Friday, March 23, 2012

Oil Kings take Game 1

The Score - Oil Kings 3 - Ice 1

What Happened - This one was there for the taking for the Ice but for the second straight game they couldn't score a goal. The Oil capitalized on their chances, Kootenay didn't.

Highlites are here.

The Goals - After surviving the initial onslaught of the Oil Kings - actually it was more of a war of attrition to start this thing - the Ice started to carry the play and get some pressure. Some of that occurred in the last moments of the first period but an ill-advised pinch - that would be a theme for the Oil King goals on this night - by Tanner Muth in the neutral zone gave the home squad a 2-on-1. Lieuwen stopped the original shot by Curtis Lazar only to have the rebound one-timed past him by Mitch Moroz with six seconds left in the 1st period to make it 1-0 Oil... After a second period dominated by the Ice - what's that saying about opportunities looking larger after they're gone? - Kootenay again had some great chances to tie it, especially after some more sustained pressure in the third. Another ill-advised neutral zone pinch - this time by Jagger Dirk - sent another 2-on-1 with St. Croix in on Lieuwen. This time it hit a back-checking Ice defender and went by Lieuwen for a 2-0 Oil King lead... Later in the 3rd, this time after an Ice 3-on-1 that fizzled, Curtis Lazar was off to the races on another odd-man rush and stuffed in his first playoff goal while crashing the net. 3-0 Oil. All three goals off odd-man rushes.

The Lack of Goals - Kootenay had only a handful of quality chances on Broissoit tonight. Really, besides a couple of goal-mouth scrambles and a couple of rushes, it was probably one of his easier no-no's.

Tough Nite - Ice D Tanner Muth was dash-3. The top unit of Max Reinhart, Brock Montgomery and Drew Czwerwonka were all minus-2.

The PP - 0-4 on this night and continuing to fall like a rock. Not a lot of pucks to the net but the Ice had their opportunities, including back-to-back infractions by the Oil that produced a short 5-on-3 in the second. I get the whole best players on the ice thing by putting Max back on the point but I'm not sure I'd put my best playmaker and leading scorer on the point if the PP isn't producing and it isn't at 3 for 38 over the past ten games, a paltry 8%. Time to shake that thing up. It's still easy to double-shift him.

The Rookies - Earlier in the season I remarked how Sam Reinhart - taken 15th overall in the 2010 Bantam Draft - and Curtis Lazar - taken 2nd overall in the same draft - outplayed his higher picked brethren. That wasn't the case tonight. They gave Brossoit first star honours but it should've been Lazar. He was 2nd but a force tonight and the Oil's best player. Oh and a couple of weeks ago the Salmon Arm product was named Sport BC 2011 Junior Male Athlete of the Year.

The Webcast - Plunked down my 8 bucks (with tax) for the Internet broadcast knowing I was going to get a quality product from Rexall. They didn't disappoint.

Brossoit - Reincarnation of former Kelowna Rockets goaltender Kelly Guard? He doesn't move much - at 6'3" 200lb he doesn't have to - and seems to be in the right position at the right time. Discuss.

The Scratches - Luke Paulsen (shoulder - indefinite), Jeff Hubic, Jon Martin. The latter two I can see checking into the line-up in game two to offer up some more grit, though if they don't find the back of the net, grit won't win this series.

What it means - Lots of positives to take out of this effort including the fact that it was their's for the taken in the 2nd but they couldn't covert. Down 1-0, they could easily gain a split with a win Sunday.

The Media - Couple of good articles out there today. This one on Ice captain Drew Czerwonka, who played well tonight and had a lot of fire but didn't have a lot of speed. Czerwonka, an Oiler pick in 2010 (6th round 166th overall), is playing for a contract. If they Oilers don't sign him by June 1st he goes back into the draft. The same goes for Ice D-man Joey Leach, who was selected by the Flames in the same draft (3rd round, 73rd overall). And there's a good one here by the Tri-Cities Herald Annie Fowler on former Ice GM and current architect of the Tri-City Americans Bob Tory and the turnaround of that franchise. The only thing missing from the success in the desert is a championship (he's got one with the Ice), could this be the year.

Jet Comeback - Former Ice forward Ben Maxwell scored his first goal of the season to spur the Jets comeback in a 4-3 OT win over the Capitals tonight to keep their playoff hopes alive. The goal was Maxwell's first of the season who waived by the Jets and claimed by the Ducks only to be waived by the Ducks six games later and reclaimed by the Jets and sent down to their AHL farm team in St. Johns, where former Ice players Jason Jaffray and John Negrin also play.

The Shout-out - I'd be remiss if I didn't offer congrats to the Cranbrook Midget Tier II Ice who won the BC Provincial title Wednesday with 4-3 win over Langley.

Game two goes Sunday at 5PM.


Anonymous said...

