The BHC Blog
Register a Team
Team by Team
Team by Team
The Riz Report
The cold and flu season got the better of me last week
(again!), and I didn’t have the opportunity to finish all of the previews for
Week 7. My sincerest apologies to the Rage, Crooks, Devils, Ghostriders,
Thrashers and Chiefs for missing you guys! But after watching last week’s
games, I don’t think any of those teams needed a preview. All three games were
exciting to watch and had some spectacular goaltending! Last week was a goalie
weekend as 4 of the 5 games showcased at least one spectacular goalie
performance. No bias here of course ;)
teams are coming off winning weekends and are setting their sights on the
battle for second place in the B Division; all due respect to the Devils, of
course. The Warhawks are in the driver's seat with a 2 point cushion on the
Ghostriders in this crucial 4 point game. Although this will be the first match-up between these two teams this season, the Warhawks have plenty of faces
in their roster familiar with the red and whites of the ‘Riders and after being
bounced from the playoffs last season, I am sure both teams are looking to
prove something going into this one.
Shane Ram has compiled a spectacular season thus far, and currently leads the
league in a number of categories including shutouts, GAA and Save %.
The Warhawks have been the best defensive team in the league this season and will be a handful
for the struggling Ghostriders.
Ghostriders exploded with 5 goals last week in a winning effort. This
production tied their previous high of the season, albeit in a winning cause.
Despite the win last week, the team is still struggling to sport a full lineup
and only had 8 players and 1 goalie for the game. This goes towards the old
adage, “it doesn’t matter how many players are suiting for the game as long as
they are the right ones”, but it is a slippery slope for sure. The Ghostriders
will definitely not get away with sporting an 8 man roster vs. the Warhawks this
week. With that being sad, I can tell you, the fans, that a number of the
Ghostriders will not be in attendance this week due to personal and Halloween reasons.
This is a
huge game for both teams. Statements can be made through wins for either side,
but I think this game will be decided on the rosters. And history tells us the
Hawks just have more players show up for games.
crossover game of Week 8 sees the Devils and Crooks face off in a very
important game for both teams with respect to their seeding in their respective
divisions. The Devils must win the game
in order to keep pace with the Ghostriders, Panthers and Warhawks for second
place in the B Division and a playoff berth, while the Crooks are eyeing the
second place Jaguars in the A Division; lagging only 1 point behind. This game
is far more important for the Crooks, however, as the A teams will likely need
to collect all the available points from the crossover games to stay in contention
for the three playoff spots. However, if the Devils, can steal a point or two,
that will set them up nicely in the B div race.
Devils should be welcoming back their star goalie as the absence of Gurmukh
Virdi was noticeable last week. Gurmukh has posted impressive numbers thus far,
and I for one am curious to see how he fares against the stiffer A Division
competition. The Devils play an up-tempo game involving a lot of rushing
offence and will give the speedsters on the Crooks a good run, but they will
need to be more responsible defensively. Specifically, the forwards will be
relied upon to both back check and fore check if the Devils stand a chance this
Crooks played a very fast and entertaining game last week and it was vintage
Crooks. Led by Jason Sidhu in goal, this collection of speedy players buzz
around the floor and give opposing defencemen fits! The talent on this roster is phenomenal, led by Nathan Pangalia
and the familiarity between the players on the team is clearly evident.
I don’t suppose the Crooks will drop this game after being winless in
their last two. They’re not that kind of team. The real questions during this
game will be 1) Will there be a mercy?, and 2) Will Sidhu get what we are not
supposed to talk about?
second of the back-to-back Surrey match-ups of the week, sees the A Division leading
Thrashers face off against the basement dwelling Giants in a game that has
playoff implications for both teams already in this young season. The Thrashers
need the 2 points in order to keep the Jaguars at bay who are nipping at the
Thrashers' heels being only 1 point behind them. The Giants on the other hand
are trying to keep their playoff hopes alive.
