Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Sunday, March 28, 2010
The winner will play La Ronge after the Wolves beat the Stars 4-1 to take the series in six games. I can only imagine what the Eston Complex is going to be like on Tuesday.
Thursday, March 25, 2010
Jordan Braid and Andrew Dommett were both named first team all-stars by the SJHL on Wednesday but no Klippers took home any year other end awards. Earlier, Josh Thorimbert was name SJHL rookie of the year.
I don't question the abilities of Broncos goaltender Andrew Bodnarchuk as he is a tremendous tender with a bright future but I'm a little confused by the SJHL MVP winner. I am having a hard time understanding how the goaltender of a team that finished 9th overall in a 12 team league can be the most valuable player to any team in the league. Your thoughts?
Here is the list of year end award winners and league all-stars:
SJHL Player Of The Year
Dustin Stevenson, La Ronge Ice Wolves
1989 D Dustin Stevenson (Gull Lake SK) is the SJHL nominee for the CJHL Player Of The Year after a season in which he delivered 11-goals and 36-assists in 56-games while anchoring the Ice Wolves defense corps. Stevenson uses his 6’5” 220 lbs frame to play a Chris Pronger style of game and can dominate with his incredible gifted mix of size, strength, speed, and offensive instincts. The La Ronge captain is headed to St. Lawrence (NCAA Div I) this September.
Honorable Mention: Andrew Bodnarchuk, Humboldt Broncos
SJHL Most Valuable Player
Andrew Bodnarchuk, Humboldt Broncos
1990 G Andrew Bodnarchuk (Saskatoon SK) has been chosen as the most valuable player to his team as he backstopped the Broncos to an 18-14-and-6 record to go along with a 2.82-GAA and .916-SPCT. The Broncos were an offensively challenged team and relied on Bodnarchuk to keep them in games on many nights as he had eight starts in which he faced 39 or more shots in a game.
Honorable Mention: Kyle Ireland, Notre Dame Hounds
SJHL Top Defenseman
Mike Alexander, La Ronge Ice Wolves
1989 D Mike Alexander (Campbell River BC) led all SJHL blueliners in scoring with 12-goals and 42-assists in 56-games in being selected as the top player in the league at his position. Alexander, despite being best known for his offensive skills, is an extremely underrated defensive defenseman as he’s often employed in as many key situations defensively as he is offensively.
Honorable Mention: Andrew Perrault, Weyburn Red Wings
SJHL All 1st Tteam
Goal: Andrew Bodnarchuk, Humboldt
Defense: Dustin Stevenson, La Ronge
Defense: Mike Alexander, La Ronge
Centre: Travis Janke, Notre Dame
Right Wing: Jordan Braid, Kindersley
Left Wing: Andrew Dommett, Kindersley
SJHL All 2nd Team
Goal: AJ Whiffen, Weyburn
Defense: Andrew Perrault, Weyburn
Defense: Michael Young, Flin Flon
Centre: Chad Filteau, Battlefords
Right Wing: Brett Miller, Battlefords
Left Wing: Kyle Ireland, Notre Dame
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Saturday, March 20, 2010
I'm having a great day myself. I slept in a bit this morning and instead of having breakfast I had brunch. I love brunch. It's not often that I get to enjoy it but man it's good. Cereal, muffins, toast, fruit, juice all at 10:30am. Yep, I love brunch.
I really enjoyed listening to last night's game on GX94. Every play-by-play guy uses his own vocabulary and is different to listen to and I enjoy a little Craig Stein on the radio. One line that he used was "holy smokes!" He was referring to a move that Jordan Braid made in the game and it made me smile and chuckle to myself. Entertaining and one I hadn't heard in a while.
I was flipping back during stoppages to Dan O'Connor and his call of the Stars/Wolves game 1. Again, he's got a unique sound and I enjoy listening to him too.
I was even lucky enough to be able to get the signal from The Fan 960 in Calgary on my radio last night in the car. Peter Mahr had the Flames and Sharks and he is truly one of the best there is. It's a treat to be able to just drive around Saskatoon and listen to so much hockey.
