Friday, December 30, 2011

25 Years Later

The Regina Pats host the Broncos tonight and will be commemorating the tragic day when four Swift Current players lost their lives in a bus crash on December 30th 1986. Trent Kresse, Chris Mantyka, Brent Ruff and Scott Kruger lost their lives when the team bus was travelling to Regina for a game with the Pats. There was a snowstorm and the driver lost control and hit an overpass.

At tonight's game Regina will host a pregame ceremony which will include players from both the 1986/87 Pats and Broncos teams. In attendance from the Broncos will be Tim Tisdale. Tim was in his rookie season with the Broncos during the 1986-87 season and was on the bus that fateful night. He went on to play two more seasons with Swift Current before embarking on a pro and coaching career that included a head coaching stint with the Pats in 1999-2000. Representing the Regina Pats will be Darren McKechnie. Darren was 19 years old and in his first year with the Regina Pats during the 1986-87 season. He went on to play another season with the blue and white in 1987-88.

I had a chance to talk with the current Head Coach and GM of the Broncos Mark Lamb this morning and here's a little of what he had to say.

"Obviously you have memories when its brought up on a day like this, I wasn't around here that day but I have connections with the families, the Kruger family especially. You always think back on those kids, the good times that you've had, the funny times that you've had. Then you look at the day and the impact it will have on some people and its kind of weird, I'm sitting in my office after coming into the rink today and you know you forget about it a little bit and then its brought up and its a very icy day its kind of snowy and road conditions are bad. So its Something that a guy, the memories you look back and its something everyone will be careful about."

On the inpact it had on the community.

"I really don't have that systematical impact because I was gone playing pro hockey when I got the phone call. I'm really sure that the community was, just like any other deaths that are devastating, the community would be very shaken. The whole hockey world was shaken, when I was away playing pro hockey and it affected whole hockey world. That's how small the world is and how small the hockey community is but it was just devastation. Especially when the young guys looking forward to their career in hockey and it got cut short like that."

"Its unbelievable, you can talk about how quick time goes, it seems just like yesterday it happened or a year ago and its 25 years. I think you can use that as a positive, you know going into tonight's game these guys all had dreams and we can still fulfill those dreams and move on."

Of everything Mark said these two sentences really show how close knit the people in hockey are. While Trent Kresse, Chris Mantyka, Brent Ruff and Scott Kruger are a part of every time the Broncos take the ice, tonight both Swift Current and the Pats will be playing for them.

Thursday, December 29, 2011


The entire Saskatchewan Roughrider Football Club extends their deepest sympathy to the family of Roughrider great Gene Wlasiuk, who passed away on Tuesday.

Wlasiuk spent nine seasons with the Roughriders from 1959-1967 after playing his first two CFL seasons with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. Wlasiuk played in the Riders defensive backfield while also returning punts. His 549 punt returns remain at the top of the Riders all-time list and his 3,296 punt return yards are good for second all-time. His return prowess was all achieved before blocking was allowed on punt returns.

Wlasiuk played a total of 132 games for the Green and White and finished with 27 interceptions and 12 fumble recoveries. He was also a key member of the Riders first Grey Cup championship in 1966.

To honor his outstanding accomplishments with the Football Club, Wlasiuk was enshrined in the Saskatchewan Roughrider Plaza of Honor in 1995. 


The Pats fell in overtime last night in Brandon 3-2. Brenden Walker scored twice in the first period to give the Wheat Kings a 2-0 lead but Lane Schiedl scored with 37 second left in the period and it was 2-1 after 1. After a scoreless second Schiedl got his second of the night with under 5 minutes left in the third period and after regulation it was all tied at 2's. In the extra frame Ryley Miller won it for Brandon a minute 23 in and Walker got an assist on the goal for a three point night.

That's a tough loss but I think when you look at it its a huge point for the Pats. Having already won in Brandon earlier this month, to take 3 of 4 points in a place where they hadn't won in over 3 years is huge. The coaching staff weren't exactly pleased with the play of the guys, they wanted a sharper game coming out of the Christmas break but I think its can be expected to have a little drop off after being out of game action for 10 days.

I talked with assistant coach Malcolm Cameron after practise today and when I asked him about the game he said. "its always sloppy hockey or tends to be when you have a long lay off like that so I think both sets of coaches, the Wheat Kings and us are happy with the effort but the rust  obviously was evident out there, both teams were sloppy and the passes weren't all that crisp. It will take a couple good hard practises and a couple games to get back into that same mentality we were in before the break"

The Pats had struggled in Brandon for a long time before this season but this year its changed a little bit. Cameron said that they are pleased with what they've been able to do against  them thus far in the season.

"I think if anybody asked us would you take 3 of 4 points in the 2011 part of the season in Brandon we would take it for sure. With everybody scrambling for points in the next 35-36 games you don't ever want to leave a building empty handed. So it was nice even though we didn't have our best last night that we were able to find away to get out of there with something."

Lane Schiedl scored both Regina goals last night and he said today it was a big point for the team.

"It was big, Brandon is a tough building to go into and win so any points we can get out of there is huge. Lots to build on I mean we got 3 of 4 points in their building so far so if we can continue that it would be great"

On getting the legs back after the break.

"Sticking to our systems and keeping it simple, not trying to do more than we can and just getting engaged a little earlier and just get yourself into it, after a lay off just trying to get back into the groove."

Looking forward to the second half the Pats have 22 of their 35 home games coming up including 9 at the Brandt Centre in the month of January. Assistant coach Malcolm Cameron said today its a key time in the season for the team.

"Its going to be nice its no question, we've never really gotten a chance to settle in to a rhythm here at home all season. It seems we play at home for 1 or 2 and then bam were gone for 3 or 4 on the road. I think its going to be real good for our hockey club to settle in and make this our fortress for the next 3 months. Obviously we've got to put some wins up, its great to have the home games but at the end of the day you've got to start banking some points at home."

The Pats play at home to the Swift Current Broncos tomorrow night at 7 o'clock. They haven't played since the opening game of the season when the Pats won 5-1 at home. Then Sunday they welcome the Edmonton Oil Kings for an afternoon affair. The Pats won in Edmonton on the last game before the Christmas break 6-5 on a last second goal by Jordan Weal so certainly they will be coming here with some vengeance. As always you can catch all the action on 620 CKRM with the voice of the Regina Pats Dan Plaster.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Former Pat Tyson Sievert Passes

The Regina Pats Hockey Club would like to extend our sincere condolences to the friends and family of former Regina Pats player Tyson Sievert who tragically passed away late last night.

After starting his Western Hockey League career with the Moose Jaw Warriors and Saskatoon Blades, Tyson played with the Pats for the 2005-06 season.

Regina Pats President, Brent Parker “This is another tragedy to add to a long list over the past few months. We enjoyed the time that Tyson spent in our organization, he was just a good honest hard working Saskatchewan kid. Our heartfelt thoughts and prayers go out to his parents, Dale and Jackie and their family during this difficult time.”

