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The Riz Report
Week 7

Week 7 is upon us and we are going back to familiar territory with no crossover games this week. We are almost at the midway point in the season and it looks like teams are settling into their respective slots, with more than a fair share of surprises thus far. If you noticed folks, the weather is finally starting to look like the typical West Coast winters we are accustomed to, so donít be surprised if we start to see teams sporting fuller rosters going forward. The middle third of the season will no doubt look a lot different than the first bit I am sure.

A Division

Round two of this battle will kick off the weekendís festivities. The Jaguars won a close one vs. the Giants in their season opener and after that it has been a tale of two different teams. The Jags, tied for second place in the A Division, look very comfortable this season. Brendan Ham has surprised me (a little) leading the team in points (4-7-11) ahead of Marcel and Daniel. Coming off an impressive win last week over the Crooks, the Jaguars will be poised to run the gambit once more. It was good to see Dean Salsnek between the pipes last week and he was superb as per the usual. With Dean in the goal, the Jaguars are a formidable opponent.

The Giants are also coming off a successful week in their own right. I donít know if 17 minutes makes a whole game but the Giants looked like the Giants of old. Could this be the wakeup call they were looking for? Simran Bhatti and Harp Kalkat had field days last week and look pretty in the scoring race, but more importantly they seem to have woken up. I assume Tony Ferreira will be looking forward to facing more than 2 shots also.

Despite their positions in the standings, these two teams have very similar numbers to this point. Where the Giants are lesser in the PK, they are better in the PP, and goals for and against are not too dissimilar. This game is a great way to start off this weekís activity, and I truly have to say that this one is up for grabs by either team. Let the games begin!

B Division

The Warhawks are coming back into a B Division battle this week after an impressive showing against the Thrashers last week. This is a stingy team. They have given up the least number of goals in the NWBHL this season, and you know what they say about defence. Itís a good thing that the Warhawks are as good defensively as they are. Their offensive numbers could use a boost or two. So far they have done a great job scoring by committee, but I would have to say that in order for the Warhawks to make legitimate noise in the league they need someone to step up and be the their offensive juggernaut. Of course if that turns out to be three guys sharing the duties rather than one alone, thatís not a bad deal either.

The Panthers are surprisingly sitting in second place in the B Division thus far. If you would have told me this before the season started, I would have slapped you. But these guys have had some very impressive games in the past few weeks. The addition of veteran legend Indy Jhuti is a huge win for the Panthers. Indyís veteran savvy, experience and leadership will no doubt propel the Panthers into the higher levels of the B Division.

The Panthers are a solid team but the second place seating may be an anomaly. If you look at their season schedule thus far they have only played one cross over game whereas the Warhawks have already played two. As much as I hate to say it, those crossover games are ďgames-in-handĒ for the other B Division contenders as they are (almost) guaranteed losses for the B side. So as the season progresses and the crossover games are played, the B Division will only get closer and more packed in the middle I assume. This will be a solid test for the Panthers to see how they stack up against the upper echelon of the B Division.

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