Monday, November 30, 2009

Halfway Report: Yorkton Terriers

Record: 14-12-3-0 (31 pts) (as of halfway point, or 29 games)

On Pace: 28-24-6-0 (62 pts) .534%

20 or so games in, it was starting to look like the same Terrier team from the last couple seasons. That's not a bad thing, it just means, few goals against, but few goals for. But having spent the better part of the last week with the Terriers, I think this last week could be a turning point for them. The start of November saw Yorkton go into their biggest slide of the season, starting the month 2-5-3 in their first 10 games. Since then, 3 straight wins away from home and it just seems like they have a bit of a swagger. Torey Stott went goal-less in seven of his first 8 games to start the season, but scored 4 goals in 5 games to hit the halfway point with a team-high 14g and 24p. He's been the club's heartbeat offensively on a line with Clarke Breitkreuz and rookie Brent Struble. But the thing that's got the Terriers on their recent hot streak was some secondary scoring that really wasn't there in the first 20+ games. The win against Melville on Friday saw the line of Matt Chomyc-Kevin Stringfellow-Rylan McDonell combine for 6 points, and the Estevan game the next day, it was Nathan Murray-Jordan Menke-Nick Dietrich who was likely the Terriers' top line. The line combined for 5 points, including 2 goals from Dietrich in the second period to draw the Terriers even, and McDonell followed up Friday's great effort with the winning goal in the final minute. As usual, the Terriers are in the upper echelon of teams when it comes to goals against, and that's been thanks to everyone, including the entire blueline, and all three goaltenders, with Luke Boechler, Joel Danyluk and Devin Peters all having great numbers.

What to Expect?
A reasonable goal for the Terriers would be to stay in the top three in the Sherwood, and push for second spot and home ice in Round One of the playoffs. Torey Stott, provided he stays healthy, should become the first Terrier to score 20 goals in a season in three years, and as long as the supporting cast continues to chip in and help that top line out, the Terriers have the makings to have a nice run. The blueline was already pretty solid, and Drew McDermott made it that much better. The 18 year old came from the WHL's Everett Silvertips in time for the Showcase, and showed poise on the powerplay, as well as dealing some big-time hits along the wall. Ed Zawatsky could very well have some other irons in the fire, and certainly has some trade bait, with several defenseman, and, oh yeah three goaltenders. The December 1st deadline is here, and we'll see what happens. Boechler and Danyluk have better numbers in terms of GAA and SV%, while Peters has the most wins, and surely taking the starting job last year as a relative unknown has to count for something.

(Back for another year! Last year I gave MVP to Greg Coburn, Most Improved to Jordan Menke, and Most Pleasant Surprise to Devin Peters. Let's stick with those awards.)

Most Valuable Player
Torey Stott, Forward

As Stott goes, the Terriers go. Yorkton is 8-1-2 when Stott scores a goal this season. He's scored almost 20% of his team's goals, and has points on nearly one-third of them. On pace for 28 goals, Stott is leading the Terriers in most, or all offensive categories, and is a huge part of their powerplay. The 19 year old is showing no signs of a sophomore slump, after leading the team in goals a year ago with 18 as a rookie. As long as Stott's pace keeps up and the other lines chip in like they have recently, the Terriers' offensive woes could be a thing of the past.

Runners Up: Boechler, Danyluk, Peters, G

Most Improved Player
Kurtis Decker, Defense

With no goals and 5-assists, this award doesn't come down to offense, but responsibility. Decker's not flashy, but has been given plenty of ice time, including on the powerplay, and especially the PK. The Terriers probably don't have an undisputed top-pairing, but Decker and Austin Bourhis could arguably be that pairing, and are often on the first PP unit together. To appreciate Decker's game, you have to be at the rink on a regular basis, not just reading the boxscores on your computer. He blocks a tonne of shots and I've seen him break up countless cross-crease passes and end-to-end rushes, and they don't keep stats for that.

Runner Up: Nick Dietrich, F

Most Pleasant Surprise
Luke Boechler, Goalie

Boechler played Junior 'B' with the Saskatoon Royals last season, and won a Provincial Championship. This year, he took time off from university to give Junior 'A' one last shot, and halfway into the season, he's still on the Terrier roster as part of a 3-goalie system, and still leads the league with 3 shutouts, has a 2.30 GAA, .933%, and a record of 4-2-2. Realistically at the start of the year, one would have thought Peters and Danyluk would battle it out for the starting job and Boechler would backup one of them, but here he is challenging for the top job at the end of November.

Honourable mention to 17-year-old rookie defenseman Austin Bourhis, who leads all Terrier defensemen with 4g-10a-14p.

Feel free to agree or disagree with my choices in the Comments section. I'll post anything as long as you're not ripping players.


Anonymous said...

Agree totally, keep it going guys!!

Milzfan said...

I'm waiting for your report on the Mils... there is apparently a lot of potential movement going on with them. Yorkton looks pretty solid thus far.

Craig Stein said...

Mils hit the halfway point with their next game (Friday), so I'll probably do theirs this weekend. Monday morning at the latest.

Anonymous said...

Craig could you please please post + - for Terrier Defence men

Craig Stein said...

Wish I knew those numbers, but I dont. Sorry.