Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Tigers WHL Champs!

What a game, what a finish in a foggy Medicine Hat Arena. Brennan Bosch scored the winner, early into the 2nd overtime period to give the Tigers the 3-2 win and the game seven victory.

It was a game that looked in jeopardy of being suspended after fog settled in during the 1st overtime. The warmth of the building and the summer-like weather in the 'Hat contributed to a thick layer of fog rising off the ice surface. Every four to five minutes of play, referees Andy Thiessen and Kyle Rehman ordered the two teams off the benches and onto the ice to help dissipate the fog by creating some air movement - reminiscent of the 1974 playoff game between Buffalo and the New York Islanders.

The atmosphere was electric in the Arena, especially in overtime as the fans tried to lift their team for the final time this season. The long delays just seemed to get the crowd going even more as they cranked the music to keep the fans going. As was the case all year, the Tigers responded.

Game seven was fantastic - well worth the two-hour drive and the 1:15am arrival time back in Swifty. Here's a few pics...

Tiger fans urge on their team in double overtime

Brennan Bosch somewhere on the bottom...

Former Bronco Jerrid Sauer lovin' life in the Gas City

- Tiger fans...were Tiger fans last night. Defenseman Gord Baldwin was seemingly the fans whipping boy most of the night. There is ALWAYS one player for the Tigers the fans always seem to be all over.

- Why can't their fans get along? I was in the middle of two separate yelling matches between fans as they all clamoured around for the same space. I've never seen a fanbase squabble so much.

- Shaw TV was interviewing Tigers Goaltending Consultant Eli Wilson in our corner of the rink. Fans were all over Barry Strader of SHAW TV as he stood in front of the glass "get out of the way you #!$*", "Unlike you we paid for our tickets....get out of our way!" Just relentless. That's what makes the Arena experience unlike any other. Strader and his camera man couldn't get out of their quicker.

- One of the best reasons to watch a game in the Arena.... Taco in a bag. Those who know what I'm talking about, know what I'm talking about.

- I chatted with Tigers Will Desjardins post-game. For the last four years Willy has downplayed the strength of his team, always modest, and always feeling very fortunate and lucky to get to where they're at. I thought no doubt Willy would let it all out.... I thought wrong. He continued along the same lines........here's a transcript:

JK: Will, can I finally get you to say your Tigers hockey club is the best team in the WHL?

Willy D: (laughing) Naw, I can't say that, there's lots of great teams in this league.... but I guess tonight we are, I can say that. We played hard....any given night there's lots of great teams in this league.

JK: Will, you have the trophy now to prove it....

Willy D: It's great we worked hard and it's great to win. I love winning but there are a lot of good teams and any night anybody can win.

JK: What's the message, do you celebrate this one, or reel the club in for the Memorial Cup and say let's hold off one more week?

Willy D: We enjoy this one. It's been such a long grind and we gotta enjoy it and then move on. We have to get by it right away and start focusing, it's going to be a real tough week out there.

Here's a quick rundown of an interview with former Bronco Jerrid Sauer:

JK: Big goal by Brennan Bosch, what was your reaction when you saw the red light from the bench?

Jerrid: It was just unreal, Vancouver battled us so hard and they did such a great job in Vancouver to get up in the series but we were very comfortable coming back home and we always always are. You know, Brennan Bosch with a huge goal, he got a triple overtime winner last year and now a double overtime winner for the league title, he's just a clutch player.

JK: How nice is it to win it not only on home ice but in your hometown? To raise that trophy over your head must have been unbelievable.

Jerrid: Oh it feels so good, I raised the trophy and look up and have about it seven of eight family members looking down right at me and it feels so good it's just such an honour to win that.

Congratulations to the Tigers and their staff. Listening to the post-game show on the way home was sure a nice treat. To hear longtime voice of the Tigers Bob Ridley bask in the glory of another championship was fantastic. He's such a good guy and conducts himself like a pro at all times. He's been down the road before and knows how to pull it off. I'm not sure how composed I would be in that situation but I definitely heard how to do it last night.

Memorial Cup begins Friday in Vancouver. Unless something changes in the next few days I'll be tuning in on Sportsnet just like everyone else. I think it's safe to say these two teams have to be considered co-favorites going in. I would expect to see the teams in the final but would not be surprised to see the Giants celebrating this time around. Home ice advantage will be huge next week.

Have a great Tuesday,

1 comment:

Bob Orr said...

Grrrrr im ticked, the Giants deserved this, payback in the cup, im hopin. Desardins........does he have ADD? He doesnt stop bouncin on the bench, a tad weird, oh well, a good coach, nonetheless.