Month: March 2012

Marvelous Mooseheads take 2-0 Series Lead

(Photo Credit: Richard LaFortune)

By: Henry Whitfield

Despite going into their first round matchup with the Moncton Wildcats as favourites, the Halifax Mooseheads had a lot to prove with a talented roster and almost four years since their last win in the playoffs.

The Mooseheads rose to the occasion on the weekend, sweeping the first two games with a combined score of 9-2, riding strong performances from Zachary Fucale to dominate the scoreboard. Fucale stopped 45 of 47 shots faced on the weekend, coming up with the big saves when the Mooseheads needed them.

Halifax fell behind early in the Game 1, with James Melindy scoring on the powerplay, but the Herd tied it up when Nathan MacKinnon scored a highlight reel goal late in the period.

Unable to match the intensity of the Mooseheads, Moncton gave up four more unanswered goals and took 5 straight penalties in the third period on the way to a  5-1 Mooseheads win.

The only setback was a suspension to Konrad Abeltshauser, handed two games for a hit where no penalty was called, which seemed to galvanize the team, who stormed out to a 2-goal lead in less than a minute to start Game 2.

Martin Frk and Alex Grenier combined for the two goals before most of the crowd had even found it’s seat, while Cameron Critchlow added the third goal midway through the third period.

MacKinnon once again stole the show with another brilliant goal, hauled down on the breakaway the Cole Harbour native beat Roman Will on a penalty shot and ignited the nearly 8,000 fans in attendance.

Melindy would later ruin Fucale’s shutout, but that wouldn’t damper the mood as the Mooseheads skated to a commanding 2-0 lead in the best of seven series.

– – –

The Numbers

Alex Grenier  – 1 goal, 2 assists

Nathan MacKinnon – 3 goals, 1assist

Martin Frk – 3 goals, 1 assist

Zachary Fucale – 45 Saves, 1.00 GAA, 0.957 SV%

– – –

The series now heads back to Moncton, where the teams will play back-to-back games on Monday and Tuesday, if needed game five will be played Friday in Halifax.

– – –

Henry is a writer for Sportstream.ca  and part of the Bill McLean Sports Show on 88.1 CKDU  every Thursday Morning at 9am. You can follow him on twitter at @HenryWhitfield , where he live tweets his thoughts during each Mooseheads game.

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It’s Hockey time in the Maritimes!

Mathieu Corbeil will try to lead his Sea Dogs back to the Memorial Cup

(Photo Credit: Richard LaFortune)

By: Henry Whitfield

With sweltering heat pounding Halifax and unseasonal highs reaching across the Maritimes, the best hockey of the season is only just arriving.

Despite the heatwave on the East Coast, hockey buffs are getting ramped up for a bevy of playoff battles heading their way.

This may just be the best weekend of hockey the Maritimes will see all year, why not check out all the action?

The Saint John Sea Dogs kicked off their playoffs with a 7-4 win over Cape Breton and will continue that series this weekend, while the Halifax Mooseheads will play host to the Moncton Wildcats in their first round season.

Hot off their Memorial Cup triumph last year, the Sea Dogs are looking to find their way back to defend their title and  win back-to-back championships.

Turn the dial to CIS Hockey and the UNB Varsity Reds play host to the nation with the CIS Men’s Hockey University Cup dropping the puck Thursday afternoon, the tournament includes the second ranked McGill Redmen and four-time champion AUS Runner-ups Moncton Aigles Bleus.

As always, SSNCanada will be covering the CIS action and if you’re looking for the QMJHL games and can’t make it to the rink, you can always watch the TELUS Live broadcasts online.