Regina Pats General Manager, Chad Lang “We are very saddened to hear of the passing of Tyson.  He was a great kid and a tremendous teammate. He competed hard and was willing to do whatever it took to help the team achieve its goals both on and off the ice.  Our thoughts and prayers go out to his parents, Dale and Jackie and their entire family. We all will deeply miss Tyson.”

Monday, December 26, 2011

Canada 8 Finland 1

Well team Canada started off the 2012 World Junior Championship with a bang. I was a little concerned after the showing they had against Sweden even though they did play one good period. My biggest concern was goal tending from Mark Visentin who let in some soft ones in his 30 minutes or so of play. Scott Wedgewood came in and played very well making some good saves yet Head Coach Don Hay said afterwards that Visentin was the guy to start going forward. It seems he made the right  decision as Mark played well in Canada's win over the Fins. Visentin responded well to the heat put on him buy the backup Wedgewood making some good saves, it helped that Canada scored early and often. I guess its good to know that if Visentin does falter at any point Wedgewood is a capable replacement.

How about Mark Stone? he played an outstanding game finishing with 3 goals. I was impressed with his ability to get open and finish the puck, not that I expected anything less but that line along with Huberdeau and Strome were dominant all game long. The power play was lethal and the penalty kill did its job as the Canadians played 60 minutes of good hockey for the convincing 8-1 win.

Any doubts that I had coming in were all but silenced as the Fins are usually a competitive team but Canada looked head and shoulders above in this one.

Next action is Wednesday versus the Czechs. You can catch all the action on 620 CKRM with our own Rod Pedersen calling the action.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Luca Congi on the Sportscage

After the news came down yesterday that the Saskatchewan Roughriders released punter/place kicker Luca Congi he was kind enough to respond to my emails and make an appearance with Mitchell Blair and Kelly Remple on the Sportscage this evening on 620 CKRM. Here's an almost word for word account of what he had to say from home in Ontario. (I cant type as fast as he talks to I may miss a few words but you'll get the jist.)

Q: Did you see this coming?

I mean, I had an incling that something would happen whether it was a pay but or a release because I was healthy and not playing, so I started to think that it was a possibility.

Q: Were you healthy this year?

I was more than ready to go, felt I was stringer than I was before my injury. I worked out hard in the off season and I learned a lot about rehab and working out and so I was able to progress further than I ever had. I was more than ready but it just didn't work out.

Q: Is it sort of surreal that after one play this is where you are?

It is, I never thought that when my injury happened I never thought I would never kick again for the Riders. I just wanted to get healthy and get back on the field, to put the work in to get back to playing football. But things happen that you cant control and you have to roll with the punches. So I'm just getting ready for what comes next.

Q: So what happens next?

Its my agents job to search for the next opportunity for me. I'm just taking this time to think about things and spend time with my family for the holidays.

Q: In terms of timing is it hard with the holidays or does it matter?

No, Brenden Taman was very up front and good to me throughout the off season. If the Riders decide to go in a different direction that's their decision but as a player its nice to have more time to find a new situation. If they hadn't released me until later on than it would be a lot harder to find a new team because if they needed a kicker they may have already brought someone in. The timing doesn't matter its always a tough pill to swallow.

Q; Have you looked at teams that may need your services AKA WPG CGY or TOR?

Truthfully no, I took the news yesterday and want to take some time. When I'm ready to move on I will. In the end its my agents job to find out who's interested and who's not.

Q: Most Memorable kick besides in the 2007 Grey Cup?

So many great moments..........probably my first year when i kicked the game winner against the Allouettes, memorable because it was my first year. There's a lot of them.

Q; Last words?

I have received so much incredible support. I really felt like I was apart of the family and Regina was my second home. I loved every minute wearing the Green and White and being apart of this incredible tradition. I loved running out of the tunnel at Mosaic Stadium, it took my breath away every time and I will never forget that feeling. I loved every minute and every fan.


It was emotional at times for Luca who got a little choked up when Scruffy asked him about his most memorable kick. He obviously loved being here just as much as the fans loved having him. But thus is professional sport and though its hard to see him go, I have no question in my mind that he will thrive somewhere else. Another team will be getting a very good kicker and even more than that, a very good person.


The Saskatchewan Roughriders announced today that they have signed non-import kicker/punter Chris Bodnar to the roster. Financial details of the signing were not released.

Bodnar (5’11 – 190 lbs) played for the University of Regina Rams the last two seasons. In January 2011, he signed with the Edmonton Eskimos but was released in June at which time he returned to the Rams for a stellar season. In seven games he had 66 punts for 2,944 yards and a CIS leading 44.6 yard average. He was also named a CIS first team All-Canadian.

In 2010, he was named a Canada West all-star after leading Canada West with an average of 41.0 yards per punt. The 23 year old hit 12 of his 18 field goal attempts, was named the Canada West Special Teams Player of the Week twice.

Prior to joining the Rams Bodnar played for the Saskatoon Hilltops where he was named a CJFL All-Canadian in both 2009 and 2008. In the two years previous to that Bodnar played both football and basketball for the University of Saskatchewan.

*The Riders also announced they have released non-import offensive lineman George Hudson

Monday, December 19, 2011

Pats Win 2 of 3 on Alberta Road Trip

The Pats played their final three games before the Christmas break on Friday Saturday and Sunday. Friday they went into the Saddle dome in Calgary and skated to a 3-2 victory over the Hitmen. The game was televised on national television and the Pats played very well anchored by goaltender Matt Hewitt. Calgary out shot Regina 34-16 in the game and probably could have scored at least 4 more goals but Hewitt stood on his head all game long including two saves in the last minute of play to seal the road victory. Jordan Weal, Lane Scheidl, and Matt Marantz scored for the Pats. A huge win for the club who were tied with the Hitmen going in for the 7th spot in the Eastern Conference.

Saturday the team travelled to Red Deer to face the Rebels. Coming in the Rebels had lost 14 of their last 15 games but the Pats gave up two goals early in the second period and that was all Red Deer would need. Jack Rodewald would get one back in the third but 2-1 was the final from the Enmax Centrium. Tanner Olstad and Colton Jobke picked up assists on the goal. Matt Hewitt made 29 saves in the loss and the Pats were out shot 31-23.

Sunday the Pats were in Edmonton taking on the red hot Oil Kings. Edmonton had won 11 straight coming into the contest and are first place in the Eastern Conference with 49 points. However the Pats snapped that streak with a 6-5 thrilling victory as Jordan Weal scored with a second left in regulation on a breakaway to steal two points. The game winner was his second on the night and his third point, Colton Jobke also scored twice while Lyndon Martell and Andrew Rieder added markers. The Pats were out shot for the third time on the weekend 38-23 but Matt Hewitt stopped 33 pucks for the win, his 18th on the year. A great way to finish the unofficial halfway point of the season.

Assistant Coach Josh Dixon said last night after Jordan Weals last second goal to win it:

"We were kind of yelling from the bench eat it eat it, there was 8 seconds left and could have killed the clock and a much needed and well deserved point, would have been satisfactory at least after 60 minutes. But its unbelievable how it ended, Jordan Weal, hard to imagine a more clutch player, I mean the number of minutes he played tonight, double shifted most of the game, PP, PK, played against the top line and then to come up with that goal at the end, that's just phenomenal."

"Its always nice to win and nice to beat a team like Edmonton who have been on a real roll lately, but the most important thing and not using any excuse but to play two games in 18 hours, its a short turn around and completely different from any routines were used to. If ever there were excuses that were built in and guys could have relied on, today would have been the day. Its been a long month and a tough road trip but nobody quit. What we've really been trying to tell them as a coaching staff is that they are capable of so much more than they realize and when they dig deep and find that true potential its amazing how far they can push themselves, that was evident tonight, despite all obstacles and travel and fatigue they found it within themselves to come up with just a phenomenal performance and a huge win for our hockey team."

The Pats sit with 41 points, tied with the Saskatoon Blades. The Blades have played 2 less games so they hold the 6th spot in the East. The Pats are 6-3-1 in their last 10 and have put themselves in a good spot. They are just 8 points back of the Oil Kings for first place while they trail the Warriors by 7 for the division lead.

Friday, December 16, 2011


Brenden Taman and the Riders have made their decision on who will lead them in 2012. Corey Chamblin is the guy and I for one am excited to see what this guy can do. I do wonder why so many seem to be pissed off at this hiring, Taman deserves a pat on the back for this one and I think that Chamblin is going to bring a great new attitude. From what Corey said at the news conference he seems to be very enthusiastic and brings a hard working aggressive and disciplined approach to the game. Taman was quoted as saying he is comparable to a Mike Tomlin who is currently the coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Certainly one of the best young coaches in the NFL. Rider fans we've got a young coach, just like everyone wanted. Sure its not Dave Dickenson or Mike O'Shea but no one can honestly say they know who is going to be a better head coach. I am going to trust the judgement of the people who did the interviews and listened to these guys and their plans for this team. For all the haters I hope Chamblin leads them to 4 and oh to start the year and then about half of them will shut up. The other half will be haters no matter what. Chamblin says he has the names of the guys he wants as a support staff. He did say yesterday that he is open to keeping some of the guys that are already on staff here from last season. I am interested to see who he brings in as a offensive coordinator. Chamblin was asked about a quarterbacks coach and he said that if his OC is a quarterbacks guy then there is no need for an extra positions coach but if he isn't then he would hire one. Thats good to hear and I believe that if the right guy is brought in, this offense will flourish again. Corey also said that he likes the talent on the roster here but that there is definitely some areas that need improvement, and we all know where those areas are. Like i said I am excited for this new season with Chamblin at the helm and I hope that at the very least the fans give him a chance, everyone was mad when Austin was hired and look what happened there. Here's the opening statements from yesterdays news conference.


Thursday, December 15, 2011

Stephenson and Volek Named to Top Prospects Game

The Regina Pats are proud to announce that both Chandler Stephenson and Dominik Volek have been named to play in the Home Hardware CHL/NHL Top Prospects game on February 1st, 2012 at Prospera Place in Kelowna, B.C. The two Pats Prospects will battle against one another with Stephenson playing for Team Orr and Volek for Team Cherry

The Pats are just one of two WHL teams that will have more than one player participating in the game with the host Kelowna Rockets being the other.

From Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Chandler Stephenson is a first round pick in the 2009 WHL Bantam Draft and is having a breakout season, already eclipsing his point and goal totals from a year ago. He is ranked 7th by the NHL’s Central Scouting Bureau’s preseason rankings of WHL skaters and was ranked 63rd in the world according to the International Scouting Services’ preseason rankings.

From Prague, Czech Republic, Dominik Volek was selected by the Pats in the 2011 CHL Import Draft. He is just one of two players to play in every game with the Pats this season and is currently sixth in team scoring. Dominik is ranked 15th by the NHL’s Central Scouting Bureau’s preseason rankings of WHL skaters and was ranked 124th in the world according to the International Scouting Services’ preseason rankings.

The Pats have sent 15 players to the Home Hardware CHL/NHLTop Prospects Game over the past 16 years, including the likes of: Jason Smith (1993), Jeff Friesen (1994), Brad Stuart (1998), Barret Jackman (1999), Jordan Eberle and Colten Teubert (2008).

The 2012 Home Hardware CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game will mark the 17th annual showcase of the CHL’s top-40 NHL draft eligible players.  The two-day event also features a skills competition and three-on-three challenge taking place on Tuesday January 31, 2012.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Team Canada Trimmed to 22

The world Junior selection camp is complete and this morning the final cuts were made. Here is the roster for the 2012 World Junior Hockey Championship.


Mark Visentin08/07/92Waterdown, ONNiagara   (OHL)PHX 2010
Scott Wedgewood08/14/92Brampton,    ONPlymouth (OHL)NJ 2010


Nathan Beaulieu12/05/92Strathroy, ONSaint John (QMJHL)MTL 2011
Brandon Gormley02/18/92Murray River, PEIMoncton (QMJHL)PHX 2010
Dougie Hamilton06/17/93Toronto, ONNiagara (OHL)BOS 2011
Scott Harrington03/10/93Kingston, ONLondon (OHL)PIT 2011
Ryan Murray09/27/93White City, SKEverett (WHL)2012
Jamie Oleksiak12/21/92Toronto, ONSaginaw (OHL)DAL 2011
Mark Pysyk01/11/92Sherwood Park, ABEdmonton (WHL)BUF 2010


Michael Bournival05/31/92Shawinigan, QCShawinigan (QMJHL)COL 2010^
*Brett Connolly05/02/92Prince George, BCTampa Bay (NHL)TB 2010
Brendan Gallagher06/05/92Tsawwassen, BCVancouver (WHL)MTL 2010
Freddie Hamilton01/01/92Toronto, ONNiagara (OHL)SJ 2010
*Quinton Howden01/21/92Oak Bank, MBMoose Jaw (WHL)FLA 2010
Jonathan Huberdeau06/04/93Prevost, QCSaint John (QMJHL)FLA 2011
Boone Jenner06/15/93Dorchester, ONOshawa (OHL)CBJ 2011
Tanner Pearson08/10/92Kitchener, ONBarrie (OHL)2012
Mark Scheifele03/15/93Kitchener, ONBarrie (OHL)WPG 2011
*Jaden Schwartz06/25/92Emerald Park, SKColorado College (WCHA)STL 2010
Devante Smith-Pelly06/14/92Scarborough, ONAnaheim (NHL)ANA 2010
Mark Stone05/13/92Winnipeg, MBBrandon (WHL)OTT 2010
Ryan Strome07/11/93Mississauga, ONNiagara (OHL)NYI 2011

* denotes returning player.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Sask Sport Inc. Announces November Athlete of the Month Award Nominees

Bob Hudson, Saskatchewan Wheelchair Sports Association: From Nov. 12-20, Hudson competed in the 2011 Para Pan American Games in the Compound Bow Men’s Open Category. Hudson and another Canadian competitor each defeated strong opponents from the USA to advance to and face-off against one another in the gold match. In the end, Hudson brought home the silver medal. 

Vanessa Brown, Saskatchewan Amateur Wrestling Association: On Nov. 4, Vanessa competed in the Hargobind International where she won a bronze medal. Then on Nov.12, she competed in the New York Athletic Club International where she won a gold medal. On Nov. 26, she competed in the Huskie Open where she won a gold medal. Vanessa is now preparing to compete in the 2012 Olympic Trials in Winnipeg on Dec. 15.

The recipient will be named later this week.

Solomon Signs with the Riders

The Saskatchewan Roughriders announced today that they have signed non-import defensive back Graig Newman and non-import receiver Kolten Solomon to the roster. Financial details of the signings were not released.

Solomon (5’11 – 190 lbs) played junior football with the Regina Thunder. In 2011, he tallied 35 receptions for 802 yards and five touchdowns, two carries for 17 yards, 12 punt returns for 118 yards, 17 kickoff returns for 446 yards and two touchdowns. Solomon was also named a CJFL All-Canadian for the second consecutive season. The receiver attended training camp with the Riders last season before returning to the Thunder.

Newman (6’1 – 195 lbs) played the last four seasons with the Saskatoon Hilltops. In 2011, the defensive back registered 20 defensive tackles and one interception. He also tied the Canada Bowl record with three interceptions in the Hilltops’ championship win in November which earned him the title of Canadian Bowl Defensive Player of the Game. Newman attended training camp with the Riders last season and spent time on the team’s practice roster before returning to the Hilltops.

The Riders have also released the following players:
Import              K/P      Eddie Johnson
Import              DE       R.J. Roberts
Import              DB       Jeremiah Weatherspoon

Monday, December 12, 2011

Big News Today

Lots of stuff going on for a Monday, The Kansas City Chiefs have fired Todd Haley, rumors that LA Kings Head Coach Terry Murray being let go, Sidney Crosby is out indefinitely and oh yeah Ricky Ray traded to the Toronto Argonauts.

When I first saw this trade on twitter I didn't believe it. Stephen Jyles, Grant Shaw and a draft pick? Like many have said already there has to be more to this than meets the eye. Stephen Jyles isn't half the quarterback that Ray is, sure Shaw had a decent year and a draft pick is nice but this is the CFL, if you don't have a quarterback what do you have? I can answer that - a losing team. I am sure Eric Tillman will save a bunch of money in salary but at the end of the day this just doesn't make any sense to me. Already the speculation has started about the board wanting to prop up the Argos ahead of the Grey Cup next year. I'm not sure that's the case but there aren't a lot of other scenarios that make much sense. Unless of course Eric Tillman has a master plan that of course were not privy too. Who knows what will happen in the next weeks but for now I am calling this one fishy.

The Chiefs are without a Head Coach as of right now, Todd Haley has been let go by the team after falling to 5 and 8, losing 37-10 to the Jets on Sunday. Haley spent three years with the club and led them to a AFC West title last year at 10 and 6. Injuries have certainly played into the struggles this year with Matt Cassel out along with star running back Jammal Charles for the season. This was Haleys first head coaching job in the NFL and I can imagine he will get another one, whether that's as a coordinator or head coach, he will be back. The Chiefs have yet to name his replacement.

Sidney Crosby is out indefinitely with concussion like symptoms. This does not look or sound good for the NHL's best player. After missing the first 20 games of the season Sid was back for 8 games in which he looked to be back on track scoring 12 points. But a collision with teammate Chris Kunitz against Boston Last week has brought the symptoms back. Crosby finished that game and his tests all came back negative after the game but apparently after a hard skate he felt that familiar, somethings not right feeling. Now he will sit out for a while and hope that it gets better. My initial thoughts on the hit he took was that it wasn't serious, it was knee on knee and they both fell to the ice. No ones head snapped back or anything that would indicate concussion, maybe it was a different hit who knows. What I do know is that the Penguins cannot stay healthy and more importantly the NHL's best player is in jeopardy of never being the same again.

The Blue Jays have acquired outfielder Ben Fransisco from the Philadelphia Phillies today in exchange for pitcher Frank Gailey.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Pats Big Weekend Ahead

The Pats will look to get over the hump so to speak tomorrow night. They are in Moose Jaws Mosaic Place taking on the Warriors who have beaten the Pats all three times this season. The struggles go back to last year as well as the Warriors won 6 of 7 matchups, the Pats only victory was in Overtime 4-3 on January 29th at the Brandt Centre. Needless to say its been a long time since Regina has won in Moose Jaw but that's not their focus in this weeks preparations. Head Coach pat Conacher said at practise today that, and I quote: "We just have to take care of our team, like we talked about the Brandon game before, lots of times we put too much emphasis on the other team, you have to understand what they do on their special teams etc. but we have to take care of what we do. We really going to work on what are the Regina Pats, when are we at our best and what do we do when were at our best. That's what were going to do today at practise and in video and talking with the players. You know what we can just control what we can control and if we go forward doing what we want to do I will be happy with the results."

It doesn't get any easier after Friday's matchup with the best team in the East division as they will head to Saskatoon to play the second place Blades. The teams have played twice so far this season with the home team winning in both games. The Blades will be a rested group on Saturday having been off since Mondays loss in Edmonton. The Blades have lost two straight overall and are 5 and 5 in their last 10 games. The Pats on the other hand will be playing their 6th game in 9 days since December the second. I asked Jordan Weal at practise today if fatigue was starting to play a factor playing so much hockey in such a short time. "Its tough, its a tough schedule, I think if we can just play hard and get as many wins as we can this month its really going to pay off for us in January because we got 11 home games and 3 away games. So that's a month when were going to get a lot of rest and get a chance to take advantage of teams."

Chandler Stephenson said today its not too bad. "We've been getting rest this week, we had yesterday off and looking to get back to practise today. Fatigue I wouldn't necessarily say that, maybe some guys are a little run down, its kind of getting cold out some guys might be getting sick but its been a battle, 3 games in three nights is a big mind changer form some guys and its definitely going to be a battle."

The third game of the weekend for the Pats will be back home on Sunday against the Kamloops Blazers, one of the best teams in the West. They lead the B.C. Division with 43 points and have won 7 straight games as of today, only the Winter Hawks have scored more goals so far this season. They play in Swift Current on Saturday before coming to Regina on Sunday. Coach Pat Conacher said today that as a team they have to play one game at a time. "Well you have to, you know they are young guys and they all look forward, you know its funny, I know its cliche but we have to take one period at a time. We have to live in the moment, live in today, we will learn from yesterday and well take care of tomorrow when it comes. All us coaches we preach that every day in practise and in games and I think the guys are hearing it. We have to take it into this weekend for sure especially with whats in front of us."

