Saturday, March 19, 2011

Klippers get trounced again in Game 2

I haven't found the words yet to explain what happened in Yorkton this weekend, so I'll keep this one quick (that and I'm phone-blogging).

The Terriers looked even more dominant tonight than they did in Game 1 in a 7-0 pasting of the Klippers.

Yorkton outscored Kindersley 14-2 in two nights and the series everyone thought would go deep is looking more lopsided than a senior game between Rosetown and Biggar (sorry Nationals).

The Klippers again came out flat and while Sean Cahill weathered the early storm, the Dogs quickly took a 3-0 lead. That was enough for Cahill to get the hook. While he didn't get much help from the guys in front of him, Cahill also wasn't at the top of his game.

Justin McDonald came in and played very well. Yeah, he allowed four more over the rest of the game, but as I said on the broadcast, the gap between these two teams was like the freaking Grand Canyon tonight. Maybe that's being generous to the visitors.

To me, the backbreaker was a bullet shot from the point by Jeremy Boyer with one second left in the first period. Everyone yelled at him to shoot, he made no mistake and put the Klippers down 4-0 after one.

Kindersley played a better game in the second, but they weren't dominant by any stretch and when they generated a rare scoring chance, they couldn't solve an outstanding Devin Peters.

The Klipper power play was again ineffective (0-for-9), with a 5-on-3 wasted in the first period. A goal there could have changed the course of the game.

The problems for the Klippers going home are all over the place. Getting Calkins and/or Hoffman back for game 3 would be a massive boost. But they can't just rely on that, or home cooking.

They need to raise their compete level, battle harder for pucks and lay the body more. They need a lot more out of their top forwards, whether Calkins is back or not. They need timely saves, and in my mind McDonald should be in the mix for game 3.

Most of all this is a club that needs an injection of confidence. The good news is they'll be at home as they try to claw back in the series.

On the plus side, I thought Taylor Duzan was tremendous tonight in his first game back from injury. The Klippers didn't get much going offensively, but more often than not he was the one to spark it. On the back end, aside from one gaffe I can think of, Cody Lund was extremely solid.

To wrap things up, the Yorkton Terriers were all-world this weekend. This was a first place club at the very top of their game and they were SCARY good. The skill on display was phenomenal, and not just from the top guns.

Remember that January game at the WCEC when Kindersley led 6-0 after one? Yorkton played like that for the entire weekend and Trent Cassan has to be very happy with his hockey club.

Game 2 lineup

Calkins out, Duzan in. Riley Down is also out after being suspended two games for a head hit last night.

Yorkton draws first blood in Sherwood final

Both teams spent long stretches dominating the play, but in the end the Terriers were the more opportunistic team and they defeated the Klippers 7-2 last night to open the Sherwood Conference final here in Yorkton.

It was all Yorkton in the first period, all Kindersley for most of the second but the home side was able to score at crucial moments in the game and added a couple more goals when the game was out of reach.

The Klippers got a scare in the third period when Johnny Calkins got mixed up with Keon Vick and left the game in some pain. It didn't look good for him last night, but he seems to be in better shape today. No word on his status for tonight.

Riley Paterson scored twice for the Dogs to go with singles from Robbie Ciolfi, Brant Remenda, Clarke Breitkreuz, Zak Majkowski and Craig Eisenhut. Jesse Mysiorek and Spencer Braaten had the Klipper goals.

The Terriers led 2-0 after the first after throwing everything they had at the Klippers. Kindersley came out in the second and returned the favour, except Devin Peters for the most part held them at bay. A few minutes after Braaten scored on a one-timer from Sanfred King, the Terriers got a pair less than two minutes apart from Remenda and Breitkreuz and that snuffed out the Klipper momentum.

Mysiorek lit the lamp early in the third to draw his club within two, but Yorkton responded again and was able to put the game away.

Game 2 goes tonight at Farrell Agencies Arena.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Sonntag named D of the week; KK-YKTN preview

Klippers defenceman John Sonntag was named the SJHL defenceman of the week on Tuesday. The Goodsoil native leads all defencemen in playoff scoring with two goals and six points through five games. He had a whale of a series against Weyburn and the honour shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone.

As promised, here's the Kindersley-Yorkton series preview that ran in today's Clarion.


The Kindersley Klippers had all summer to think about their devastating loss to the Yorkton Terriers in Game 7 of last year's Sherwood Conference final, and now they have a shot at redemption.

Kevin Stringfellow's Game 7 overtime goal last March will no doubt be in the back of players' minds as they begin a rematch with the first-place Terriers this weekend in Yorkton.

The series kicks off Friday and Saturday in Yorkton, followed by the third and fourth games in Kindersley on Tuesday and Wednesday, both starting at 7:30 p.m. If necessary, Game 5 is March 25 in Yorkton, Game 6 is March 27 in Kindersley at 6 p.m. and Game 7 is March 29 in Yorkton.

Kindersley (35-20-3) knocked off Weyburn in five games in the Sherwood semifinal, while Yorkton (34-16-3-5) swept fourth-place Estevan.

"I think there’s a lot of players in there that have the image of losing in Game 7 and they definitely want to rewrite a different ending this year, but it's not something we’re dwelling on," said Klippers coach Rockie Zinger. "It's definitely something we might be able to use and grab some motivation from."

Andrew Dommett, who scored six goals in last year's series, including two in Game 7, said his club is eager to inflict some payback.

