Friday, March 29, 2013

Midget AA Provincial Final Highlight Reel:



Again, thanks to everyone who took part in this entertaining evening! The players, parents, coaches and fans all treated me wonderfully, and I thank you!

North East Midget AA's Come Oh So Close:

In a season dedicated in honor of #14 Devon Walcer, the North East Midget AA's left it all on the ice on Thursday night as they concluded the season.

After winning the Centre Four League Title, losing less than a handful of games, and bonding as a team greater than ever before, North East took to the ice for one last game with the Notre Dame Hounds for all the marbles.

The Duncan McNeill Arena was filled proudly and loudly with both Blue, and Red fans as both teams had very strong cheering sections. It was the North East fans who got in to it first, as Nic Shumlanski got the AA's on the board with 4:40 left in the opening period off a setup from Trystin Stevenson, beating goaltender Magnus Viberg.

In the middle frame, Ty Moskal put the AA's up 2-0 when he picked up the puck from Shumlanksi, who also received some offensive help from goaltender Riley Hudon, who was hands down the best player on the ice for both teams throughout the game.

The Hounds outshooting Northeast 27-11 was no boastable thing for them, as they trailed 2-0 heading in to the third, but Kalem Zary would quickly make it 3-0 with his 1st point of the night just 1:03 in to the final frame of regulation.

Notre Dame began to turn it up just two minutes later though, as Chance Longjohn beat Hudon, giving the Hounds a sprout of life.

It would take awhile, but eventually Chandler Knibb would find a way to beat Hudon with under minutes to go, making it a one goal game. The Hounds put themselves down two men late in the game but North East was unable to muster up any goals on the extended 5-on-3 powerplay.

With the seconds dying and all the fans on the edge of their seat, the Hounds were forced to pull their goalie and call a time out. With just 5.9 seconds left, a gouth mouth scramble would complete the comeback to tie the game 3-3, meaning the Provincial Championship was a next goal wins.

It took most of overtime, with both goaltenders making phenominal saves, before someone was able to end the game. And it was boy celebrating his birthday, Riley Rozdeba, who scored the winner to give the Hounds the 2013 banner for Midget AA Champions of Saskatchewan.

On behalf of everyone in the Nortth East, and all of the sponsors and supporters, CK750 sends a large congratulations to both teams, and to North East on a tremendous season.

I will have the full game audio available tonight, as well as a highlight reel from the game! I did take a bunch of pictures, but due to my iPhone currently fighting for it's life, I may not be able to pull them up, but I will try!

Thanks again to everyone for making this game happen last night, it was great talking with parents, friends and families of everyone. The kids on this program have so much potential, and I hope NE is back in the Provs in 2014!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Hawks Season Wraps Up This Week:

The Nipawin Hawks will be holding their Awards Banquet and Ceremony on Thursday night at the Evergreen Center, with it being the final chance to say farewell to the players who are still around as well as the coaches, myself, and the rest of the fan core.

The Melfort Mustangs, on the other hand, wrapped things up with their Awards last week and I thank everyone who came out all season long and supported the 'Stangs on their shortened(or lengthened?) quest for a Canalta Cup. They underachieved the opening half of the year and now moving forward, that organization is in great shape and coach Gavin Holcomb will work magic for years to come.

I am still a bit behind as far as getting the whole season-wrap up done, but decided I will wait until after the Awards are handed out, then I can fill everyone in on extra stuff without posting my way off your Favorites list!









Thursday night, at the Evergreen Center, see you there!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Hawks Awards Night Announced:

Following their series loss to the Flin Flon Bombers, the Nipawin Hawks have released information surrounding their 2012/2013 Awards Ceremony and Year End Banquet.

It will be held at the Evergreen Center on Thursday, March 28th beginning at 6:00 PM with cocktails. A dinner will follow at 7:00, with Team Awards, Jersey Auctions and a Dance to follow.

If you would like tickets, visit Diamond North Credit Union or call 812-8743 during evening hours only, please. They are available for $30.00 each.

Make sure to come wish the Hawks farewell as some embark on journeys outside of Nipawin & Hockey, while some head home for the off season before returning 'home' to the Cage in September.

Last year, Davis Jones took home the MVP, Playoff MVP, Lowes Memorial Award, Best Defensive Player, Rushmer Memorial Award, Most Popular Player, and 1st Star Overall Awards as well.

Tad Kozun finished tiedtied for 2nd in most Star honors, while Mitch Doell took home Rookie of the Year. Jeff Datoff was the Top Offensive Defense Winczura Memorial Award winner, while fellow D-man Jesse Williamson was the Graham Christie Memorial Trophy winner for Most Inspirational Player.

Dustin Skilliter also took home an award for Hardest Worker, while Brady Zerr and Grant Jensen were the Most Under-Rated Players. Ben Petros was the seasons' Most Improved Player, and along with Mitch Doell may be the only two awards that won't see a repeat winner.

If you rewind two seasons ago, Eli Lichtenwald also earned some hardware. He was the teams Top Scorer, Rookie of the Year and 1st Star Overall. Also 2 years ago, Jeff Datoff earned his first of back-to-back(to-back?) Offensive Defensman Award. Brady Zerr also puts himself in a spot for a threepeat as Most Under-Rated Player, while he also won Most Improved back in that 10/11 season.

Make sure you attend, just pop by Diamond North to pick up your tickets!

