The best testament to a defenseman is what does not show up in the box score. Jeff Woywitka knows that well. While he recorded his 6th point of the WHL playoffs in Red Deer’s 2-0 win over Brandon last night, the goose egg in the Wheat Kings goal column indicates Woywitka’s real value to the team.
Cam Ward was flawless in making 29 saves in recording his third shutout of the playoffs, but Woywitka was a key reason, according to a firsthand account of the game. He hit. He broke up passes. He cleared rebounds. The defenseman was consistently in the right place at the right time. That Woywitka assisted on the Rebels second goal (scored by another well-regarded Red Deer defenseman, likely 2003 first round pick Dion Phaneuf) was icing on the cake.
The Rebels powerplay is cranking in high gear right now. Both goals last night were powerplay tallies and six of the seven Rebels goals in the series have come on the man advantage. Meanwhile, the team defense from Brent Sutter’s club, especially at even strength, has been very sound, thanks in large part to blueline leader Woywitka.
Matt Ellison scored his 4th goal of the playoffs for Red Deer in the first period. Ellison now has four points in the series. Phaneuf’s goal, his fifth goal of the playoffs, came in in the second period.
Red Deer now has a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference Final series. The scene now shifts to Brandon for games three and four which are scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday.