Wednesday 31 October 2018

Happy Halloween!

It's All Hallows Eve, folks! That's not my pumpkin above, but I really wish it was. The Fisherman rules!

Tonight will see me handing out candy and goodies to all the little monsters and ghouls that venture up to my door with the proper password (hint: say "Trick or treat!"). I'll hopefully see more than the dozen or so kids last year, but I'm prepared if it's around the same total this year. I find that total weird because I live in an area where there are legitimately a number of families with kids, I'm about a block away from an elementary school and a community center, and yet I see very few kids doing the Halloween march down my street.

Anyway, I'll be watching The Equalizer 2 with Denzel Washington while I await the scary minions of candy collecting, so don't expect any hockey chatter tonight. It's nice to have a night off once in a while, so tonight's the night for me. Happy Halloween, folks, and may your sweet tooth be satiated with all sorts of sugary goodness tonight!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Tuesday 30 October 2018

Bobbing And Weaving Like Niku

While fans in Winnipeg lament that this young lad to the left isn't touring his homeland in Finland with the Jets, it might be for the best because current Manitoba Moose defenceman Sami Niku might have scored the goal of the year thus far, and we're not even out of October yet. Niku, who has a 2016 World Junior Championship gold medal and the 2018 AHL Eddie Shore Award for the top defenceman to his credit already, has been show all sorts of promise at the AHL level, leading most to believe that he should be playing up a level in the NHL. The Jets, for some reason, feel differently with the likes of Chiarot, Kulikov, and Morrow filling the gaps, but this allows fans of the Moose to really bask in the talent that is Sami Niku.

If you missed the highlight-reel goal he scored, never fear because it was on virtually every highlight package tonight. With the Milwaukee Admirals in town to play the Moose on this Halloween eve, check out the juking and bobbing and weaving and head-faking that Niku does to score this goal.
Holy moly, that is one heckuva goal! The call by Mitch Peacock on the video is solid, but Niku is as slippery as an eel covered in oil on that play, and the shot to finish the play is just as nice. Can someone tell me why he's not with the Jets in Finland? Or with the Jets at all?

Granted, he probably wouldn't get that kind of room to manoeuvre in the NHL, but it's not like Niku hasn't made an impact there already. He scored a goal in his only NHL game thus far in his career and didn't look out of place that night.

It might be time to unleash the beast and let Niku take a shot at filling the left side alongside Dustin Byfuglien. The kid's too good for the AHL, so let him run wild up in the NHL. yes, he'll make some mistakes - rookies always do - but he's a smart kid, he'll learn from those mistakes, and the Jets will be better off for it. What are you waiting for, Jets?

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Monday 29 October 2018

Dateline's Keith Morrison: Hockey Fan?

Occasionally, a hockey broadcast will go off its usual script and try to change things up with a unique twist on the show. While the broadcasting duo usually remains the same, it's often a new segment or an introduction that differs greatly from its normal start that is used to catch the attention of viewers. We saw the Calgary Flames have some fun with a video last year, and it appears that Rogers Sportsnet went ahead and brought a little Hollywood to their broadcast tonight... although it's far more grim than goofy when you bring NBC's Dateline and host Keith Morrison into the picture.

If you aren't familiar with NBC's Dateline, Keith Morrison usually sets the stage for the one-hour show by introducing a strange death or a disappearance or some other unnerving incident that usually involves a crime and requires deeper investigation. Here's an example of Keith Morrison's usual introduction to a story.
That introduction obviously sets the stage for Dateline to investigate the details of the murder or disappearance, but Morrison has perfected the slow build of anticipation with his unique delivery. It might be one of the more iconic deliveries on TV at this point, so kudos for Keith Morrison for instilling his voice in our collective minds.

So why is this relevant? Check out Sportsnet's introduction to their broadcast tonight.
After a thorough voice comparison was done by the law enforcement agents, HBIC can positively conclude that Keith Morrison was involved in the creation of Sportsnet's introduction. Ok, it doesn't have the same cachet as Morrison's iconic delivery, but Sportsnet's desire to find a new player to take Matthews' place as the budding superstar on their broadcasts seems a little self-serving at best. Adding Morrison's distinctive voice is a cool detail, but it seems a little unnecessary given the circumstances.

In any case, I want to know if Keith Morrison is a hockey fan. If so, it would be great to have him on The Hockey Show for a chat!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Sunday 28 October 2018

The Rundown - Week 4

There were some rather intriguing series this weekend in Canada West women's hockey action with the potential for all sorts of movement depending on results. With this week being the final week before the conference bye and with nearly one-third of the games being played, we're looking for teams to emerge out of the pack as front-runners for the Canada West championship. Alberta looks strong, UBC is playing well, Saskatchewan is using strong defence and goaltending to keep pace, and Manitoba returned to its winning ways last weekend after faltering, so the usual suspects were looking to create some space among themselves and from the rest of Canada West. However, Regina and Mount Royal have been playing some solid hockey while Lethbridge and Calgary need to start posting wins to remain in the hunt. What happened this week? Let's get rolling here on The Rundown!

ALBERTA at UBC: These two Canada West semifinalists met in Vancouver for an early Friday game as the Thunderbirds played host to a number of school children. It actually was cool to see the stands packed in the mid-afternoon at Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre, so kudos to the T-Birds for bringing the kids in for a little fun on a late October Friday between two rivals in Canada West!

The kids in the stands only had to wait ten minutes before they could let their screams of joy be heard.
Hannah Clayton-Carroll got around Taylor Kezama on the outside on the left wing and centered the puck to a streaking Emily Costales who chipped it past Dayna Owen at 9:26, and the Thunderbirds held the 1-0 lead! The Pandas would even the game at 1-1 late in the period when Autumn MacDougall's shot from a sharp angle was stopped by Amelia Boughn, but the rebound landed out at the top of the crease where Alex Gowie swept it home for the Pandas at 18:29 to put this game back on even terms.

The second period saw the stalemate continue as both Boughn and Owen rejected all shots sent their ways. Well, Owen did a lot more rejecting as UBC outshot the Pandas 10-2 in the frame as they poured on the pressure during a couple of power-play chances. With nothing changed through 40 minutes, we'd move to the third period.

It seemed the two teams weren't going to score another goal with how the netminders were playing, but an Alberta power-play changed that midway through the period. Kennedy Ganser's spin-around shot from the slot fooled Boughn at 11:15, and the power-play marker put the Pandas ahead 2-1. The Thunderbirds would battle back, though, and find an equalizer two minutes.
Ireland Perrott collided with a Pandas defender who poke-checked the puck off her stick, allowing Brie Bellerive to pick up the loose puck where she walked in and went high glove-side on Owen at 13:24 to make it a 2-2 hockey game! Both goalies would shake off those goals to keep the remaining shots out of the net, so we were off for some free hockey on this afternoon!

In the four-on-four overtime period, there were chances, but nothing came of them. In the three-on-three overtime period, there chances, including a breakaway by Kenzie Robinson that was denied by Owen, but nothing came of them. With no scoring through overtime, the kids in attendance got to see the skills competition! Alberta's Alex Poznikoff and UBC's Mathea Fischer were unsuccessful in Round One. Alberta's Ganser and UBC's Bellerive - both of whom has goals in this game - were denied in Round Two. UBC's Emma Hall would be stopped by Dayna Owen in Round Three, but Alberta's Amy Boucher would use a nice deke and a shot over the left pad to bring the shootout to an end as the Alberta Pandas claimed victory with the 3-2 score! Owen stopped 16 shots, plus three in the shootout, for the win while Boughn stopped 24 shots, but only two of three in the shootout, as she took the loss.

