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Midseason Review - "B" Div

VANCITY GHOSTRIDERS

First Half Summary: The Ghostriders have had a strong first half of the season. Their 8-2 record gives them a four point cushion on the next closest team, the Barons, with the rest of the division at .500 or below. Surprisingly, they have only the fourth best offense in the div based on goals per game, but they are spreading the scoring nicely throughout their lineup. They have also been able to win all of the close games, which is always the sign of a good team. Waseem Khalil is leading the club with 8 goals and 14 points. The feisty Ziad Badr has 12 points in 8 games to sit second on the club. Amolak Gill and Jonathan Yueh are also having fine starts with 10 points each. The team was dealt a blow with the loss to injury of Casey White, but there are several good young players to cover that loss including Gagan Dhillon and rookie of the year candidate, Brodie Jackson. The defense is very solid, and currently being led by former Wolverines player Kais Naibkhil, who is a point a game so far. The usually defensive minded Sat Ahluwalia is putting up some good numbers too, with 8 assists already. The goaltending has been a position of strength with two excellent netminders, Vince Mudaliar and Derek Smith sharing the load. Riz Abbas, a founding member of the team, also made a successful reappearance, recording the win in his only game. This is still the team to beat in the division and teams will be wary of finishing in fourth spot and potentially having to take on these guys in the first round.


Waseem Khalil

Brodie Jackson

Team Record: 8-2-0, 45 GF, 36 GA, +9 GD (1st Place, "B" Div) 
Rookie To Watch: Brodie Jackson (5-4-3-7)
Season High Point: Either of the team's wins against the Barons would be good candidates, but the most recent one, a 6-4 win November 9th, was after both teams had settled in as division favorites, and this one clinched the season series as well.

Season Low Point: A 5-1 dismantling at the hands of the Warhawks in the third game of the season caught many by surprise... particularly the Ghostriders. However, the news about the serious injury to long time Ghostrider Casey White may have been the team's worst moment of all this year.

LANGLEY BARONS

First Half Summary: The Barons have been consistently good this season, sitting second in the div with a strong 6-3 record. Two of their three losses have come at the hands of the Ghostriders, who happen to be the only team above them in the standings. Rod Wardell has been as dominant as expected in his first B season, firing an unbelievable 17 goals in 9 games. That total puts him 6 ahead of the next highest scorer, Sunny Basi of the Warhawks. Once you add in Rod's 8 assists, he has a league best 25 points. Few teams have been able to handle the big man this year. Sean Magee is also putting up solid numbers this year and is currently fourth in B div, scoring 16 points in 9 games, 14 of which are assists, which is a league high. The set-up game has long been a hallmark of Magee's game. The big signing coup that has given the team the depth they needed was the addition of the Kumar brothers. With Jason initially added as an extra goaltender at the beginning of the year, he found his way as an effective player in the team's everyday lineup, while his brothers Joey and Jestin came along a few games in. Jestin Kumar, in particular, has shown his abilities as a natural goal scorer, and he has netted 8 goals and 12 points in a mere 6 games. The team has also bolstered their blueline by bringing in the NDub legend Dave Snyder to man the point. The team is running a highly effective powerplay that is hitting on nearly half of it's opportunities. Unfortunately the PK has been as bad as the PP is good. They have only a 60% success rate so far on the penalty kill. Former Thrashers goalie Eddy Bordignon is having a standout season for the Barons with a 5-2 record, and is second in the div in both GAA (2.86) and Save % (.892). 


Rod Wardell

Jestin Kumar

Team Record: 6-3-0, 44 GF, 30 GA, +14 GD (2nd Place, "B" Div)
Rookie To Watch: Curtis Carney (4-2-6-8)
Season High Point: A 6-4 win over a Wolverines team on a hot streak, ended the Barons' two game skid and put them back on track.

Season Low Point: A 6-4 loss to the Ghostriders gave them their second defeat to their biggest rival for top spot this season. It also gave the Barons their first two game losing streak.

WEST COAST WOLVERINES

First Half Summary: It's been a tale of two seasons for the Wolverines. The team got into a load of penalty troubles early in the season and lost to some good clubs. They then had to dig themselves out of an early hole, but had a blowout win over the Rage that restored some confidence to their game. The Wolverines have gone 5-2 since then, and beat some of the top clubs along the way. The team also brought in John Fronek to help stabilize the crease and he has done just that, going 4-0 in his starts with a sensational 2.47 GAA. Offensively, the team is being led by Amar Cheema. He has a big frame and soft hands, and has a very effective game in front of the opposition net. He currently sits third in league scoring with 8 goals and 8 assists in 9 games. Gurjeev Purewal is an underrated player that provides a bit of everything for the club, and has put up some points in the first half, currently sitting second in team scoring with 4 goals and 9 assists. One of the real driving forces over the past couple of years for the Wolverines has been the dynamic Gugan Gill. He scored a hat-trick including the OT winner in his most recent game vs the Rage. The team has a very offensive minded defensive corps and Gugan is central to it. His brother Jovin is also a key contributor to the team and has recorded 9 points in 6 games. The team recently added a pair of strong players in Simran Kang and Amit Punni, both of which will help the team's depth up front. If this team can stay out of the penalty box, which has been an issue at times this season (Their 62 % PK rating has also been a cause for concern), then they are a force to be reckoned with. They usually get a good player turnout with tremendous depth throughout the lineup. Look for a big second half from the Wolverines.


