learns his lesson when it comes to controlling his stick.

UPDATE: Winnipeg’s Ben Chiarot fined $3,763.44, the maximum allowable under the CBA, for butt-ending Anaheim’s Corey Perry. Wow. I'm not sure that's the appropriate penalty, but c'est la via, I guess.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Thursday 23 November 2017

The Hockey Show - Episode 270

Happy American Turkey Day, folks! The Hockey Show, Canada's only campus-produced radio show that strictly talks hockey, is back for more fun tonight as Beans and I go over all the news from the last couple of weeks that has happened in the world of hockey. There have been some major stories, so we'll dissect them, provide our takes on the topics, and see if we can find agreement on the final decisions based on these topics. We have some announcements to go over, we have some international hockey news, some NHL news, some USHL news, a trivia question for a prize, and some news on the University of Manitoba Bisons to cover tonight, so hunker down 'round the ol' radio and get ready for The Hockey Show!

Well, those Russians are at it again. Beans and I will discuss the ongoing battle between the International Olympic Committee and Russia, and what this has meant for players in the KHL, specifically non-Russian players. There may also be future sanctions from the IIHF if the KHL decides not to play nice with international hockey's governing bodies. We'll chat about Ken Hitchcock blowing the whistle on the injury game, the Winnipeg Jets at the first NHL checkpoint, a Jets goalie who could be the next sniper, Radko Gudas' ten-game break, we have some announcements about future shows, and we'll run down what's happening on campus here and across the country as the Bisons men's and women's hockey teams get set for another weekend of action. Oh, and we have a trivia question we'll throw out around the middle of the show, so you may want to listen for that if you like free prizes!

I can hear you saying, "Teebz, I like free stuff!" So do we! So how can we get you some free stuff? Download the UMFM app on your phone or tablet. It's the easiest and most convenient way to listen to any of UMFM's great shows any time of the day, so go get it! Just follow this link on your iDevice or this link for your Android device and get the UMFM app! It's never been easier to tune into The Hockey Show or UMFM! Download the UMFM app today, and don't miss any of our great programming or shows! Of course, you can do the radio thing at 101.5 FM and you can always listen online via the UMFM website!

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

Tonight, we talk Russia, Olympic hockey, injury statuses, the Jets flying high, goalies who score goals, attempted decapitations, the Bisons running wild, where we'll be, who we'll be talking to, and more on The Hockey Show found only on 101.5 UMFM and on the UMFM app!

PODCAST: November 23, 2017: Episode 270

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Wednesday 22 November 2017

Hi, I'm A Free Agent

I don't know what it will take for the New York Islanders to convince John Tavares to stay in Brooklyn or where ever they're going to play in the future, but it has been pretty clear for a long time that he's a special player with incredible talents. From his days in junior hockey to his time in the NHL, there are moments when John Tavares simply takes over a game and shows us his phenomenal talent. Tonight, Tavares had one of those moments against the Philadelphia Flyers, and you have to feel for Sean Couturier who will live in infamy for the next few weeks as this highlight makes the rounds.

Sean Couturier always seems to be a mention when it comes to nominees for the Selke Trophy. I'm quite certain John Tavares' entire 15-second sequence will eliminate him from contention this season. Take a look.
Wow. That was impressive. Outstanding, in fact. Yes, Couturier gets his stick on the puck at the very beginning, but the next time he sees it is when Brian Elliott is fishing it out of his net. The determination in which Tavares shows in shaking off Couturier's checking was downright incredible!

John Tavares is the headline player for the 2018 free agent class as it stands. The Islanders have been unable to sign him to this point, and I have a feeling there could be as many as fifteen teams who are waiting for July 1 in the hopes of luring Tavares away from the Islanders. While the Toronto media have laid out numerous scenarios where Tavares could move home to southern Ontario, it will be interesting to see how this all plays out for the superstar.

For now, let's just marvel at how good John Tavares is. Oh, and just to rub a little salt in the wound, that Islanders goal by Bailey on the setup from Tavares? That was the game-winner.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Tuesday 21 November 2017

Honesty: A New Policy

I've never really considered Ken Hitchcock to be one to throw caution to the wind. His teams play a fairly tried-and-tested defensive system, he relies upon his star players to make plays, and he seems to employ thought before speaking. In other words, Ken Hitchcock is like a lot of his NHL coaching brethren. However, it was a refreshing blast of honesty today when Ken Hitchcock spoke to Marc Antoine Godin, the managing editor and senior writer at The Athletic Montreal. As we know, teams are notoriously vague when it comes to injuries to any player, but it seems Ken Hitchcock wants none of that scene.