Award Catergories:

--MVP
--Playoff MVP(Lowes Memorial)
--Best Defensive Player(Rushmer Memorial)
--Most Popular Player
--Top Scorer
--1st Star
--2nd Star
--Rookie of the Year
--Best Defensive Defenseman
--Hawks Community Service Award
--Best Offensive Defenseman(Winczura Memorial)
--Most Improved Player
--Most Dedicated Player
--Hardest Worker
--Most Inspirational Player(Graham Christie Memorial)
--Most Gentlemanly Player:
--Most Under-Rated Player (Madryga Memorial)

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Hawks Season Ends After Game 6 Loss:

In the final trip to the Whitney Forum this season, the Nipawin Hawks wanted to make sure the Flin Flon Bombers had one last trip to the Cage as well. Unfortunately, the Bombers gave over 1300 fans a great start to their St. Patties Day by shutting out the Hawks 4-0 to eliminate them from the Best of 7 North Division Semi-Final.

Devin Buffalo made 41 stops, and although he looked to battle the puck, the Hawks were unable to get by the strong net presence of the Bomber defense to bang home the rebounds. Buffalo made several sure-goal saves, and as the series went on he got better each night. Davis Jones was great for the Hawks, making a few glove saves that were shot hard and with perfect placement. Jones finished with 32 saves on the night, and earned Doug Johnson's praise as a goaltender who have a great summer before heading to Alaska-Fairbanks and finding continued success there.

In the opening period, Andy Blanke beat Davis Jones midway through with a 5-hole backhound, on a setup from Jason Wark and Brandt Weldon. Brock Hounsell and Dustin Skilliter dropped the mitts shortly after the goal, after Skilliter had believed Tad Kozun was hit from behind and went to his teammates aid. Then, with just over 4 minutes to go, the Hawks received a shot in the arm when Tayler Balog's goal was waved off after the net came off moments after the puck crossed the line. (why Flin Flon doesn't use drill in posts in beyond me, Buffalo knew what he was doing, 3 GAA in series off the post) The Hawks kept their heads high after that though, finishing in front on the shot clock at 15-11 but trailing 1-0 on the scoreboard.

Early in the 2nd, the Hawks had a great chance to develop an odd man rush but the Bombers turned in back in and started to gain momentum from that. Then, 8:30 in, Dylan Balaski put the Bombers up by a couple when Riley Storuzk's shot was deflected forward to the stick of Balaski who put the puck in the net. The other assist went to Dallen Hall. Neither team picked up a man advantage in the middle frame, but the Bombers did make it 3-0 when Jason Wark beat Jones from Andy Blanke and Brett Boehm at 17:17. Final shots in the 2nd ended up being 15-14, as the Hawks struggles in the middle frame continued, trailing 3-0.

In to the final period, the Hawks knew what they needed to do but the Bombers played a hard to beat style that usually succeeds in protecting wins, and it did just that on this night. Shots were 8-2 at one points in the period in favor of the Bombers, but the Hawks did eventually find some shooting lanes but Buffalo stood tall. There was one big block in the dying minutes that really gave the final nail in the coffin, and then the Bombers started to retake momentum. With just 6 seconds left, Jason Wark would score in tight and emotions started to let loose. Before the puck dropped, Eric Bollefer and Tayler Balog were sent to the room after having very spirited games that you could feel their passion in the stands. The final buzzer would go on the Hawks season and on a 4-0 Bombers win, as they advanced to face the Humboldt Broncos in the North Division Final, beginning late this week in Humboldt.

It was so hard to see the group of guys in that dressing room take their bags to the bus one last time, but at least in the final game in was their best of series, as they outshot the Bombers 41-36. This was not a series that can be easily summed up in a few words, but rather it just such an emotional series that both teams really struggled to find their true identity. I would like to wish the best of luck to Jason Wark, Andy Blanke and the Bombers in the Conference Final. I had the chance to chat with those two players, class acts all the way.

Speaking of class acts, that brings us to the final chapter on 8 players Junior careers, as the Hawks graduate four defense, a goalie and three forwards. I would like to personally thank Carter Berg, Jeff Datoff, Brady Zerr, Wheaton King, Eli Lichtenwald, Grant Jensen, Jesse Williamson and Davis Jones for all of the great memories they gave me on the bus, behind the mic, and at the rink. All 8 of those men will achieve great things in life and hopefully, in hockey as well. Eli and Davis will both attend NCAA Institutions in the fall, with Lichtenwald off to Union and Jones to Alaska-Fairbanks. I'm sure there will be more of those guys suiting up for a College/University team in the future.

Of the players eligible to return, there are ten 1993 born players, six 1994 born skaters and one 1995 born in Dexter Bricker. Of those 1993's, only seven will be able to return as the overage rule reduces for the 2013/2014 season. I had alot of fun with the younger players and the rookies this season, and I'm sure they will also go on to have great careers in Hockey and in whatever they choose to do. I look forward to seeing those guys excel as Hawks for years to come.

Beneath the roster for next season is some audio clips of the game, and of Doug Johnson's post game comments. I will have a Best of 2012/2013 Highlite Reel up sometime during the week.

Make sure you tune in to CK750 and 105CJVR Thursdsay at 4:10 for the last Hawkey Talk of the year!

Here is what next year's team could look like:

FORWARD

#7- Mitch Doell(93)
#11- Jesse Bernard(93)
#12- Dexter Bricker(95)
#13- Garret Lockeridge(94)
#14- Artsiom Kalashnikov(93)
#18- Carter Coben(94)
#22- Ben Johnstone(93)
#24- Michael Lambert(93)
#47- Dustin Skilliter(93)
#71- Tayler Balog(94)
#92- Carter Danczak(94)
#93- Tad Kozun(93)

DEFENSE

#4- Ian Bablitz(94)
#23- Ben Petros(93)
#28- Jesse Roden(94)
#51- Eric Bollefer(93)

GOALIE

#37- Jordan Liem(93)





Saturday, March 16, 2013

Do Or Die For Nipawin Hawks In Flin Flon:

The Nipawin Hawks are heading to Flin Flon needing a victory at the Whitney Forum, and after winning 2 of 3 there in the regular season and 1 of 2 in the playoffs, there is no better time than the present to prove they can do so.

