OK forgive the play on words as we are recovering from a form of the flu that knocked us on our backside for a couple of days. Of course compared to what the fans and those connected to the Belleville Bulls are feeling right now might be worse than what we went though.
A 9-0 win over Belleville makes one wonder just how good Kitchener really is and whether or not they have been toying with everyone in this year's version of the Memorial Cup. Never before has there been this kind of massacre in a Memorial Cup semi-final and we will be the very first to speak up and say what you saw was not the real Belleville Bulls if you watched the game.
What happened was as close to a perfect game as one could play but we now have to wonder if perhaps the Kitchener Rangers might have put together their best effort of the Memorial Cup for the wrong game. If anything what we know about Spokane is that they take what they are offered and force other teams out of their own game plans.
But that is tomorrow as this is about how a 5-8 20 year old by the name of Justin Azevedo does not have an NHL contract with his name on it. The OHL player of the year had his best game of the year with 3 goals and 2 assists but it was more than the points he put out that stood out.
What Azevedo did was set a tone and tempo for his teammates to feed off of and you could see it as this is a special talent who clearly the scouts forgot to measure one part of and that is his heart. One day they will discover a means to scout a player's heart and his soul so that players like Azevedo do not fall though the cracks.
Give credit to the coaching staff and management of the Kitchener Rangers, they saw something in Azevedo that said he would be special. Now the biggest question is what will he be able to do on Sunday to top this performance?
As much as this was a perfect performance from the K-Rangers, it was also the total meltdown by the Belleville Bulls as they basically were never in this game. It was as if the first goal scored by the K-Rangers just 46 seconds in to the game paralyzed them and they never snapped out of it.
Really one could honestly look at the faces of the Bull players after that goal and see defeat written on them. Any good feeling the Bulls may have had about Wednesday's now really meaningless win by Belleville was erased by the Kadri goal in the first period.
What was really impressive was how when the K-Rangers got their 3-0 lead it was like "we need to score goal number 4 right now" and they did less than 2 minutes later as the 4-0 lead was the final dagger in the hearts of the Bulls.
The rest of the game was basically going though the motions and if we do have any complaints there are 2; the first is the last goal that the K-Rangers scored with 17 seconds remaining in the game.
Sorry but it is one thing to win big but we felt the K-Rangers with that little time remaining should have not put the puck on net, fire it around the boards, skate the time away but to take a shot on goal was a questionable move.
The other complaint we have is that for as great a performance that the K-Rangers had there was one area where they had best be concerned about and that was going 1-7 on their power plays against the Bulls. We do not think Spokane will melt under the pressure of playing the K-Rangers.
If anything we think the K-Rangers had best hope they have a lot more left in the tank because Spokane's 3-0 record in the round robin was clearly no fluke.
However for one night, the K-Rangers played the kind of game that few in the NHL could match and tonight was about them sending a message once and for all who the best team in the OHL really was this season.
We got the message loud and clear; sadly so did Belleville and their fans.
1 day ago