Heading into the weekend the Pats are tied for 7th in the Eastern Conference with the Hitmen and a point up on the 9th place Red Deer Rebels. These are some key games not only for their division but as they continue to fight for a playoff spot.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Pats Reassign Moser

The Regina Pats have reassigned 18 year old forward, Nils Moser to the Canmore Eagles of the Alberta Junior Hockey League.

Last season, Moser played in 41 games split between the Regina Pats and Tri-City Americans where he scored five times and picked up an assist.

After coming off surgery over the summer, Nils played in 12 games with the Pats, recording a pair of assists.
Regina Pats General Manager, Chad Lang, “Part of the process of Nils rehabilitation and full recovery is to get him more game time and readjust back to the pace of the WHL. With his added game time and continued hard work, we anticipate a return to the hockey club.”

The Pats now have 13 forwards, 8 defenceman and 2 goaltenders on their roster. Friday night, the Pats will head to Moose Jaw to take on their arch rivals in the Warriors. It’s a 7:00pm puck drop, with a 6:35 Press Box Sports Bar pregame show start on 620 CKRM.

All Right Plumbing and Heating - Regina Thunder Update

Off season workouts started yesterday for the Regina Thunder as the winter is here and preparations for next year are underway. The team may not be playing football but everyone is hard at work looking to improve this football club. I talked with Head Coach Erwin Klempner today about how things are going and he has this to say.

"Its a full go, a very busy time, we've had a lot of stuff on the go and things are going pretty good. We started our off season workouts on Tuesday with about 33 guys showing up, not the number that we wanted but theres a lot of interest and theres a lot of guys recommitting themselves through the off season and you know were getting the ball rolling on that one even before Christmas. Recruiting is going well, we've been to 5 of the 11 schools in town and were getting the word around and talking with graduating players about our program and the opportunities that they have to be on our team and how they can go about trying out for our team."

I asked Erwin if there was added pressure on the recruiting side seen as there were so many starters that graduated this year or if it was just like any other off season.

"This is like any other off season, I think we've done very well and I think the bottom line is that as we've shown throughout the year, we have tremendous depth at every position. When guys went down or whatever the case had been we had guys ready to step up and play and so this is no different other than the fact that all of them are going at the same time. Every team is losing players and this is no different, the pressure is to continue to get the best athletes that we can that we can and maintain the depth that we have. I think that is the thing were looking at right now is to try and maintain and improve the depth. That's the purpose of recruiting.

I asked about the talent that he has seen so far and if he could see some of them in camp next season.

"Well that's a tough thing but we will get a chance to start identifying and naming guys, there's just so many. They are all looking at different programs and there are a lot of them we would like to have, the other programs want them too. The point is in Saskatchewan we've got outstanding football players and like every other year we will get our fair share of those guys, who they are, right now is tough to tell. We will get a better handle on it when we have our 3 indoor practises. Were going to be going to the Moose Jaw soccer facility on January 29th. Were actually going to run a full practise on a full field and invite all players and graduating players to come out and practise with the guys and see what its like to be onour team and coaches are like. So it gives coaches a chance to evaluate the young guys, gives the players a chance to evaluate our coaches out program and our guys. I think we will have a better idea of players and that type of thing at these practises."

Will you have the same coaching staff as last season?

"We will, other than one change, we will be looking for a new offensive line coach. Andrew Sinclair is taking on a job in Calgary with an oil company and obviously wont be able to work with us. He made some great contributions as a player and a coach to our program and we really wish him well and thank him for what hes done. So we are in the process of talking to guys and looking for a new offensive line coach."

Shawn McCall will be back as Defensive Coordinator?

"Yes everyone is back, from all indications and visits I had with all the coaches at the end of the year, they are right now committing to coming back and I see them all coming back and working on keeping that continuity which is very very important."

Heres the Link to the interview I did this morning.


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Change IS Comming

Commissioner Gary Bettman has the NHL Board of Governors on board for big change in the future. The new proposal would put an end to the current, 2 conference, 6 division setup and replace it with a 4 conference league. There would be 2 conferences with 8 teams in it while the other two would have 7. The first two rounds of the playoffs would be within the conference between the top four teams. Then in the third round the four conference champions would play for a chance at the Stanley Cup. This all comes as Atlanta was relocated and the Jets are currently playing in the South East which is just not realistic in terms of travel. The new unnamed conferences would look like this.

A - New Jersey, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, New York Rangers, New York Islanders, Washington and Carolina.

B - Boston, Montreal, Toronto, Buffalo, Ottawa, Tampa Bay and Florida.

C - Detroit, Columbus, Nashville, St. Louis, Minnesota, Dallas and Winnipeg.

D - Los Angeles, Anaheim, Phoenix, San Jose, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Colorado.

The Board voted 26-4 in favor of the change and now it is subject to input from the NHLPA and it seems this will be in place by next season. The thing I like best about the move is that every team will play the teams outside their conference twice in home and home series.

I do however have some reservations. One in particular bothers me more and that is that we could see more teams with better records miss the playoffs. We could see a very strong Conference with 5 teams over 90 points on the season while another could have "playoff teams" with less than that. In the current format that wouldn't happen as often because there are just two separate conferences. With four I think the chances of a team that deserves a spot and doesn't get one are twice as likely.

While I understand that the first two rounds of the playoffs inside the conference would definitely add to rivalries; I kind of like how we get to see some match ups that don't come along very often in the current playoff format. However those can and will happen in the later rounds so not a huge deal.

Overall I think its good for the league and for some specific teams who have been dealing with serious travel times, AKA Detroit. Whats interesting is the Wings have been a top contender in the West even though the have been getting the proverbial short end of the stick. I wonder if this will make them better? I guess we will see. Columbus, Minnesota and Dallas will also be very happy with the new setup.

In the end they're is still going to be hockey, a different means to the same end, the Stanley Cup.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Pats Win Two in a Row

The Pats managed to win their second straight game last night with a 2-0 win on the road in Brandon. It was the first time since 2008 that the Pats won on the road against the Wheat Kings. Matt Hewitt got his first WHL shutout stopping 33 shots in the win. Jordan Weal and Dominik Volek scored the Pats goals with assists coming from Blidstrand, Jobke, Stephenson and Klimchuk. After beating the Rebels at home the night before, the Pats have now jumped ahead of Calgary and Red Deer for the 8th spot in the Eastern Conference. Two big wins for the Pats after a tough road trip and then a tough loss at home Friday against the Giants. Last week Pat Conacher was talking about the need for the guys to play 60 minutes of solid hockey and not take penalties or make those mistakes that cost them some points in the last couple weeks. Those same problems cost them on Friday, it was a tie game heading onto the third and a couple key mistakes early in the period sealed it for the Giants. We definitely saw the star power of Branden Gallagher who was named the games first star. Also goaltender Adam Morrison, formerly of the Saskatoon Blades, played exceptionally when he had too though he faced a minimal number of shots. The Pats have three more key divisional games coming up this week on the road in Prince Albert tomorrow, Moose Jaw on Friday and Saskatoon on Saturday. Their next home game is Sunday against the Kamloops Blazers. Other than the Raiders those are 3 very tough teams to play and so this will be a key stretch for the Pats to gain some ground in the Division.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Weal Left Out Again