Tonight GX94 has the MJHL on the radio but will pick up the Klippers in between periods and after the game is over. Craig Stein thinks we should get the last half of the Klipper/Terrier game due to the time change unless there is overtime in Manitoba. Good news.
Friday, March 19, 2010
The Klippers and the Terriers have both enjoyed some time off after wrapping up their semi-final series rather quickly and I'm sure both are eager to get back on the ice.
Josh Lewis of the Clarion has put together a great series preview which is posted below and the Star Phoenix/Leader Post has also touched on the series. There is a great piece on Terriers' Luke Boechler and his battle with cancer and the link has been posted by GX94's Craig Stein over on his blog.
There has been a few mentions of Klippers rookie G Josh Thorimbert recently in the Kamloops media. Thorimbert was picked by the Blazers with the 59th pick in the 2007 WHL bantam draft.
The following was taken from an article in today's Kamloops Daily News and is written by one of the top WHL scribes in Gregg Drinnan:
No Blazers were honoured Thursday when the WHL announced its Western Conference all-star teams and finalists for individual awards. The complete list is in Scoreboard.
However, G Josh Thorimbert, whom the Blazers selected with the 59th pick of the 2007 bantam draft, has been named the SJHL’s rookie of the year.
Thorimbert, who is from Saskatoon, went 26-14-2-2 with a 2.66 GAA and a .917 save percentage with the Kindersley Klippers.
Thorimbert hasn’t committed to the Blazers, nor has he decided to take the NCAA route. Kamloops GM Craig Bonner will be in Eston, Sask., tonight to watch the Klippers open an SJHL’s division final against the Yorkton Terriers.
Bonner will then joins his brother Scott, who is the Giants’ GM, at a bantam tournament in Regina.-----
I haven't heard any plans for a "white-out" or if fans should "go green" but I would suggest bringing along a white towel to wave. Two years ago when the Klippers made their run to the final they white towels were in affect and it was beautiful. I believe it was started in Melville by Justin Perreaux's dad and a few others. It was awesome!
I won't be able to get to the game so I'll tune into my buddy Craig Stein on GX94 for the call. He's one of the best and a treat to listen too. If you can't make it I suggest doing the same. He bleeds his teams colours (yes all four of 'em) but he's not an over-the-top homer that a visiting team can't stand to listen too.
Let's fill the barn and enjoy some great hockey! Feel free to send in your photos from tonight's game and others to show your Klipper pride and I'll be sure to post 'em on the blog.
Thursday, March 18, 2010
SJHL ROOKIE OF THE YEAR
Josh Thorimbert, Kindersley Klippers
1992 G Josh Thorimbert (Saskatoon SK) accomplished something very few underage goalies are able to do in the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League: lead a team to an above .500 finish in the regular season and have the club in position to contend for an SJHL championship. Thorimbert, who was still eligible to play in the Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League this season, joined the Kindersley Klippers and, almost immediately, assumed the role of number one goalie. He finished the year 26-14-and-4 with a 2.66-GAA and a .917-SPCT. He was second overall in minutes played and wins. He finished third overall in goals against average and save percentage. He also had 1-shutout.
Runners-up: Trevor Cameron, Notre Dame & Marc-Andre Carre, La Ronge.
Trevor Cameron – 1992 F Trevor Cameron (Mission BC) was third in the league for rookie scoring with 18-goals and 28-assists in 51-games.
Marc-Andre Carre – 1991 F Marc-Andre Carre (Baie Comeau QC) came from nowhere and become a top scoring threat, ending the year with 21-goals and 22-assists in 43-games. He also had a midseason stint in the QMJHL.
SJHL ALL-ROOKIE TEAM
GOAL: Josh Thorimbert, Kindersley (26-14-4, 2.66, .917)
DEFENSE: Austin Bourhis, Yorkton (56-7-14-21)
DEFENSE: Lee Christensen, Melfort (42-1-14-15)
CENTRE: Andrew Johnston, Flin Flon (56-15-28-43)
RIGHT WING: Trevor Cameron, Notre Dame (51-18-28-46)
LEFT WING: Marc-Andre Carre, La Ronge (43-21-22-43)
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
You have to wonder what the Vegas odds were for the Kindersley Klippers to face the Yorkton Terriers in the Sherwood Conference final entering the SJHL playoffs.