Godin posted the following exchange that he had with Hitchcock on Twitter today, and it surprised many.
For years, we've been told that NHL teams won't disclose injuries due to players targeting said injuries to try and keep a player from being on his game, but Hitchcock said that no player does that. In the past, there may have been a handful of guys who would specifically try to disrupt a star player from playing his game by targeting an injury, but Hitchcock is now telling us that era has sailed past.

The fact that he wants to avoid the whole "game", as he calls it, with reporters about injuries is refreshing. Having dealt with this fact at the university level, I can understand coaches not wanting to see a player re-injure him or herself or aggravate a minor injury, but the level of secrecy that hockey coaches go to in trying to keep injuries a secret is pretty ridiculous.

Most coaches won't relent when it comes to their disclosure of injuries. It's one of those things that just won't change until everyone starts doing it, but no one will ever want to be the first coach to come out and declare that his star player has an MCL sprain and will be gone six to eight weeks. It will remain as a "lower-body injury" that will keep said player out of the lineup "for a few weeks". That's just how it is, and while I appreciate Ken Hitchcock's candor and honesty, I can't see anyone else buying into this idea.

Honesty may be the best policy, but the NHL coaching fraternity will never buy into that.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Monday 20 November 2017

How About A Little Respect?

The above screenshot is taken from this article linked from The Ice Garden, a blog that stated in its very first post that "[o]ur mission, plain and simple, is to tell the stories of all the women in hockey". While The Ice Garden has the occasional piece that stands out, I'm not really concerned with the majority of the coverage found on the blog. Hey, it's a blog, so there will be hits and misses when it comes to article quality. However, I do have a serious issue with the article linked above for one major reason.

As you may be aware, I am a staunch supporter and advocate of the Canadian university women's game. I think these student-athletes are some of the most dedicated players on the planet when it comes to upholding high GPAs to go along with being elite hockey players, so perhaps you can excuse me when I get excited about some of the news and highlights that come out of U SPORTS women's hockey. But what I will not stand for are writers who get a big stage like The Ice Garden and yet can't show these student-athletes something as basic as respect for the athlete.

Take a good, long look at the image to the left. The team in white is UBC, a team found in Canada West. They are a team that Lethbridge's Alicia Anderson would normally see four times over the course of a Canada West regular season. Again, take a good look at that image. Click on it to blow it up because I want you to really take a look at the team in the navy-and-yellow jerseys. Do you see the multiple instances of the letter "Q" on their jerseys and the goalie's mask? I'm not sure where one would find a "Q" in "Lethbridge" or "Pronghorns", but that isn't Lethbridge and that's not Alicia Anderson.

If you're clicking on the article, you will now see a picture of Alicia Anderson standing with her back towards you, but that's because the incorrect image of Stephanie Pascal was pointed out to the author of the article. Pascal and her Queen's Golden Gaels met up with UBC in the two teams' opening games of the U SPORTS National Women's Hockey Championship last season, a tournament in which Lethbridge didn't take part. So this leads me to one of three possible outcomes: the author has no clue who Alicia Anderson is, she has no clue what the Lethbridge Pronghorns look like when on the ice, or both. In all three cases, it should have been pretty obvious that the "Q" on the jerseys and Pascal's mask meant this wasn't Anderson or the Pronghorns.

Once you finally got past the fact that you weren't looking at Anderson and began reading about her, there were some striking trends that emerged that were similar to an article about the Regina Cougars that this person wrote a week ago. I called that article out in "The Final Word" of Week Six's edition of The Rundown, so let's review:
It's five paragraphs long, it mentions four players from the Cougars, it doesn't explain any reason why the Cougars are contenders aside from crediting their earning splits with Alberta, UBC, and Saskatchewan as a reason why, and the author thinks the fourth-place team only has weaker teams to play.
Oddly enough, the article posted on Saturday about Anderson has five paragraphs, doesn't explain any reason why Anderson is having the success she is, and somehow leads one to believe that Anderson is the best goaltender in Canada West despite her leading in just two categories, one of which is more reflective of the team than her. Similar to the article written about the Cougars, I have to ask at what point does the rest of the team factor into her success?