ALBERTA at UBC: After an exciting game one afternoon earlier, the rematch went Saturday. The pace started off a little slower than one day earlier, but both Alberta's Kirsten Chamberlin and UBC's Tory Micklash looked sharp early on. However, that calm would soon be disrupted by the Pandas late in the period. Amy Boucher fed a perfect pass over to Hannah Olenyk on a 2-on-1, and Olenyk one-timed the offering past Micklash's outstretched glove for the 1-0 Alberta lead at 17:54. It appeared that UBC had a chance to erase that deficit with a late Alberta penalty, but it would be Alberta's penalty killers who capitalized when sniper Alex Poznikoff picked up a turnover, went down the ice on a partial breakway, and deked backhand to forehand to open up Micklash before tucking the puck between her pads for the shorthanded goal to make it 2-0 for Alberta at 19:47! At the end of the first, Alberta ruled on the scoreboard and led 13-3 in shots!

The second period saw the teams trade five-on-three power-play opportunities, but neither side could solve the opposing penalty-killing units. Ireland Perrott was given the final 27 minutes of the game off after she was flagged for checking a Pandas player from behind, so UBC would lose one of their more productive forwards. Despite all the action, Chamberlin and Micklash were perfect in the middle frame as the 2-0 score held.

The score would remain intact for the majority of the third period as UBC did everything in their power to rally back. Alberta continued to pepper Micklash with shots throughout the period, but the only one that mattered was the one that was taken while Micklash was on the bench late in the game. Alex Poznikoff hit the empty net at 19:02 to ice this game as Alberta prevailed 3-0. Chamberlin recorded her third win and second shutout of the season in turning aside all 15 shots she faced while Micklash suffered her first loss of the season despite stopping 27 shots.

SASKATCHEWAN at REGINA: The first leg of the home-and-home series between the two Saskatchewan based teams went in Regina on Friday night, and both teams had something to play for as Saskatchewan needed to keep pace with Alberta and UBC while Regina was looking to leap-frog Manitoba into fourth-place with the Bisons idle on Friday. Things started well for the home side as Jordan Kulbida hit Jaycee Magwood with a pass, and the Cougars sniper fought off a couple of Huskies defenders to zip a low shot past Jasey Book to put the home side up 1-0 just 1:28 into the game! Regina wasn't done there, though, as Ireland South finally tossed the 800-pound gorilla off her back when she grabbed a loose puck off a turnover, went in on Book, and beat the netminder with a backhander for her first-career Canada West goal after 35 games of action at 3:17 to make it 2-0 for Regina!

After that flurry of activity three minutes in, the remainder of the game saw the two teams engage in a more physical contest than one is used to seeing in women's hockey. Most of the offensive chances came on the combined eleven power-plays through the remaining 56:43 of play, but Book would allow no other goals while Morgan Baker turned away all Saskatchewan attempts. When the final horn sounded, those two early Regina goals were the difference as the Cougars won 2-0! Baker stopped 19 shots for her first win and first shutout of the season while Book suffered her first loss of the season in an 18-save performance.

REGINA at SASKATCHEWAN: The Huskies and Cougars would reconvene the following night at Merlis Belsher Place in Saskatoon. Jessica Vance took the net for Saskatchewan while Morgan Baker looked to continue her perfect ways against the Huskies. The two teams played a less physical first period than the final two periods in Regina, but the Cougars would see themselves in a bit of trouble midway through the period when Elise Endicott and Shaelynn Vallotton were whistled for bodychecking less than two minutes apart. The Huskies used that five-on-three advantage to finally break Baker's shutout of a game plus twelve minutes when Chloe Smith pounced on a loose puck off a blocked Leah Bohlken shot, burying the power-play goal at 12:38 to put the Huskies out in front 1-0! Baker was solid once again despite letting in a goal as the Huskies built a 13-3 lead in shots, but the 1-0 score was the only count that mattered after 20 minutes.

If head coach Sarah Hodges was looking for more out her club in the second period, the Cougars certainly responded. Several solid chances were denied by Vance throughout the period as the Cougars took control of the game, and final tally on the shot counter read 19-19 after the Cougars outshot Saskatchewan 16-6 in the frame. The only problem? The score remained 1-0 for the Huskies!

An early bodychecking call on Nikki Watters-Mathes in the third period was the motivation that Saskatchewan needed to double their lead. Bailee Bourassa dented the iron with a shot as it seemed Saskatchewan had scored, but, after moving the puck for another open look, Leah Bohlken made it a no-doubter as she fired a shot clean past Baker on the power-play at 4:11 to make it 2-0 for the Huskies! Regina continued to press as they searched for an equalizer, but Jessica Vance was simply unflappable. Despite launching another 16 shots on her in this period, the Cougars came away empty-handed as the Saskatchewan Huskies took the second-half of the series on home ice by a 2-0 score! Vance was perfect in stopping all 35 shots she faced for her fourth win and second shutout while Baker stopped 25 shots in the loss.

LETHBRIDGE at CALGARY: Two teams who have struggled to score goals met in Calgary on Friday as the Pronghorns visited the Dinos in the first-half of this home-and-home series. Calgary has scored just four times in six games while the Pronghorns have just seven goals in six games. Would we see an explosion of goals for these two clubs?

One team would find their goal-scoring touch on this night. After hitting the post early on in the game, the Pronghorns went to work midway through the period while on a five-on-three power-play. Mackenzie Gal hit Mikaela Reay with a pass, and Reay found Tricia Van Vaerenbergh on the doorstep. Van Vaerenbergh had no trouble scoring past Kelsey Roberts from that distance as the power-play marker made it 1-0 for Lethbridge at the 12:47 mark! Lethbridge missed out on a couple more power-play opportunities later in the frame, and we'd head to the intermission tied 8-8 in shots and Lethbridge leading 1-0.

The second period started quickly as Alli Borrow beat a down-and-out Roberts on a second rebound off Kyra Greig's shot to make it 2-0 for Lethbridge just 2:16 into the period. With Sara Craven watching from the sin bin after being caught for boarding, Alli Borrow put on a bit of a show while on the power-play. Off a drop pass from Van Vaerenbergh just inside the line, Borrow pulled off a spectacular toe-drag to find an angle past a defender, and then went high over the glove of Roberts for a magnificent power-play goal at 5:57 for the 3-0 Pronghorns lead!

As an aside, you what would make this recap better? A highlight of the above goal. Why is it so hard for Canada West schools to generate highlights to showcase their athletes? I ponder this question often. Anyway, back to the recap.

The third Lethbridge goal seemed to wake Calgary up as they began to control the game through possession, but shots were still few and far between for the home side. The shots that did get to Alicia Anderson in the Lethbridge net were handled fairly easily. At the end of the second period, Lethbridge held the edge in shots with a 22-13 advantage and a 3-0 advantage on the scoreboard.

The third period saw Calgary carry its momentum through the intermission as they continued to carry the play in the final frame. They hit a goal post, they were thwarted by a couple of key saves by Anderson, and the Lethbridge defence took care of any rebounds left behind. With some five minutes left in the game, Kelsey Roberts went to the bench for the extra attacker, and Lethbridge put any doubt of this win away with a Tricia Van Vaerenbergh empty-net goal at 16:41 as Lethbridge took the first game of this weekend series by a 4-0 score. Anderson recorded her third win and third shutout of the season in stopping all 20 Calgary shots while Roberts fell to a 0-5-1 on a 22-save night.