A third versus fifth match-up for a trip to the league final certainly wasn’t on the radar, but the two teams changed that by knocking out the top two Sherwood seeds, the Weyburn Red Wings and Notre Dame Hounds, in the opening round.
The Klippers have been off since Wednesday after sweeping the second-place Hounds, while Yorkton first dispatched hated rival Melville in the elimination series and proceeded to shock the regular season champion Red Wings in only five games.
The Klippers and Terriers were separated by 16 points in the regular season, but this is clearly a different Yorkton squad after a late-season coaching change, a sobering leukemia diagnosis for a teammate and two offensive acquisitions at the January trade deadline.
“It’s a new season. Nobody’s taking anybody lightly. That’s not even in my vocabulary,” said Klippers head coach Larry Wintoneak. “We have a lot of respect for them. They beat the best team in the SJHL and they’re on a roll.
"I think maybe they underachieved a bit (during the season) and their seeds are blooming now. They have a lot of skill, they’re an older team, big and strong.”
Trent Cassan, 26, was thrust into his first head coaching job with eight games left in the regular season when the club fired longtime bench boss Ed Zawatsky and promoted the assistant. Cassan admitted his focus at the time was simply to steady the ship.
“At that time, we really weren’t thinking (this) far ahead. We were just taking it day-to-day for the rest of the year. We talked about a progression as the season went on of getting better each game and that’s the way it has been,” said the former Terrier forward.
“I don’t think anyone really expected us to be here at this point, but we got some confidence beating Melville, and going into the Weyburn series we were definitely underdogs, but our guys had a lot of confidence and believed in themselves.”
Yorkton has some extra motivation in the form of 19-year-old goaltender Luke Boechler, who was diagnosed with leukemia in early February. The Yorkton native has been undergoing treatment in a Regina hospital.
“Luke’s still a big part of our hockey team. We’ve done a good job of trying to keep him as involved as possible, with guys going to see him in Regina and keeping in touch with phone and texts after games,” said Cassan.
“He’s our biggest fan right now. To know what he’s going through, the guys realize there’s nothing in a hockey game that you can’t overcome when you see what your teammate’s going through.”
Boechler was able to make it to Game 2 of the Weyburn series in Yorkton, the first time he had left his hospital room, and the Terriers won that game in overtime to take a 2-0 series lead.
The Klippers played in Yorkton the night the team honoured Boechler and unveiled his jersey at centre ice. Wintoneak said the story has touched his team and served as a reminder that “hockey is a little part of life.”
That said, Kindersley clearly has their own share of inspiration after losing their home rink and the coach said both clubs have to put the issues aside and play.
“We have motivational issues too with the fire, but the bottom line is both teams want to win,” he remarked.
The Klippers and Terriers both boast a balanced attack and consistent goalies in Josh Thorimbert and Devin Peters who are capable of stealing games. Yorkton is known as more of a physical team, but both coaches feel that angle is overblown.
“We know that they’re a physical team too. They play physical, but they play disciplined,” said Cassan of the Klippers. “That’s a big difference from a lot of teams who try to play physical and intimidating, but they spend a lot of time in the box. They (the Klippers) don’t spend much time in the penalty box.
“They’re a very disciplined team as far as playing systems, blocking shots and playing as a team,” he added. “They’re like us, they may not have one or two guys that are going to go out and create chances every shift but they have four lines who can all play and they have depth.”
Wintoneak said his team will continue to focus on disciplined play - a task “easy to say, hard to do” - but won’t shy away from getting their hands dirty.
“All year we have stuck up for each other and we’ll continue to do that,” he reflected. “We’re not going to back away just because some team tries to play physical with us.”
