Two season’s ago the Kamloops Blazer’s dealt for an eighteen year old tough guy named Mike Brown and Blazer fans were abhorred at the price, offensive spark plug Shawn McNeil. Fans were upset and wondering how the Blazer brass could deal a potential league scoring leader for a thug? After all, the kid couldn’t get along with Red Deer management and had demanded a trade, word was he had limited skills and little work ethic. Kamloops fans and some media would then take their shots at Mike upon his arrival, making comments like “he’s lazy”, “can’t skate”, “takes stupid penalties”, “looks like he doesn’t care” and “boy did Kamloops get taken on the deal”! Two years later, he’s as popular a player as Kamloops has on their roster, Mike Brown has won over most. Mike has continued to improve his skating and is second to none in picking his spots to send a message to opponents who attempt taking liberties with his teammates!
St. Albert 8 at Lloydminster 2
The St. Albert Saints, the 1997-98 AJHL Champions had their backs against the wall on this night, down 3-0 in the series but they came out fighting. To shake things up, they gave goaltender Kirby Millar the start over regular starter Scott Kabotoff.
The Saints wasted no time getting on the board as Pavel Beranek scored 1:50 in on the powerplay, assisted by Marc Collins and team captain Mike Buchan. It was Beranek’s fourth of the playoffs, and 13th point. Near the end of the period the Blazers tied it up at one as Mark Hallam scored a powerplay goal of his own – his seventh of the playoffs. However, Marc Collins gave the Saints the lead again a minute later with his first of the postseason, assisted by Buchan, and Collins assisted on Buchan’s second of the playoffs to give his club a two-goal edge.
The Blazers came out flying in the second and eventually were able to beat Kirby Millar. Travis Barnes scored with 11:51 to go in the period. Joey Bastien then struck for two goals near the end of the period – his seventh and eighth – to make it 5-2 Saints.
St. Albert continued to put on pressure in the third and eventually scored a couple of quick goals – by Rob Ziemmer and Andrew Gibson – to make it 7-2 Saints. At that point they chased goaltender Ray Fraser from the nets as Kevin Rutherford got his first AJHL playoff action of the season. Bastien would add one on Rutherford to complete his hat-trick.
Olds 3 at Calgary Canucks 9 Read more»
St. Albert 2 at Lloydminster 5
The St. Albert Saints were hoping that a change in scenery would help their luck, but to no avail. The 1997-98 AJHL Champions were pushed to the brink of elimination Tuesday night as they fell to the Lloydminster Blazers 5-2. The club now trails in the Division Final series 3-0.
The team chased Saints netminder Scott Kabotoff early on as they broke out to a 2-0 lead on their first four shots. First, Scott Pratt scored just over three minutes in and Travis Barnes added a tally of his own to stake the Blazers to a two-goal lead.
28 seconds into the second period the Blazers made it 3-0. Pratt scored his second of the game. With 2:07 left in the period the Saints scored their first of the game. Nathan Kerbes had his first of the playoffs, assisted by Ron Grimard and Joey Bastien.
With the score 3-1, the Blazers put the game away in the third. Mark Hallam made it 4-1 Blazers 2:16 into the period and Grant Lorentz made it 5-1. The Saints didn’t give up, however, and Marc Chmilar brought the Saints to within three in the game’s last few minutes with his first of the playoffs. Unfortunately for the Saints, that was as close as they were going to get.
(1) Scott Pratt – Two goals and two assists continues his stellar play in the playoffs.
(2) Travis Barnes – Two points, including the all-important goal that put his club up by two in the first.
(3) Mark Hallam – Third member of this line. Contributed offensively and defensively on this night. One goal and one assist. Read more»
Lloydminster 5 at St. Albert 3
The Lloydminster Blazers put a stranglehold on the series as they won for the second straight night in St. Albert.
The game began the same way as Game One as Joey Bastien of the Saints deposited the puck in the open net after a wild scramble in front. His goal was assisted by Ron Grimard. Six minutes later, with 4:28 left Jamie Weiss tied the game up for the Blazers and shifted the game’s momentum. Shots after one period were Saints 15, Blazers 13.
On to the second period, the Blazers took command of the game. It was Weiss again, with his second of the game, scoring six minutes in and last game’s hero Paul Esdale made it 3-1 Blazers on a goal assisted by Mark Hallam. Despite the fact that the Blazers scored two goals that period, it was largely dominated by St. Albert. The Saints outshot Lloydminster 14-9.
In the third, the Saints came out flying and Darren Peebles’ hard work eventually resulted in a goal. With the gap now down to one, the Saints were pressing but could not get a goal past Ray Fraser who was both good and lucky on this night. With 2:00 remaining and the Saints on the powerplay, a brutal giveaway in the neutral zone eventually resulted in Mark Hallam heading on a breakaway. He scored to make it 4-2 Blazers. With just under 50 seconds left, the Saints brought the deficit to one again as Ron Grimard scored, but it was not meant to be. Jamie Weiss sealed it for Lloyd as he got the hat-trick into the empty net in the dying seconds.
Calgary Canucks 3 at Olds 4 Read more»
After the Star’s top 10 ( theme of my previous article ) one can still find some quality prospects that have legitimate NHL potential. In my opinion, this is what makes the Dallas system an upper echelon prospect pool. Below are some of my thoughts on these emerging players, which also includes their current statistics.
Please email me with your thoughts & comments ( My next article will be on the “Star’s Long-shot Prospects”)
Tyler Bouck – RW 6-0 185lbs
Tyler’s game is based primarily around his most obvious strength, and that is speed. Able to skate as fast as almost anyone, this kid’s wheels make him very dangerous. On the other hand, he hasn’t found a consistent scoring knack yet, although his skills are well rounded enough. In order to compensate for this he has developed a good defensive game, and has added a physical, “in-your-face” style as well. With his two-way play, battle level, skating, and solid skills, Tyler projects to a 2nd or 3rd line checking winger that can score some goals. His goal scoring upside could be higher, but somewhere around 15-20 goals seems logical at this point. Often compared to Darren McCarty for his physical style, the Stars could definitely use the speed and grit Tyler would provide.
Prince George (WHL) GP-56 G-22 A-25 PTS-47 PIM-178 +/- 8
WJC (CAN) GP-7 G-1 A-0 PTS-1 PIM-2 +/- 3
Marcus Kristofferson – RW 6-3 200lbs