Following a 7-2 loss in Game 3, Davis Jones and the Hawks bounced back with a victory and a much better effort. Tonight, the Black and Gold look to bounce past a 7-1 loss in Game 5 at the Cage. They now trail the best of 7 series 3-2.

The two clubs have struggled on the powerplay, and while it hasn't been the difference, the Hawks need to get one on the man advantage just to gain that extra momentum. The Hawks are 0/21 while the Bombers are 3/28 in the series.

There are 11 Hawks on the roster tonight that won't be there come September, so if you're hopping on the fan bus, make more noise than ever so that they can come home at least 1 more time on Tuesday night for Game 7!

The game can be heard live on CK750 beginning with the pregame show at 6:15 Sask time, due to the time change in Manitoba. You can also listen online at YourTownNews.ca!

See you at the Forum!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Hawks Look For Answers After 7-1 Loss:

Brett Boehm returned to the lineup in style for the Flin Flon Bombers, scoring twice and adding a couple assists in the Bombers 7-1 road win in Game 5 over the Nipawin Hawks. With the win, the Bombers take a 3-2 series lead heading back to the Whitney Forum on Saturday night.

Tayler Balog got the Hawks on the board in the opening frame at 11:11, from Ben Johnstone and Jesse Bernard, beating Devin Buffalo, who got the start but did not finish the game. Davis Jones looked sharp in the Hawks net, the Hawks getting outshot 13-8 in the period.

In the second, the Bombers exploded for six unanswered goals. It all started just 49 seconds in when Boehm picked up his first goal of the series, before Josh Roach and Konrad Litke added goals before the 6:00 mark, making it 3-1 Bombers. Near the midway point, Boehm notched his second, giving the Bombers all the life and sucking the life from the majority of the 885 fans at the Centennial Arena.
Dillan McCombie picked up a powerplay marker after that making it 5-1, and from there frustration started to set in. After taking Jeff Datoff in to the boards from behind, Tayler Balog stepped in and dropped the mitts with Konrad Litke, before Carter Berg took shots at an unwilling combatent, earning his own ejection as well as Balog and Litke. Grant Jensen then fought Andy Blanke while Michael Lambert got in to it with McCombie following Jason Wark's goal at 15:04. Lambert showed strong hussle all night, and along with McCombie only received 2 minute minors. The Hawks were out played in the second, and let negative emotion get best of them, down 5-1 going in to the break.

With the shots at 34-15, Nipawin picked the play up in the third on a relieved Brandon Wildung, who stood tall to all 7 shots he faced. Jordan Liem, who drew in for the second time in the series, was only beat once on the 9 shots he faced in the period. That goal came with just 15 seconds left on a nice play that saw Brody Robinson sneak back door un-noticed. Earlier in the period, Arti Kalashnikov was ejected for an interference call, while Tayler Balog and Cam Blair earned 10 minute misconducts in the final minutes.

Flin Flon would win 7-1 in one of the wildest playoff games imaginable, taking a 3-2 series lead heading home on Saturday night for Game 6 of the series.

CK750 will have the broadcast beginning at 6:15 Saskatchewan time, with puckdrop set for 6:30 from the Whitney Forum.

I'd like to thank the fans who were able to understand my point of view during the broadcast, it was a very interesting game that I don't have many words for. There were alot of dirty plays from both sides, and alot of disrespectful acts on the ice and in the crowd. I firmly believe, everyone in BOTH dressing rooms will come out with a much more friendly game on Saturday, with much more respect and class towards the other team. Myself on the broadcast included. Thank you for your continued support and listenership, CK750 is proud to support the Hawks as they now go for 2 straight dubya's, make sure you support the boys and hop the fan bus!


Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Hawks Game 4 Win Regains Home Ice:

It was exactly what the Nipawin Hawks needed.

A bounce back game from Davis Jones, a perfect penalty kill, goals from players who needed them... All in all, it was a great night if you're a Hawks fan, as they escaped with a 4-3 win at the Whitney Forum on Tuesday to deadlock the Best of Seven series at 2 games apiece.

Much like Game 3, the game got started with an early goal. This time, it was the Hawks who got it though, as Tad Kozun and Eli Lichtenwald walked in and Kozun made the pass as Lichtenwald scored his 2nd goal of the playoffs, beating Devin Buffalo glove side to make it 1-0 Hawks at just 57 seconds. It would take awhile for the second goal, so Brady Zerr provided the excitement in between Hawks markers when his emotions boiled over following a Bomber-inspired scrum. Zerr and Brody Robinson got to get the mitts shed for a short tilt right inside the Bomber defensive zone, at 6:47. At 15:12 Eli Lichtenwald added his 2nd goal of the night when he worked hard along the end boards using his patience and his ability to glide out from behind the net while getting the puck up high on Buffalo for the 2-0 Hawk lead. Tad Kozun picked up his 2nd assist of the night, more to come, and Wheaton King also nabbed a helper, his 2nd of the series. Shots were even at 9 apiece after 1 but the Hawks had momentum up by a pair, with the teams starting 4 on 4 thanks to Grant Jensen and Greg Wiwcharuk getting involved in post-whistle altercations.