Jagger Dirk is a frigging useless pilon. - - - no place on this team for him next season. And Neibrandt is lost cause.

Anonymous said...

Seems like were playing out the season, getting the golf clubs ready, some 20's heading to play some pro this spring - No goals the last two games - Maybe we are just plain wore out from the long season rigors - Defense is small and slow - only one defensemen with some size who is not very mobile - power play cannot score - cannot understand that some of these things have not been fixed as the problems have existed for the last third of the season - Oh well, last year was a blast - We cannot have icing on the cake every year.

ELL said...

I believe. There is to much character in our dressing room for them to roll over. Go Ice!

Anonymous said...

What I don't understand is why Knoblauch has changed the lines again for the playoffs. The beginning of the season nobody could beat this team and the line combinations were jelling excellent. I thought the Reinharts and Mckinlay were great together, speed to burn. Chewy n Izzy n Max was another combo that worked. He's gotta get back to those line combos that worked early in the season. Remember the BC trip anyone?

Jeff said...

As a coach you always are looking at different combinations. And not scoring in two straight games, I'd imagine you'll see some different ones Sunday.

And to the first Anymouse, I get it, you don't like Dirk and Neibrandt. I don't have a problem with an opinion - they're like assholes; everyone's got one - but if you're going to criticize then do it constructively, with some back-up to your argument. Ever have anyone call you useless at your job?

So knock it off with the darts.


Cup Half Full said...

I agree with Jeff. Unless anyone believes they can do any job better than who is doing that job, be it an office clerk, police officer, or hockey player, then they have no right to criticize. Criticizing and griping is real easy to do when you merely sit on a couch or a seat in an arena and listen or watch. Whatever happens our ICE should be proud of themselves for continuing their winning ways and making the playoffs for a 14th straight season, the longest active streak in the WHL. Likewise every fan should be proud of them also. GO ICE GO!!

Anonymous said...


I don't think Jeff was saying you can't provide any criticism. I think what he was referring to is meaningless and mean-spirited criticism.

It is obvious the first blogger has some hate on for these 2 kids as this is not the first time they have taken this cheap shot here.

To my knowledge, you have to score a goal to win a game. When your best players aren't your best players, you reduce your chance of winning. The top line was -2 and didn't even generate the best scoring chances the Ice had. This isn't new - it's been happening regularly in the second half.

PP has been mired in a horrible slump, but the same group gets sent on the ice in hopes of some magical turnaround. Doesn't happen if you don't go to the difficult areas to score. What ever happened to a hard wist shot from the point and crash the net? Current group on the ice doesn't seem to want to pay the price in front.

There is still a lot of talent on this team, remains to be seen what character will be shown.

Last years team led by committee with McNabb, Fraser, King, Boomer, etc. This team doesn't seem to have that leadership...yet.

Anonymous said...

Its like watching ground hog day. Same thing happening over and over. The hurdle just got raised another foot higher now as the Ice have to win both home games. Is this possible? Well anything is possible. But to achieve this the unforced turnovers have to stop. Bad passes, missed passes and poor dump and getting goal hungry when they have the lead late in games is killing them. Fix all that by wed. and there fine.

Anonymous said...

knobluach has had an entire season to find a line combo or two and right down to the last game of the season if a line didnt score in three shifts then they were split for another guy to be in or out. useless juggling, find a line and damn well stick to it and belive in them.

As for Dirk, he is not a high level WHL defenceman, nor is Neibrandt. both mediocre and have steadilly gotten worse this season.

The 20 year old forwards have had a dejected demeanor about them since the new year and this is our leadership on the bench. they have come to terms with the fact that their hockey carreers are over and are playing like it to boot. Neither seem to give a crap and that brings the entire bench to that level when they are looked up to.

Pro hockey is not in the books for dog-fuckers, sorry boys. you both had huge potential and have wasted your last year to show it and maybe make it somewhere.

Thank god for Lieuwen because without him there was no playoffs this season.


Anonymous said...

so dirk and neibrandt are mediocre? Oh that's terrible. Do you expect every player on the team to be all stars? These two have made great strides since last season when they were 6 7 d men, this season dirk plays in all situations and finished the season with more points than all fellow d men but leach. Neibrandt plays against the other teams top lines every night to shut them down and also is one of our top penalty killers. I think you need to open your eyes and see the bigger picture her BR

Anonymous said...

Obviously you didn't really SEE the game in Edmonton, they played good the first game and very good the second game. Lieuwen did stand on his head but the first game they helped him out a bit as well. It ia team effort. They hit Edmonton hard and came out with great force, Edmonton was scared to go in the corners. Just so happened, if Sam raised the puck a bit, we tied it. They can win and will win the next two. I absolutely get frustrated with opinionated people such as you. You probably have never played a game of hockey in your life buddy! So please keep you comments if they are so terribly negative to yourself. Thanks.