CALGARY at LETHBRIDGE: The two netminders from one night earlier would get the call in the second game of the home-and-home series as Kelsey Roberts and Alicia Anderson faced off on Saturday night. Calgary desperately needed a goal of any type to prevent being shut out in four-straight games while Lethbridge was looking to hit double-digits in points prior to the conference bye.

Both teams opened the game looking to get on the scoreboard in a hurry as shots came early and often. Each team would be unsuccessful on a power-play opportunity that saw good chances created, but the opening period would remain tied at 0-0 despite Lethbridge having a slight edge in shots at 14-13.

The second period was more of the same as Kelsey Roberts stoned the Pronghorns while Alicia Anderson continued her perfect play against the Dinos. It seemed as though the Pronghorns were about to take the lead late in the period, but Roberts pulled off some sort of voodoo or black magic to absolutely rob Alli Borrow of what seemed like a sure goal. Moments later, Delaney Frey had a chance against Anderson as she cut to the net, but her shot found nothing but the post behind Anderson as this game went to the third period tied 0-0 on the scoreboard and 24-24 in shots.

Lethbridge finally broke the stalemate when Jordan Doram scored her first-ever Canada West goal off a Jodi Gentile rebound in front of the net at 4:55 to put the Pronghorns out in front! Both teams would continue to push for goals, but the two netminders had no interest in helping the other team's offence. Roberts went to the bench with 1:20 to play, but Calgary was unable to find a seam on Alicia Anderson as the Pronghorns emerged victorious with the 1-0 score! Anderson recorded her second-straight shutout over the Dinos with her 32 saves while Roberts suffered another loss despite making 30 saves on this night.

MOUNT ROYAL at MANITOBA: In a rare Saturday-Sunday weekend series, the Cougars traveled to Winnipeg to meet the Bisons. In holding games in-hand, both teams knew that wins, especially wins in regulation time, were vitally important to their own standings.

Both teams seemed to know what they had to do as scoring chances were plentiful in the opening period. Goal posts and great saves kept things scoreless through most of the period, but Manitoba would capitalize on a late power-play to get on the board. Erica Rieder forced a turnover in the offensive zone as the puck was knocked off the stick of a Cougar and into the slot where Natasha Kostenko, fresh off the bench, roared into the slot and wired a puck high over Zoe De Beauville's glove for the power-play marker at 17:18, putting Manitoba up 1-0 at the first break.

The second period saw the two teams press for more goals, but both Lauren Taraschuk and Zoe De Beauville continued their stellar play opposite one another. Mount Royal would finally solve Taraschuk when some good puck movement caused a defensive breakdown in front of Taraschuk. Camryn Amundson's point shot was stopped by wide-open teammate Breanne Trotter right at the top of the crease, and Trotter faked the backhand before pulling the puck to her forehand, using her reach to slide the puck around a prone Taraschuk who had bit on the backhand fake to make it a 1-1 game at 13:55! Despite all the scoring chances before and after the Mount Royal goal, this game would head to the third period tied 1-1!

It seemed neither goalie would be satisfied playing just 60 minutes as both Taraschuk and De Beauville made save after save in the third period. It seemed that it would take a mistake by one team to find another goal, but I'm not sure anyone expected this mistake. Off a fairly harmless Alex Anderson shot, De Beauville made the chest save with the puck falling to the ice in front of her. As she reached out with her stick and pulled it into her pads, the puck found its way through her five-hole and trickled across the goal line for a Manitoba goal! Anderson looked stunned as the referee pointed towards her, but the goal counted as the Bisons took the 2-1 lead with 4:15 to play! De Beauville would go to the bench with 90 seconds to play, but it would be Manitoba's ร‰milie Massรฉ who would send the puck the length of the ice into the yawning cage with less than a second to play for her first Canada West goal! When the dust settled, Manitoba claimed the 3-1 victory over Mount Royal! Taraschuk stopped 16 shots for her fifth win of the season while De Beauville recorded 26 shots in the loss.

MOUNT ROYAL at MANITOBA: De Beauville got the call on the Sunday game for Mount Royal, but Manitoba, who had published their lineup with Taraschuk as the starter earlier in the day, decided to give rookie Erin Fargey her first Canada West start on this day. Would it pay off for the Bisons?

Both teams found chances in the opening frame, but similar results were found as both De Beauville and Fargey were solid in their nets. The visitors would get a glorious opportunity at the end of the period after Lauryn Keen was whistled for a check to the head, resulting in a double-minor, but the Manitoba penalty kill was aggressive and didn't let the Cougars set up in the offensive zone for the majority of the advantage. After one period, the score was 0-0 with Manitoba holding an 8-6 edge in shots.

The second period saw more chances for both sides, but the goaltenders continued to steal the spotlight. De Beauville made a couple of key saves off Jordyn Zacharias and Karissa Kirkup while Erin Fargey denied former midget hockey teammate Breanne Trotter and Mount Royal sniper Tatum Amy on chances. Through 40 minutes, it was all goaltending as the score remained 0-0 while Manitoba held a 15-9 advantage in shots.

Manitoba would go to the power-play early in the third period after Tianna Ko was assessed an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for tossing Alex Anderson's stick out of her way, but it was her Mount Royal teammate Morgan Ramsey who had the best chance on the advantage.
Fargey stared down the speedy Mount Royal rookie and kept the game scoreless with a great pad save to keep this game knotted up at zeroes. However midway through the period, that stalemate score would be no more.
Madison Cole's shot through traffic somehow avoided legs and bodies in front of De Beauville to zip by the Mount Royal netminder just inside the post at 10:10 of the third period, and Manitoba grabbed the 1-0 lead! Mount Royal worked to find a seam on Fargey, but the Bisons rookie held the fort. Manitoba held possession for the final few minutes in the Mount Royal end, preventing De Beauville from going to the bench. When the Cougars finally did get the puck down the ice with seconds to play, allowing De Beauville to get to the bench, the puck came right back as Alex Anderson hit the empty net with the puck to help Manitoba to the 2-0 win! Fargey was excellent in her first start, collecting her first win and first shutout in a 16-save effort while De Beauville dropped her second-straight game in a 20-save performance.

CWUAA WOMEN'S HOCKEY
School Record Points GF GA Streak Next
Alberta
5-2-1-0
17 19 7
W2
BYE
Manitoba
5-2-1-0
17 20 11
W4
BYE
Saskatchewan
4-2-2-0
16 11 7
W1
BYE
British Columbia
4-2-1-1
15 18 10
L2
BYE
Regina
4-3-0-1
13 18 18
L1
BYE
Lethbridge
3-4-0-1
10 12 12
W2
BYE
Mount Royal
2-5-0-1
7 10 23
L2
BYE
Calgary
0-7-0-1
1 4 24
L8
BYE

The Last Word

There are certainly some statistical numbers starting to emerge in Canada West women's hockey, particularly for the teams near the bottom of the standings.

The goal differentials sported by both the Dinos and the Mount Royal Cougars are troubling at this point in the season as both teams are struggling, yet Mount Royal has recorded wins over Alberta and Regina. If the fortunes for those teams are going to change, they need to find the opposing net more often and allow fewer goals in a hurry.

