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Hockey Challenge 2014

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Welcome to the Delnov show

In this weeks episode, the character of Alexander (played by Alexander Delnov), finds the magic potion that was hidden in the far off town of Red Deer.  Upon drinking it as part of a family holiday feast, he is transformed into his alter ego, Super Delnov, a character that has not made an appearance in the show since season one.  Everything Super Delnov does turns to a red light.

Delnov appeared to have found something that brought his confidence up.  Maybe something happened in the Subway series game he played in last week.  He had an assist in that game, was a plus one, his team won 3-2, and I hear he had played a very good game.

Maybe it was the early goal he got in this game.  Either way, lets hope it continues, and returns him to the form we all saw last season.  Last season, he had 20 goals and 29 assists in 69 games.  Going into last night, he was on pace for a slight increase of 28 goals for the season.  He started out the season on fire, but when linemate Connor Honey went down, Delnov kind of disappeared from the scoresheet, only gathering 3 goals since the injury.

That all changed last night, where he had 5 points, 2 of those goals.  The first, he threw the puck out in front of the net from behind the goal line, it took a couple bounces, and ends up in the net.  The second goal he was left alone, had time, and let a very nice chip shot type of goal into the top corner.  The only goal of the night he wasn't part of was the last Seattle goal.

For the first two periods, I thought this was a very close game.  Back and forth action, with very few actual stoppages of play.  The Birds got two late goals in the second period to blow the game wide open.  Then they dominated the third period, skating away with the win.

The turning point of the game had to have come when Seattle killed off a 5 on 3 that lasted 1 minute 40 seconds.  And then score one of their own goals one minute later on a PP.

I really thought this was a very complete game for the Birds.  There was no let down at all throughout the game.  They kept hitting, skating, forechecking, and using their speed.  They kept the pedal down all game long, not letting up in the 3rd at all.  They got strong goaltending when they needed it, and killed some timely penalties.

The best goal of the night, in my opinion, was Ryan Gropp's.  He took a centering pass on a 2 on 2, appeared to bat it down on his backhand, played it to his forehand, and pocket it in the net.  You can really start to see him coming around and getting used the WHL.  And this goal showed the soft hands he is known to have.  He also had 2 assists on the night, making this his first multi-point game of the season.

A couple bullet points
  • Good game by Myles in net.  The first goal he probably should have had, but also made a couple saves he shouldn't have.
  • If you look at the scoresheet, you would say special teams were the difference in the game, with Seattle going 3 for 5, and Saskatoon going 2-5.  But I didn't really think so.
  • A great heavy weight fight between Mitch Elliot and Graeme Craig.  The thing that impressed me most was the respect both had for each other.  They both decided to go, skated to a clear space on the ice, lined up, and joined together.  No jumping of one player, no one rushing in to surprise the other, nothing cheap.  Class act by both of them.  But one punch by Elliot set the best tone for the fight.
  • Best tweet of the night from Tyler "Mom, I don't wanna play anymore, he hit me in the head." after the Elliot punch.
  • The new owner of the Blades was in attendance.  Great to see people come into the league and get around to the arenas and meet people.
  • I really hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving
  • And for all our Canadian readers, I hope you had a great Thursday
  • And lastly, you can all laugh at me for going black Friday shopping, but I paid $365 for a $850 dryer, so ha ha.  Of course, I did go into the store at 6am to purchase a new stereo receiver, and found out they really did sell out of them, so I guess the only music I get to listen to is the snaps hitting the sides of the dryer.
Tonight brings in the Victoria Royals (I still want to call them the Cougars).  The are on a ROLL, winning 5 straight, and are 8-2 in their last 10 games.  The biggest thing is in the 5 wins, they have given up FOUR goals total.  Their goalie has been the first star in each of the games.  So lets see if Seattle can break his streak.  I will be doing color commentary on the Royals broadcast, so if you get tired of listening to Thom, and want to hear my voice, tune in their internet broadcast and get my look at the game.

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