Friday, May 21, 2010

Calgary-Brandon rematch tonight

Should be a fun game to watch, and it will go oldschool in a hurry if the score gets out of hand.

The Hitmen defeated the hometown Wheaties the other night by a 5-1 score, with all goals coming in the first period.

Looks like Ian Schultz will play in this one after taking a hard shot off the hand during one of Brandon's extended 5-on-3 power plays in the third period.

I've been impressed with Calgary coach Mike Williamson's adjustments in the games. His team fell behind Moncton early, but battled back to win on a flukey bounce late goal from Tyler Shattock (who also scored the other night against Brandon). Then, after falling behind Windsor 3-0, the Hitmen closed to within one goal of tying the game before Taylor Hall picked off a bad Giffen Nyren clearing attempt and streaked up the middle of the ice to beat goalie Martin Jones on the backhand.

Jones, 20, is an undrafted free agent from North Vancouver, B.C. and has had a strong tournament. One of the CHL's finalists for the goalie of the year award, he should have plenty of offers from teams this offseason. EDIT-- As has been pointed out to me, Jones is property of the L.A. Kings. Pretty good pickup for them from the looks of it, but good luck to him beating out two Jonathans: Quick and Bernier, in that organization for playing time anytime soon. Should make the Manchester Monarchs strong again in net assuming Bernier graduates to the big club next year. Thanks for keeping me straight on Jones.

As discussed previously, Brandon needs their big offense to step up. They weren't effective Wednesday night, but keeping them off the scoreboard two nights in a row will be a tall order for Calgary, who may or may not have top scorer Brandon Kozun in the lineup. He will be a gametime decision, and I expect him to play, even if in a limited capacity.

I'll have the game recap up tonight...and then we'll know who faces Windsor in the championship game Sunday night.


  1. Very nice preview... curious to see if the Wheat Kings can finally beat Calgary...

    Quick note: Martin Jones was an undrafted free-agent, but the Los Angeles Kings signed him after last season...

  2. Thank you for the update-- I appreciate it. Someone else also set me straight on another message board about Jones's status as well.

  3. yeah, i don't get the Wheat Kings struggles - Brayden Scheen, Matt Calvert - heck, Toni Rajala among many others. Kirk, I've only caught glimpses of these games on the NHL network and I haven't watched them as thoroughly as I do with the B's - but is there something you know of in their style or play (or lack there of) that isn't getting it done? Complacency, playing the other teams' game?

    Hope all is well.

  4. Trav, I think it all comes down to goaltending.

    Aside from the shutout game against Moncton, Jacob De Serres has only been eeeeehhhhhhh in this tourney, while Jones and Grubauer have been much better on the whole.

    But, with the firepower on the Wheaties (and kudos to you for citing Rajala-- I left him out when discussing Brandon's high-octane offense the other day), all it takes is one or two solid games in net from De Serres and they could go the distance.

    But, as the old adage goes in hockey-- goaltending and defense win you championships. Could be that the Wheat Kings are more of a regular season team, but with Travis Hamonic and Colby Robak, they certainly have a solid top-two on D.

    I wouldn't be surprised to see them upset Calgary tonight...hard to imagine that those forwards will be held in check for two consecutive games. Question is-- can De Serres keep the puck out of his net enough to give his team a shot?

    Thanks for reading.