Friday, March 16, 2012

GX94 Playoff Preview: (3) Millionaires vs (1) Red Wings - SJHL Sherwood Final

Melville (29-21-4-4) 66 points vs Weyburn (37-19-1-1) 76 points

How they got here:
Melville: After losing Game 1 in Yorkton, the Mils came back to win the next 4, taking the Sherwood Semi 4-1.
Weyburn: Finished first, swept Estevan in Round 1.


Regular Season

Ian McNulty 58 GP (39g-47a-86p)
Jesse Mireau 49 GP (29g-42a-71p)
Russell Trudeau 42 GP (29g-25a-54p)
Tyson Newell 57 GP (10g-44a-54p)

Ian McNulty 5 GP (5g-3a-8p)
Colin Mospanchuk 5 GP (4g-2a-6p)
Jesse Mireau 3 GP (1g-5a-6p)
Lucas Froese 5 GP (3g-2a-5p)
Alex Elliott 5 GP (2g-3a-5p)
Connor Bradshaw 5 GP (1g-4a-5p)

Regular Season

Jesse Ross 56 GP (46g-45a-91p)
Coltyn Sanderson 57 GP (32g-49a-81p)
Keegan Bruce 58 GP (23g-53a-76p)
Jordon Hoffman 55 GP (19g-31a-50p)
Miguel Pereira 39 GP (23g-20a-43p)


Coltyn Sanderson 4 GP (4g-4a-8p)
Ryan Whitell 4 GP (3g-3a-6p)
Miguel Pereira 3 GP (2g-3a-5p)
Keegan Bruce 4 GP (1g-4a-5p)
Jesse Ross 4 GP (3g-0a-3p)


Millionaires vs Weyburn
Jesse Mireau 5 GP (4g-6a-10p)
Ian McNulty 6 GP (3g-5a-8p)
Michael Sagen 6 GP (3g-3a-6p)
Bob Pond 5 GP (0g-6a-6p)
Russell Trudeau 4 GP (4g-1a-5p)

Red Wings vs Melville
Jesse Ross 5 GP (4g-1a-5p)
Jack Kennelly 6 GP (3g-2a-5p)
Miguel Pereira 4 GP (3g-1a-4)
*Coltyn Sanderson never scored against Melville (5-0-4-4)
*No Weyburn defenseman scored against Melville (Whitell's played F most of the year)



Blake Voth

Regular Season: 16-11-1, 3.05 GAA, .915%, 1 SO
Playoffs: 4-1, 3.52 GAA, .908%
vs Weyburn: 2-1, 2.34 GAA, .908%

- Voth will start Game 1, and has the bull by the horns, and got better as the Yorkton series went on. The Mils have a solid backup plan in Alex Wakaluk, who had good numbers against the Wings in the regular season. But the Mils acquired Voth and his championship experience for a reason, and that's for games and series' like these.

Alex Wakaluk
Regular Season: 13-10-2, 2.97 GAA, .910%, 1 SO
vs Weyburn: 1-0-1, 2.86 GAA, .916%


Mitch Kilgore
Regular Season: 26-14-1, 2.90 GAA, .906%, 2 SO
Playoffs: 4-0, 1.50 GAA, .955%, 1 SO
vs Melville: 2-2, 3.76 GAA, .881%

- Kilgore's numbers were sub-par against the Millionaires, but he seems to be playing his best at the right time of year. He's in the 'elite' tier with the likes of Nipawin's Davis Jones for sure. His 26 wins tied Jones for the most in the league. His win total, GAA, %, and SO, all lead or are tied for the league lead in these playoffs. Mils' Coach Jamie Fiesel said this week the Wings defensemen do a good job of protecting Kilgore, allowing him to see point shots, and clearing away second chances. The Mils have to get to the net before they can worry about scoring, and they'll have a big, physical Weyburn blue line to get through first.

- Kilgore was a workhorse during the regular season. He led the SJHL in minutes played (2437). He started the Wings' first 10 games of the season, and played 7 straight near the end of the year, before the Wings wrapped up top spot. The early acquisition of Brett Teskey from the Kootenay Ice allowed the Red Wings to give Kilgore a much-needed rest at times. Teskey played 12 games in a 29 game stretch between Oct/14 and Dec/16, as the Wings were surely trying to preserve their starter, while getting option #2 some quality minutes incase they need him.