Thrashers are having a typical Thrasher-like season again this year, sitting
atop the A Division. This team has some excellent stats as they sit second in
the NWBHL is both goals for and against. Offensively this team is being led by
Roy Cabrita, while Dove and Fish are not too far behind. Both players are having
typical years. Remember when I said that they were getting old and such? On the
back end, the Twin Towers, Jeff Heer and Jay Dove, are imposing oppositions like
they usually do, and having Rick Baker between the pipes doesn’t hurt at
all either. This team is a force to be reckoned with.
Giants are on the opposite end of the spectrum. They cannot afford another
slide and must pull together a string of wins. If you look at their stats you
will see that they have won 2 out of their last three games. Not too shabby.
But if you look closer, you will notice that both wins were in crossovers and
also, those are the only 2 wins the Giants have! The Giants must start getting
“W’s” against A division opponents if they plan to stick around for the post
I always want to lean towards the Giants in a hope that they can still
pull this season out of the garbage heap. But like the old adage goes, if it
looks like a duck, swims like a duck and quacks like a duck, then it probably
will not win hockey games.
crossover game this week, but not your usual kind. This one has the B Division
leaders, the Rage vs. the Jaguars who are eyeing the top spot in the A Division
themselves. This one has all the marking of an upset in the making, if you count
an A Division team losing to a B Division team an upset.
are leading the league in points thus far and are really beginning to gel as a
team. Cliff Stayner is playing superb and the Yueh-Gi-Flo line is clicking! If
there is any one team that can give the A Division teams a run for their money
it will have to be the Rage. Floyd Jewel is having a monster season and is
making a serious run for the B Division MVP this season. Well I guess him and
Cliff both. The Rage have a good mix of defensive prowess and offensive
firepower. The only thing that can slow them down these days, it seems, is a hot
goalie, as evident last week when they only squeaked out a win in a decidedly
one sided affair.
Jaguars are looking for the easy 2 crossover points this game in order to keep
pace with the A Division leading Thrashers. This should not be a problem as the
veteran laden Jaguars will not make the mistake of taking the Rage too lightly.
The Lafortune brothers should be a handful themselves, let alone adding guys
like Brendan Ham into the mix. The Jaguars will have to deal with the potent
Rage offense and here is the only question of the game; Who will start between
the pipes for the Jaguars? Dean Salsnek has been stellar in the two games that
he has played and it seems like he may be the Jaguars main man moving forward.
This has been a really interesting preview to write. As you can see, I
feel both teams have a good chance of winning this game, and I think it will
show on the floor. For that reason I am naming this game the “NWBHL Game of the
WEEK”. I actually cannot tell you who will win this one but I do wish I could
be there to watch it!
the newer teams in the league will play the last game of the week and it should
be a rather pedestrian game IMO. The Panthers are still a big surprise to me as
they are tied for second place in the B Division and will be looking to create
a larger gap between themselves and the struggling Ghostriders.
I was not
sure what we're going to see from the Panthers at the outset of the season, but
they have dipped into the pool of free agents and picked up some key players to
help ensure they do not fizzle out as the season progresses. Scott Wilshire is
doing all he can to keep the team afloat, but the Panthers need others on the
roster to step up production if they want to keep pace with the Rage and
Warhawks, whose necks they are breathing down at the moment. Dave Sherwin is
settling in well after 6 games under his belt, so I can only assume that this
team will get better defensively as the season progresses.
Mercenaries are tied for last place in scoring in the NWBHL thus far. They have
the same issue as the Panthers, but where the Panthers are finding a way to
score by committee, the Mercenaries are rarely scoring at all. The Mercenaries
have only scored 5 or more goals once this season and that was against a backup
goalie, who regularly plays out. They need to devise a game plan that is more
than “drop-in hockey” like. The veteran pick-ups on this team have to lead by
example. Although I don’t realistically expect them to score a bushel load of
goals or anything, I do expect they will set the tone of future games through
leading by example. No one can accuse these guys of playing with no heart.
If the Mercenaries were to play the Chiefs all season they would be
undefeated. Unfortunately, for the Mercenaries, this game will be against a very
hungry Panthers who will be looking to make a dent in to the Rage’s position as
top in the B Division.