"We’re looking for revenge and the boys are hungry. Yorkton’s a very offensive team and I think if we can take away (space) from their top guys, a lot of them don’t like that physical play and we love it."

Indeed, the Terriers are a different club than the group that often pounded the Klippers physically during last year's series. This year's group is built primarily on skill, led by deadline pickups Jeremy Boyer (42-45-87) and Justin Buzzeo (31-51-82), as well as Clarke Breitkreuz (31-37-68), Robbie Ciolfi (22-30-52) and Brent Struble (19-33-52).

Terriers head coach Trent Cassan said that the addition of Boyer and Buzzeo from Humboldt is just as valuable in terms of added depth as their top flight scoring.

"They’ve fit in very well right from the start. They're very good kids and teammates. The guys were excited to get them. It also seemed like some guys were watching them too much at the start," said Cassan.

"It’s given us some more scoring, but also depth. We try to spread our scoring out. We realize they’re top-end guys, but at the same time, there are going to be nights when they get shut down."

"They’re a skilled group of forwards for sure," said Zinger of the Terriers. "They’ve got some very skilled six to eight forwards that can really skate well and move the puck and distribute it well. These two teams match up really well. Both have high-end guys, grinders, a committee-type defence that's unheralded and they go about their business."

The Klippers' high-octane attack has been well-documented and got a boost at the trade deadline with the pick-ups of Spencer Braaten and Wheaton King. Braaten scored at a point-per-game pace this year despite missing 22 games with an ankle injury, while King posted 15 points in 16 games.

Other key components are Johnny Calkins (25-68-93), Braeden Adamyk (42-40-82), Dommett (22-24-46), who missed 24 games with a broken jaw, and Sanfred King (19-45-64).

Linemates Taylor Duzan and Jordon Hoffman are both injured. Duzan was expected to resume skating Tuesday, with no word on his return, while Hoffman could play at some point in the series, according to Zinger.

Despite pitting two dangerous attacking corps against one another, fans likely won't see a boatload of goals, such as the Klippers' 9-6 win over Yorkton on Jan. 25.

"I don’t think it’ll be wide open pond hockey," said Zinger. "What you see come playoff time is every player buckles down a little more, makes smarter decisions and manages the puck better. I think what you’ll see is good end-to-end action, good hockey, but it’ll be well-managed by the players."

Stars aside, the post-season has a tendency to bring heroes out of the shadows.

"In a long playoff series, which I’m sure this one will be, it’s probably going be the guys who don’t get as much attention offensively that step in and score big goals," said Cassan. "Those guys are just as important for your team success as anyone."

Both coaches said their teams are similar on the blueline. Yorkton is led by SJHL defenceman of the year Blaine Tendler and deadline pick-up Brant Remenda, while Klippers rearguard Kurt Leedahl is widely considered one of the league's best and he shoulders the load along with Sean Flanagan and John Sonntag.

"They’re maybe a little bit bigger than our back end, but I think we’re a little more mobile," said Zinger.

"They’re a workmanlike group that goes about doing their business. That’s kind of what we are. All the spotlight shines on our top forwards. The attention seems to get focused mostly on that and that’s fine by us."

Added Cassan: "Remenda’s been a really good pickup for us. He was really good in the Estevan series.

"Some of our other older guys are like Kindersley; maybe they don’t get as much attention as Leedahl and Flanagan, but we have guys like (Kurtis) Decker and (Keon) Vick who are kind of like (Casey) Rogers and (David) Haaf. The way they play, you don’t really notice them and I think that’s a good thing."

Most would expect established veteran Devin Peters to take on Klippers tender Sean Cahill in the crease, but Cassan had yet to decide on his Game 1 starter as of Monday.

Peters was injured for the final month of the season and 18-year-old back-up Warren Shymko filled in admirably, to the point where he played three of the four games against Estevan despite Peters being healthy.

"It was good to get both guys involved. There’s always going to be a point in a series where you may see both goaltenders," said Cassan.

Zinger said the game plan for his club is to give the Terriers' top guns no room to operate and set the physical tone early in the series.

"We’re going to have to take the time and space away from them and be physical. We’ve gotta make sure we send the message early that for any inch of space out there, they’re going to have to earn it," the coach explained. "What I think it’s going to come down to is which group gets worn down the quickest, and goaltending."

Last year's Sherwood final was a seven-game barnburner worth every penny of the admission price, and Cassan expects the same the second time around.

"I think it’ll be a real exciting series for fans in both communities. The teams are so evenly matched; they’re built the same way, so when you have two teams so even, it should be a long series and it should have a lot of ups and downs."

Monday, March 14, 2011

Kindersley-Yorkton series dates

The dates for this series are pretty much the usual SJHL playoff format, but I thought I should put it out there for anyone wondering.

All games start at 7:30 p.m., aside from Game 6 in Kindersley, which may be a 6 p.m. start - not decided yet.

UPDATE: Game 6 will indeed be a 6 pm start.

Game 1: Friday, March 18 in Yorkton
Game 2: Saturday, March 19 in Yorkton
Game 3: Tuesday, March 22 in Kindersley
Game 4: Wednesday, March 23 in Kindersley
x-Game 5: Friday, March 25 in Yorkton
x-Game 6: Sunday, March 27 in Kindersley - 6 pm
x-Game 7: Tuesday, March 29 in Yorkton

x-if necessary

Stay tuned for a series preview on Wednesday, and I'm still planning to put up interviews from Games 3-5 of the Weyburn series when time permits.