Need some help keeping track of all the action? See below for all your weekend Maritime hockey needs:

– – –

CIS University Cup

Pool A – UNB (1), Western (4), UQTR (6)

Pool B – McGill (2), Saskatchewan (3), Moncton (5)

Thursday, March 22
Pool B #1: McGill vs. Moncton, 2pm
Pool A #1: UNB vs. UQTR, 7pm

Friday, March 23
Pool B #2: Loser Pool B #1 vs. Saskatchewan, 2pm
Pool A #2: Loser Pool A #1 vs. Western, 7pm

Saturday, March 24
Pool B #3: Winner Pool B #1 vs. Saskatchewan, 11:30am
Pool A #3: Winner Pool A #1 vs. Western, 4:30pm *Also on Sportsnet

Sunday, March 25
University Cup Final, 8pm *Also on Sportsnet

– – –

QMJHL First Round: Saint John Sea Dogs – Cape Breton Screaming Eagles *SJ Leads 1-0

Friday, March 23 – Cape Breton @ Saint John, 8pm

Saturday, March 23 – Cape Breton @ Saint John, 7pm

Tuesday, March 27 – Saint John @ Cape Breton, 7pm

– – –

QMJHL First Round: Halifax Mooseheads – Moncton Wildcats

Friday, March 23 – Moncton @ Halifax, 7pm

Saturday, March 24 – Moncton @ Halifax, 7pm

Monday, March 26 – Halifax @ Moncton, 7pm

Tuesday, March 27 – Halifax @ Moncton, 7pm

– – –

Henry is a writer for Sportstream.ca  and part of the Bill McLean Sports Show on 88.1 CKDU  every Thursday Morning at 9am. You can follow him on twitter at @HenryWhitfield , where he live tweets his thoughts during each Mooseheads game.

Randell Bowing out

Randell laces up one last time.

Photo Credit: Richard LaFortune

By: Henry Whitfield

 

He’s not flashy or a sniper, he works hard and battles on the boards, fighting every shift he’s on the ice.

Travis Randell has continually found a way to fit into the lineup over his five seasons in Moose Country, despite playing for three head coaches and a roster that has been in constant fluctuation.

As the Mooseheads close out the regular season tonight and Randell plays his last home game for the Herd, we reflect on the Newfoundland natives career in Halifax.

The Stats

314 Regular Season

12 Playoff Games

45 Goals, Tied 28th All-Time

73 Assists, 24th All-Time

118 Points, 26th All-Time

-86 +/-,  Probably not great.

His 314 regular season games rank behind only Brandon Benedict, who also holds the most goals scored, most assists and most points accumulated.

He now joins the ranks of Yuri Cheremetiev*, Frederic Belanger and Benedict as players to play five seasons with the Mooseheads.

While not known for his offence, Randell stepped up in the 2009/2010 season when paired with Tomas Knotek and Gerrad Grant, setting career highs and finishing third in scoring on the team. He finished with 18 Goal, 27 assists and 45 points.

He was rewarded the next season when named Captain of the team, playing a full 68 game season and adding in 24 points, despite his team finishing far below .500 with a 20-43-2-3 record and managing just 45 points on the season.

This season Randell saw his ice-time drop dramatically, adjusting at first to being replaced as Captain by new head coach Dominic Ducharme and then being asked to play defence for an injury riddled defensive unit. Not playing defence since minor league hockey, he moved into the role without losing a step and has been a key part of the Mooseheads success on the penalty kill.

Now as he reaches the end of the career, whether patrolling the blue line or up front forechecking, take a moment and cheer a little louder as he touches the puck, give the kid from Twillingate one last hurrah and the send off he deserves.

He may not be the greatest player we’ve ever had, but he’s been a Great Moosehead.

– – –

Henry is a writer for Sportstream.ca  and part of the Bill McLean Sports Show on 88.1 CKDU  every Thursday Morning at 9am. You can follow him on twitter at @HenryWhitfield , where he live tweets his thoughts during each Mooseheads game.

Panthers beat Mounties, win first AUS Title

Christina Kelly celebrates the eventually game winning goal, scored early in the first period

The underdog story came full circle for the fourth seeded UPEI Panthers, who completed their storybook run to the finals with a 3-0 shutout win the AUS Women’s Hockey finals.

Christina Kelly had a pair of goals, while Kristy Dobson continued her fantastic run in net and shutout the highly-touted Mount Allison offence.