Hockey Canada released their list of 41 players invited to this years World Junior Selection Camp this week, without Pats forward Jordan Weal. It seems odd to me that a guy who has scored 306 points in just over 3 seasons in the WHL doesn't even get a look. This season alone has been outstanding, every time hes on the ice he is dangerous all the while playing a solid defensive game. He is the leader of this Pats club and I just don't get why he would get left of the summer camp as well as this one coming up in December. Head Coach Pat Conacher agrees, when I asked him today if it was kind of a plus that Weal would be sticking around while some of the other top guys are gone he said, "I'd rather see him there, I think that he deserves at least an invite, at the very least an invite to go and let the cards fall where they may. Play those pre-tournament games and show Hockey Canada and the coaching staff, hey I deserve to be here. But hes not and that's too bad." When we talked with Weal he was disappointed but it seemed like he had already put it behind him and was focused on the road ahead with the Pats. He had this to say. "Its tough but you know what I thought I did all I could and its behind me now and its time to look forward to this month ahead with the Pats, Its a big month for us we have three, three in threes coming up and if we can get some big wins here it will be huge for us moving forward......Its up to them and it seems like they wanted to go a different direction with their team and there isn't much I can do about that. Its just something I'm going to put in the back of my head and when the time comes I'm going to use that to get that extra push." Now the focus is on the games ahead and I think the consensus is that he will prove the scouts and coaches wrong for not inviting him. The funny thing is that the Pats take on Vancouver on Friday whose head coach is Don Hay, the coach of Team Canada this year. Jordan will get his first chance to prove him wrong 4 days after being left off the list. Should make for a good game, 7 o'clock at the Brandt Center, live on 620 CKRM and also Jared Dumba and I will have the call live on Access 7.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Its The Monday after

The 99th Grey Cup was a good one. I wasn't overly excited to watch the game yesterday but my attitude certainly changed once the awful anthem singer was finished and the ball was kicked off. A lot of people said prior to the game that the Lions would dominate and blow out the Bombers but I thought that Winnipeg wasn't getting enough credit. Now BC had some huge chances early to put the game to bed but couldn't capitalize and kicked 2 field goals. At halftime, though the Bombers had managed very little on offense, were only down by 8 points. When the second quarter ended I thought that the Bombers had a chance here, they managed to hang around, weather the storm as they say. But it just wasn't to be, the offense was lethargic again in the third quarter and the Lions put 10 more points on the board. Then in the fourth the Bombers, namely Odell Willis, had a perfect chance for an interception for a touchdown, which he dropped. The Lions would go on to score a long touchdown and put this game out of reach, so we thought. The Bombers didn't lie down however down by 22. A quick touchdown strike to Greg Carr on third down brought them within 15 and then after a two and out for the Lions the Bombers scored on a pass to Terrence Edwards, the lead was only 8. But the onside kick didn't go far enough and the Lions kicked a field goal to seal it. 34-23 certainly isn't a blow out and props to the Bomber defense who managed to give their team a chance even though the offense couldn't move the ball. All the credit in the world goes to the BC Lions who were by far the better team, but they sure didn't make it easy on themselves late. It was hard to watch the likes of Geroy Simon, Arland Bruce and Corey Banks lift that trophy, but they deserved it. I also thought that Bruce or Anton McKenzie were more deserving of the MVP award but Lulay was the winner. Overall a great game to watch, it was good to see the Bombers fight back but in the end the Lions were winners and so was my proline.

How bout those Leafs? Now I was getting a lot of flack about the buds and how it wasn't October anymore so they were going to fall from grace again. All the signs pointed that way with injuries and a stretch of losing four of 5. However they have bounce back and surprisingly on the backs of some young talent. Winning again last night 5-2, that is three straight and four of their last 5. Now I know your just going to say he's a Leaf lover and write this off but hear me out for a second. This team is leading the North East Division which includes 3 other playoff caliber teams including the defending champs. If I would have told you they would be leading 24 games in you would have laughed, none the less they are. They have the leagues top two scorers in Kessel and Lupul, they are winning WITHOUT James Reimer. They have the 5th best powerplay in the league, yes the penalty kill isn't as shinny but it is improving. The moral of the story is, the Leafs deserve some respect for where they are and I know were only about a third of the way through but things look good. After all these years of not having enough good players, once these injured guys come back there will be a lot of tough decisions to make. I like this problem better. And I'm done.

The Pats finished their lengthy Western road trip on Saturday in Tri-City, unfortunately it ended in a loss 6-1. It was a tough trip overall losing 4 of 5 games. But now they are back and have some practise days before the Vancouver Giants come to the Brandt Center on Friday. I will have the call on Access 7 and am looking forward to that. Red Deer will also be in town on Saturday so make sure you get out and watch. The Pats sit 9th in the Eastern Conference, 2 points behind Calgary for that 8th spot while they trail the Blades by 9 points for the division lead. Nothing like a couple of home games to get back on track, lets hope.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


The Regina Pats may be 20 hours and two time zones away, but they are always close to their Brandt Centre home. This Friday night will be Regina Pats night at the CCA Finals Rodeo at the Canadian Western Agribition.

It will be a Pats game night…without the ice! The usual fun family entertainment that you get at a Regina Pats home game will be there, instead with the top rodeo stars in Canada. K-9 will be there to entertain the kids, the Abadoo Ice Girls will fire off t-shirts from their cannon as well as draws for jersey’s, game tickets and tons more.

Wear your Regina Pats colours with pride and you will have an even better chance at winning great game day prizes. If you don’t own any Pats gear, the Neutral Zone will also be open so you can pick up anything Regina Pats for the night or as a gift for the Christmas Season.

The puck will drop on the CCA Finals Rodeo at 7:00pm on Friday night, so get your tickets now. Tickets are available at the Brandt Centre ticket office or any Ticketmaster location, you can also head online at

The Canadian Western Agribition continues all week long on the grounds of Evraz Place. For more information on all of Agribition’s events, click on

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

He's Back

The biggest story of the week in the NHL is obviously the return of Sidney Crosby. Now for the last year or so since he hasn't been playing a lot of people have speculated saying he would never be the same player after suffering the concussion he did. Well I think its safe to say that those people were wrong. A 2 goal and 4 point night in his first game in almost a year, (with only 16 minutes of ice time no less) only adds to the legend that is Sidney Crosby. It seems at times that his career is following the path a fictional writer would take in a novel. From his success as a Junior to Stanley Cup Champion to Olympic Gold Medalist and then injury and a comeback. Whats most incredible is that it seems he has picked up right where he left off last season. Prior to the Winter Classic where he took the hit from David Steckle he led the league in points and goals, he had just gone on one of the longest point streaks we have seen in a long time in the NHL and incredibly looked to be getting better and better as the season continued. If last night is any indication Crosby is not just back, he's still the best in the league. Now as good as Sid is I still have some reservations about him. He certainly isn't my favorite player but one thing is true, the NHL needs him in the game. The face of the league who has done it all and if he can stay healthy the sky is the limit. Sure there are a lot of haters out there who call him soft but hes the best and without him, the league suffers. The Penguins were among the best without him in the lineup and now you have to think they are the favorites to win it all even though it is only November. James Neal, Evgeni Malkin, Jordan Staal and the list goes on. This is an exceptional team with a very good coach, look out NHL because here they come.