Line by line, I feel like this is the writer's first real writing gig. I have a deep appreciation for that, but the fact that she's missing major details or making serious errors in her writing should be caught by any editor with the ability to read. In any case, I was expecting some analysis in this article to explain and justify why "The University of Lethbridge Pronghorns are on pace to more than double their 2016-2017 wins and Anderson is a major part of that". According to the author, the reason for this is because Anderson stops pucks! Amazing, right? A goaltender who stops pucks - who would have thought that?
Anderson has been integral to the Pronghorns’ success this season. Relied upon to stop a large volume of shots, she always keeps her team in games. In the last series against the University of Alberta, Anderson stopped 90 of the 93 shots she saw. As a result the Pronghorns earned four of the six possible points in the series against the higher ranked Pandas. Winning games that they were expected to lose because of exceptional goaltending is the reason Lethbridge currently sits in a playoff position.
Yes, she's been integral. She's the starting netminder and the only goaltender to play for the Pronghorns this season. Thanks, Captain Obvious. And one can spew statistics about stopping 90 of 93 shots, but that didn't cause the Pronghorns to take four of six points off the Pandas.

I'm quite certain that there were some goals scored, some defence played, and, yes, Anderson made saves. Attributing the four-point weekend to one person is a little disrespectful to the other 19 women and the coaching staff of the Pronghorns who played a large part in game-planning for the Pandas. It's not like she stood back there alone and stared down the entire Pandas roster. I'm not sure who this author is speaking for when she wrote "[w]inning games that they were expected to lose", but if you had asked the Pronghorns, they didn't expect to lose. Yes, if there were odds on the game, they would have been in Alberta's favour, but that's why they play the games.
The only goaltender with 10 starts this year, Anderson is the bedrock of the Pronghorns’ team. She has started in every game and has played a Canada West leading 587 minutes of hockey. In that time Anderson has made 378 saves and allowed just 15 goals. She has almost 100 more saves than Calgary’s Kelsey Roberts and has surrendered seven fewer goals than Mount Royal’s Zoe DeBeauville has in her nine starts.
What does her starting every game mean? Do the Pronghorns not have confidence In Jessica Lohues? Is Anderson trying to set some new record? And the idea that she's started every game equates her to being "bedrock" for the team seems like a logical fallacy when you consider that the top-three scorers on the team - Tricia Van Vaerenbergh, Alli Borrow, and Katelyn Breitkreuz - have played every game as well. Do they not count for something?

The statistical comparisons that the author is making are rather nonsensical without context. Anderson has nearly one hundred more saves than Roberts, but Roberts has played two less games. Anderson averages 37.25 saves per game compared to Roberts' 35.20 saves per game. That doesn't seem so outrageous now, does it? And yes, she has surrendered less goals than the starting goalie for the last-place team in the conference, but so has everyone else. In fact, DeBeauville trails all qualified goalies by ten goals in terms of the number surrendered. Who has the next most? Manitoba's Rachel Dyck and Lethbridge's Alicia Anderson.

Perhaps the author meant to draw on the fact that Anderson sits with a goals-against average of 1.43 - good for fifth-best in the conference - while giving up just 17 goals on 447 shots in 12 games. Comparably, UBC's Tori Micklash has a 1.49 GAA, surrendering nine goals on 156 shots in her seven games of work. That comparison shows how good Anderson has been while shouldering her immense workload compared to players of the same ability. But just randomly throwing numbers out there for shock effect? It doesn't work when one can easily Google those numbers.
If that wasn’t impressive enough Anderson’s .960 save percentage leads Canada West and her 1.53 GAA is good for fourth among qualified goaltenders. Her 10 games give her the largest sample size, which suggests that this isn’t just her riding a hot streak. Anderson is simply this good in her second year of U Sports hockey.
Her save percentage is among the tops in the conference, and her goals-against average improved against Manitoba to 1.43, but fell to fifth-place. The author stated that Anderson was the best goalie, but then points out she is fifth in GAA. And her "largest sample size" comment seems to indicate that those numbers are good enough to warrant "the best goaltender" title. The only problem is that there's another goaltender who has better stats than Anderson's stats as of today.

Calgary's Kelsey Roberts recorded her third and fourth shutouts of the season over the weekend, leaving her with a 4-5-1 record in ten games, a 1.23 GAA, and a .966 save percentage. Because the sample size is so small, there are bound to be wild swings in statistics based on good weekends and bad weekends which is exactly the opposite of what the author was indicating. Roberts' two shutouts pushed her past the conference's best goaltenders in both GAA and save percentage - the two stats that determine best goalie normally - because the sample size is small. If this was later in the season, Roberts' two shutouts would still count, but they wouldn't have the same effect as they did early in this season. That's the effect on small sample size versus larger sample size.

Oh, and if you're going to use the internet to compile these articles, the least you could do is get eligibility correct.
Anderson stands out from her peers not only statistically, but also in the athleticism, intelligence, and determination she displays in net. No other goaltender in the Canada West Conference is asked to do as much for her team as Anderson is. Given her workload, her consistency this season has been nothing short of exceptional.
This should have been the statement with which the author started the article. It's factual in its approach even though every other goalie is asked to stop pucks as well. From here, the author could have used Anderson's athleticism, intelligence, and determination as factors for her incredible stats, and I'd agree that her season has been pretty exceptional. Instead, we got this at the end when most people probably had already closed the article because there was really nothing to keep you on the page other than a few numbers and sensationalistic phrases.