For Calgary especially, four goals in eight games is a tough pill to swallow at this stage. Rookie Elizabeth Lang has accounted for half of Calgary's total offensive output this season, and her goals came in Week One versus Manitoba. Calgary has a ton of talented players - Chelsea Court, Delaney Frey, Annaliese Meier, the aforementioned Lang - so seeing them with just four goals after eight games is hard to fathom.

Alicia Anderson's wins-to-shutouts ratio also has to change in a hurry. Lethbridge's three wins have come on the strength of three Anderson shutouts - two of which were over the Dinos - and that's completely unsustainable for the rest of the season. Lethbridge needs Anderson to play well, of course, but they could also do well in finding the opposing net more often than they have.

Alberta's everyday goaltending tandem of Dayna Owen and Kirsten Chamberlin are currently sporting a combined 5-1-0 record, a combined 0.64 GAA, and a combined .955 save percentage. If you add in rookie Halle Oswald's numbers, the Alberta trio are 5-2-1-0 with a 0.86 GAA and a .946 save percentage to go along with four shutouts. That's four clean sheets in eight games. In other words, you better bring better-than-your A-game if you want to score on these Alberta netminders.

Anderson and Calgary's Kelsey Roberts are 1-2 in shots-against thus far which tells you a lot about the defence of both Lethbridge and Calgary. Anderson has faced 235 shots while Roberts has stood in front of 234 shots. Manitoba's Lauren Taraschuk is next at 172 - 62 shots less than Roberts. It's also surprising that Taraschuk has faced one more shot than Mount Royal's Zoe De Beauville who has played 33 minutes more than Taraschuk. Of all these teams, Manitoba might be the one to worry the most about when it comes to the number of shots they're giving up.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, the three Alberta goalies have faced just 130 shots in eight games - an average of 16.25 shots per game. Again, you better be at your best when the Pandas are your opponent because they simply don't give up the chances needed to beat them very often.

Saskatchewan and Alberta have yet to surrender a power-play goal. Saskatchewan is perfect on 27 penalty kills while Alberta is perfect on 17 kills. Alberta has two shorthanded goals-for while Saskatchewan has one. That's some impressive penalty-killing to start the season, especially on Saskatchewan's behalf. Kudos to them in being 27-for-27 after eight games!

In a special mention, Alberta Pandas head coach Howie Draper coached his 450th game in Canada West this weekend! The milestone sees Draper with a 355-88-7 record over that time which translates to a .797 points percentage. Yes, Howie Draper's team has earned points in 80% of the games the Pandas have played since he took over. That's a heckuva percentage, and it's a credit to how good Howie Draper is as a head coach! Congratulations, Coach Draper!

With no games next week, we'll dive into a few stories about players as we look at some of the great people in Canada West this season. There are some new faces, some veteran players, and a few characters that deserve some spotlights, so we'll highlight them on the bye week.

Until then, keep your sticks on the ice!

Saturday 27 October 2018

With Authority

I'm not going to lie - I still can't get used to seeing Venla Hovi in red. Regardless of my struggle with the colour of her jersey, she is doing a heckuva job with the Calgary Inferno as she ventures into her first professional hockey season. Venla is, of course, gearing up to represent her home nation of Finland at the Four Nations Cup in Saskatoon from November 6-10, so seeing her elevate her game against some of the best players on the planet is a good thing! A week ago, I posted the grainy, hard-to-see video of her first goal on a deflection past Noora Raty. Today, Hovi doubled her goal-scoring output as she and her Inferno teammates took on the Worcester Blades!

Hovi, as far as we saw in U SPORTS play, never had a problem finding the back of the net, but playing against names like Raty, Lacasse, Chuli, and Howe should have her rolling when she pulls on the Finland jersey in a couple of weeks. Today, against the Blades, we saw Hovi strike again as she went to a high-danger scoring area once more!
As the Worcester broadcaster stated, Hovi came flying in off the bench into the slot area, took the pass from Brigitte Lacquette, and hammered the puck home high past former Maine Black Bears netminder Mariah Fujimagari for her second goal of the year! The fact that no one picked up Hovi as she came off the bench and cruised into the zone might be an indication of a little puck-watching being done by the Blades, but the end result was the Blades fishing the puck out of the back of their net for the fourth time today.

The former Bisons winger is looking great with her new squad in Calgary, and I'm hoping she makes a lasting impact this season and in future seasons in the CWHL. If she keeps scoring goals like she has on consecutive weekends, I'm pretty sure she'll be in Inferno colours for a long time.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Friday 26 October 2018

No School Like The Old School

There's a scene towards the end of the Disney\Pixar's The Incredibles where two older gentlemen remark on how "there's no school like the old school" when referring to how the Incredibles defeat Syndrome's robot. The significance of that line isn't lost on me from an animation point-of-view, but that line can be applied to so many other situations in life. I'm not certain that hockey is one of those situation now with the emerging science of concussions, the treatment of all injuries, and the nutrition and routines that players have in remaining in top physical shape compared to eras past, but there seems to be a handful of "old-school" thinkers in the game still. Whether or not they're adapting to the new way hockey is played is debatable, but one guy had his say today when looking at how players interact on the ice and it seems he's not a fan.

The man in question is Columbus Blue Jackets head coach John Tortorella, and he said this about players fraternizing on the ice.
As we all are aware, John Tortorella doesn't mince words when speaking to the press. He's an emotional guy who speaks his minds even when at his calmest, and today he seemed a wee bit annoyed with how players don't have that old-school hatred for one another any longer. Gone are the days when certain players were villains to the home crowd, instead replaced by players on opposing sides who have friendly chats during warm-ups and during face-offs when they line up across from one another. And while I'm sure that there are still some players who are made to be villains by opposing fans, it seems Tortorella wants that element found in players once more.

Torotella's opening statement is right: the game HAS changed. Regarding the "dinosaurs in it", he may be one of those dinosaurs now as players switch teams more often now than ever before. In doing so, they forge friendships and remain in touch with one another long after one or both players have left the team for which they once played. Players have a greater understanding now that this game is a business first and, like any employee in any business, networking and relationships at work are important. While there may be guys who don't like each other - Ryan Kesler and Ryan Johansen, for example - cases such as those in the NHLPA are rare nowadays simply due to the sharing of information among players and because free agency and player movement happens often.

While I don't necessarily disagree with wanting a little hate back in the game among opposing players, the increase in teams and the lack of true rivalries also makes it hard to develop that hate. Who is Columbus' natural rival? Is it Pittsburgh? Philadelphia? Washington? One could say Pittsburgh after those teams met in the playoffs a couple of times and some blood was spilled in those series, but the turnover in players has all but ended the major feuds. Sure, the fans may still hold some grudge, but the players don't. In seeing how former teams honour players when their new team comes to town, perhaps Tortorella is in the minority on this one because it seems that the owners of teams sure like bestowing celebration on players they no longer employ.

What are your thoughts on Tortorella's comments? Is he one of those few remaining dinosaurs? Does he have a point in not seeing that hatred among the players any longer? Would that make the game better? Let me know in the comments below. I have a feeling that this could generate an entire discussion, and Beans and I may bring up Tortorella's comments this week on The Hockey Show for further debate.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Thursday 25 October 2018

The Hockey Show - Episode 318

The Hockey Show, Canada's only campus-produced radio show that strictly talks hockey, returns to its normal programming now that Pledge-O-Rama is over, the goal was smashed once again, and everyone is riding high. I want to personally say thank you to everyone who supported our show's efforts, and I want to thank every single donor who made this year's Pledge-O-Rama a resounding success. As stated, we have some projects that we want to accomplish, and the financial support shown by our listeners is once again awe-inspiring. If there is an MVP award to be handed out for Pledge-O-Rama, my vote would go to the listeners!