Despite a barrage of shots early on from the Mounties, it was the UPEI Panthers who took an early advantage when Kelly broke free from the defender and snapped her own rebound past AUS All-Star Meghan Corley-Byrne.

Late in the first period the Panthers found themselves in penalty trouble, with Ferran Brown heading off for a checking call and a too many players on the ice bench minor being assessed, giving the struggling Mounties a 5 on 3 advantage.

Dobson stole the spotlight on the penalty kill, diving to stop an Ashlyn Somers shot, while her penalty killing unit blocked the passing lanes and helped kill off the decisive advantage.

Early in the second period the Panthers doubled their lead, Kelsey O’Donnell beat Corley Byrne with a shot that beat the Mounties goalie through a sea of traffic in front.

Instead of sitting back and defending their lead, much like their game against St. FX the night before, the Panthers stayed on the attack and used an effective fore-checking game to pin the Mounties in their own end.

Kelly would ice the game in the final moments, scoring into the empty net for her second of the night and giving her Panthers a 3-0 win and a berth at the

Panthers Captain Amber Gaudette celebrates with the AUS Championship Trophy

CIS Championship in Alberta.

An unlikely outcome at the beginning of the tournament, the Panthers allowed a tournament low 3 goals and were able to rely on strong defensive play to craft their path to the title.

Tournament All-Star Team

F – Christina Kelly (UPEI)

F – Molly MacDonald (StFX)

F – Katelyn Morton (MTA)

D – Genevieve David (UdeM)

D – Emily Van Diepen (MTA

G – Kristy Dobson

MVP – Kristy Dobson

– – – –

The Panthers will now head to Nationals, where they will join Alberta (Hosts), Calgary (CANWEST), Laurier (OUA), Montreal (RSEQ Finalist) and McGill (RSEQ Winner), and will one again be the underdogs as the only team to not be nationally ranked.

The Martlets is coming off their third national title in four years, while Laurier celebrated their eighth OUA title out of the last nine and the celebrate Alberta program will look to their record six national tiles for confidence, while you need to look no further than Hayley Wickenheiser to know that Calgary are a serious contender.

Pool A will consist of 1 Laurier, 4 UPEI and 6 Montreal, while Pool B will consist of 2 McGill, 3 Calgary and 5 Alberta. The tournament opens up March 8th, with Laurier playing Montreal and Calgary playing McGill.

UPEI will open their tournament playing the winner of game one, then following up with the loser of game one on the 10th.

– – –

Henry is a writer for Sportstream.ca  and part of the Bill McLean Sports Show on 88.1 CKDU  every Thursday Morning at 9am. You can follow him on twitter at @HenryWhitfield , where he live tweets his thoughts during each Mooseheads game.

AUS Women’s Hockey Finals: Day Three

Morton dominated the game, scoring a hat-trick in the process.

(Photo Credit: Richard LaFortune)

By: Henry Whitfield

On  what was essentially Semi-Final Saturday at the Dalhousie Memorial Arena, the UPEI Panthers upset nationally ranked and AUS Defending champion St. FX X-Women 2-1, while Mount Allison came back from a 4-2 deficit late, to beat Moncton 5-4.

In stunning fashion, the Panthers upset the X-Women after a sensational outing by goaltender Kristy Dobson, who made 33 saves and booked her team a place in the finals.

Both Marie-Michelle Poirier and Katelyn Morton had hat-tricks for their team in the late game, but after taking a 4-2 lead the Aigles-Bleus were unable to hang on and the Mounties powered past them with three unanswered goals, right into the finals on Sunday.

UPEI 2 – 1 St. FX

Stunning the large St.FX Crowd in attendance, the Panthers knocked off the X-Women to put themselves in the AUS finals, the first time in their history reaching the finals.

Outstanding net-minding by Dobson shutdown Janelle Parent and Alex Noremore, ranked 1st and 2nd nationally in scoring, and allowed her team a chance at the win.

Missed opportunities were the downfall for the X-Women, while the Panthers were in lethal form converting on two of their three powerplay opportunities.