I appreciate people wanting to hone their craft, but the lack of respect in posting the wrong image that didn't feature the athlete in question, the lack of respect shown towards Anderson's teammates and coaches in helping her, the nonsensical statistics, and the overall poor quality of the article in general should be reviewed. These women deserve much, much better than what was shown on The Ice Garden, and I hope this examination is read by the editors and writers there because Alicia Anderson's story needs to be told better. After all, your "mission, plain and simple, is to tell the stories of all the women in hockey". You failed to do that here.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Sunday 19 November 2017

The Rundown - Week 7

With a new team in first-place that isn't nationally-ranked in the Top-Ten and three teams following that team who are ranked, I'm beginning to think there's something a little suspect with the Canada West standings. Indeed, there seems to be a significant issue when it comes to the real standings versus how HockeyTech's Canada West page displays them. I'll talk a little bit about this below, but the standings reflect regulation wins which are being recorded incorrectly on the site. In any case, there was some significant movement in the standings this weekend once again, so let's take a look at what happened in Canada West women's hockey on The Rundown!

CALGARY at REGINA: The Cougars, coming off a one-goal weekend against Manitoba, played host to a team that appears to be turning the corner in the Calgary Dinos. Regina had taken four of six points off Mount Royal - the other Cougars - a weekend before, so this series had the potential to see Calgary catch Regina in the standings if the Dinos continued to win the weekend in total points. In knowing this, Regina came out guns a-blazing as they threw 14 shots at Kelsey Roberts in the Dinos' net, but couldn't find a seam on the goaltender as she came up clutch on a few chances. At the other end, Jane Kish had a much quieter opening frame with just four saves, and the two teams carried the scoreless draw into the first intermission.

The second period saw Calgary respond much better as Kish and the Cougars' defence was far busier. She made a couple of saves to keep the Dinos off the board. 200-fet away, Roberts was also equal to the task as she denied all of the Regina opportunities, and got a little help from her defence as well. All told, Calgary outshot Regina 8-7 in the middle frame, but we were still stuck on a stalemate through forty minutes.

It would take a Jordan Kulbida penalty in the third period to break the deadlock. As she sat for roughing, the Dinos went to work. Laine Grace's point shot was deflected by Sage Desjardins in front of Kish, but the netminder got enough of the puck to keep the redirection from getting behind her. However, the rebound fell to the stick of Rachel Paul who buried her second goal of the season past Kish at 7:14 to put Calgary up 1-0! That would be all the support Roberts needed on this night as she and the Calgary defence withstood some late pressure during a six-on-four power-play as Regina was denied again and again. When the final horn sounded, the Dinos skated away with the 1-0 victory! Roberts stopped all 35 shots she faced for her third win and league-leading third shutout while Kish suffered the loss in a 17-save effort.

CALGARY at REGINA: One goal in three games. Regina's scoring drought continued as they had dropped the last three games, so they needed to find the back of the net desperately to remain relevant in Canada West. Calgary, with points in all three games of their last games, sat four points back of Regina in the standings and was looking to continue the upward ascent in trying to overtake the Cougars. Saturday's game started the same way as Friday's game with Regina flying early on as they peppered Kelsey Roberts with shots from every angle, but the Dinos netminder was outstanding in the first period in denying all Cougars chances. Jane Kish could have set up a chair in her crease, but she was called upon once in the opening period. Through twenty minutes, Regina led 13-1 in shots, but we went to the second period in a scoreless draw.

The second period saw our first goal. Just as a Jordan Kulbida penalty expired, Delaney Frey wristed a shot at the net that eluded the traffic in front and got by a screened Kish at 6:35 to put the Dinos up 1-0! The Dinos used a couple of early power-play chances to get ahead in shots, but Regina began chipping away. There was a scary moment in the second period when Calgary's Georgina Williams buried a Cougar from behind along the boards, and her night was cut short as she was shown the gate for that indiscretion. Even with the power-play, the Cougars still could not solve Roberts as the Dinos led 1-0 on the scoreboard despite trailing 18-7 in shots through forty minutes.

If one had thought Roberts had seen it all in the previous five periods of work, Regina had other things on their minds. The Cougars came out of the tunnel and gunned another 18 shots at Roberts! They still could not find room past Roberts, and things got even crazier with Jane Kish on the bench for the final 2:59 of the game. Deflections, redirected shots, screened shots, and good looks would all be turned away while Regina had the extra skater on the ice. When the final horn sounded in this one, the Dinos somehow managed a second-straight 1-0 win over the Cougars! Roberts was outstanding in stopping 36 shots for her fourth win and fourth shutout while Kish takes another loss despite only making seven saves on this night.