Oct/12: Melville 4 @ Weyburn 5 (SO)
Oct/23: Weyburn 4 @ Melville 3 (SO)
Nov/9: Weyburn 2 @ Melville 4
Dec/18: Melville 2 @ Weyburn 4
Jan/3: Weyburn 2 @ Melville 6
Feb/7: Melville 5 @ Weyburn 2

Millionaires: 3-1-0-2
At home: 2-0-1
In Weyburn: 1-1-0-1

Red Wings: 3-3-0
At home: 2-1
In Melville: 1-2


Regular Season
PP: 21.8% (3rd)
PK: 80.1% (8th)

PP: 6/23 (26.1%)
PK: 25/32 (78.1%)

Red Wings
Regular Season
PP: 18.6% (9th)
PK: 82.1% (5th)

PP: 1/13 (7.7%)
PK: 21/22 (95.5%)


2/4, 1/7, 1/8, 1/8, 1/8, 2/6= 8/41 (19.5%) (Wings' PK 80.5%)

Red Wings
0/3, 2/4, 0/7, 0/4, 0/3, 0/6= 2/27 (7.4%) (Mils' PK 92.6%)

*The Mils scored at least one PP goal in all 6 meetings, while Weyburn's PP found the board in just one. The Mils also had 14 more powerplays than the Wings, which also jumps out.



McNulty: 39 goals, 86 points
Mireau: 29 goals, 71 points
Trudeau: 29 goals, 54 points


Ross: 46 goals, 91 points
Sanderson: 32 goals, 81 points
Bruce: 23 goals, 76 points

I didn't check every team, but I think I'm safely assuming that the 101 goals that Ross, Sanderson and Bruce put up was more than any other line in the SJHL. Following closely behind, were McNulty, Mireau and Trudeau, with 97. And, the Mils' big line would have averaged a little more. Mireau missed 9 games, and Trudeau arrived in November and missed 16. McNulty played every game. The Wings' top line missed only 3 games between them. Ross was out for two, Sanderson one, while Bruce was the iron man.

So the Weyburn's Big Three scored their 101 goals in a combined 171 games, while Melville's combined to play in 149. When they're all in the lineup, they certainly do rival, or beat any other trio out there. Exhibit A was when they scored 5 straight goals in a period and a half in Game 5 in Yorkton and made it look like child's play. If one of those two lines out-performs the other, well then it's a story, but I'm thinking it will be almost a wash. I think it comes down to which supporting cast can supply more offense.

I'll be paying close attention to see how Desjarlais-Aschim-Froese match up with Whitell-Hoffman-Pereira production-wise. I'm not sure what Weyburn's combos are after that, but if Jack Kennelly's a third liner, they're pretty deep. I've enjoyed watching him. Lots of size and skill. Melville's third line of Elliott-Bradshaw-Mospanchuk also proved they can take a game over, in Game 3 in Yorkton. Some mix of Sagen, Lowe-Wylde, Wasden, Kilback and Reeve will fit in on the fourth. For the first time in forever (like all season), the Millionaires will have a couple healthy forwards sitting. From watching practice Tuesday I think I know who that is for Game 1, but I'll make you wait for the Pre Game Show!

On the backend, if Tyson Newell's ready to go, it makes Melville a whole different team. He will instantly boost the powerplay and provide a big shot from the point. Weyburn doesn't have a defenseman with as much offensive upside as Newell, which is the only possible explanation I can think of for their powerplay being where it is despite their crop of forwards. But while there's no Newell in their lineup, the Red Wings are arguably deeper from 1-6 on the blue line, but it's really close. Rookie Carter Struthers (6'5", 204), and 19-year-old Jens Johnson (5'10" 190) are likely the best of the bunch, but Dylan Coupal (6'4" 205), Tyler Borstmayer (6'5" 190), Kevin Morrison (6'2" 200) and Braden Kmita (6'1" 210) are all big, steady guys.

The average size of those six defensemen: 6'2.5", 199.9 lbs

Series Schedule
(All games on GX94 with coverage starting at 7:15)
Fri/Mar/16: @ Weyburn 7:30
Sat/Mar/17: @ Melville 7:30
Mon/Mar/19: @ Weyburn 7:30
Wed/Mar/21: @ Melville 7:30
Fri/Mar/23: @ Weyburn 7:30
Sat/Mar/24: @ Melville 7:30
Tue/Mar/27: @ Weyburn 7:30

This is the Millionaires' first trip to the Sherwood Final since 2009. In '09, the Millionaires beat Yorkton in the Conference Semis (in 7 games), then knocked off the first place Wings in 6, in what was an amazing series. Then the Mils faced Humboldt in the final, losing in five. Can the Millionaires (and Broncos) make it a rematch?

- One of the craziest and most exciting games I've done was Game 3 of the 2009 Sherwood Final. The Mils were down 3-1 late in the third. Kale Dolinski scored a weird one from behind the net to tie it, and Logan Herauf got the winner 31 seconds later with 1:03 left.

Here's a description, and the audio from that game.

In Game 4 at the Vault in Melville, they erased another late two-goal deficit and Casey Dion scored on a wrister from the point in double overtime to go up 3-1 in the series. They lost Game 5 in Weyburn but finished it off on home ice in Game 6, when Travis Bosch picked up the shutout in a 3-0 win.

Here's hoping the 2012 Sherwood Final is half as exciting as 2009!

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