Saturday, November 19, 2011


I had the privilege of hosting a great evening at the Holy Child Church. Congratulations to all the graduating players and award winners. The night was dominated by Defensive Lineman Zach Evans and receiver Clay Cooke. There were also 14 players honored who will unfortunately not be returning next year.

First the PFC all stars were honored which included,  from left to right, DB Derek Pilon, REC Clay Cooke, DL Zach Evans who was also the PFC defensive player of the year and CJFL All Canadian, and Rookie lineman Brett Wade.

The Sheldon Neald Outstanding Offensive Lineman went to Trevor King. In the picture from left to right it is Thunder Alumni from 2004 Andrew Watt, OL Trevor King, Sheldon Neald and running backs coach Dwayne Masson.

The Montana's Steakhouse Outstanding Defensive Lineman Award went to Zach Evans, Joining him in the picture from left to right are Thunder Alumni from 2000 Terry Young, Zach Evans and D-Line coach Craig Hammond.

The Next Award went to Wyatt Catley who was the Sunlife Financial Outstanding Offensive Back. Catley was off being a cowboy apparently so he could be there to accept the award. His backup this season Asher Hastings accepted it on his behalf. From left to right below is Thunder Alumni from 2007 Brett Lund, QB Asher Hastings, and running backs coach Dwayne Hammond.

The Barker's Trophies outstanding Linebacker Award went to Will Kyle. From left to right, Peter Woldu Thunder graduate from 2005, Will Kyle and linebackers coach Derek Lamer.

The Vollmark Financial Services Outstanding Receiver Award went to the teams leader in yards and touchdowns Clay Cooke. Left to right, Alumni from 2008 Scott Assy, Clay Cooke and receivers coach Matt Endsin.

The Chris Sullivan Memorial Award for Outstanding Defensive Back went to Safety Mark Ingram. Left to right Thunder Alumni Paul Woldu, Mark Ingram and Defensive Coordinator Shawn McCall.

The Thunder Alumni Outstanding Special Teams Player was Joey Todd. Left to right is Alumni and current member of the Regina Rams Jay Smith, Joey Todd and Special Teams/Linebackers coach Scott MacAulay.

The Stone Custom Homes Outstanding Offensive Player of the year went to Clay Cooke. Left to right is Alumni Matt Crosby from 2005, Clay Cooke and receivers and kickers coach Jeff Bolen.

The Conexus Outstanding Defensive Player Award went to Zach Evans. Left to right Alumni Scott McGee from 2006, Zach Evans and Defensive Coordinator Shawn McCall.

The Clarice Outstanding Rookie of the Year went to Brett Wade. Left to right is Alumni from 2006 Mark Cratchmeer (apologies for the spelling), Brett Wade and receivers coach Morgan Bunce.

The Audio Warehouse Most Improved Player was defensive back Landon Walter. He was unable to attend the awards dinner. Left to right Alumni Jason Jansen from 2008 and Receivers and kickers coach Jeff Bolen.

The Randy Shaw Memorial Coaches and Leadership Award went to defensive lineman Max Amyotte. Left to right, 2010 Alumni Tyler Hogan, Randy Shaw's daughter Becky, his wife Jan, Max Amyotte and Head Coach Erwin Klempner.

Rounding out the awards was the Jim Wong Most Valuable Player as voted by the players which went to Clay Cooke. Left to right, Alumni Jimmy Cabylis from 2006, Clay Cooke, Head Coach Erwin Klempner.

Next the 14 graduating players were honored with plaques and rings. Left to right, Derek Pilon, Ben Thomas, Thomas Ringlein, Kolten Solomon, Blake Irwin, Wil Putland, Max Amyotte, Will Kyle, Philmon Bairu, Jonathan Probe, Jared Dunlop, Matthew Kuhnke, Joey Todd and Coach Erwin Klempner. Wyatt Catley was unable to attend and is also a graduating player.

Will Kyle made the address on behalf of the graduating players but Max Amyotte made a surprise appearance at the mic. He roasted the Hilltops cheerleaders with the joke of the night, apparently there's a reason the Hilltops play on grass, something to do with graising. Below is Max and Will giving their speeches. Also there are only two timber wolves on the Thunder squad.

The Thunder support staff were honored.

Lastly the coaching staff were recognized.

A great evening, congratulations to everyone who received awards, the graduating players and all the rest of the team for a great year.

As an end note I realized that after all the awards and recognition no one mentioned Rosanne McCall who has to be one of the hardest working people who does a lot for this team. She deserves her own round of applause.

Make sure to plan to come to the Annual Regina Thunder Sportsman Dinner at the Turvey Center on March 24th next year.

If only the off-season wasn't so long.


Thursday, November 17, 2011

Thursday Sports

The CFL East and West Finals are set to go this weekend. Its going to be an exciting weekend for football. The Bombers will host the surprising Hamilton Tiger Cats who managed to knock off the two time defending champs in overtime. If the Hamilton offense can have a similar effort as they did in Montreal I think they could end up in the Grey cup. however the Winnipeg defense will have something to say about that. They were the best defense in the East and though the Eskimos and Lions gave up less yards and points I think that the Bombers big plays on defense and the number of games that they won without the help of the offense puts them head and shoulders above the rest. The Winnipeg defense I believe will be the difference in this one, Hamilton will have to bring their A game to win on the road, we saw their A game last week but who knows which Ti-Cat team will show up. Prior to last week the black and gold lost 4 of their last 5 including twice to the non playoff teams. This is nothing new in Hamilton, every year they just cant take that next step into consistency but like everyone knows, the playoffs are a whole new season and it comes down to one game on Sunday, the last game ever at Canad Inns Stadium in Winnipeg.

In the West the BC Lions host the Edmonton Eskimos. It will be a battle of two very good defenses and two very good offenses. The Eski's handled the Stamps fairly easily last week with Adarius Bowman having another monster game. however they did lose their all star running back Jerome Messam to a knee injury. It looks like Hugh Charles will get a lot of action on Sunday and he is certainly capable but not the same caliper of Messam. Ricky Ray is a veteran who is 8-3 in the playoffs as a starter, I think that will play a factor in this game but on the other side Travis Lulay proved last year in the West Semi against Saskatchewan that he can play in the big games. The Lions have a great defense, they are probably the biggest reason they were able to turn their season around from 1 and 6. Yes the offense has played very well but going from 30 plus points against a game to close to 20 is huge. The front 7 of the Lions has dominated down the stretch and I don't expect anything different this weekend. The Eskimo defense is nothing to shake at either, they scored a big touchdown last week in the win over Calgary and have that big play capability. This one I think will be a lower scoring battle but a very entertaining one at that.