Jason Wark opened the 2nd period scoring with a questionable slap shot that appeared to be in the net from the officials' angle, but despite the referees consulting the call, it stood for the Bombers first of the game, cutting the lead to 2-1. Wark drew helpers from Wiwcharuk and Spencer Mault. Nipawin would restore the lead though, with just under 5 minutes to play in the period. Tad Kozun scored a beautiful goal similar to Lichtenwalds', as both walked out and beat Buffalo high at the side of the net. For both Tad and Eli, it was their 3rd points of the evening. Just under 3 minutes after that, the lead got cut back to one as Landon Hiebert scored from Mault and Cam Blair. The Hawks managed to escape the period up by a goal, despite being outshot 17-10 through 40 minuts.

The Hawks, much like multiple times this season and series, struck back at the Bombers with another goal to add insurance. This time it was Tayler Balog beating Buffalo, with the lone helper going to Ben Johnstone. Balog's first of the series added to his previous total of 2 assists, giving him a point per game through 3 games in the lineup. Midway through the period, with the Bombers doing everything they could it eventually worked. Spencer Mault banged home a puck in after Davis Jones made one of many huge stops of the night, putting the Bombers right back in it. On the assists were Riley Storzuk and Jason Wark. Jones made several late game saves at the play in the defensive zone stepped it up perfectly in the dying minutes, clearing pucks away frequently before the Bombers developed too much opportunity, not that Jones wouldn't have just stopped that too. The final buzzer rang as the puck was out of danger, and the Hawks skated to victory, with a 4-3 win to tie the series 2-2 heading back to Nipawin for Game 5 on Thursday night.

Final shots were 38-32 in favor of the Bombers, as Tad Kozun, Eli Lichtenwald and of course Davis Jones, stole the show. Those 3 players would take home all 3 of the Three Star honors, but who you want as 1st Star or as 3rd Star is up to you. Jones finished with 35 saves while Buffalo made 28 stops in the loss, as both teams went 0/4 on the man advantage. Nipawin's powerplay is now 0/17 on the series, while the Bombers have just a single tally, and a shorthanded goal as well.  

Tickets for Game 5 will go on sale today at noon, until 4:00 PM. The Box Office will again open tomorrow at the Cage at 2:00 PM right up until game time. You can catch the broadcast from the Centennial Arena beginning at 7:15 on CK750 and online at YourTownNews.ca, when the Hawks regain home ice advantage as the series now turns in to a best of three.

Throw on the yellow, paint on some black, and make some noise for the Hawks as they welcome the Bombers on Thursday night, then hit the road on Saturday for Game 6 in Flin Flon! That game will be broadcast on CK750, like all games in the 2013 Playoffs. Due to the time change, it is a 6:15 Saskatchewan time pregame show, and 6:30 puckdrop.

See you at the Cage!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Bombers Take Edge In Series In Game 3:



Game 3 of the SJHL North Division Semi-Final went last night at the Whitney Forum in Flin Flon, and the 3rd period helped the Bombers pull away to a 7-2 win and a 2-1 series lead over the Nipawin Hawks.

Dustin Skilliter and Jesse Bernard added the goals for the Hawks, while 6 players scored goals for Flin Flon including Konrad Litke, who had a pair. Davis Jones got yanked after giving up 5 goals of 34 shots, although Doug Johnson was quoted to having pulled Jones 'for him' rather than 'because of him'. Devin Buffalo made 32 stops at the other end in the win, while a Relieving Jordan Liem stopped 8 of the 10 shots he faced.

Scoring got underway just 1:08 in to the opening period when Litke added his first, on a feed from Dillon McCombie, who also turned in a huge effort for the Bombers. The Hawks had a trio of man advanatages in the 1st, but much like Game's 1 & 2, neither team was able to get much offensive zone pressure on the PP. Cam Blair was issued a 2+10 for a mid-period hit to the head, but with Brett Boehm in the box the Hawks could not convert. Shots in the frame favored Nipawin 13-10 but they trailed 1-0 thanks to the goal in the early going.

Just under 8 minutes in to the 2nd period, Dustin Skilliter worked hard on a bang home play at the side of the net, jamming the puck past Buffalo for his 1st of the post season and to tie the game up at one. Arti Kalashnikov got the puck down low for Skilliter, as the line of them featuring Garret Lockeridge brought speed and energy all night. Brett Penner responded for the Flon from Storzuk and Chartrand at 10:06, before Konrad Litke put his team shorthanded, giving the Hawks a chance to capitalize. Instead, Andy Blanke got a shorthanded rush and beat Jones to make it 3-1, marking the first special teams goal of the series. Shots were 19-11 Bombers in the middle frame, and up 3-1 they had momentum heading to the 3rd.

Josh Roach scored just 17 seconds in to the 3rd, on a goal from the point giving him 3 on the series to date. Penner and Riley Storzuk picked up the helpers. Then, 6 minutes later another defensive goal came as Brandt Weldon made a nifty backhand toe drag on a Hawk before getting a clear shot past Jones to make it 5-1. That marked the end of Davis Jones' evening, as the quick start for Bombers mixed with continuous pressure gave Jordan Liem his first relief call since September 28th, and for Jones, it was just the 2nd time as a Hawk that he got swapped out. With Liem now in the cage, the Bombers kept coming as just over 4 minutes later Litke finished in front after Liem made a sharp first save. Dillan McCombie would add a late marker, the first powerplay goal of the series, to make it 7-2 at 16:44. Between the teams, the powerplays are 1/29, but perhaps more impressively is the fact that so many players have put their bodies on the line so far with huge shot blocks and checks. Final shots in this game were 44-34 in favor of Flin Flon, as they took a 2-1 series edge in front of a rowdy 1000+ crowd at the Forum.

