Monday, November 10, 2008
Rough Weekend / Streak Reaches 100 / Doyle Should Play in ADT Challenge
I was officially 0 for 3 at sporting events on the weekend.
A couple of Bronco losses on the road book-ended a disappointing Riders game Saturday at Mosiac Stadium.
Friday night in Brandon, the Broncos put themselves in a position to win in Brandon for the first time since December 9th, 2006. Cody Eakin's 2nd goal of the game a minute into the third gave the Broncos a short-lived 2-1 lead.
A tying goal from Darren Bestland led to a powerplay marker from Matt Calvert and the Wheat Kings wouldn't look back as the Glennie/Schenn/Calvert line took over the game from that point on for a 5-3 Brandon win.
The Broncos are now winless in Brandon in eight games. Yes, Kelly McCrimmon... this is what I was referring to in our pre-game interview.
Kelly downplayed "the Wheat Kings have the Broncos number" statement in our pre-game coaches interview. But the statement holds merit.
A bright spot in the Broncos loss was Cody Eakin. The 17 year-old potted his 2nd hat-trick of the season accounting for all three Bronco goals.
A Saturday afternoon bus ride through Elkhorn, MB for lunch turned out to be the highlight of the weekend. Full of turkey and some cake and ice-cream to finish it off, the team headed into Regina for a 4pm skate at the Brandt Center.
The bus dropped me off on the east side of Regina just off Victoria Ave. so I could stop at a friends house, grab my Riders ticket and a vehicle. I raced to Mosiac Stadium while listening to what was left of the 1st quarter on the radio. I could tell things weren't' going well at that point as the Riders had already turned the ball over four times before I got to the stadium!
I found my friends on the east side grandstand. It was early in 2nd quarter and watched in disbelief the rest of the way.
We all know what happened so I'm not going to go into a recap.
Sunday morning I showed up at the team breakfast in my Broncos track-suit, obviously missing the "dress attire" memo.
Not good. The weekend was going from bad to worse.
After a relaxing day, the Broncos departed for the Brandt Center for the 6pm face-off.
It was my first look at newly acquired forward Matt Ius from Everett. The 18 year-old forward made his debut on a line with Keegan Dansereau and Cody Eakin.
In fact, it was Dansereau who opened the scoring 8:33 into the first on a nice move around a Pats defender and then a quick snapper low blocker from the right wing side to beat Linden Rowat.
That goal was a milestone of sorts for the Broncos. The Broncos have now not been shut-out in 100 straight games. A streak dating back to late in the 06/07 season. It's the longest streak of it's kind in the WHL. Who knows where it ranks all-time... I'll have to look into that.
The only reason I mention this streak is because It's something I don't want to take for granted. Considering the Broncos were blanked 19 times in the 04/05 season alone. There were some long nights in the broadcast booth that year.
Back to the game...
It was all Pats after that. Brett Leffler tied it midway through 1-1.
The Pats added a Jordan Eberle goal and then a 5-on-3 marker from Michael MacAngus to give the Pats a 3-1 lead after two.
The Pats skated to a 5-1 win in the first meeting since the playoff series back in April.
After the game acting Broncos Head Coach Tim Kehler is absence of Dean Chynoweth commented on the effort:
"There was just a number of guys that were lacking some emotional intensity... didn't seem to be want to be on the ice when the game was on the line, didn't seem to want to be out there and do the things we needed to have done. At least, not in enough numbers to beat a quality team like Regina tonight. I think there were too many guys at those key moments that were either soft on pucks or nowhere to be found on the ice."
For Tim, it was his first loss as Head Coach. He was 3-0 on a fill-in basis up until last night.
For the Broncos it was a weekend of breakdowns in their own zone. A team that has played pretty well defensively all season, gave up too many pucks and too many chances. A team that gave up only 41 goals in the first 19 games, gave up 10 in a two-game stretch this weekend.
With the upcoming ADT Canada/Russia game at the end of the month I'm pushing for a Bronco to crack the roster.
I have to ask the Hockey Canada powers that be this question.
Why not Eric Doyle?
The Broncos defenseman has been stellar all season both defensively and in his own zone. Doyle is tied for 3rd in defenseman scoring and has always been a top prospect.
His plus/minus rating of +14 not only leads the Broncos, it's 9th best in the WHL.
He deserves to be there but at who's expense is the question.
The d-roster includes three NHL first rounders and a projected 1st rounder in Jared Cowen.
Maybe he could replace an injured Jared Spurgeon of the Spokane Chiefs. Spurgeon is week-to-week with a foot injury and has only played in 10 games this season.
I think Hockey Canada and the WHL should seriously consider this move right now. Doyle deserves to play and the hometown fans deserve a local player.
Talented Raiders defenseman Ryan Button in Prince Albert could replace Spurgeon the following night to give the Raiders a player for their fans.
It's a simple move. Now we will wait and see.