Amar Cheema

John Fronek

Team Record: 5-5-0, 46 GF, 39 GA, +7 GD (3rd Place, "B" Div)
Rookie To Watch: Mandave Dhothar (3-0-3-3)
Season High Point: Sitting with an 0-3 record, the Wolverines hammered the Rage 9-1 to turn their season around completely.

Season Low Point: A late Rod Wardell PP goal sent the Wolverines to a 3-2 loss to put the team in a gigantic hole with three losses to start the season, causing the frustration to boil over after the game.

RICHMOND WARHAWKS

First Half Summary: It's been a roller coaster first half for the Warhawks. After dropping their first game, the team reeled off three consecutive wins, two of them being blowouts. Then they proceeded to drop three straight, each of them in somewhat ugly fashion. The team has split the last two games to sit a game below .500, but nobody is really sure what direction they are heading at the moment. The Warhawks have been playing with just two lines all season, which can be a double edged sword. The good part about it is the players on the team have really developed confidence and chemistry with the heavy minutes they've been logging. Sunny Basi is certainly the league's most improved player, and is still very much in the conversation for "B" Div MVP. He trails Rod Wardell in the scoring race by just four points with numbers of 9-11-10-21. At the midway point of the season, Sunny has already matched his career best point total, and with half a season to go it should be interesting to see where he can finish up. The other members of that line are the Gill boys, Manu and Ami, who are also putting up terrific numbers. Ami has 15 points to sit fifth in the scoring race, while Manu is over a point a game as well. The Warhawks have also added a couple of impressive rookies this season. Marquez Ng and Mick Lui have rounded out the second line nicely, and offer fast and shifty play as they buzz around the opposition. Marquez has had a particularly strong start with a solid 8-8-6-14 stat line. Lui hasn't hit the scoresheet as much, but the points should eventually come. I would be remiss if I didn't mention Sean Grewal who has racked up 7 points in just a pair of games, but unfortunately hasn't been around for the rest of the games. That segues nicely into the down side about the short bench. The team is still losing some games as they run out of gas in the second period. It would be nice if they could add at least another solid player or two to take some pressure off. The Warhawks long time goaltender Cliff Stayner has been fighting his confidence a bit this year, but he is a quality keeper and should be back on form in short order. Oh, and one more thing...the Warhawks powerplay has scored on 58% of its chances this season. Wow!


Sunny Basi

Manu Gill

Team Record: 4-5-0, 41 GF, 41 GA, 0 GD (T4th Place, "B" Div)
Rookie To Watch: Marquez Ng (8-8-6-14)
Season High Point: An early season 5-1 demolition of the highly touted Ghostriders opened many people's eyes as to how dangerous this team can be.

Season Low Point: After a stretch of three straight wins, the Warhawks crashed back down to Earth with three losses in a row, culminating with a 7-5 loss to the last place Spartans, who had now beaten the Warhawks for the second time this season.

SOUTH FRASER STINGRAYS

First Half Summary: The Stingrays have been a bit of an enigma this season. Like the Warhawks, they started the season well before going into a bit of a slide with three consecutive losses. Since that time the club has been alternating wins and losses and currently sit with a 4-5 record. There are other similarities to the Warhawks' season in that the Stingrays have been playing short benched for much of the year. Where the story differs is that the Hawks get out roughly the same ten players each and every game while the Stingrays may have five core guys, but the rest of the lineup fluctuates wildly from game to game. The team has had 13 players that have played two games or fewer this season and the Rays need to convert some of these guys into full timers. As for the regulars, Good ol' Bernie Lal continues to be the club's designated goal scorer, with 7 tallies in 8 games. He remains ever dangerous and the opposition has to be careful to not let him wander past the defenders as he is deadly when in close. The real surprise on the team this year is the production coming from the team GM, Sukh Sandhu. With numbers of 8-3-8-11, Sukh is tied with Bernie for the club point lead, and well on pace to better his career high of 16 points. Justin Olgui is an emerging force for the team and has really settled the club down since he joined them last year. He has great speed and ball control, and though a forward by trade, he has seen lots of minutes on the blueline for the Stingrays where he can quarterback the play. He has 9 points in 6 games so far this year. Mike Ball has been a nice addition to the team this year. The rookie has lots of jump with a great forechecking game and can contribute on the scoreboard as well. The two every day defensemen for the team are Terry Wong and Jas Johal. They provide a stabilizing influence and Johal in particular has been putting up points with 3 G and 3 A already. Between the pipes, the Rays have Bob Dhaliwal who started the season on fire before tailing off a bit. His last game was impressive, however, as he held the Ghostriders at bay much of the night in a 1st Star effort. If he can regain that early season form he will give this team a chance to win. Now they just need to get some players out to do that.


