A few post-game thoughts from Saturday . . .
As much as their power-play didn’t generate much, the Warriors discipline deserves commendation. The Warriors battled hard against a big, skilled Brandon Wheat Kings team and only took two minors. Brandon finished the night 0-for-2, while the Warriors were 0-for-5.
That’s pretty note worthy if you look at the Warriors’ recent history with the Wheat Kings. For a start it was the first time in nine games the Warriors didn’t give up a power-play goal to the Wheat Kings. Say what you will about the Warriors penalty kill last season, but the sheer disparity of chances between these teams is pretty striking.
In 2008-09 in their head-to-head matches Brandon was 13-for-49 on the power-play, while Moose Jaw was 4-for-23. In 2007-08 when the Warriors were a pretty competitive team the disparity is even worse — Brandon was 4-for-40 on the power-play in head-to-head games, while the Warriors were 3-for-16.
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Going into Saturday’s game, the Warriors were leading the league in goals. Even after being shutout, they’re tied for third in the league.
* * * *Heading into the season I thought Saskatoon was fairly equal to Brandon. Now I’m not so sure. I can’t recall ever seeing a team that looked bigger in person than on paper. Normally teams inflate their players’ heights and weights if anything.Alexander Urbom is listed at 6-4 and Jordan Hale is listed at 6-3. Both looked an inch or two taller at least. The Wheat Kings have four defencemen listed at 6-4 and the likes of Urbom and Colby Robak skate very well. Robak’s backdoor pass to Scott Glennie on their third goal was a thing of beauty. Unfortunately for Robak he didn’t even earn an assist on the goal.What are the Wheat Kings going to be like when they get defenceman Stephane Robidoux and forwards Brayden Schenn, Toni Rajala and Mark Stone back?Schenn was sent back by the Los Angeles Kings Monday. There is still a chance they might get Matt Calvert back as well, but it looks like he may stay in the Columbus system.The Wheat Kings look to have a lot of young depth — they have 11 1992-born players right now — which makes me think they won’t suffer the same kind of hangover that many former Memorial Cup hosts have in the past.* * * *Andrew Hayes’ three-game shutout streak is pretty impressive, but looking at the record streak of Flin Flon’s Chris Worth is even more impressive.Not only did Worthy record four straight shutouts, but his streak actually lasted three weeks because Worthy’s streak started on Dec. 23, 1967 and carried over the Christmas break into January of ’68.Hayes can tie Worthy’s record of four straight shutouts Friday at home to Red Deer.Hayes’ shutout streak is at 188 minutes and 10 seconds, so he needs another shutout and then 17 minutes and four seconds of more scoreless play to beat Worthy’s mark of 265:13.In the most obvious move of the early season, Hayes was named the WHL’s Boston Pizza player of the week.* * * *
I don’t envy the staff at the Civic Centre who have to try to keep the rink and it’s playing surface in top playing condition. That being said, it was pretty unfortunate that with nearly seven minutes for the ice to freeze after resurfacing, a pool of water started a chain reaction of woe that led to Brandon’s second goal.
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The Regina Pats looked to have gotten a lot better Monday. Obviously getting Jordan Eberle back gives their offence a huge shot in the arm, but I thought the Pats did very well to acquire Killian Hutt from Portland. The Pats gave up a fourth round Bantam pick and a conditional 2011 pick for Hutt, 18, who had 13 goals and 35 points in 57 games as a rookie with the Winterhawks. Hutt is 5-8 and has a fair bit of skill and speed.
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In other trades Monday, Saskatoon picked up Jeremy Boyer, 19, from Seattle for Stefan Burzan, a sixth round Bantam pick from 2009 and the Blades third round pick in 2010. Boyer hails from Saskatoon and was waiting at home to be traded. He had 21 goals and 56 points with the T-Birds last season.
Winless Lethbridge made a couple of moves over the weekend acquiring 20-year-old goalie Linden Rowat from Regina in exchange for a fifth round conditional 2010 pick. They also dealt defenceman Cody Castro to Tri-City for a 2010 sixth rounder.
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And in case you missed it Joel Broda scored the game-winning goal in his return to the Calgary Hitmen. After scoring 53 times with the Warriors and Hitmen last season, the fifth round pick of the Washington Capitals remains unsigned by the NHL club and looks to be back in the WHL for his 20-year-old season. Just what the only unbeaten team in the WHL needs — more firepower.