With the final score reading 7-2, the Hawks attention turns to Game 4 tonight at the Whitney, beginning at 6:15 Saskatchewan time on CK750 and YourTownNews.ca. Picking up the Pineland Co-Op 3 Star Selection honors was Dillan McCombie(1st), Konrad Litke(2nd) and Josh Roach(3rd). Both teams showed good energy in the opening 40 minutes but the 3rd period is where the Bombers took the adavantage. Buffalo finished with 32 stops while Jones made 29 of 34 and Liem stopped 8 of 10.

Don't forget, YourTownNews.ca beginning at 6:15 tonight is Game 4 of the series, and it's sure to be a barn burner! Also tune in on your AM dial at CK750! On the iPhone, listeners can download TuneIn Radio to listen to all radio broadcasts on the mobile devices!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Hawks Even Series, Off To The Flon:

The last time the Nipawin Hawks beat the Flin Flon Bombers in the post season, Tad Kozun was in elementary school and much like the rest of Nipawin, had Hawks fever. This time around, Kozun is a seasoned vet with the team he knows and loves, and he knew it was his turn when he sent shivers of thrill through kids that look up to him just as though he looked up to players like Chad Anderson and Tyrell Frisky back in that 2001 season.

Kozun scored the Game Winning Goal 3:54 in to the 1st Overtime to give the Hawks a 5-4 win which ties the Best of 7 series at a game apiece. Game 3 will be on Monday at the Whitney Forum in Flin Flon.

Carter Coben woke up Saturday morning knowing that if he were to make it in to the line up for Game 2, that he wanted to deliver big checks and set the tone early. It didn't even take 10 minutes in to the opening period for Coben to do exactly that when he rocked Andy Blanke inside the blue line, and then dropped the mitts with Blanke in a fight that both benches enjoyed to watch. Just 50 seconds later though, the Bombers benched seemed to love the fight a little more when Brett Penner got his second of the series on a nice pass from Konrad Litke, whose performance in the series has been notably good for Flin Flon. At 10:09, Arti Kalashnikov, Dustin Skilliter and Garret Lockeridge got away on a smooth flowing rush and Kalashnikov buried his cross ice pass for his 1st of the playoffs. Assists on the goal went to Lockeridge and Grant Jensen, who turned in a solid effort on blue line. 25 seconds later, Brock Hounsell scored his 2nd of the series when a shot squeeked through Davis Jones' 5-hole. with the Bombers up 2-1 after 20 minutes, Nipawin had work to do, also down in the shot department 16-8.

Period number two didn't see much offense, although both goaltenders were tested several times and players showed true playoff composure through shot blocks and solid checks. Eric Bollefer got the puck to Carter Berg near the midway point of the period, who fired a shot which Ben Johnstone found in front of Devin Buffalo to tie the game up. I'm not positive if it was during the middle frame or the 3rd, but Tayler Balog blocked a shot at one point and did not return to the game. For most injuries during the playoffs, I won't be disclosing any of the information, whether the coaches tell me or not. In the Balog case, I am unsure how he is doing but hope it is just a bruise and an ice bath will help get back to 100%. Shots in the 2nd were 12-11 for Nipawin and we were tied up at 2 goals apiece.

During the 2nd intermission Ian Bablitz joined the CK750 broadcast and discussed the Tri Town Thunder season and said that the team was starting to really gel together and they could have used a few more games. He also said he is excited to get back to Nipawin where he can work with Doug Johnson to become a better player. He is going to be a name Hawks fans should get used to, his character and his personality will make him great in the community in future seasons.

In the final frame, sparks started to fly. Garret Lockeridge became the team's top scorer when he put home his 1st of the post season on an assist from Kalashnikov. Brett Penner tied the game at 13:34, just over a minute after Tad Kozun had finished serving a 4 minute high sticking penalty, which resulted in Dylan Balaski getting stitched up back at the room. The penalty kill was again one that the Hawks can use as a prime example of how to kill a penalty 101. Mitch Doell, Brady Zerr, Dustin Skilliter, Eli Lichtenwald; those are just the forwards who worked to the last drop of sweat on the kill with Jones and the defensive corpse. Forgetting about the goal, Benny J put the Hawks back in front by tipping a Carter Berg shot from the point at 17:25. With his 2nd assist of the night, Berg had set the tone for his team physically AND offensively all night, and enjoyed his best game as a Hawk. After Brandt Weldon fired a shot over the net, he got it right back but gave it off to Josh Roach, who for the 15th time from the point scored a goal to tie it up with just 36 seconds left. Nipawin fans went quiet, but the bench remained energetic as all night and all season they have been able to come back from deficits while overcoming hurdles. Shots in the 3rd period as we headed to OT were 45-27, although the Hawks performance did not reflect those totals.

It didn't take long for this game to end, as the Bombers created pressure early Jones watched each and every shot in to his chest. And then, on an offensive zone set it, it had a feeling right from the get go. Wheaton King in the corner, to Berg at the point who unleashed a bomb which hit the cross bar and dropped nearly straight down where Tad Kozun was waiting for it to send the series back to the Flon tied up at 1. Shots were 6-4 in the shortened overtime, which lasted just 3:54. Kozun's first of the series propelled him to the 3 stars for the 2nd night in a row as well.

Kozun took home the First Star honors, while Ben Johnstone and Garret Lockeridge rounded out that list. On the CK750 broadcast, Lockeridge earned an honorable mention call out while Carter Berg was actually the First Star. Doug Johnson had but 4 words for the post game show: "How about Carter Berg."

He had a lot more to say, some of which can be heard on the highlight reel below! Game 3 is Monday night back at the Whitney Forum in Flin Flon beginning at *6:15 SASKATCHEWAN TIME*! The time change makes Flin Flon an hour ahead of us, so I may be bus lagged when I get home on Wednesday. I look forward to seeing all the passionate Hawks fans who make the trip up north, you surely won't be disappointed, Mike Reagan's clubs volunteers make every one feel at home, much like we did ever so well these last couple nights in Nipawin.