LETHBRIDGE at MANITOBA: Lethbridge's Alicia Anderson came into this game leading Canada West in saves and save percentage, and there was hope we might see her square off against Canada West's best statistical goalie in Lauren Taraschuk. Unfortunately, Taraschuk was out this weekend with a minor injury, so Rachel Dyck grabbed the reins and was set to do battle with Anderson. Dyck, who struggled early on this season, had begun to round into form recently, so we might yet get a goalie battle in this series!

The first period on Friday was all Manitoba as they tested the conference's busiest goalie time and again. Opportunities were had by the Bisons throughout the period, including a couple of odd-player rushes, but Anderson turned aside all shots she saw in the opening frame. To her credit, Rachel Dyck did the same thing, but she was far less busy as the Bisons outshot the Pronghorns by a 20-3 margin.

The second period seemed to be more of a "how do we solve Anderson" period for the Bisons as they spent more time moving the puck in the offensive zone and less time shooting it at Anderson, but the results remained the same for the fourth-ranked Bisons. Dyck may have had the bst seat in the house for this period as she faced one long shot that she stopped, and the two teams went into the second intermission in a scoreless tie with Manitoba outshooting Lethbridge 26-4.

Both teams had a renewed sense of purpose in the third period. Manitoba had a number of great chances that Anderson turned aside while a late penalty to Manitoba's Alexandra Anderson gave Lethbridge several good lucks that Rachel Dyck turned aside. Alicia Anderson may have made the best save of the night in turning Allison Sexton away on a partial breakaway in which she showed off some incredible lateral movement to blocker away the shot after Sexton deked forehand-backhand. With no goals in the third period, we were due for some free hockey as Manitoba held the edge in shots 33-11.

The four-on-four period saw a few shots taken as both teams looked to try and set up a game-winning goal, but neither side would find the back of the net. The three-on-three period saw some incredible skating as the teams went up and down the ice, but we'd find no goals there either. Having outshot Lethbridge 39-15, Manitoba would shoot first in the shootout. Allison Sexton would be stopped while Lethbridge's Delaney Duchek found Rachel Dyck's pad. Jordy Zacharias, Manitoba's hottest shooter as of late, was up next.

Alli Borrow would be stopped by Dyck, Alanna Sharman's chance to win the game was denied by Anderson, and that set up Brett Campbell who needed a goal to keep this going.

The Manitoba Bisons prevailed in a wildly entertaining game! Dyck records the win while earning a 15-save shutout while Anderson takes the shootout loss despite pitching a 39-save shutout.

LETHBRIDGE at MANITOBA: Fourteen-and-a-half hours later, the puck dropped on Game Two of the weekend series between Lethbridge and Manitoba. Alicia Anderson would earn her twelfth-consecutive start while Rachel Dyck took to the blue paint 200-feet away. And just like Friday, the Bisons were all over the Pronghorns early. One thing that really benefits Anderson from what was seen is the collapsing defence that Lethbridge plays. There were a lot of blocked shots or redirected shots that took a lot of the bite off the Manitoba shots, allowing Anderson to make easier saves than perhaps shows on the stats sheet. Regardless of this fact, we'd actually see a goal scored in the first period!

Despite having a serious deficit in shots, the Pronghorns would get on the board late in the first period. Katelyn Breitkreuz skated the puck out of her zone on the right side and flipped a high crossing pass that saw Tracia Van Vaerenbergh corral the puck in full stride on the left side just inside the Bisons blue line on a partial breakaway. She cut in on Dyck and wired a beautiful shot high on the glove side just inside the far post on Dyck, and the Pronghorns jumped ahead 1-0 at 18:09 with the weekend's first goal in regulation time! Despite being outshot 11-2 in the period, Lethbridge's second shot was the only one that counted through the first twenty minutes!

Throughout the radio broadcast on the weekend, we had mentioned repeatedly that to be Anderson the Bisons would need to move the puck quickly and effectively so she couldn't get set in her crease when a shot finally was taken. The Bisons would finally figure this out in the second period after four-and-a-half periods of having Anderson stonewall them.

With Krya Greig in the penalty box, the Bisons set up the power-play in the Pronghorns zone, and moved the puck effectively from the right to left, shifting the passive box and keeping Anderson moving. Jordy Zacharias passed the puck to Alex Anderson at the top of the umbrella who turned and found Alanna Sharman on the right side. As the box moved, though, Zacharias snuck into the slot into the middle of the box where Sharman fired a hard pass to her. Zacharias redirected the puck high over Anderson's left shoulder before she could set, and the Bisons finally broke through Alicia Anderson's goaltending at 6:32 to make it 1-1!

