The opinions of a Western Hockey League radio broadcaster
Sunday, January 4, 2009
5-2 And Feeling Blue
How can the Moose Jaw Warriors be on the verge of being a non-playoff team? They looked anything but a team that had won 13 games heading into Saturday night's solid 5-2 win over the Kelowna Rockets. While the Rockets will be disappointed with their play, Warriors head coach Dave Hunchak has to be doing cart wheels in his hotel room tonight over his teams effort. The Warriors were a well oiled machine who won races to loose pucks, used their speed to their advantage, and showed great finish around the Rockets net.
Maybe all of this talk about the Warriors dealing away a good contingent of their older players has them playing as if they are auditioning for perspective buyers? Joel Broda, Jason Bast, Travis Hominic and Ryan Stanton were four Warriors that really stood out in this one. I'd take all four on my team after what I witnessed Saturday night.
Joel Broda is the real deal. I anticipated a soft goal scorer who seizes the opportunity that his line mates create for him. He was anything but. Broda worked hard, didn't avoid contact, and scored a 'beauty' to give the Warriors a 2-0 lead on a close in back hand that would have had Don Cherry talking. If only a few teams had any intention of trading for Broda, that list has likely grown with his efforts on this recent road trip. While the price may be steep, he will fetch a significant return should he be moved at the deadline.
How much ice time does Travis Hamonic and Ryan Stanton receive on the Warriors blue line? Those two were on the ice - I am guessing - no less than 30 minutes. I am still wondering who is better? While Hamonic gets the press clippings for his tryout for the Canadian world junior team, Stanton is no slouch either.
Ok enough about the Warriors....the Rockets fired 39 shots towards the Moose Jaw net but how many second chances did they get? Not many. Warriors goaltender DevenDubyk often struggled with his rebound control, yet the Rockets had little desire to fight for second chance opportunities. The will and the want just wasn't there.
Who was the best Rocket in a dismal home ice performance? Sixteen year-old Shane McColgan was a bright light. The rookie forward had two assists and was the hardest working of the 18 skaters who faced-off against a team that now has 8 road wins this season. McColgan was disappointed in his efforts Friday night against Spokane but sure made up for it one night later against a team he likely has no clue where it is located. Moose what?
Veteran goaltender Kris Lazaruk was yanked from the game after giving up four goals on 10 shots. I noticed when Lazaruk was approaching the Rockets bench that he yelled something at his teammates. Whatever it was, it was good to see. He was pissed, and the anger and frustration shows he was embarrassed by what was happening in front of him. His outburst showed me that he cares. Was he at fault on all four goals? No.