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The Riz Report
Week 6

Itís been almost two weeks since we last saw any NWBHL action, and I for one am looking forward to this weekendís games! First off, apologies once again for my tardiness. I didnít just fill up on a whole lot of turkey last weekend, but was also lucky enough to catch the dreaded cold! Itís cold and flu season folks. Dress warm, take meds andÖ I wonder what the rosters will look like in light of the bug going around.

A Division

This is a very important 4-point game for both A Division teams in this young season. More for the Jaguars than the Crooks, who sit only 2 points behind the latter in the race for top spot in the A Division. This should be a great matchup between these two offensive juggernauts.

I think the two teams match up well on the front line. Teenu Bassi and Nathan Pangalia are both sitting atop their team with 8 pts, which matches the totals of Marcel Lafortune, Graeme Spence and Danny Vero on the Jags.

The biggest difference between these two teams is on the back end. I give the nod to the Crooks there, as Jason Sidhu has played admirably in the season thus far. His stellar numbers donít lie. He leads the league in wins and SV% and is second in GAA. Now the goaltending can be evened out if veteran Dean Salsnek suits up for the Jaguars this week but he has only played 1 of the 5 games thus far. Steve Carruthers is playing well between the pipes, but like I said in previous posts, he is more important out than in the net.

This is my pick for the Game of the Week, fans! I think there will be a lot of action and back and forth play as the top spot in the division is on the line! (editor's note: *cough* Thrashers *cough*) This game will either be a close one or a high scoring affair. My bet is on it being close. Over/Under of 3.

A/B Crossover

Finally a game that the Giants should win. We can only hope that the thanksgiving holiday provided the Giants with some much needed time off in order to regroup and come back to the NWBHL as the team we all know they are capable of being. Justin Matai and Simran Bhatti are playing stellar and this may be the breakout year for Bhatti where he scores lots and often.

All due respect to the Chiefs. They beat us, after all, but the Giants just have too much firepower going in to this game. I am going to be bold enough here to offer a prediction; a mercy for the Giants, which will be a good way to start this new portion of the season. If the Giants heat up, the A Division is going to sizzle!

B Division

The mercenaries are coming off their first win of the season and look poised to get out of the B Division cellar. Unfortunately, their win was vs. the Chiefs and not the Rage. I look to Myles Scott as the leader of the team with David Prestage chipping in, but after that the offense drops off considerably.

The Rage are the B Division's most well rounded team. They have solid contributors up front, a stingy defensive corps and solid netminding. Iíll keep this short and sweet, but after 5 weeks, the Rage are the team to beat in the B Division.

B Division

The Ghostriders must have been licking their wounds over the Thanksgiving break after a dismal start for their standards. Itís not all their fault, per se. Inconsistent and partial rosters have left this team with only 1 win in four games. Lucky for the Ghostriders, they have a game in hand and their roster will be more full and complete going forward. That can only mean concern for the upper ups in the B Division, but the Ghostriders have to put a string of wins together first.

The Panthers have impressed me thus far. They are comfortably sitting with a .500 record after impressive games vs. the Crooks, Chiefs and Devils. They lost handily to the Rage, though and have yet to face the Warhawks, so this will be a sort of litmus test for the Panthers to see if they can hang with the big boys.

A/B Crossover

The Thrashers have been playing up to their usual expectations thus far this season and I donít see why they would have an issue in this crossover game vs. the Warhawks.

The offense has exploded this year for the Thrashers, and this without (significant) contributions from Dove and Fish. Roy Cabrita is a beast this year with 13 points in only 4 games!

I donít think the Warhawks will win this game, but I do think itís a great barometer for the team. The Warhawks have significantly improved over the last few seasons and are legitimate B Division contenders. This game will show how they stack up against the upper echelon teams in the NWBHL and should give the Warhawks some insight into what it is they need to adjust in order to get to the next level.

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