The Terriers are getting more out of their offence than they have all season, which can be attributed in part to Cassan, but also to the addition of 20-year-old forwards Troy Smukowich (Winnipeg South) and Ryan Griffiths (Swan Valley) from the MJHL.
“The knock before was that they couldn’t score goals, they weren’t creative enough, but ever since they made those trades, those kids are starting to blossom now for them,” said Wintoneak.
Smukowich leads the team in playoff scoring with nine goals and 13 points.
“He’s really fit into our dressing room well,” Cassan said of the former Winnipeg captain. “He’s a leader and it’s rubbed off on a lot of our guys.”
Yorkton captain Cody Zubko has also stepped it up with four goals and 11 points to go with his intimidating brand of play. Zubko was suspended for Game 3 of the Weyburn series for a hit on Lucas Ulmer and the Terriers lost their only game of the series in his absence.
“He’s a big, strong guy who’s a tough guy to handle down low,” said Cassan. “He’s been playing physical and strong and that’s the way he needs to play to be successful.”
Other Terriers to watch are right winger Rylan McDonell (5-3-8), who has turned it up a notch in the playoffs, and Adam Moar (1-4-5), a mid-season acquisition from La Ronge who plays with Smukowich and Zubko.
Clark Byczynski, Drew McDermott and rookie Austin Bourhis highlight a Yorkton blueline that plays as more than the sum of its parts.
Taylor Duzan (3-2-5), Kurt Leedahl (1-4-5) and Jordan Braid (1-4-5) led the way offensively for the Klippers against Notre Dame.
Thorimbert leads all SJHL playoff goalies with a goals-against average of 2.00 and ranks second with a .934 save percentage to go with his 4-0 record.
Peters is right behind him with a 2.09 GAA, .933 save percentage and a record of 7-1-1.
The series gets underway Friday and Saturday in Eston, with both games starting at 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, March 14, 2010
Former Klipper Travis Eggum and the La Ronge Ice Wolves advance to the Bauer Conference finals and await the winner of the Battleford/Melfort series.
And thus ends a great SJHL career for former Klipper goaltender Matt Weninger. It's unfortunate that he couldn't pull out some magic in the third period tonight but that's the way things go in hockey.
At the other end of the rink Wolves' tender Adam Bartko was spectacular in the series and they are starting to look like a team that will be hard to beat in the next round of the playoffs.
Playoff hockey is great and things are heating up! Get to the rink!
Saturday, March 13, 2010
Their playoff motto is Outwork, Outwill, Outsmart and that’s exactly what the Kindersley Klippers did to the Notre Dame Hounds.
The Klippers wrapped up a four-game sweep of the Hounds Wednesday in Eston with a 4-1 victory, earning a trip to the Sherwood Conference final and a lengthy break while six other teams finish their quarterfinal series.
“We outworked them. We outwilled them. We wanted to win more than they did,” said right winger Taylor Duzan, who scored twice Wednesday, including an empty-netter to clinch the series.
“The more we hit them, the more we outworked them, the madder they got and they weren’t able to capitalize on opportunities. It really helped with the hard work we had. We just shut them down. They didn’t want to outwork us.”
The Klippers will face either the Weyburn Red Wings or Yorkton Terriers in the conference final beginning next weekend. The upstart Terriers lead that series 3-1. If they hang on, the series starts Saturday in Eston. If the Wings come back, it begins Friday in Weyburn.
“I feel confident that whoever we play, we can beat them,” said goalie Josh Thorimbert. “If we keep up the way we’ve been playing now, we’ll give teams a good run for their money.”
In the Bauer Conference, La Ronge leads Flin Flon 3-1 and Battlefords is ahead of Melfort 2-1.
The Hounds, who finished two points ahead of Kindersley in the regular season, had nothing left Wednesday after losing the two previous games late in the third period.
An unlikely source of offence in Riley Down got the scoring started less than nine minutes in when he crashed the net, fought off two defenders and whacked a garbage goal past Matthew Smidt, who started for the first time in the series.