We have some prizes to hand out now that Pledge-O-Rama has finished, and we'll go through those early on in the show to get that wrapped up. Of course, the Jets battled the Maple Leafs last night, and we need to ask if the Jets are pretenders or contenders based on their early play. The Bisons men's and women's hockey teams have been battling, and we'll queue up those games this weekend including a special game on Saturday where fans attending can win prizes! We also saw the first professional points scored by a former Bisons player, Crosby and McDavid went head to head, Jordin Tootoo retired from hockey, and much more as Beans and I settle back into doing what we do best. Or worst.

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

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

Tonight, Teebz and Beans talk Jets, Bisons, Inferno, Oilers and Penguins, Jordin Tootoo, and much more only on The Hockey Show found exclusively on 101.5 UMFM, on the UMFM app, on the UMFM.com web stream!

PODCAST: October 25, 2018: Episode 318

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Wednesday 24 October 2018

An Honour Worth Singing About

There may not be an adult in Canada who doesn't know who Stompin' Tom Connors is. It's not because he was a man of great fame or wealth. Tom Connors was neither overly famous nor was he extravagantly wealthy by any means, but his name is synonymous with hockey across this land thanks to his wildly popular tune The Hockey Song. Nearly every adult in Canada knows the opening lines of "Hello out there. We're on the air. It's 'Hockey Night' tonight." I would wager that a vast number of American adult hockey fans know this song as well. It's taken a while, but The Hockey Song will finally receive some well-deserved recognition within Canadian culture when the song is inducted into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame prior to the Jets-Maple Leafs game on Saturday.

In a release today, the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame called the tune "a quintessentially Canadian song about a quintessentially Canadian game, the best-known example of Connors' unique brand of fervent nationalism. Its up-tempo style with a cowboy-booted backbeat reflected the swift pace of the game, and in Tom's typical catchy novelty-song style, his three verses corresponded to the three periods of a hockey game with each verse calling the action like a play-by-play announcer."

The fact that Connors' song will be honoured five years after his death seems a little wrong. The man was an accomplished musician, having won six Juno awards between 1971 and 1975, and, with all due respect to John Fogerty's Centerfield, Connors likely wrote and performed the most famous song about a sport that the world has ever known. Artists such as Avril Lavigne, Great Big Sea, and Del Barber have covered the song, and it's been sung by thousands of fans each and every night at rinks around North America as hockey teams play the song night-in and night-out.

Back in 2009, Perry Lefko asked Stompin' Tom Connors where the song ranked in terms of his own songs, and he had an interesting answer considering how well-known the song is.
Q: Where does the song rank among the many you’ve written and recorded? Is it among the top five or top 10? It means so much to Canadians, but what does it mean to you?

A: That's kind of a tough question because when you ask the writer... I put everything into every song that I write, so I don't know if I can say I like one song better than another. I have a lot of what I consider good songs or I wouldn't have put them on albums. I don't hold preferences like that, but it's up there with the Bud The Spuds and Sudbury Saturday Night and Tillsonburg's. It's right up there with all of them.
I find it refreshing that Connors doesn't rank it ahead of more critically-acclaimed songs that he wrote, but The Hockey Song is to hockey rinks as Take Me Out to the Ballgame is to Wrigley Field. It's the musical equivalent of Roch Carrier's The Hockey Sweater. It speaks to the nostalgic way we reminisce about hockey with voices like Foster Hewitt, Danny Gallivan, and Bob Cole being the voice to our Saturday nights. It speaks to our national protectionism of the game when Connors sings about "the best game you can name".

While there are few details about the ceremony to honour this great song prior to the game, we do know that Tom Connors Jr. and members of the Connors family will be presented with a plaque recognizing the song's induction to the Hall of Fame while country star Tim Hicks will perform it. I have no doubt that Hicks will ensure this is one of the best performances of his career, and I look forward to seeing The Hockey Song finally honoured by his peers.

As happy as I am for this first induction, it might be time to recognize the cultural significance of the song and get it inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. While we wait for that to happen, let's celebrate the song and its creator in Stompin' Tom Connors with the video below. Enjoy!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Tuesday 23 October 2018

Simply Incredible

The debate will rage on for years as these two players meet head to head, but I'm not here to pick sides in the "Best Player in the NHL" argument. Connor McDavid and Sidney Crosby is legitimately the new Gretzky and Lemieux battle right down to representing the same teams that two now-retired superstars once did. There is no doubt that McDavid's brilliance has been on display in recent years as he amasses annual hardware just like Gretzky did, but Crosby, like Lemieux, is still a threat to the Oilers star when it comes to hardware.

Tonight, the two men - McDavid and Crosby - went head-to-head as the Penguins visited the Oilers, and it was a showcase for some outstanding hockey. The key in this game, however, was that Crosby saved the best for last. In the overtime period with the two teams tied 5-5, Sidney Crosby went off and did this.
That's just ridiculous. Yes, Ryan Strome was near the end of his shift in the three-on-three overtime period, but Strome can't let Crosby breeze by him like he did. Darnell Nurse's stick had no effect on Crosby as he had Cam Talbot at his mercy, and the backhander ended this game with authority as Crosby reminded everyone that he should still be in the discussion when it comes to "Best Player in the NHL".

Make no mistake that there will likely be more McDavid and Crosby highlights to come this season. Both players are in the upper echelon of gifted players, and both love to have the puck on their sticks when the game is on the line. Nothing is better for hockey when these two players stare one another down and try to one-up each other.

Hockey is so much fun when the best players show up to play!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Monday 22 October 2018

TBC: Home Ice

I spent some time this weekend getting myself back into the swing of things when it comes to reading hockey literature, and I'm glad I used the time to finish a fantastic addition to Teebz's Book Club. If there's one segment of the hockey world that seemingly gets left behind when it comes to thorough examinations of the machinations and results within its ranks, youth hockey in Canada seems to be the untouchable or most disregarded segment. You'd think that there would be more introspect into the one area of hockey where our kids play, but there simply aren't that many authors who take a run at Canadian youth hockey. All that changes today as Teebz's Book Club is proud to review Home Ice: Reflections of a Reluctant Hockey Mom, written by Angie Abdou and published by ECW Press. Miss Abdou's experiences over the course of one year of Atom hockey involving her son Ollie looks at every aspect of youth hockey families in terms of family life, parenting, coaches, the importance of winning, and more!

From the bio on Angie's website, "Angie is a Canadian author whose publication record includes the novels The Bone Cage (a CBC Canada Reads finalist in 2011 defended by NHL star Georges Laraque) and, most recently, In Case I Go (2017, Arsenal Press). Chatelaine magazine named In Case I Go one of the most-riveting mysteries of 2017 and The Vancouver Sun called it a 'spectacularly successful' novel. It was a finalist for the Banff Mountain Book Award, in the fiction and poetry category. With her seventh book, Abdou turns her attention to nonfiction. Home Ice: Reflections of a Reluctant Hockey Mom chronicles the year in the life of a busy sport family. A starred review in Booklist calls Home Ice a first-rate memoir, a fine example of narrative nonfiction, and a must-read for for parents with youngsters in organized sport. Angie is an Associate Professor of Creative Writing at Athabasca University." I was lucky enough to hear Miss Abdou speak about this book and her experiences at an event earlier this month!