Bernie Lal

Jas Johal

Team Record: 4-5-0, 31 GF, 39 GA, -8 GD (T4th Place, "B" Div)
Rookie To Watch: Mike Ball (7-4-2-6)
Season High Point: Bernie Lal scores in overtime to give the Stingrays a 4-3 win over the Spartans after they were down 3-0 early in the game.

Season Low Point: After they started the season with a pair of impressive wins, the Stingrays dropped the next three, the third of which was a 6-1 pounding handed to them by the Rage.

BURNABY RAGE

First Half Summary: It's been a topsy turvy season for the Rage who remain consistently inconsistent. After a couple of tough early losses the team played inspired hockey, winning 3 of 4 games with the one loss being a narrow one to a stacked Ghostriders team. Then the team pulled a virtual no show in a 6-2 loss to the Warhawks before blowing a late lead to the Wolverines in a brutal 7-6 OT defeat this past week. The Rage currently sit at 3-5 on the year, putting them in 6th place in a 7 team division, though they do still have a game or two in hand on the other clubs. The roster looks impressive and like in previous seasons, you would rank the Rage as real contenders on paper. Trent Plul has been having a resurgent season and leads the club with 11 points in 6 games. He was at his best in their last game when he scored a brilliant tieing goal to complete a hat-trick. Jim Davis and Floyd Jewell are also doing well, each with 10 points in 8 games on the year. Lloyd Weir is actually the top goal scorer on the team with 6 goals in his 7 games played. Good depth up front has allowed the team to be able to spread the scoring throughout the lines. The speedster Mike Kowalckyk is also in that group but as usual his overall numbers are hampered by his part time status. The club has also had Ray Diesel on the roster this season, though his long recovery from a back injury has kept him on the sidelines all year. The defense corps has been unusually quiet for the Rage this year in terms of goal production, with the defenders actually being shutout through the first half of the campaign. Mobile defensemen such as Daniel Fraser and Graham Tizzard both have great wheels and should be given the green light to rush the ball out of the defensive zone whenever possible. Like the rest of the team, Andy Vandenberg has had an  up and down year in the Rage crease, but his numbers have been inflated due to a couple of bad defensive games the team has had as well. 


Trent Plul

Lloyd Weir

Team Record: 3-5-0, 33 GF, 35 GA, -2 GD (6th Place, "B" Div)
Rookie To Watch: None
Season High Point: A commanding 6-2 win over the Barons to give the Rage a stretch of three wins in four games with the goal differential in those wins being 18-4.

Season Low Point: Take your pick from either loss to the Wolverines. A 9-1 drubbing or a 7-6 OT loss after they blew a late two goal lead. Ouch!

SURREY SPARTANS

First Half Summary: The Spartans lost a lot of key offensive players after their Spring championship run. A big 7-4 win in their first game of the year over the Warhawks had some believing they still would be a competitive force this season, but an injury to one of their few natural goal scorers, John Kump, sent the team into a tailspin with five straight losses in which the team combined for just 6 goals. Sitting at 2-7 on the season, this team is by no means out of the race, but they must now start winning games on a more regular basis, including against some upper echelon teams. The Spartans big off-season addition, Jim White, has been everything the club expected an more. He leads the team with 10 goals and 13 points, but his work ethic has been his most impressive feature, and when the Spartans have an off night, it is Jim that is often the only noticeable player for the club. He has already earned a pair of 1st stars and a second to sit among the div leaders in that department. Myles Scott is having a good season with 6-2-8-10, good for second on the team's scoring chart. The aforementioned John Kump has been the only other regular goal producer with five goals in as many games. The goals drop off dramatically after Jim and John's combined 15, with the next highest total on the team being 2 goals (Myles Scott/Gord Harada). The backline for the team has numerous veteran defenders on it, with Chuck Emery, Dale Siclair, Vince Aiello, and Dan Ko combining for numerous years of Ndub experience on D. Goaltending has suddenly become a major concern for the team in the second half as the always outstanding Jason Atwal has been sidelined by recurring groin issues for an indeterminate amount of time. Steve Aitken surprised many by playing well in an emergency goaltending start and the team brought in Ron Campbell for their most recent game.


Jim White

Myles Scott

Team Record: 2-7-0, 25 GF, 45 GA, -20 GD (7th Place, "B" Div)
Rookie To Watch: None
Season High Point: A clutch 7-5 come from behind win against the Warhawks in early November which halted a five game losing streak.

Season Low Point: After beating the Warhawks, the Spartans would play the Stingrays in their next game in a must-win contest only to lose a 3-0 lead and give up the game winner in overtime. It was a crushing momentum killer.







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