Some fans weren’t even in their seats yet when the Klippers put the series away early in the second period. Duzan bulged the twine 55 seconds in and Andrew Dommett scored 20 seconds later to put the brooms at the Eston Complex on standby.
“We broke their will,” said head coach Larry Wintoneak. “You could see it in the second period when we scored those two quick ones. That was a big part of the game. Even though they did score a goal (late in the second), we knew we were in full control of the hockey game.”
Rosetown’s A-Jay Moore put a puck past Thorimbert with 1:15 left in the frame, but Notre Dame had nothing left to make a comeback, as they had in Game 3 after falling behind 4-0.
Duzan hit an empty net with 1:08 remaining and soon the Klipper bench was spilling onto the ice in joy.
“We took it to them. Everyone contributed. Everyone was sacrificing their bodies, putting it all on the line,” said Thorimbert, who rebounded from a shaky Game 3 and capped an excellent stretch of goaltending in his first SJHL playoff series.
“I know I didn’t have my best game (Tuesday). I knew coming here (for Game 4) that I had to be there for the guys and I wanted to be there. The guys helped too, they all blocked shots and were letting me see the puck, getting the lanes open, so I have to give a huge kudos to them too.
“I didn’t want to get myself too hyped up or too nervous,” added the 17-year-old. “I had butterflies all series, but I didn’t want to be sick to my stomach. I thought to myself, ‘Just keep playing the way I have all year and give the guys a chance to win.’”
On Tuesday, Kindersley took a 4-0 second period lead on goals by Jordon Hoffman, Duzan, Sanfred King and Kurt Leedahl, only to see it slip away as the Hounds made a concerted push to get back in the series.
Travis Janke and Patrick Thompson-Gale scored later in the second and two impressive goals by Thomas Williams in the third tied the game 4-4 with less than eight minutes left.
With the Hounds holding the momentum, Hoffman cemented an outstanding performance by slipping a shot under a scrambling Smidt with 4:57 to play.
Hoffman, Duzan and King put in a phenomenal final shift, shutting down six Notre Dame skaters over the final 20 seconds by blocking shots, clearing the zone with their hands and, in Duzan’s case, lunging head-first into an opponent’s skates in the dying seconds to block the puck from moving.
Duzan took a two-handed chop from Kyle Ireland across the back of the neck for his effort.
Wintoneak sees an unmistakable all-for-one mindset in his players.
“It’s hard to put it in words. The guys care about each other. They do,” he said. “The deeper you’re going into this thing, there’s a lot of sacrifices. As an athlete, there’s a lot of distractions in a playoff situation but the guys are really focused. I think that’s the strength of our leaders.”
The coach showed his club a video of Ted Lindsay showing the Detroit Red Wing great saying he “never cheated a fan, never cheated the organization.”
Winning the first two games in Wilcox, including King’s literally last-second winner in Game 2, was crucial to the sweep both on the scoreboard and in its effect on both teams’ psyches.
“I think once we got up 2-0, the guys did believe we could win four straight,” said Wintoneak. “You don’t flaunt that around, you don’t start chirping about that, but it’s a low roar in our room. The confidence was there. We knew if we worked hard we’d have success.”
Strong defensive play was another key to the series victory, including the unlikely pairing of Leedahl and Jordan Braid. All indications point to Braid staying on the blueline after moving back when the team had injury problems late in the regular season.
Wintoneak believes he’s getting more out of his captain now than when he played left wing.
“Point production wise, he was down, and I think he was disappointed in his play. As a coach, you have to find ways to get guys going, so we put him on the back end because he skates so well and he’s a bigger body who moves the puck well.”
The pairings of Steven Turner with David Ahl and John Sonntag with Sean Flanagan also did their part, especially in shutting down SJHL scoring leader Travis Janke.
The Klippers will enjoy a few days off before resuming practices on Sunday.
“We’re playing for a pennant now, for a banner, which is nice,” said Wintoneak. “We always said we wanted to play for something and now we’ll get to play for the Sherwood Conference title. It’s going to be exciting.”