It was too little too late for the X-Women, who finally beat Dobson in the final moments and then threw everything they had at the Panthers goalie, but Dobson was equal to the task.

Players of the Game

St. FX – Molly MacDonald

UPEI – Kristy Dobson

Moncton 4 – 5 Mount Allison

Katelyn Morton rallied the Mounties and a late powerplay goal by Ashlyn Somers gave them a huge comeback win, giving them a place in the finals on Sunday.

Moncton roared to an early 2-0 lead on back-to-back goals by Marie-Michelle Poirer, despite being outplayed for much of the period by the Mounties.

In splendid fashion, Katelyn Morton scored a high-light reel goal, going end to end and dancing around Desjardins to cut the lead to one.

Morton tied the game midway through the second at 2-2, before Poirier finished her hat-trick seconds later to take back the lead.

Then with less than a minute left in the game, Amelie Dion scored to give the Aigles-Bleus a dominant 4-2 lead going into the final frame.

Queens of the comeback all season, the Mounties started with a furious assault in the third period on Kathy Desjardins, with Morton completing her hat-trick minutes into the period.

Megan Davies tied the game at 4-4 two minutes later, a floating shot that bounced and trickled through Desjardin’s pads and ignited the Mount Allison faithful in attendance.

To add the finishing touches, Ashlyn Somers scored on a play created by Katelyn Morton, who spent the night crashing the crease and causing havoc in the Moncton crease.

Players of the Game:

Moncton – Marie-Michelle Poirier

Mount Allison – Katelyn Morton

– – –

The tournament will come to a close on Sunday, when the UPEI Panthers play the  the Mount Allison Mounties in the finals at 3pm. The winning team will represent the AUS at the upcoming CIS Championship.

Check out all the action from today’s games at SSNCanada.ca, where Steve Betts and Henry Whitfield have the call from the Dalhousie Memorial Arena.

Sunday, March 4th
Championship Game: UPEI Panthers vs. Mount Allison Mounties, 2:00pm

*Dalhousie and St. Thomas were eliminated on Friday, while St. FX and Moncton were eliminated on Saturday.

– – –

Henry is a writer for Sportstream.ca  and part of the Bill McLean Sports Show on 88.1 CKDU  every Thursday Morning at 9am. You can follow him on twitter at @HenryWhitfield , where he live tweets his thoughts during each Mooseheads game.

AUS Women’s Hockey Finals: Day Two Recap

(Photo Credit: Richard LaFortune)

By: Henry Whitfield

Dalhousie Tigers 2 – 1 UPEI Panthers (OT)

A wild second day at the AUS Women’s Championships, where both bouts were ended in overtime.

After a tough 3-1 loss to St. FX on their opening night, the Dalhousie Tigers overcame a slow start to power by the UPEI Panthers in overtime.

The third period saw end to end action, high flying forwards and excellent goaltending from both ends. The Tigers came close when Jenna Currie broke in alone, but Dobson made a big save. Moments later Zoe Zivolak was called into action, stopping Panthers Captain Amber Gaudette on a breakaway.

Cassie Banfield scored the eventual overtime winner for the Tigers, with a packed Tigers home crowd cheering wildly in celebration.

Despite the win, the Tigers unable to win in regulation means that they are out of the tournament.3

Players of the Game:

Tigers – Zoe Zivolak

UPEI Panthers – Kristy Dobson

St. Thomas Tommies 2 – 1 Mount Allison Mounties

Coming into the playoffs, the Mounties had won seven straight games but their luck ran out against the Tommies who rebounded from a big 5-0 loss to Moncton in their opening game.

St. Thomas took a lead early on in the game, with Brewster beating All-Star goalie Corley-Byrne on a scramble play.

With less than a minute left and the net empty, the Mounties tied the game up after the puck was forced over the line by Courtney King and underneath Julia Sharun in net.

Taking a powerplay into the overtime period, Tommies forward Fox took a quick shot that handcuffed Corlee Byrne, and gave her team the win.

