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Playoff Previews - "B" Division

"B" Div. Semifinals: (3) Wolverines @ (2) Jaguars

Jaguars Stats

Record Overall:
13-5-0, 87 GF, 53 GA, +34

Record vs Wolverines:
3-0-0, 18 GF, 10 GA, +8

Special Teams:
PP: 14 for 57 (24.6 %)
PK: 34 for 45 (75.6 %)

Top 5 Scorers:
Waseem Khalil 18-18-18-36
Jim White 18-9-20-29
Casey White 18-9-15-24
Jonathan Yueh 15-7-15-22
Jay Maracle 9-7-8-15


Wolverines Stats

Record Overall:
7-8-3, 81 GF, 76 GA, +5

Record vs Jaguars:
0-3-0, 10 GF, 18 GA, -8

Special Teams:
PP: 14 for 42 (33.3 %)
PK: 25 for 32 (78.1 %)

Top 5 Scorers:
Amrit Shergill 18-10-17-27
Dogar Gill 16-13-12-25
Gagan Dhillon 11-9-12-21
Robin Ponach 14-4-15-19
Harminder Rai 14-5-12-17
Series Overview
     The Jaguars handled the Wolverines fairly comfortably this season, taking all three games the teams played, with only the first game even being close. The teams have also met quite recently, as the second last week of the season saw the Jags beat the Wolverines 6-3. These teams have been moving in opposite directions the last few weeks with the Wolverines dropping three of their last four and barely taking the one victory on a last second goal against a Stingrays team with one sub. Conversely, the Jaguars have been heating up with wins in five of their last six games, with their only loss at the hands of the unbeaten Surrey Crooks. 
Team Offense
     The Jaguars' 87 goals for was one of the highest totals in either division this year, equating to just under five goals per game. This team has a great mix of veteran scorers sprinkled throughout its lineup. The offense usually runs through Waseem Khalil, who once again challenged for the scoring title. He finished with a very well balanced stat line of 18-18-18-36, good for third in the scoring race behind Bernie Lal and Manvir Pooni. His quick release and ability to get lost in coverage are what separate him from the pack. Just behind him on the league scoring chart is Jim White. It was a great offensive season for Jim who established a new career high in points with 29, which is all the more impressive considering he used to be a forward. His shot from the point is hard and accurate, and his nine goals ties for the division goal scoring lead among defensemen, ironically tied with his brother Casey, though some of Casey's may have come on some brief forward stints this season. The underrated Jonathon Yueh has been quite impressive for the Jags and scored 22 points in 15 games while providing an outstanding work ethic for the team. The Jaguars also have some dangerous shooters that played part time and as such weren't among the league scoring leaders, but may well have been if they played the full year. Jay Marcle was particularly impressive during the stretch run, putting up final numbers of 9-7-8-15. The feisty Amrit Virk chipped in 13 points in 11 games, and is always a serious scoring threat. One of the game's great one-on-one players, Kevin Uppal, had a quiet year offensively by his standards, but remains an elite game breaker that the Wolverines will have to keep an eye on.

    The Wolverines have shown they can score goals. They averaged 4.5 goals a game, good for the third highest total in the division. They have some top end players as well as some defensemen with an offensive skill set. They were lead in scoring this year by the always dependable Amrit Shergill, who posted a career season with 27 points, easily eclipsing his previous high of 19. Dogar Gill, whose main weapon is a strong one-timer, came in just behind at 25 points with a team leading 13 goals. Gagan Dhillon was among the league leaders early in the season, but didn't play much down the stretch. Still, his numbers of 11-9-12-21 make him a key component in the Wolverines attack in this series. A few other top players seemed to disappear from the Wolverines lineup throughout the season, includung Taz Dhillon who went to India and Gurjeev Purewal who also missed the final few games. The status of any of those players is unknown, but the team without question will need one or two of them to return and help out the offense. Robin Ponach and Harminder Rai put up good numbers from the back end finishing the season with 19 and 17 points, respectively. Kais Naibkhil was also a good midseason pickup that has a good shot from the point. The Wolverines actually had a strong powerplay this season, converting on a third of their chances, which was second in the division.
Team Defense
    The Jaguars have shown themselves to be a very strong defensive team. They finished behind only the Crooks this season in goals against (2.94 per game) and shots surrendered (19.7 per game). They have the last two winners of the "B" top defensemen award as both Jim and Casey took the honour, and are both front runners again this year. They produce hard point shots that can score or create a rebound, but they can also carry the ball in their own end, using their good body positioning to protect it. The team has other capable defensemen such as Sat Ahluwalia, Bhal Randhawa and Gurinder Dhillon, each of which spent more time focusing on their own end then the offense this season. The other key piece to the Jaguars' blueline is Nameet Kumar, who was picked up late in the year and just completed his playoff qualification with his Executioners games factored in. He is a strong two player with excellent ball control capabilities. The team doesn't have many prototypical defensive forwards, but they clearly got the job done this year by committee.

