Back to the rink today for five games at Max Bell, mostly Calgary teams. Some great hockey for sure. My Recap.
GAME 1 CALGARY BUFFS 7 GRANDE PRAIRIE 1
The first game was another demonstration of Buffs dominance and Matthew Phillips dominance. Kid is incredibly dynamic. Truly a lot of fun to watch. While the blow out score suggests not an exciting game, it couldn’t be further from the truth. Watching the Buffs skill and great team play is really something to watch, maybe the best team since the Shattuck teams of Zach Parise. Buffs dominated this one beginning to end. Game was tight at 3-0 still something to play for when one of the GP players took a selfish four minute spearing penalty. 5-0 as the clock ticked down the second and the game getting out of control. The third period saw the Buffs continue to maintain possession of the puck while the GP team played goon hockey. I don’t cheer for a lot of things at Macs but I sure was cheering for GP to lose that one. Absolute goon play from some of the players and no discipline from the coaches.
GAME 2 CALGARY NORTHSTARS 6 LETHBRIDGE 0
This game looks worse on the scoreboard. Much improved Northstars team today, very intense and created some great chances. Got in behind the Lethbridge defence all game and were quicker. But Lethbridge ended the game with a similar shot count and some great chance of their own. The difference, Northstars goalie Logan Drackett was very good and the Lethbridge goalie was not very good at all. Pretty exciting game, lots of mistakes led to lots of chances and some very well executed plays made for some great moments.
GAME 3 UFA BISONS 7 SAN JOSE 2
Another better game than the score. The Bisons were good and created a ton of chances against a San Jose team that was a little bit behind in talent and had a very short bench. The Bisons proved to be a good skating team and were able to use all their lines to wear down the San Jose bench. Huge game from McConnell and Conley for the Bisons. Absolutely shocked these guys are not on WHL lists. McConnell a quick player with an incredible shot and Conley a big body, who skates well and made incredible passes all game. Fun to watch their line on the ice all game. Add the Bisons to the Buffaloes as my top teams in the tournament.
GAME 4 GERMAN NATIONALS 5 PA MINTOS 0
Thought PA looked great in the first, applied a ton of puck pressure and forced the German squad to make mistakes. Taking away their time and space seemed very effective. As the game went on they got away from this strategy. The Germans play the most boring hockey of the tournament by far. Their offensive zone consists almost entirely of a two man game down low while three guys stand at the blue line. As the play moves out they stand up the opposition and create zero chance for good transition. In their zone they are content to leave the puck to the perimeter and collapse to the net. Boring too watch because they have no intensity but very successful system for them. Outside of a couple of players I don’t think their skill level is that astonishing for what amounts to an all-star team. But their system works so they will have a shot. At 2-0 in the first two they are looking as odds on out of their pool.
GAME 5 CALGARY FLAMES 4 NY JR ISLANDERS 3
Well what can I say about this game. Exciting finish with the 3-1 come from behind victory but really a battle of two very poor teams. Was a game filled with mistakes and very little team play. Was near painful to watch. Feel a little like the Islanders got screwed on a goal waved off for a high stick. Definitely not a high stick but so be it. Right now the Northstars and Flames are in the hunt for playoff spots, sad because neither team is that impressive. Would guess the Flames will have a tough go against CAC and Saskatoon but who knows.
GAME 1 CARIBOO COUGARS VS CALGARY NORTHSTARS
Excited to see Cougars play, a team with a huge advantage in the goals the score vs goals against in their league play. Should be a good game if Northstars bring same intensity as today
GAME 2 SAN JOSE VS SSAC
SSAC always has a good program and will be a tough one for San Jose. Enjoyed watching the San Jose team today and will be interested to see what happens when their better goalie plays the whole game.
GAME 3 ISLANDERS VS CONTACTS
Contacts are out of the tournament with their second loss today so that means they can take this game to eliminate another team in the Islanders. Would expect Contacts to win after what I saw today but they are limited to only one line that creates anything so might be tough. Neither team has a full compliment of players.
GAME 4 VANCOUVER CHIEFS VS TISDALE
Tisdale is the top team in their province so expecting them to play a good game. Chiefs don’t usually bring one of the better teams but BC has some strong hockey. Will be missing most of this game sadly so might not have much to say.
GAME 5 BUFFS VS ONTARIO AVALANCHE
Looks like this one could very well decide who takes home this pool. Been impressed with Buffs and am excited to see them against some better competition. Looks like a good feature, worth the price of admission by itself.
Looking forward to another day at Max Bell, see everyone there.