This seemed to spark the Bisons as they actually trailed in shots in this period before the power-play, but neither Rachel Dyck nor Alicia Anderson would allow a puck to get by them in the remaining 13 minutes, and these two teams would go into the second intermission tied at 1-1 with the Bisons leading 19-7 in shots.

Would we see more free hockey in this one? It seemed that way as Alicia Anderson made a number of key saves in the third period, stopping Alanna Sharman on two occasions when it seemed like she had done enough to score. Instead, it would be Sharman who setup the game-winning goal late in the third period. With three Pronghorns defending against Sharman and Courtlyn Oswald, this opened up the slot area for Zacharias once more.

Zacharias' goal with 4:10 remaining put the Bisons up 2-1. From that point on, the Pronghorns went with six attackers as they looked to push this game into extra time. Dyck made a couple of great saves late in the game, and the Bisons did some excellent work getting the puck down the ice into the Pronghorns end while holding control to run out the clock as the Bisons prevailed 2-1! Dyck earned the win with 11 saves while Anderson stopped 28 shots in the loss.

I'll have more about Anderson in "The Final Word" down below, but make no mistake in that I believe she should be in the conversation for U SPORTS Player of the Year.

UBC at MOUNT ROYAL: Mount Royal needed some points, but their challenge on this weekend would be formidable as UBC visited. UBC looked like the better team early on in this game as they controlled the puck for the majority of the first ten minutes until they finally solved Zoe DeBeauville. Cassandra Vilgrain found just enough room inside the post on a wraparound attempt to squeeze the puck by DeBeauville, and the Thunderbirds went up 1-0 at 10:46. The dominance by the T-Birds continued as DeBeauville robbed Kathleen Cahoon moments later, but, despite the dominance of the UBC, they would get no more past DeBeauville in the first period as they went to the dressing room leading 1-0 on the scoreboard and 7-3 in shots.

Things seemed to change between periods as whatever was said by head coach Scott Rivett seemed to fire the Cougars up. They were unable to convert an early five-on-three advantage, though, and this fired up the T-Birds again. The Thunderbirds would force a turnover midway through the period as Cahoon stripped a Cougar of the puck and fed Hannah Clayton-Carroll with a beautiful pass that allowed Clayton-Carroll to walk in on DeBeauville all alone. Clayton-Carroll went bar-down on the glove side of DeBeauville, and UBC led 2-0 at the 9:11 mark. Mount Royal would continue to push, leading the period in shots by a 10-8 count, but it would be UBC who would go into the intermission up 2-0.

The Cougars would finally break through against UBC's Amelia Boughn early in the third period. Megan Carver skated into the UBC zone on a two-on-one with Kennedy Bozek, and she decided to keep and shoot. Her initial shot was stopped, but Bozek followed up on the rebound and chipped the puck past Boughn at 1:47 to make it a 2-1 game. Minutes later, the Cougars would find themselves on another extended five-on-three advantage, but Amelia Boughn stood on her head to keep the pouncing Cougars from finding the equalizer. Neither team would find the back of the net through the remaining time as both netminders were extraordinary, but UBC would take this game 2-1 when the final horn sounded. Boughn stopped 21 shots in the victory while DeBeauville made 22 stops in the loss.

UBC at MOUNT ROYAL: The Cougars fell short on Friday, but looked to carry over some of the momentum they had built with a strong third period. Things started well with Mount Royal buzzing around Tory Micklash and the UBC net, but the netminder held them off the scoresheet. UBC would respond with a flurry of activity of their own, and they would capitalize six minutes into the frame. Cassandra Vilgrain fanned on a shot towards Zoe DeBeauville, but she got enough of the puck to push it to an area where Mathea Fischer could corral it, and she fired the puck home to put UBC up 1-0 at 6:03.

The goal seemed to deflate the Cougars as UBC mounted more offence, and their next goal was a beauty. Off a face-off, Logan Boyd pulled the puck back to Madison Patrick who used a head fake to evade a couple of Cougars to open some space for herself. Patrick spotted Hannah Clayton-Carroll cutting to the net down the middle, and her pass was redirected by Clayton-Carroll past DeBeauville at 13:33 to put UBC up 2-0. The period would close with that score and UBC leading in shots by a 10-8 count.

