As they ride a four game winning streak, the Moose Jaw Warriors depth has been a big key to the streak and their strong start in general.
In Tuesday’s win the Jakub Herman-Riley Reinbolt-Jesse Paradis line accounted for both goals. Granted Travis Hamonic made his goal with a perfectly placed howitzer, but it was great vision by Herman to see that Hamonic had jumped into the play. It looked like Herman had a lane to drive to the net, but he had his head up to find the trailer.
The defence was also very impressive. Limiting a team with as much offensive talent as the Blazers to 10 shots in 55 minutes speaks for itself. It was a strong defensive effort from the entire team, but the pairing of Dylan McIlrath and Connor Cox had a pretty good night.
All four lines played well as well. If it weren’t for Justin Leclerc in the Blazers goal each of the other lines would have scored. They all created fantastic scoring chances and at times dominated the Blazers on the forecheck as they cycled the puck at will in much of the first period.
* * * *
For the second week in a row, the Warriors were honourable mentions for the CHL’s Top 10. Calgary dropped to second, Kamloops is seventh, Vancouver is eighth and Tri-City is 10th.
* * * *
While the Warriors are off to a great start, they have also played a lot of home games. The Warriors are 7-1 at home and 2-3 on the road. They’ll be looking to get over the .500 mark when they travel to Kootenay and Lethbridge this weekend.
By contrast Portland (9-5) have played 10 of their games on the road. Same with the 9-3 Calgary Hitmen who are 7-1 away from the Saddledome. The Saskatoon Blades have only played three home games this season.
Home success is not guaranteed just because a team is winning on the road, but when you see a team on top of their division having played 70 per cent of their games on the road, that’s usually a good sign they’re a legitimate contender.
* * * *
The first Western Canada U16 Challenge Cup in taking place in Blackfalds, Alta. (just north of Red Deer) beginning on Oct. 29.
The tournament is a chance for provincial hockey associations to identify players before picking their top-11 next year for the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge which is the first step in Hockey Canada’s Program of Excellence.
Five members of the Warriors 2009 Bantam Draft class have made the respective provincial teams.
Top pick Morgan Rielly, who plays for the midget AAA Notre Dame Hounds, will be on B.C.’s blue line.
Second round pick A.J. Johnson from Saskatoon will be the lone prospect to represent Saskatchewan at the tournament.
Moose Jaw’s Clive Tolley is an assistant coach with Team Sask.
The Warriors have three players from Manitoba selected for their provincial team. Defenceman Travis Brown (fourth round, 76th overall) and forwards Colin Baudry (seventh round, 133rd overall) and Brayden Cuthbert (fifth round, 89th overall) were also chosen.
Mathieu Vigier, the Warriors fourth round pick who died following a car accident a month ago, was named an honourary member of the team by Hockey Manitoba.
* * * *
Martin Filo recently scored his first professional goal with HK Dukla Trencin of the Slovak professional league — the Slovnaft Extraliga. Filo was named the player of the match by the fans in their most recent game.
Filo has a goal and two assists and has appeared in all 13 games in his rookie season for Dukla Trencin. Filo spent three season with the Trencin U18s and U20s before being drafted by the Warriors in the 2007 CHL Import Draft.
* * * *
While pondering what other players from year’s team were up to I discovered that Evan Fuller was riding bulls in the B.C. Rodeo Association this year. The Williams Lake product was always tough as nails and in a sea of sneakers on the shoe rack outside of the Warriors locker room Fuller’s cowboy boots stood out like a sort thumb.
Fuller had a great season too. He was fourth in the bull riding season leader board heading into the BCRA finals in September.