Despite the win, the Tommies unable to win in regulation means that they are out of the tournament.

Players of the Game:

Tommies – Julia Sharun

Mounties – Lauren Oickle

– – – –

The rest of the tournament will continue Saturday, when the UPEI Panthers play the St. FX X-Women at 3pm and the Mount Allison Mounties play the high-flying Moncton Aigles Bleus at 7pm.

Check out all the action from today’s games at SSNCanada.ca, where Steve Betts and Henry Whitfield had the call from the Dalhousie Memorial Arena.

Saturday, March 3rd
Game #5: UPEI (4th) vs. St. FX (1st), 3:00pm
Game #6: Mount Allison (3rd) vs. Moncton (2nd), 7:00pm

Sunday, March 4th
Championship Game: Pool “A” winner vs. Pool “B” winner, 2:00pm

*Dalhousie and St. Thomas were eliminated on Friday

– – –

Henry is a writer for Sportstream.ca  and part of the Bill McLean Sports Show on 88.1 CKDU  every Thursday Morning at 9am. You can follow him on twitter at @HenryWhitfield , where he live tweets his thoughts during each Mooseheads game.

AUS Women’s Hockey Finals: Day One Recap

Desjardins and company skated to a big 5-0 win.

(Photo Credit: Richard LaFortune)

By: Henry Whitfield

It was business as usual for the top two teams in the AUS as the Women’s Hockey Finals kicked off.

Top ranked St. FX beat a resilient Dalhousie Tigers 3-1, while Moncton rolled past the St. Thomas Tommies 5-0 in the late game.

Both games were played in front of a packed house, with fans from all four schools vocal in support of their teams.

X-Women 3 – 1 Tigers

The X-Women kicked off the tournament with a highlight  goal from star Alex Normore and dominated for much of the game.

Despite hanging in with the defending AUS Champions for two periods, the TIgers managed to claw back goal after a looping point shot from Miranda McMillan beat goaltender Kristie Garrow.

Unlikely hero Abygail Laking gave her team in the second period with a wrist shot that handcuffed goaltender Zoe Zivolak and the X-Women never looked back.

The Tigers mustered just two shots in the third period, while Erin Brophy added the insurance marker and gave her team a final 3-1 lead.

Players of the Game

X-Women: Abygail Laking

Tigers: Cassie Banfield

 

Aigles Bleus 5 – 0 Tommies

Showing the rest of the AUS that they are a force to be reckoned in the post season, the Aigles Bleus cruised past the Tommies with a convincing 5 – 0 win.

Johannie Thibeault led the way for Moncton, with a hat-trick while Marie-Pier Arsenault had four points on the night with a goal and three assists. Marie-Michelle Poirier added three assists.

Despite the lopsided score, Julia Sharun had a strong game in net and made 43 saves in the loss.

Players of the Game

Aigles Bleus – Johannie Thibeaul

Tommies – Julia Sharun

– – – –

The rest of the tournament will continue Friday, when the UPEI Panthers play the Dalhousie Tigers at 3pm and the Mount Allison Mounties play the St. Thomas Tommies at 7pm.

Check out all the action from today’s games at SSNCanada.ca, where Steve Betts and Henry Whitfield had the call from the Dalhousie Memorial Arena.

Friday, March 2nd
Game #3: UPEI (4th) vs. Dalhousie (6th), 3:00pm
Game #4: Mount Allison (3rd) vs. St. Thomas (5th), 7:00pm

Saturday, March 3rd
Game #5: UPEI (4th) vs. St. FX (1st), 3:00pm
Game #6: Mount Allison (3rd) vs. Moncton (2nd), 7:00pm

Sunday, March 4th
Championship Game: Pool “A” winner vs. Pool “B” winner, 2:00pm

– – –

Henry is a writer for Sportstream.ca  and part of the Bill McLean Sports Show on 88.1 CKDU  every Thursday Morning at 9am. You can follow him on twitter at @HenryWhitfield , where he live tweets his thoughts during each Mooseheads game.