BRANDON WHEAT KINGS
The Brandon Wheat Kings have taken advantage of some struggling teams in the east division and have taken top spot with a 6-4 record, not great, but the best by a ways in the weak east division. The Wheat Kings are the only team over five hundred and the nearest team has a meagre three wins. look for the Moose Jaw Warriors to make some kind of move if they get Brian Sutherby back from Washington and Steve Crampton recovers from knee surgery, but with that said, the Wheat Kings have taken advantage of the other teams problems and reached the top. The Wheat Kings aren’t loaded with a ton of dynamic offensive threats, however they are scoring by committee which is often the best way to go.
Ryan Craig is probably the best offensive threat night in and night out for the Wheaties, however he has just returned from injury, but has already amassed five points in just two games. Richard Meuller, Lance Monych, Tim Konsorada and Jordan Tootoo are the next best so far offensively with Monych and Konsorada only being seventeen. Tootoo and five year veteran Randy Ponte are the sparkplugs on the team, both being a little on the short side vertically, but either one is like a pitbull if you care to get rocking, while rookie Ryan Stone appears to be learning fast and should help in the toughness department as he gains experience and strength. European Jiri Jakes can contribute more than the six point he has so far and the Wheaties will need him to pick it up. Colin McCrae, Caine Pearpoint, Michael Young and the currently injured Travis Ea Read more»
The Swift Current Broncos just continue to churn out competitive teams year after year and the 2001/2002 season appears to be no different, except that this team seems to be more than competitive, they have a legitimate shot to make a Memorial Cup run. Led by a strong group of creative scorers and playmakers, the Broncos also have a number of players that play with “sandpaper”, making a solid mix that winning teams always need.
Up front the Broncos are led by a very creative duo in Duncan Milroy and twenty year old Tim Smith. Both are solid playmakers who can finish as well, while Smith also brings a knack for irritating the opposition to the point of distraction. Nathan Smith, a Vancouver Canuck first round draft pick is a solid goal scorer who can play at both ends of the rink and is also a lot tougher than most give him credit for. Brent Twordik, James Hiebert, Ben Ondrus and John Dahl are all gritty while contributing at both ends of the ice. Matt Sommerfeld is a big tough forward who has improved enough to garner more ice time, thus his role on a speedy, skilled hockey team becomes even more important. A strong group of young guys fill out the front end, however the top two lines will carry most of the load offensively for the Broncos and this is the one area the Broncos may want to add some depth and experience. Come playoff time, some of the other teams may be a little deeper up front, which is where a long playoff run can be won or lost.
On the back end the Broncos have a mixed bag, but are spearheaded by the immensely talented seventeen year Read more»
The Spokane Chiefs have bolted from the starting blocks and it looks like they’ll be a tough lot to handle. With a rock solid defence, a skilled and gritty group up front as well as a pleasant surprise in the play of Barry Brust between the pipes. Many a hockey forum saw Spokane fans calling for management to bolster the goaltending, however Chief management appears to have known what they were doing as Brust has been solid. They’ll need for him to be continue his solid play as the Chiefs are currently holding onto a slim one point edge with fourteen points from a 7-1 start over the Portland WinterHawks thirteen points from a 6-2-0-1 record.
Led up front by a group of skilled and hardworking forwards, the Chiefs bring their lunch buckets to every game. Skilled forwards Jeff Lucky, Tim Krymusa, seventeen year old Brad Schell, Mason Wallin and Matt Keith all share in the Chiefs scoring depth, however none take a night off when it comes to their defensive duties either. Brandon Cote is a rock solid defensive forward who brings a lot of leadership and heart to the chiefs line up while others like Joff Kohler, Jevon Desautels and Justin Keller play solid two way hockey. The Chiefs have a waft of young forwards on the roster as well, which bodes well for the future. Also, the Chiefs should be getting second year winger/centre Barry Horman, who should add some more depth to the Chiefs current crop of forwards. Ganchar has the entire group playing solid two way hockey and all I can say is, “it must be fun to play up front on a team as strong on the back end as the Chi Read more»
Kamloops was expected to be strong this season two seasons, but such is the nature of major junior hockey. The patience shown by management during those seasons, allowing the young guns to gain experience, sees it paying off early this season as the Kamloops Blazers currently hold the top spot in the division with a 7-1 record good for fourteen points. While the Prince George Cougars, who have played two more games, are only two points in arrears with twelve points from a 5-3-1-1 record (the extra “1” coming from an overtime loss for those not familiar with the WHL’s points format). The Blazers have compiled there record against all sub five hundred hockey clubs, except for their lone loss, which came at the hands of a Lethbridge Hurricanes hockey club that invaded Kamloops with a six game win streak and left with the streak at seven.
The Blazers are about to test their mettle however, as starting Friday night in Saskatoon against the hometown Blades, the Blazers will play six games in nine nights on their longest road trip of the season. While most of the eastern clubs are sub-five hundred, the six game in nine nights will take it’s toll, with the biggest test likely to come at the end of the trip against the high flying Swift Current Broncos. The Blazers leave with some positive signs emerging from the last three games played however, as they cut down their shots allowed by an average of about ten per game, going from just over thirty five shots a night to about twenty five. Kamloops has the ability to come at teams in waves with the offensive fire power they b Read more»
What’s wrong with the Penguins? They lost 3 games since my last report and are now 0-4-0-0. Let’s see what happens game by game.
Saturday, October 6th, Anaheim Mighty Ducks VS Pittsburgh Penguins: The Pens played well against Kariya and the Ducks. The difference in this game was simply in front of the net. Shields played like a #1 goalie and Hedberg showed why he stayed in the minors for a long time. Matt Cullen scored twice in the first period and Jason York completes the score for the “Mad” Ducks. Then, Kraft scored his first of the season with a good wrist shot, and in the third period Lacouture showed his impressive speed when he scored on a breakaway. After that, The Penguins were inspired and really cracked the Duck’s defense. But guess what happens, Johan Hedberg ruins all the hopes of the Pens with a really really bad move on a 2 on 1. Ducks 4-Penguins 2.
Wednesday, October 10, New-York Islanders VS Pittsburgh Penguins : The new Islanders were in town to play the Penguins to achieve a 3 game winning-streak. After 2 losses, “The Moose” was benched and “Seabass” got a chance to show what he can do. Hard to believe but Pittsburgh was out shot a 3rd consecutive time on a 3rd consecutive loss. The “Arbitration line” scored three times in the second period and the Pens looked that they found the way of the victory. But the Islanders were not down yet and applied more and more pressure against the young defense. First, Mike Wilson put himself out of position in the second period and Jason Blake scored on a 2 on 1. After, Peca scored a powerplay go Read more»