So where does one start with the findings and research put forth by Miss Abdou in Home Ice? I'll be honest in saying that there's a lot to unpack in this book when it comes to the workings of youth hockey in Miss Abdou's hometown of Fernie, BC, but everything she delves into is backed up by science, studies, and doctors who have published their findings. In other words, Miss Abdou comes armed with facts when digging into some of youth hockey's most common problems, and she presents these facts in very thoughtful and reasoned arguments. As someone who loves a good debate filled with facts and figures, I appreciated this aspect of Home Ice in a big way!

In a chapter that is a personal favorite of mine entitled "Kids in the Colosseum", Miss Abdou takes a hard look at body contact, injuries, and concussions in youth hockey. With the prevalence of concussions in every sport nowadays, this chapter really struck a chord with me in looking at ways to help make the game safer for developing bodies and brains. Miss Abdou has some convincing facts for pushing the age of bodychecking higher than the standards they're currently set at, and she paints a grim picture with the numbers and figures presented in this chapter for why hockey may not be good for children of any age. However, she does admit that kids can't be bubble-wrapped when it comes to their sporting endeavours, and she leaves the reader with as much knowledge and information on both sides of the coin to allow the reader to make a decision on the game's safety rather than her imposing her decision onto the reader. One gets a sense that Miss Abdou did this with intent, and I feel it really opens the door to thoughtful and intelligent debate on what age body contact should start, how to go about mitigating the dangers regarding brain injuries in kids, and on real-world examples of players who are dealing with or have dealt with concussions and concussion symptoms in the past.

Nestled between the information and the facts and figures on the major issues plaguing youth hockey is a sweet story about young Oliver navigating his way through ages nine and ten while playing hockey and going to school and being a kid. Oliver is, at times, oversensitive to things. He reacts as you would expect a kid to react at other events. He's curious about bigger issues, yet he can't let go of the smallest detail when he discovers some imbalance of fairness in life. It's hard not to want to meet Ollie in real-life after Miss Abdou's story about her son because he sounds like a great kid with an exceptional zest for life.

Miss Abdou also gives a full perspective on her life as mom to Oliver, her feelings of guilt and neglect in not paying as much attention to her daughter Katie, her marriage to Marty that seems to sway from bliss to catastrophe at points, her work as an author, her life as a hockey mom, and everything in between when it comes to her life. At times, you feel for Angie in her internal conflicts regarding her son and the game of hockey. She's a concerned parent who sees fault in some of the moments that happen around her and her son. There are times when you feel joy and happiness when Ollie does something great, sharing in Angie's delight for her son. And there are certainly parts in the book where she needs to deal with disagreements and personal conflicts that you could kind of skip over if you wanted to avoid negativity, but that's not how life works. Throughout her story, though, Miss Abdou has done a good job as making one feel like the reader alongside her for her journey, and that's an excellent trait to have when writing something as personal as Home Ice is to Miss Abdou.

One of my favorite passages in Home Ice is found right at the start of the book's third chapter, and it really shows the difference in the way that parents rationalize decisions compared to how kids rationalize decisions. It reads,
Ollie decided not the try out for the A team. I'm glad. I say it over and over and over again. "I'm glad. I'm glad. I'm glad."

Ollie has no problem articulating his reasons for preferring the B team and feeling no pull whatsoever to the so-called rep team.

"The A team travels more," he says. "I don't like traveling. I get car sick."
That boyhood innocence comes through time and time again when Miss Abdou is speaking about Ollie, and it made me smile as I read her words. There are countless examples of Ollie being Ollie throughout Home Ice, and examples like the one above will keep a smile on your face as you flip the pages.

Overall, Home Ice is an amazing book in making one consider the issues within youth hockey as Ollie plays through his Atom year of hockey, and the possible solutions and research that Miss Abdou provides in making her arguments to make youth hockey better should stir debate. If nothing else, I feel more informed about youth hockey than I did before, I still want to meet Ollie and experience his "Ollie-isms", and I hope that Miss Abdou's book re-opens some of the discussions about the larger issues in youth hockey. Because of the great story, the fantastic points of debate, and Miss Adbou's easy-to-read writing style, there is zero doubt that Home Ice deserves the Teebz's Book Club Seal of Approval!

You can find Home Ice: Reflections of a Reluctant Hockey Mom at most libraries and all major bookstores in your area! As a precaution, there is some adult language in the book, so I'd recommend this book for all readers in their teens and older, and especially for hockey parents!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Sunday 21 October 2018

The Rundown - Week 3

After seeing the shuffle last week in the standings, there were all sorts of match-ups this week in Canada West women's hockey that could change fortunes in the first half of the season. It's becoming very apparent that within the eight Canada West teams, there are no pushovers when it comes to a weekend series and every point in the standings will earned and not given. Can Alberta remain atop the standings? Can Manitoba break out of the scoring funk they seem to be in? Can Calgary and Lethbridge get things going? Week Three of The Rundown will answer these questions!

SASKATCHEWAN at LETHBRIDGE: Lethbridge needed a couple of home wins to move back among the upper teams in the conference, but they'd face a tough test in the Saskatchewan Huskies. The Huskies came in having won both games in Calgary the week before, so the Pronghorns had to come out ready. And they did - they were the better team early on, but Saskatchewan found their legs as the period wore on. Both netminders were good as Alicia Anderson stopped all nine shots she faced while Camryn Drever, making her first Canada West start, stopped the six shots sent her way.

The two goaltenders were just as stingy when it came to goals in the second period. Saskatchewan carried the play until running into some penalty trouble, but the Huskies penalty-killing units remained perfect through 15 power-plays thus far this season as the teams remained tied 0-0 through 40 minutes.

With Anderson having been the busier of the two goalies, she looked like she was in mid-season form in the third period. After stopping 15 shots in the middle frame, Anderson followed up that effort with another 14 stops in the third period. Drever, not to outdone by the veteran Lethbridge goalie, made ten stops of her own in the third period, but neither the Huskies nor the Pronghorns could solve the goalies through regulation time.

Overtime, however, would be short and sweet for one team. After the Pronghorns broke into the Huskies zone to start the overtime period, Leah Bohlken forced a turnover and went the other way with Abby Shirley on a two-on-one. Bohlken made a gorgeous pass along the ice to Shirley who made no mistake in wiring a shot past Anderson just 14 seconds into extra time as Saskatchewan takes the 1-0 overtime win! Drever earns her first Canada West win and Canada West shutout with her 22-save performance while Anderson deserved a better fate after stopping 38 shots for the Pronghorns.

Again, kudos to Saskatchewan on their player GIFs.

SASKATCHEWAN at LETHBRIDGE: After the performances by the two netminders the night before, this game featured the two de facto starters for both teams as Jessica Vance and Alicia Anderson went to their respective creases. In other words, this game may be another low-scoring event with how these two defend the twine.

Anderson was spectacular in the early going as she stoned the Huskies once again including a clear-cut breakaway by Emily Upgang. However, the Huskies' persistence would be rewarded eventually, even if the goal wasn't the prettiest. With a referee's arm in the air after a Lethbridge player committed a foul, Chelsea Debusschere's centering pass from the half-boards deflected up and over the shoulder of Anderson to give the Huskies a 1-0 lead at 16:17! That advantage would hold true through to the intermission, and the Huskies held the edge in shots at 14-9.