I am looking forward to emceeing the Regina Thunder 2011 Awards Dinner on Saturday night. It was a good season of football but with a disappointing end. None the less there were a number of guys who had outstanding seasons and are definitely deserving of recognition.

The Leafs will be taking on the Nashville Predators tonight without Grabovski and MaCarthur in the lineup. However the injury prone Tim Connolly will get back into the lineup playing on the second line. Also Cody Fransen will dress in just his fifth game of the year against his old club. The Leafs will dress 7 d men tonight. That is one of 11 games in the NHL tonight including the Isle's home to Montreal, Washington in Winnipeg, and Ottawa in Edmonton.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Hilltops 29 Hurricanes 1

The 2011 Canadian Bowl featured a Hilltops squad looking for their 15th national title and 2nd straight Canadian Bowl while the Ontario champion Hurricanes were gunning for their first championship win since 1972.
The Hurricanes wouldn’t score on their opening drive, however the Prairie Champions opened the scoring as Zach Schmidt would be wide on a 41-yard field goal resulting in a rouge almost 6 minutes into the first quarter. The Hurricanes would grab a first down on their next drive, but Mike Prebble would get an interception. Saskatoon would march the ball downfield midway through the period and use all but the last 7 seconds of the quarter to go on a 13-play drive which wrapped up as Aaron Haight pulled in a 6-yard catch for the score to make it an 8-0 game after 15 minutes.
After a Hamilton two-and-out early in the second quarter, the Hilltops took the ball and took 9 plays to up their lead to a 15-point margin as Regan Schuler, who ran for 215 yards on the day, took a handoff and cut left and rambled 42 yards for a touchdown.
The Hurricanes offense had a horrific half trying to move the ball as Hamilton pivot Matt Francis threw 3 first half interceptions, two of those would land in the hands of veteran safety Graig Newman. Francis would end up tossing 5 interceptions.
 The Hurricanes would right themselves and go on a 5-play drive in the final minute. Matt Coates would attempt a 50-yard field goal on the last play, but went wide. A return attempt was halted in the end zone, giving the home side a point.
The Hilltops would drive the ball 67 yards on 4 plays early in the third frame and would find the end zone again as quarterback Chase Bradshaw would sneak into the end zone from a yard out. The score was set up by a huge 59-yard dash from Schuler. The Hilltops lead was 22-1 after 3.

The Hamilton offense would move the ball in spurts, but get nothing more on the board on the day. The Toppers would round out the scoring with 73 seconds to go as slotback John Trumpy made a spectacular twisting catch in the end zone to make it 29-1. Trumpy would sustain what looked to be an ankle injury on the play. The Hilltops capture their 15th Canadian title in convincing fashion.
The players of the game turned out to be rather obvious choices as Regan Schuler claimed the Offensive Player of the Game & safety Graig Newman earned Defensive Player of the Game honors as he equalled the Canadian Bowl record for most interceptions with 3.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Thoughtful Thursday

What a night in the NHL on Wednesday. Everyone probably thought the biggest story of the night would be the Senators exacting some sort of revenge for their captain Daniel Alfredsson who has been out with a concussion since the last time they played the Rangers. However the only fight was a snorer between Zenon Konopka and Sean Avery. The big story of the night was found on TSN2 where the Flyers were in Tampa Bay. Less than a minute in the Lightning were deploying their typical 1-3-1 trap style of hockey and the Flyers, instead of attacking, just sat back in their own end waiting for Tampa to force the issue. Twice the refs blew the whistle after almost 30 seconds of nothing happening. Flyers coach Peter Laviolette wasn't very happy about that, mostly because he was trying to make a point to his opposing coach Guy Boucher. Well the game certainly will be the talk around the NHL for a while I would imagine. Already analysts are talking about whether or not the NHL should do anything about it. Personally I don think any rule changes will come into effect, the trap has only been apart of the game pretty well since its existence and there is no way the league starts telling coaches how to coach. I hope that teams will be figuring out how to beat the trap rather than making a mockery of the game on national television. The funny thing out of this game is that after all that the Lightning still won in OT. One word, embarrassing.

The Leafs will try and snap a two game losing streak tonight in St. Louis, looks like Ben Scrivens will get the start. Toronto needs James Reimer back.

The Pats are playing their final home game until December 2nd tonight against the Moose Jaw Warriors. The Warriors have beaten the Pats in the only other meeting 3-2. They will play again in Moose Jaw tomorrow night.

The CFL playoffs start this weekend. I think that every team in the playoffs has a chance at the Grey Cup, excluding the Hamilton Tiger Cats.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Tuesday Pat Chat

The Pats are practising this week preparing for the final game of their 4 game home stand against the Moose Jaw Warriors. The Pats are 2 and 1 so far with wins coming over Saskatoon and Medicine Hat while losing to Calgary on Saturday. The loss to the Hitmen was a tough one, especially because of the way the winning goal went in. Goaltender Matt Hewitt mishandled a puck and it slipped behind him into the net, however he bounced back with a good performance against Medicine Hat on Sunday stopping 29 shots. Anaheim Ducks prospect Emerson Etem was held off the score sheet in that game, that doesn't happen very often for the WHL's scoring leader. Pats rookie Morgan Klimchuk got the OT winner against the Tigers poking in a loose puck in the crease, he said after the game it was even more memorable a goal than his first in the league. The Pats will play a home and home set with the Warriors starting Thursday at the Brandt, they two clubs have met once already this year in Moose Jaw where the Warriors were 3-2 winners. Head Coach Pat Conacher said after that game that he wasn't happy with the effort in the third and said that they beat themselves, in talking with him after practise today he said that they cant do that again.

He said "Moose Jaw is a big physical team that can move the puck and they can skate, if you look at their team on paper and what they do on the ice, they have it all, they move the puck, they skate, they are a physical team, they can beat you in a lot of different ways, its a great challenge for our guys and we just have to come out and not beat ourselves."

He also talked about the mood in the dressing room when the team is winning and near the top of the standings.

"Its great to wake up in the morning and know you are at the top or near the top of the standings. That's what its all about the two points, that's what I get a charge out of because the kids are talking about in there too, its not about this guy got 4 points or this guy got two points, the Pats got two points and that's the most important points. That's exciting. The goal when we all started the year is to make the playoffs, and so the games are so important and the whole conference is so tight. So we are going to try and get all the points we can no matter what it is because they are just as valuable right now as at the end of the year, we've done a good job to get to this point so far and the guys are working hard, its good to see the excitement in the room that they are at the top or near it."

Thursdays home game will be the last game at the Brandt until December the 2nd when the Vancouver Giants come to town. The Pats will play 5 games in 7 nights from November 19th to the 26th. However the focus right now is on Thursdays and Fridays games with the Warriors.

The Standings right now have the Pats and Wheat Kings tied atop the East Division with 24 points. There are 8 teams in the conference that have 22 points or better; like Conacher said, every two points is critical.