Sunday, March 29, 2009

A One Game Season

We keeping harping on how the playoffs are our best teaching tool because it is a simple process. Either you elevate your game to help your team or you don't and you go home.

With his Medicine Hat Tigers facing elimination in Game 6 of their series with the Swift Current Broncos, Tomas Kundratek brought his "A" game and now there will be a Game 7 on Tuesday evening after a 3-0 Tiger win.

Kundratek came out aggressive in this game looking to make plays and showing the side of him that we saw in the World Juniors. On a couple of occasions his aggressiveness almost hurt him but overall it was a well rounded solid performance from the Ranger's second 3rd round pick in the 2008 Entry Draft.

Kundratek came out of the gate with an attacking style looking to make plays on offense, it was exactly the kind of game that the Tigers told us they believed Kundratek could give them. Kundratek opened ice for the Tiger forwards by going on the attack but his attack was "controlled."

Kundratek came close to scoring goals but his play late in the second period while the Tigers were on the power play was his highlight. Kundratek fought to keep the puck inside the offensive zone then in the same motion fired a shot on net that Bronco goalie Travis Yonkman struggled with and Tiger Zdenek Okal slammed home for a 2-0 Tiger lead.

In our eyes that goal at 15:29 of the second period took the wind out of the Broncos as they really did not mount much of an attack in the 3rd period. The 3rd period was more about which team could complain about the other's questionable behavior as the 2 teams postured for Tuesday's deciding Game 7.

On defense, Kundratek was guilty of looking too hard for the big hit and was lucky that he did not either cost the Tigers a goal or a power play. Still Kundratek still earns good marks for his play as the Tigers held the Bronco's at bay and off the scoreboard.

Once Kundratek learns when to go for the hit and when not to then we believe he will give the Rangers a very serviceable 2 way defender. But the most important test will come Tuesday night when Kundratek plays in his first WHL Game 7.

If Kundratek plays like he did in Game 6 then the Tigers will advance. If he does not then Hartford will be gaining a new defensemen by next weekend.

(Kundratek picture courtesy of Tim Swanky/Medicine Hat Tigers)

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