Things got a little aggressive in the second period as UBC took two early penalties, but the Cougars couldn't solve Micklash. UBC's offence came alive again after they killed off the penalties, and they peppered DeBeauville with more shots. They would find a late goal just after a Mount Royal penalty expired as the UBC power-play moved the puck well before firing a shot on DeBeauville. Hannah Clayton-Carroll jammed away at the puck, and it somehow got through DeBeauville for UBC's third goal of the night at 18:14. After forty minutes, UBC led 3-0 and 25-16 in shots.

Sensing that time might be their enemy, Mount Royal came out with renewed enthusiasm in the final period as they found ways to get the puck through to Micklash. The only problem was that Micklash continued to turn those attempts aside. UBC seemed content to sit back and protect the lead while mounting offence where necessary to relieve the pressure that Mount Royal applied. The Cougars were finally able to solve Micklash late when Shawni Rodeback's low shot somehow found its way through a maze of legs and past Micklash at 15:49, but it was too little and too late for the comeback as UBC took the second game by a 3-1 score. Micklash picked up the win in a 22-save performance while DeBeauville suffered the loss despite making 25 saves.

SASKATCHEWAN at ALBERTA: In this weekend's heavyweight tilt, the first-place Huskies traveled to Edmonton to play the first-ranked U SPORTS team in the Alberta Pandas. It's always a tough place to play when one enters Clare Drake Arena, and the Huskies found out first-hand as the Pandas controlled most of the play within the first period. If not for the solid netminding of Jessica Vance, the Pandas could have had two or three goals early on in this one. After a scoreless first period in which Alberta led in shots by a 9-4 margin, the two teams headed to the intermission buoyed by solid goaltending.

The Pandas continued to pour the pressure on and they would finally be rewarded midway through the period when Cayle Dillon finally find a seam to get one through on Jessica Vance.

Dillon's slap shot from the point somehow found room between Vance's wickets at 11:22, and the Pandas had the 1-0 lead. Again, Vance was busy in this period as Alberta outshot Saskatchewan 11-2, and they led 1-0 after two periods of play while holding a 20-6 advantage in shots.

Saskatchewan must have had the riot act read to them between periods because they looked like a different squad in the third period, but it would be the Pandas using some good passing who doubled their lead early in this frame. Deanna Morin fed twin sister Ashley Morin on the doorstep with an outstanding feed, and Ashley wired a puck inside the far post on Vance at the 4:00 mark to make it 2-0 Alberta. Saskatchewan, though, kept coming at the Pandas, and they would cut the lead to one goal just 29 seconds after the Pandas scored. Danielle Nogier's point shot was kicked aside by Kirsten Chamberlin, but the rebound came to rest on Kori Herner's stick in the slot and she buried the puck behind Chamberlin to make it a 2-1 game.

Alberta would ice the game with just over five minutes to play when Autumn MacDougall showed off some great hands in tight on Vance.

MacDougall's insurance marker at 14:58 would be all the offence that the Pandas needed on this night as they took this game 3-1. Chamberlin was solid in her 16-save win while Vance stopped 23 shots in the loss.

SASKATCHEWAN at ALBERTA: Saskatchewan woke up Saturday morning to find themselves in second-place in Canada West after dropping Friday night's affair. To make matters worse, both Alberta and UBC sat one point back of the Huskies, so this game had a lot riding on it for both teams. Saskatchewan showed early on in this one that they had a different result on their minds on this day, but Kirsten Chamberlin looked sharp as she turned the Huskies away. Midway through the period, the home side would find some breathing room. Autumn MacDougall was in the right place to get a stick on Abby Benning's wrist shot, and her redirection went up and under Jessica Vance's blocker to put the Pandas up 1-0 at 9:31. Despite the setback, the Huskies continued to pressure the Pandas, but they could not find a way to beat Chamberlin in the opening frame. After one period, the Pandas led 1-0 despite being outshot 7-6.

Again, the Huskies came out of the tunnel ready to play, and they would be rewarded for their efforts. Just 21 seconds into the frame, Emily Upgang's wrist shot eluded the blocker of Chamberlin, and the Huskies found themselves on even ground at 1-1. It appeared the Pandas took the lead back moments later, but officials ruled that Amy Boucher had interfered with Jessica Vance on a Kennedy Ganser shot that found the back of the net, and that goal was waved off to keep the game at 1-1. The Huskies really asserted themselves in the second period, finding all sorts of ways to get the puck on net, but Chamberlin was solid in her play as she thwarted wave after wave of Huskies attacks. This would provide the necessary means for the Pandas to respond, and they would as Deanna Morin cut to the net hard and beat Vance on a nice deke.

Morin's goal at 13:06 would put the Pandas up 2-1. Chamberlin would be forced to make a couple of nice saves towards the end of the period, but the Pandas would carry that one-goal lead into the second intermission.