The second period opened just as the first did with Saskatchewan pressing, but it would be the Pronghorns who tallied first.
Ashley McCabe made a great play at the blue line to poke a puck away from a Saskatchewan player, and she would turn on the jets. As she was being checked in the Saskatchewan zone, she slid the puck across the ice to rookie Kenzie Lausberg, and the first-year player made no mistake in burying it behind Vance to tie the game at 1-1 at the 4:27 mark!

Nearly six minutes later after controlling the play once more, the Huskies found the back of the net again. The initial shot by Shyan Elias was stopped, but Anderson couldn't smother the rebound before Bailee Bourassa whacked home the loose puck to put the Huskies up 2-1 at 10:19. The Pronghorns wouldn't sit back as the period continued, and they nearly tied it off a shot that beat Vance but could not beat the red iron. The score would hold to the end of the period, and Saskatchewan took a 30-23 advantage in shots and a 2-1 lead into the intermission.

The third period looked like trademark Saskatchewan hockey as they came out and locked down their zone. Shots came at a premium for the Pronghorns, and the ones that did get through were easily handled by Vance. Even with the extra attacker for 1:14, the Pronghorns couldn't generate any dangerous chances as the clock expired on this game with Saskatchewan picking up the 2-1 win. Vance was solid in stopping 27 shots for her third win of the season while Anderson dropped her fourth game despite making 38 saves.

Again, Saskatchewan's GIFs are the best GIFs.

MOUNT ROYAL at ALBERTA: Alberta, who came into this game having shutout Manitoba twice, was looking to continue their winning ways against the Cougars. Mount Royal needed to end their two-game losing streak, but tonight's game simply went south in a hurry for the Calgary-based squad.

Alex Poznikoff at 3:20, Regan Wright at 8:54, and Autumn MacDougall on the power-play at 19:49 put the Pandas up 3-0 through the opening period where Alberta outshot 13-5 as their dominance on home ice continued. Zoe De Beauville would take a seat on the bench to start the second period as Emily Severson took over for Mount Royal to try and stop the bleeding, but she would fare no better.

Kennedy Ganser made it 4-0 for the Pandas at 10:06 of the second period while Alex Poznikoff scored on the power-play just 16 seconds into the third before Abby Benning added another goal 24 seconds later to make it 6-0 for Alberta. Amy Boucher would score with 1:01 to play as this game was all Alberta in a 7-0 trouncing of Mount Royal. Kirsten Chamberlin stopped the nine shots she faced for her second win and first shutout of the season while Zoe De Beauville took the loss after stopping ten of 13 first-period shots. For the record, Emily Severson made 15 stops on 19 shots in her 40 minutes of work.

All the highlights of this game can be found here.

ALBERTA at MOUNT ROYAL: After the hammering that the Pandas laid on the Cougars the night before, you had to wonder if Mount Royal would find the resiliency to come out and change their fortunes on Saturday. There would be no time to lick their wounds as the second-half of the weekend series went less than 24 hours later and moved down the highway to Flames Community Arena where Mount Royal would have home-ice advantage.

The Pandas did what they do well in getting out and putting pressure on their opposition, but goaltender Zoe De Beauville was on her game as she weathered the early storm. The Cougars would give their netminder some breathing room when Alberta goalie Halle Oswald kicked out an Anna Purschke shot, but the rebound went to Camryn Amundson who made no mistake with the puck in putting it behind Oswald at 6:21 for the 1-0 Cougars lead! 1:28 later, that slim lead became a two-goal lead when Kate Scidmore scored off a rebound kicked out by Oswald, and Mount Royal held the 2-0 advantage!

Alberta, knowing they needed to up their game, came roaring back with pressure, and Kelsey Tangjerd's shot found its way past De Beauville at 11:04 to close the gap for Pandas to one goal. Despite the growing momentum following the Alberta goal, we'd get no others in the opening frame as Mount Royal held the 9-6 advantage in shots and the 2-1 edge on the scoreboard!

The second period was played fairly evenly as both sides had shots, but both Oswald and De Beauville were equal to the task. Despite Alberta outshooting Mount Royal 9-8 in the period, we'd go to the third period with the 2-1 score holding firm.

The third period saw both teams loosening the defence as they pressed for goals. Alberta had chances. Mount Royal had chances. Both teams pressed. However, it would be a Tianna Ko clap-bomb that would be the only goal recorded when she blasted one past Oswald at 10:40 to put the Cougars up 3-1. Being that I just stated no other goals were scored outside of Ko's goal, you can safely guess that this game finished 3-1 in favour of the Cougars! De Beauville bounced back for her second win of the season in making 18 stops while Oswald suffered her first Canada West loss despite making 18 saves as well.

MANITOBA at REGINA: The Bisons came into Regina having been shutout in two-straight games. Needless to say, they also came into Regina with the Cougars sporting a hot goaltender in Jane Kish and a two-game win streak. Could the Bisons rediscover their scoring ways? Could Regina hand the Bisons a third-straight loss?

Regina was certainly the better team in the opening period despite the shots being almost even. Regina appeared to have their legs under them early, and it paid off midway through the period when Emma Waldenberger's shot was kicked aside by Manitoba goaltender Lauren Taraschuk, but Tamara McVannel jumped off the blue line into the high slot area where she ripped home the rebound to put the Cougars up 1-0 at 11:51! Regina outshot Manitoba 15-14 in the period and held the 1-0 lead through twenty minutes.

The second period started with goal before the layer of water had even frozen! Off a Manitoba rush into the zone, Erica Rieder centered a pass from behind the net that deflected off a player out front and past Kish to put Manitoba on the board just 12 seconds into the middle frame to make it 1-1! Manitoba seemed to be figuring out this offence thing as the period progressed, but it would be Regina would led the period in shots once again as they held an 8-6 advantage. There would be just the one goal scored, though, as Manitoba and Regina went to the second intermission tied 1-1.

The third period? It was all about the goals! Madison Cole capitalized on a turnover in the slot as she picked the corner to beat Kish at 2:54 to put Manitoba up 2-1! The two teams would go back and forth as Regina pressed for an equalizer, but it would be Manitoba who would open up a two-goal lead when Natasha Kostenko deflected an Alexandra Anderson shot past Kish at 14:29 to make it 3-1 for the Bisons! That lead would be cut to one goal 56 seconds later as Adela Juzkova followed her own backhander, grabbing the rebound issued by Taraschuk, and beating the netminder to make it 3-2!

Kish would be summoned to the net with over three minutes to play as the Cougars pressed for the equalizer, but it would be Manitoba's Karissa Kirkup who found the abandoned Regina net with her shot at 19:02 to propel the Bisons to the 4-2 victory! Taraschuk stopped 30 shots as she picked up her third win of the season while Kish stopped 30 shots of her own in the loss.

MANITOBA at REGINA: The two teams entered Saturday's contest with similar 3-2-0-0 records, so something had to give. The only question was which team would grab the advantage? The Bisons would hit the scoreboard first as Natasha Kostenko centered a puck that found the stick of Sheridan Oswald, and the Bisons' sniper went five-hole on Morgan Baker at 3:48 to put Manitoba out in front 1-0. Regina would respond just past the midway point of the period when Jaycee Magwood sent Jordan Kulbida in alone on a breakaway, and she would fire a shot over Lauren Taraschuk's glove at 12:54 to even the game at 1-1! Regina held a 12-8 lead in shots at the intermission, but the teams were deadlocked at 1-1.