At the start of the playoffs who would have thought that it would be Kindersley and Yorkton advancing? As impressive as it was for the Klippers to sweep the Notre Dame Hounds the performance by the Yorkton Terriers was amazing. Sure there were close games and overtime but the Terriers dominated the score sheet last night against the league's best team in the regular season.
I'm looking forward to this series and you should too. There will be much more coverage available for this series than the last that's for sure. Terriers play-by-play voice Craig Stein is one of the league's best reporters and will cover this series extremely well so you can keep checking his blog for all the latest info. He'll likely have the series schedule posted before the SJHL does.
Elsewhere the Battlefords North Stars took a 3-1 series lead in their series with Melfort after last night's 3-2 overtime victory. The Stars seem like they are putting it together after losing the opener in the series.
And the Flin Flon Bombers avoided elimination last night winning 4-3 in overtime over La Ronge. The Ice Wolves still lead the series 3-2. How tense would that overtime period be for the Bombers and Bomber fans? How about Matt Weninger? They pulled through though.
No games in the league tonight but the Bauer Conference series' will resume tomorrow.
Thursday, March 11, 2010
The Kindersley Klippers finished off the Notre Dame Hounds with a 4-1 series clinching victory Wednesday night in Eston. With the win Kindersley has swept it's Sherwood Conference semi-final series 4-0.
The Klippers now await the winner of the Weyburn/Yorkton series. Weyburn, the league's top team in the regular season, is down 3-1 in the series and facing elimination.
The Klippers improve to 10-0-1 in Eston heading into the conference finals.
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
The Hounds clawed their way back to even the score at 4 but Jordon Hoffman would score the winner to help the Klippers take a stranglehold lead in the series.
With a 3-0 series lead the Jr. K's can clinch the series with a victory tonight in Eston.
- The Klippers are now 9-0-1 in Eston.
- Kurt Leedahl (SJHL defenceman of the week) now has 1g 4a in three post season games for the Klippers.
- Andrew Dommett has been held scoreless in the series. Look out if he catches fire.
- Big guns in Notre Dame have been mostly silent and will need to step up.
Tuesday, March 9, 2010
The 2010 Saskota bowl had a brief scare this week when there was talk of cancelling the annual contest. The issues have since been resolved and the game will go ahead just not quite as scheduled.
The game was origionally scheduled to be played in Lumsden, SK on July 10th. While the location will remain the same the date will not. A conflict with the Shrine Bowl was something the North Dakota squad could not overcome and there was talk that, if another date could not be arranged, the game could end up being cancelled.
The game has now been rescheduled and moved back one week. The 2010 Saskota bowl will be played in Lumsden, SK on July 17th barring any more issues.
Kindersley is 8-0-1 in Eston and will look to take a 3-0 lead in the best of 7 series with the Hounds.
Game 1: Hounds 0 Klippers 1
Game 2: Hounds 3 Klippers 4
Game 3: Tonight in Eston. Game time is 7:30pm.
1990 D Kurt Leedahl (Saskatoon SK) had three assists in the first two games of the Sherwood Conference semi-finals against the Notre Dame Hounds. He was also part of a blueline corps that completely shut the Hounds out in game one.
The Klippers' Josh Thorimbert was named a runner-up for goaltender of the week.
Saturday, March 6, 2010
Rookie goaltender Josh Thorimbert stopped all 26 Hound shots for the shut-out while Hounds tender Russell Abbott stopped 25 of 26 shots on the night.
The Klippers played what appears to be a very disciplined game only giving up 4 power play opportunities to the Hounds. Kindersley went 0/9 with the extra man. If the Klippers can click on the power play, special teams could be a deciding factor throughout the remainder of the series.
On paper it appears both teams went into a defensive shell in the third. Shots were 6-3 in favor of the Hounds and just one power play in the frame going the way of the Klippers.
Game two in this series goes tonight in Wilcox and the game can be heard on Classic Hits Radio.
I'm doing a little digging to see if anyone knows why the online broadcasts aren't working. It's pretty frustrating to be unable to hear the game online. Are most experiencing the same problem? I'll let you know what I find out.