Saskatchewan continued their intense play in the third period as they pressed for an equalizer. Kaitlin Willoughby, Kennedy Harris, and Emily Upgang all had chances, and all were denied by Chamberlin. Much like they did last year, Alberta used that strong goaltending to go the opposite direction and score goals. On a gorgeous three-way passing play, Amy Boucher fed Kennedy Ganser behind the Saskatchewan net who spotted Hannah Olenyk out front and went tape-to-tape. Olenyk snapped a shot past Vance before she could get set, and the Pandas claimed a 3-1 lead at 11:09. From there, Chamberlin stole the show as the freshman netminder withstood the furious attack from the Huskies that included 2:34 with the extra attacker. At the final horn, the Pandas claimed the weekend sweep with their second-straight 3-1 win over the Huskies. Chamberlin was outstanding as she stopped 32 shots for the win while Vance was on the losing end of a 16-save performance.

School Record Points GF GA Streak Next
26 29 22
24 29 19
British Columbia
24 26 18
vs ALB
22 23 19
vs MRU
15 22 27
14 10 15
vs MAN
12 14 17
vs REG
Mount Royal
7 15 31

The Final Word

There's been a lot of talk around my Twitter account about just how good Alicia Anderson has been for the Pronghorns. Little did I realize that there is so much more to how the Pronghorns play this game that perhaps too much credit has been given to Anderson. That's not to say that she hasn't earned the kudos she's received - quite the contrary, in fact. But in watching this Pronghorns team for two straight games give everything they had to the Bisons, this is a team that does a lot of little things right in taking care of their defensive zone.

The first thing that I noticed is that the Pronghorns play a collapsing passive box and one in that the puck carrier of the opposing team is pressured by one of the forwards while the others drop into a box formation around the slot area. Basically, the Pronghorns take away the most dangerous area of the ice and then try to force turnovers or bad passes by making the puck carrier hurry the play. It's an effective strategy as they keep teams, specifically lethal shooters, to the outside, and this makes Anderson's job easy as she often sees shots from the perimeter as opposed to scoring areas. Stopping shots from the outside makes a goalie's night a lot easier.

If a player does find a seam to get inside the box by either beating the pressuring forward or by sneaking in from the weak side of the box, the players collapse around the front of the net to prevent rebounds from becoming an issue. Too many times this weekend did we see Bisons players head to the net while looking for a rebound only to run into a wall of blue-and-yellow jerseys as Anderson was able to smother any and all rebounds with little trouble. The defence in front of her does a good job in tying up sticks so second chances are few and far between, and this allows Anderson to eliminate rebounds quickly and effectively before any opposing players can get to them. In other words, there aren't a lot of opportunities to bang home a rebound in front of the Lethbridge net thanks to the defence and goaltender.

Beyond that, let's give credit to Anderson for a few reasons. First, she tracks the puck better than any goaltender in Canada West that I've seen to this point. Even while screened, she seems to instinctively know where the puck is at all times, and this is a big reason why she's leading the conference in save percentage. While she may get bumped by players standing on her doorstep, she doesn't get flustered either. Instead, she continues to fight through the screens and tracks the puck extremely well regardless of where it is on the ice. This leads her to being caught out of position less, being able to square to shooters more, and gives her more time to set up for shots and passes. Honestly, her concentration levels are through the roof when it comes to finding the puck on the ice, and that's a large reason why she's able to make so many first saves.

Second, she's incredibly flexible and agile. This is the case for most goalies, but where she shows this off is in the lower half of the net. Whenever Anderson is down, there is nothing that gets past her along the ice. Her pads are parallel to the ice, the paddle of her goal stick takes away the five-hole, and she's tall enough to reach both posts. Adding into this is her incredible lateral movement which might be the best in the conference and maybe in the nation. Anderson covers more ground side to side than most other goalies, and she does it all while being fundamentally sound in her posture and movements. Rarely does she leave the five-hole open when moving side to side, and her blocker and glove are lightning-fast. If I was making an instructional video on goaltender movement, I'd tab Anderson as the star because she's incredibly gifted and efficient in her movements.

It's easy to look at Lethbridge's record and dismiss Anderson as a lone star on a team that's finding its footing in an ultra-competitive conference, but it really needs to be said how good she is and the work her team does to help their star netminder out. Anderson's statistics benefit from this help as she's able to do her job, and because of that the Pronghorns have seen great improvements in their overall standing as they currently sit just two points back of last year's total of 14 points in 28 games. With 16 games to go this season, there's no doubt that Anderson and the Pronghorns will exceed that total and push for a playoff spot in Canada West.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!