6:15 on CK750 and YourTownNews.ca, TUNE IN or be there!


Saturday, March 9, 2013

Game One Highlights:



Don't forget Hawkey fans, Game 2 is tonight at Cage, 7:30 puck drop! Tune in on CK750 beginning at 7:15 for the pregame show!

Bombers Take Game One In Nipawin:

The SJHL Playoffs got underway last night in Nipawin for both the Hawks and the Flin Flon Bombers. Tickets were going fast in Nipawin as the Bombers brought a fan bus that brought a lot of noise to match the already-very loud Nipawin Hawks faithful.

Davis Jones would get the start for the Hawks after finishing the season with a phenomenal .926 save percentage, while Devin Buffalo got the start at the other hand, coming off a .927 save percentage this season.

The Hawks got 2 goals in the opening period, but after exchanging second period goals, the Bombers scored 2 in the final final to win 4-3 and take a 1-0 series lead.

It was a night that started oh so well for the Hawks and with a full house on hand at the Centennial Arena, the Hawks reeled 7 straight shots on Devin Buffalo. Jeff Datoff opened the scoring early in the opening period when he got a pass from Garret Lockeridge. Datoff fired a point shot through traffic and although I had believed Michael Lambert had tipped it in, it sounds like the shot went right through Buffalo to make it 1-0. Eli Lichtenwald used the momentum created from a thunderous Carter Berg on Jason Wark hit at center to walk in and fire a clapper through the legs of Buffalo to put Nipawin up 2. Time of that goal was 9:08. The Hawks had all momentum at that point, it was 2-0 and shots were 8-3 for Nipawin, and then knowing his team needed a boost, Dillon McCombie dropped the mitts with Jesse Bernard right off the faceoff. Both players had a few good throws, but McCombie got the win because of the result of that fight. Shots after 20 minutes, with Nipawin up 2-0, were 11-8 in favor of the Hawks.

Early in the second, with shots at 17-13, the Bombers got a power play when Garret Lockeridge was assessed a minor for interference. In what was arguable one of the best penalty kills of the season for the Hawks, Lichtenwald and Mitch Doell teamed up with everyone else to get the puck down the ice while blocking shots and limiting passes. Once the penalty expired, Brady Zerr got a pass from Arti Kalashnikov but was robbed by Buffalo, and that save proved to be the game changer. Not even a minute later, Brock Hounsell got a pass from McCaig and waited out a sprawling Doell to get a shot off that beat Davis Jones. Despite the goal, Mitch Doell deserved a pat on the back for his efforts on that shift as he showed the meaning of leading by example. Jesse Bernard got the Hawks right back on the board less than a minute later, when Ben Johnstone forced the puck loose to Tayler Balog, who somehow found Bernard in the slot prior to the puck being ripped past Buffalo. The offense wasn't done there, as the Bombers got themselves back within one before the break at 17:53 when Landon Hiebert used his strength to get the puck around Davis Jones in tight. That would be it for the middle frame... Lots of offense, lots of shots; even at 16 apiece.

Both teams went in to the third riding high emotions, after a fire powered period that also featured some big saves and big hits. The first of eight 3rd period penalties came early in the period when Brady Zerr was given a hooking penalty, which the Hawks again killing it off. After the kill, Josh Roach was going end to end and had the puck bounce in his favor and he got a clear shot past Jones to tie the game 5:03. Five more penalties would be called between then and the next goal, and unfortunately for Hawks fans it was a Bomber goal. Brett Penner, who created buzz earlier in the period when he backed away from Tayler Balog(who had dropped the mitts following words between the two from inside the zone to center ice), got the puck inside of the blue line and went bar down to put the Bombers out front for the first time in the game. Final shots would end 39-36 as the Hawks would push late, but Buffalo would do his job in keeping the door shut to put the Bombers up in the series 1 game to none.

The two teams were blanked on the power play, with the Bombers going 0/4 and Nipawin 0/3. Both clubs' penalty killing units looked comfortable and in the 'playoff' zone. Josh Roach picked up the game's Third Star with a goal, while Tad Kozun was Second Star due to his efforts, and Brett Penner was named First Star for his game winning goal and tweet. 781 fans watched the game at the Cage, with everyone invited back tonight for Game Two of the series, which also starts at 7:30.

During the post game show, Assistant Coach Tyson Hobbins said that there were a few mistakes that cost the Hawks, and although the quantity of mistakes was less then that of Flin Flon, the quality of mistakes is what hurt Nipawin. He also credited Tayler Balog for containing his emotions in the 3rd period, and he hopes that Balog can make Penner pay on the scoreboard for the rest of the series. I think it's safe to say that all of Nipawin also shares that hope.

If you can't make it to the rink, Dustin Scafe has the call on CK750 beginning at 7:15 with the pregame show, where he chats with Doug Johnson about the game-to-be and the game-that-was. Don't forget, if you don't have a radio or can't stand the AM buzz, tune in online at YourTownNews.ca!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Chatting With Lich' Before Game 1:


I had the chance to chat with Hawks forward Eli Lichtenwald this week, leading up to Game 1 of the SJHL's North Semi-Final between the Nipawin Hawks and Flin Flon Bombers.

Lichtenwald appeared in 19 games this season, putting up big numbers for the Hawks. He picked up 9 goals and 13 assists over that span, many of which were points that would be put up on the highlight reel. 

Tonight's game gets underway at 7:30 at the Cage in Nipawin, but if you can't make it, don't forget that I have the call on CK750 beginning at 7:15. If you do get to the rink, don't forget to tune in to the post game show on the way home with Tyson Hobbins and myself.


Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Hawks-Bombers Series Preview:

Well, here we are. Game 1 of the Nipawin Hawks run to the RBC Cup is Friday night against the Flin Flon Bombers, and after a 13 day wait it will be a sure thing the Hawks will come out flying.

This season, and much like last season, the team used a strong post-Christmas run to garner a reputation as one of the toughest teams to play against in the league. From Wheaton King through Michael Lambert through Benny Johnstone, everyone on this team has contributed  to the point where Doug Johnson has rewarded them all with increased ice time.

The Nipawin Hawks are looking at an opponent that they have played some tough games against, the Flin Flon Bombers. The two clubs played 3 times in each rink this season, with the visiting team winning 2 out of those 3 in the Whitney Forum and Centennial Arena both. Perhaps the most interesting stat, is that the Hawks have scored just 6 goals on home ice vs Flin Flon, compared to 10 on the road in an arena that many say is one of the toughest to play in.

The last time they met was January 15th, a night that saw Arti Kalashnikov score Nipawin's only goal on a breakaway feed from Wheaton King. But it was Davis Jones who dropped jaws that night despite a 2-1 overtime loss, as he stopped 48 of 50 shots that came his way. It was Brett Penner that night who picked up both goals for the Bombers, who's 557 fans that night will be expected to be doubled come Monday night.

King didn't stop there though, as that assist was his 5th assist at the Whitney Forum this season, in addition to the goal he scored in an earlier season meeting. On home ice against the Bombers, King had one strong game scoring twice, but other than that was held pointless in 3-1 and 2-1 losses.

Jesse Bernard was also a guy-to-guy at the Whitney Forum, collecting 2 goals and 3 assists in the first 2 games in Manitoba. On home ice, Bernard has helped lead the Hawks with a goal and 2 assists in a trio of games.

Much like the aforementioned two players, the rest of the Nipawin Hawk roster has come so far since September 21st, as group on and off the ice. Neat stat, is that Wheaton King was part of the last 2 Hawks playoff goals, and of the last 22 points given to Hawks players in the post season, 13 of the points were given to players who will wear the Yellow and Black during this years post season. To have those clutch players return for another season is huge for Doug Johnson and Tyson Hobbins, as it will allow the younger players to transition to the playoff mentality very quickly.

For the Bombers, it was a season of finding their identity. With 12 wins in a row to open the season on home ice, the team looked unstoppable. That is, until the Hawks knocked them off for their first home loss of the season. After that, it was a slide that lasted until nearly Christmas, with the Bombers winning 2 of 10 games from that point until December 21st, when a 4 game losing streak ended with back to back wins over Kindersley.

Flin Flon went on to win 7 of 10 games to finish the season, with two of those losses to inter-divisional playoff teams(Humboldt and Melfort). Brett Boehm has been the hottest player in the SJHL over the past weeks, raising his NHL Entry Draft stock with 8 goals and 13 points in  just 6 games.

Playing a big role on the Bombers this season is ex-Humboldt Bronco Josh Roach, who knows all about playoff hockey. After picking 16 points in 16 games en route to winning an SJHL title last season, Roach finished this season with over a point per game, which help him to 9th overall in the league with 13 goals and 41 assists. His play, at his age, leaves him as a very similar candidate to follow Andrew Johnston's path to the pro's in the off season.

Perhaps the biggest battle of the series will be in between the iron, where Devin Buffalo and Davis Jones prepare to show why they're both NCAA bound next season. With Jones and Buffalo finishing 3rd and 4th in league save percentages with a .926 and .927 rate respectively, it's Jones' numbers AFTER October that impress. After struggling for September and October, Jones went on to post a sparkling .936 save percentage and a 2.05 GAA. After having slow months in January and February, Devin Buffalo re-took the reigns in February, posting a .938 save percentage of his own that month.

The series begins Friday night in Nipawin, with Game 2 set for 24 hours after that. Get down to the Cage if you can and make some noise for the Hawks, who by the way finished 32-14-2-6 with 72 points. Game time is 7:30 for all home games, with the away games beginning Monday, getting underway at 6:30 LOCAL due to the time change taking place this weekend.

If you can't make it to the rink, the entire series will be broadcast on CK750 and online at YourTownNews.ca with Dustin Scafe. Make sure you check YTN and dustinscafe.blogspot.ca following every game for a full recap.

The Hawks ticket office is open from 12-4 each weekday, and Friday from 2 until game time. Make sure you get your tickets early, and show up early as well! Prior to Game 1, Jesse Williamson's grandfather will be teaching fans the Hawks cheer about 15 minutes before the teams take to the ice.

Get ready Nipawin, the playoffs are here!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Mustangs Pull Off Sweep Over Stars:

 This is from Branden's blog, he is providing play-by-play for the playoffs and will have the recaps after each game, but I will also be reposting them here! Click to visit Birds Eye View!

It wasn’t pretty at times, but the Melfort Mustangs advanced to the North Division Semi-Final with a 4-3 win over the Battlefords North Stars last night.

The win sweep’s the best-of-five series three games to zero.

Brandon Formosa broke a 3-3 deadlock with 2:03 remaining in the game to put the Mustangs up for good and launch them into the final eight.

The night didn’t start so hot for the Mustangs who allowed the Stars to jump out to a 1-0 lead just 1:53 into the game.

Godric Tham would even things up midway through the frame with his 2nd goal of the series in one of just eleven first period shots for the Mustangs.

Logan Sceviour and Austin Evans would exchange 2nd period goals in what was a period largely dominated by the Stars.