The second period opened with both teams playing a little more defensively-minded. The Cougars would grab the lead at 6:52 when Jaycee Magwood's rather innocent-looking shot somehow found its way between Taraschuk's pads and slid slowly across the goal line for the 2-1 Regina lead. Late in the period, Manitoba squared the game up when Lauryn Keen took up residence at the top of Baker's crease and deflected a Taryn Kokesch shot past the Regina netminder at 18:47 to make it a 2-2 contest through 40 minutes!

The third period started with Erica Rieder being sent off for a trip, giving Regina the opportunity they needed to take the lead. Emma Waldenberger took a pass from Emily Middagh, broke into the Manitoba zone on the left side, and wired a wrist shot high to the right corner of the net past Taraschuk at 1:43 for the power-play and, more importantly, the 3-2 lead!

This goal seemed to light a fire under the Bisons, one Bisons player in particular.
Wowzers! Karissa Kirkup began this play by circling in front of her own net before heading up ice on the right side. She chipped the puck past Waldenberger, but it went a little too far for her to collect. She continued the forecheck, and forced turnover at the Regina blue line. Upon collecting the puck with speed, she went to the backhand high over Baker's glove to complete an incredible individual effort on a highlight-reel goal as Kirkup's unassisted marker at 6:55 brought the Bisons back to even at 3-3!

Despite the early goals, both team traded chances before the horn sounded. With the game knotted up at 3-3, we were off to overtime! The four-on-four overtime saw Manitoba outshoot Regina 4-1, but we'd see no goals. The three-on-three overtime was nearly decided when Alison Sexton got a step on a defender, took a pass from Kirkup, and went to the backhand, but her shot miss the post after Baker bit hard on the deke. With no goals in the second overtime period, we'd need a skills competition to settle this game!

Jordyn Zacharias and Jaycee Magwood would trade goals in Round One. Round Two saw Courtlyn Oswald and Emma Waldenburger both find the back of the net. This left Karissa Kirkup and Emily Middagh to try and settle this game.
Kirkup's goal combined with Taraschuk's save gave Manitoba the 3-2 advantage in the shootout and the 4-3 shootout victory! Taraschuk stopped 28 shots plus another in the shootout to give her the win while Baker took the loss while stopping 27 shots but went 0-for-3 in the shootout.

CALGARY at UBC: There's no doubt that Calgary has struggled thus far, picking up just one point of a possible 12 points total. UBC, meanwhile, has built a 3-1-0-0 record and was looking to continue their winning ways. Remember how I mentioned how things went south in a hurry for the Calgary-based Cougars? Well, the same thing could be said for the Calgary-based Dinos.

Ireland Perrott opened the scoring at the 6:36 mark of the first period, and Ashley McFadden added a power-play marker with one minute to play in the first period as UBC jumped out to the 2-0 lead.

There would be no goals recorded in the second period, but the third period saw a pair of empty-net goals with Calgary's Kelsey Roberts on the bench. Celine Tardif hit the yawning cage at 17:08 and Mathea Fischer potted her own empty-netter at 18:50 to wrap up the 4-0 UBC victory. Amelia Boughn stopped all 20 shots she faced for her second win and first clean sheet of the season while Kelsey Roberts stopped 36 shots in the loss.

Highlights of this game can be found below!

CALGARY at UBC: After being beaten at virtually every facet of the game one night earlier, Calgary really needed to find another gear if they hoped to earn a victory over UBC this weekend. UBC, on the other hand, was looking for a second-straight weekend sweep, and they pretty much put on a repeat performance of what they did the night before.

UBC played fairly conservatively in the opening of this game, but they would use their speed to open the scoring.
Logan Boyd and Rylind MacKinnon broke in on the two-on-one, and Boyd's decision to keep and shoot was a good one as she fired the puck past Calgary's Kira Wasylak at 7:08 to make it 1-0 for the T-Birds. Calgary amassed most of their shots on a couple of late power-plays, but the UBC penalty-killing units were equal to the task as the Thunderbirds took the 1-0 lead into the intermission.

Calgary's Merissa Dawson would be called early in the second period for using the body a little too aggressively, and that sent UBC to the power-play just 53 seconds into the stanza. That's the break UBC needed to double their lead.
Rylind MacKinnon's blast from the point found the back of the net at 1:39 for the power-play goal, and the T-Birds held the 2-0 lead. Calgary would respond by using speed to dictate the pace, but UBC adapted and would prevent the Dinos from ruining Tory Micklash's evening. After two periods, UBC led 2-0 thanks in part to an 18-8 edge in shots.

In the third period, UBC continue to overpower the Dinos, and their persistence in going to the net would pay off with another goal.
Hannah Clayton-Carroll took the great centering pass from Mathea Fischer, and she ripped home the third UBC goal of the night at 10:35. 56 seconds later, Emily Costales netted another goal for UBC, and it was a 4-0 lead for the home squad. The seven shots recorded by Calgary resulted in no goals for them as Tory Micklash was solid on this night, and UBC claimed a fifth-straight win with the 4-0 decision. Micklash recorded her third win and second shutout of the season in stopping all 15 Calgary shots while Wasyluk made 28 stops in the loss.

CWUAA WOMEN'S HOCKEY
School Record Points GF GA Streak Next
British Columbia
4-1-1-0
14 16 4
W5
vs ALB
Saskatchewan
3-1-2-0
13 9 5
W4
@ REG
Alberta
4-2-0-0
12 13 5
L1
@ UBC
Manitoba
3-2-1-0
11 15 10
W2
vs MRU
Regina
3-2-0-1
10 16 16
L2
vs SAS
Mount Royal
2-3-0-1
7 9 18
W1
@ MAN
Lethbridge
1-4-0-1
4 7 12
L5
@ CAL
Calgary
0-5-0-1
1 4 19
L6
vs LET

The Last Word

Ladies and gentlemen, these are the three stars from the Calgary Inferno-Kunlun Red Star game today. Notice that woman on the left? That would be the first star of the game and former Manitoba Bisons star Venla Hovi! Hovi recorded a goal and an assist today in the game against KRS, and her goal actually was scored on a deflection in front of Finnish national teammate Noora Raty! Hovi's assist came on the goal scored by the woman standing in the middle. That's Manitoba native Halli Krzyzaniak who scored her first goal today in being named as the second star of the game! Hovi appears to be settling in nicely alongside the plethora of Canada West players who are part of the Inferno roster, and it's nice to see she's doing well at the professional level! Way to go, Venla, and keep up the great play!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

Saturday 20 October 2018

Arizona: Home Of The Blues?

In the current professional sports world, relocation seems to be the only option for struggling franchises. We hear about threats of relocation whenever a team needs a new arena or stadium, but it seems a team relocated on Saturday night without anyone knowing if the graphic to the left is to be believed. Fox Sports Arizona decided to toss up the scoreboard chyron, but I'm not certain they know that their team isn't the one based in St. Louis currently.

That image was posted on Twitter by Chris Rongey.
What's entirely ironic about the chyron is the NFL's Arizona Cardinals once called St. Louis home. Of course, the original Winnipeg Jets also moved to Arizona, so there was definite simpatico happening with this chyron. If one wanted to link these three cities together through relocated pro sports franchises, it seems it could be done easily!

Just so we're clear, the Winnipeg Jets downed the Arizona Coyotes 5-3 this afternoon. In the evening, the St. Louis Blues defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-1. Neither team - Winnipeg or the Blues - met in a game today. I'm glad we cleared that up. Now we just have to hope that Fox Sports Arizona knows which team they cover.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!