Red Deer at Moose Jaw post-game

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Thursday, October 1, 2009

While Red Deer's penalty kill is near the bottom of the league, the Warriors' power-play looked very sharp on its two chances. It only took 10 seconds for Thomas Frazee to find Brendan Rowinski with a great pass and loads of space and on the second power-play, the Warriors had plenty of chances. Their penalty kill was superb once again. The Rebels only goal came on a delayed penalty, giving the Rebels a brief 6-on-4.

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Warriors head coach Dave Hunchak gave some of the credit for the success Brendan Rowinski and Thomas Frazee had to role players like Cody Smuk, Nathan MacMaster and Corey Scott. Hunchak's reasoning was that his third and fourth line were playing so well he could match them up against some of Red Deer's top lines and get his scoring lines (for want of a better term) ice time against Red Deer's lesser lines. Indeed, the checking line of Smuk, Spencer Edwards and Jesse Paradis saw a lot of ice time against the Red Deer top unit of Andrej Kudrna, Landon Ferraro and Willie Coatzee.

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Do you get the feeling that if Antonin Honejsek can get one puck to go in the net for him, he'll start scoring regularly. The skillful Czech rookie deflected a shot off the bar and appeared to have a the net begging on the power-play, but saw the puck bobble on him as he chunked his one-timer.

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I had to laugh at Red Deer's John Persson Wednesday. After deflecting a shot with a high stick, Persson was the next person to touch the puck and the referee whistled it dead while making the hand gesture indicating the play had been stopped due to a high stick. The Swedish rookie pled his case and then quickly skated to the penalty box, apparently thinking he'd been assessed a minor penalty. The penalty box officials opened the door for Persson and he sat down before the referees came over and explained it was just a face-off, not a minor penalty. Obviously there were some language issues, but I've never seen a player go to the box on his own.

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There were some huge hits Wednesday. Most nights, Dylan McIlrath's hit on Josh Cowen at the end of the first period would have been the hit of the game, but Ryan Stanton catching Kudrna with his head down was the best hit of the season to date for the Warriors.

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It will be interesting to see how Deven Dubyk does in Medicine Hat. Todd Mathews followed the get demoted to third-string go to Notre Dame and get traded back into the WHL route and it worked out well for him. The Tigers pulled Tyler Bunz Wednesday night and gave Dubyk his first taste of action. The Tigers lost 5-0 to Edmonton, but Dubyk stopped 16 of 17 shots in 28:47 of ice time. Dubyk is the reigning SJHL goalie of the week after posting a 2-1-0-1 record, a 1.69 GAA and a .935 save percentage. That start in Junior A should certainly be good for his confidence.

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Former Warrior and Rebel Carter Smith was in attendance Wednesday. The pride of Eyebrow, Sask. is taking classes at the University of Regina and is a member of the Cougars hockey team. Smith said he's enjoying life in the CIS and is gearing up for their Canada West conference opener in Edmonton Friday against the always strong University of Alberta.

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This weekend's road trip is a tough test for the Warriors. They aren't getting a lot of respect yet, but in my opinion, Edmonton is the second best team in the Central Division and my pick to finish fourth in the conference. They're not flashy, but they made big strides last season and are off to a very good start. And Calgary, is of course, strong as usual. They aren't as explosive as they were last year, but they're unbeaten heading into the weekend and are ranked as the best team in Canadian Hockey League.

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