    The Wolverines were fairly stingy in the shots allowed department, giving up an average of 22 per game. That is a solid number and a franchise record. Unfortunately too many of those shots seemed to end up in the net as the team gave up more than four goals per contest this year. The team will have to avoid the key turnovers that turn into prime scoring chances. The Wolverines have some good defenders including Ponach, Rai and Naibkhil, as previously mentioned as well as the very solid Justin Saroya. These guys all bring good size and offense to the table, but after that the team really doesn't have any other defensemen on the roster and will on occasion have to move a forward back to D. The good news is that the team does have some good defensive forwards that can be utilized in that fashion if necessary, including the multi faceted Rashid Wahed who has already seen some time back there this year. Amrit Shergill is also known for his defensive ability and great faceoffs and the team features a former top defensive forward award winner in Jovin Gill who is one of the league's best in his own end.
Goaltending
    On paper, this category is a bit of a mismatch. Each team has primarily featured two goaltenders, with the Jaguars goaltenders both having excelled all season, while the Wolverines goaltending track record has been spotty at best. The Jaguars used Mike Ireland for half of their schedule and he posted some impressive numbers for the team going 8-1 while allowing exactly three goals against per game, good for fourth best in the division. He is a veteran with great reflexes and plenty of big game experience. The Jags also have another capable man that can fill the position as Jay Albanese also posted a tremendous record this season, going 5-1 with an even better GAA this season of 2.66, second only to the Crooks' Jason Sidhu. His .869 Save % was also among the div leaders this year. Interestingly, his status with the team changed a few times this season as he had at one point asked for his release, only to be brought back into the fold by the team later in the year. Looks like a good fit for both parties at the moment. As if that weren't enough, The Jaguars also have qualified another great tender in the form of Raj Basran for insurance purposes. Though Raj is also a top goalkeeper, don't look for him to see action unless something happens to the other two starters.

    As previously mentioned, the Wolverines have struggled this year in the goaltending department. Jag Chahal was the man for them for the bulk of the year, but his Save % is actually dead last in "B" and just a shade above being in the .700's, despite posting a winning record of 6-5-2. The team made a late season change, giving Gopal Jaswal the last few games. He also struggled a bit and finished the season at 1-3-1 with a 4.05 GAA and .825 save %, also among the lowest in the division. To Jag's credit, he has stuck by with his team and is currently playing as a forward, contributing what he can and being ready to step into the net if called upon. There has definitely been some room for improvement on the Wolverines side, and the team is going to need at least one of these goaltenders to step up and make a difference against a tough group of Jaguars shooters.
Category Breakdown
Offense
Defense
Goaltending
Special Teams
Experience
Overall Outlook
     This series definitely favours the Jaguars on paper. They have the edge in almost all the major categories listed as well as playoff experience where they have a 9-7 all-time playoff record. The one area the Wolverines do have the better numbers in is on special teams where they are ahead on powerplay and penalty killing percentage, though just slightly, and not enough for it to be considered a serious advantage, in my books. The Wolverines are going to have to answer the questions about their goaltending and also get their full roster out for this one, which has also been a challenge for them this season. The Jaguars have the depth and the drive to be able to make this a routine series win, but their biggest obstacle is looking ahead to their nemesis, the Crooks (who still have a series to win in their own right), instead of putting their focus squarely on this series. My guess is they will be able to do just that. Series Prediction: Jaguars in two







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