Saturday, March 28, 2009

Friday Night Fun

We do not deny that when it comes to which of the leagues we enjoy the most that the WHL is our favorite. Everything about the WHL is first rate for a supposed junior league, even the fun and the strange but mainly the playoff hockey.

Give us Friday Night Hockey in the WHL any chance and we will be there. It is very rare to find a boring game during the WHL playoffs and the series that Tomas Kundratek and his Medicine Hat Tigers and Swift Current Broncos have been putting on is proof positive.

Heading into Game 5 up in Swift Current the series was rightfully tied at 2-2 as the teams split home games to send the message that this was going to be a hard fought series. This is the good old fashioned heading for a Game 7 series.

If Medicine Hat does lose this series they will point to Game 5 and know they had a great chance to steal this series from the Broncos. Kundratek as we have been saying needed to be an active player so he needed just 1:04 into the game to help Medicine Hat jump out to a 1-0 lead.

It was Kundratek's 2nd point of the playoffs and it almost set a great tone for the Tigers. The Tigers made it 2-0 at 5:20 of the first period before Swift Current came back to tie the score in the first period.

The teams traded goals in the second period but Swift Current got the back breaker at 6:14 of the 3rd period to give the Broncos a 4-3 lead and the Broncos added an empty net goal at 19:39 to finish the Tigers 5-3.

Kundratek we graded out as a "B" for this game as his played disciplined, staying out of the penalty box, we still think Kundratek needs to look for his offense especially on the power play as to us going 1 for 6 is why Medicine is facing elimination on Sunday night.


Count us as perhaps the only ones who do not call the Air Force Academy's 2-0 shut out of Carl Hagelin's Michigan Wolverines as an upset. We said Michigan was ripe for the pickings and sure enough the Wolverines discovered the hard way about the old saying "Nothing can Stop the US Air Force."

Michigan had shown all season long a failure to come up with the big win, the big goal when they needed. Toss out that Michigan was 2nd ranked and Air Force was 15th as the NCAAs is a one game "winner take all" setup basis upon what the college football should be.

It is a tournament that is set up based upon how you performed during the regular season and league playoffs; in other words you earned you way to your status. Forget what you see in the stat sheets like a 43-13 difference in shots on goal.

Hagelin did not play as well as we have seen him play this season. Just 3 shots on goal for a player who we had seen fire 8-9 shots on net. His defense was typically good but credit the Air Force because every single time they needed a play someone made it.

Hagelin ends his sophomore season 13-18-31 +19 which are not bad numbers as Hagelin finished as the 3rd leading scorer on Michigan. Hagelin posted 1 power play goal, 2 short handed ones but more importantly 4 game winners.


Our friend Victor Fernandes has a good audio clip of Mitch Gaulton talking about his playing time status with the Erie Otters right here. Give Gaulton credit for how he is handling a very awkward situation and we wonder if he will return to Erie next season.


So you are wondering why is there a picture of an attractive lady on the blog? That is Rhonda Carlson who is the anchor for CHAT TV in Medicine Hat. Our friend Jon Keen (the 3rd best play by play guy in the WHL) of the Swift Current Broncos has a wager with this nice lady.

If the Medicine Hat Tigers win their series with the Swift Current Broncos, then Keen has to do his radio show dress in the orange and black of the Tigers. The Bronco's win then Ms Carlson has to do one of her newscasts dressed in the colors of the Broncos.

Since Tomas Kundratek plays for Medicine Hat then our choice is rather easy but at the same time, the evil side of us is kind of hoping to see Ms Carlson wearing Bronco colors.

The reason being is that Ms Carlson happens to be married to Willie Desjardins who is the coach of the Medicine Hat Tigers. It might be interesting to see how this turns out.

On the lighter side of this though it is more fun reason why junior hockey is a lot of fun to cover. Another favorite story is that Regan Bartel who is the voice of the Kelowna Rockets has been kicked off the Rocket's team bus for the duration of the playoffs.

His crime? Bartel is a member of the media even though he is the Rocket's play by play announcer. Wonder what would happen if John Tortorella or Glen Sather pulled something like this with the beat reporters?

(Rhonda Carlson courtesy of Jon Keen's sense of humor, Jon Keen courtesy of Jon Keen)

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