Godric Tham’s 2nd of the night came midway through the final frame to put the Mustangs up 3-2 before Josh Betinol slipped one under the pad of Wilkins on the power play to even things up.

With just over two minutes left, Cole Hyrsky chased down a loose puck in the corner and without looking, fired a backhand pass right onto the tape of Brandon Formosa who went bar down on Connor Creech for the eventual game winner.

Creech would end up with 24 saves in his final SJHL game while Jesse Wilkins earned 1st star honors once again making 34 stops for the win.

The Mustangs went 1/4 on the power play or 4/14 in the series, while the Stars went 1/6 on the night and 1/11 in the series.

This was the first playoff series victory for the Mustangs since the 2010/2011 when they defeated Humboldt 4-2.

The Mustangs now face Humboldt in a  seven game series that will follow a 1-1-1-1-1-1-1 format due to their proximity.

Game one is likely to be schedule for Friday night at the E.P.A.

Stay tuned to CK750 and 105 CJVR this week for a full playoff schedule including the Nipawin Hawks and Flin Flon Bombers.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

'Stangs Look To Finish Off Stars Monday:

This is from Branden's blog, he is providing play-by-play for the playoffs and will have the recaps after each game, but I will also be reposting them here! Click to visit Birds Eye View!

This takes the spotlight:
Thanks to Rob at HockeyTube.net for mustering up this video, his hard work will pay off!

After an impressive 4-1 win on the road on Friday night the Melfort Mustangs were looking for a repeat effort on home ice in game two of the SJHL’s North Division Survivor Series.

With over 900 rowdy fans on hand to the Mustangs laid an egg in the open five minutes. Two quick Stars goals, one from Braeden Johnson and one from Brody Luhning put the Mustangs back on their heels in a hurry.

Luckily for Melfort, they were granted three powerplay’s in the first period and Jarrett Zentner finished off a beautiful passing play to cut in to the Stars lead and send the Stangs to the room down 2-1.

Early in the 2nd, Logan Sceviour blocked a shot and went in on a partial breakaway and snapped home his 2nd of the playoffs to tie the game back up at 2.

The Stars came on strong after that and dominated the play firing 22 shots on Jesse Wilkins in the period and only managed to score once off a pinball shot from Austin Evans.

With less than ten seconds left in the 2nd frame Brandon Parrone ripped a shot from the point that hit a leg and landed right onto the stick of Brandon Sloan who potted it into the gaping cage to send the teams to the room tied at three.

The Mustangs came out flying in the 3rd period and Cole Hyrsky notched a pair of goals in a matter of three minutes to give the Mustangs a 5-3 lead.

A minute and fifteen seconds later Godric Tham got a nice bounce and walked in alone and buried his 1st of the playoffs to give the Mustangs a 6-3 lead.

Cue the rough stuff.

Rookie Bryden Serafini and Ben Greenaway squared off in one of the most spirited tilts I have ever seen in my hockey career. Both men were throwing absolute bombs and both went down in a heap after landing some good shots. Both players were treated by EMT’s and the extent of their injuries is unknown.

Six minutes later Brody Luhning and Jarrett Zentner went toe-to-toe at centre ice with Zentner getting the majority of the shots in . Luhning left the ice furious…. Likely with himself as he knew he had lost the fight.

Battlefords wasn’t done just yet as Kyle Schmidt rifled home a laser seeing eye shot to cut the lead to 6-4 but it was Logan Sceviour launching a 130 foot hail mary into the open cage that would seal the deal.

The Mustangs went ¼ on the powerplay while the Stars went 0/3.

Jesse Wilkins made 38 saves on the night while Connor Creech was pulled after allowing 6 goals on 28 shots.

Casey Parker made one stop in 8:35 of playing time.

The Mustangs now lead the series 2-0 and will head back to the Battlefords on Monday night.

Game time is 7:30. The CK750 pre-game show begins at 7:15.

The game will also be broadcast on Access 7 TV.
And here's the other spirited tilt, this one between two teams leaders offensively and defensively!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Mustangs Win Series Opener 4-1:

This is from Branden's blog, he is providing play-by-play for the playoffs and will have the recaps after each game, but I will also be reposting them here! Click to visit Birds Eye View!

For the first time since the spring of 2011 the Melfort Mustangs took to the ice in the SJHL post-season Friday night in North Battleford.
The Mustangs entered the North Division Survivor Series underdogs of sorts as they had lost 14 of their last 19 meetings with the North Stars.

Jesse Wilkins was making his first SJHL playoff start and it wasn’t exactly how he drew it up.
Just 5:38 Ben Greenway threw a weak backhand on goal that somehow eluded the Calgary born netminder to ignite the crowd of 860 and give the Stars a 1-0 lead after one.

Not even two minutes into the 2nd period, Regan Wilton carried the puck into the zone on a 2-1 with Sheldon Argent, chose to shoot and snapped home his 1st of the playoffs to tie things up.

Not even five minutes later Jarrett Zentner dumped a puck in from centre ice that Stars goalie Connor Creech misread and deflected into his own net. That gave Melfort their first lead of the game.

Logan Scevior would tap home his 1st of the playoffs on the powerplay shortly after to give Melfort a commanding 3-1 lead heading to the third period.

Just like he did in the 2nd, Regan Wilton sparked his team early in the period, this time with his physical play. Wilton and Stars forward Braeden Johnson squared up in a spirited tilt and were both ejected from the game after officials deemed it a “Staged Fight.”

The Mustangs would add one more in the third as Brandon Sloan slide home a rebound on the powerplay to put the final nail in the coffin.

Make the final 4-1 Melfort.

Jesse Wilkins made 34 saves for his first playoff victory while the Mustangs powerplay notched two of the teams four goals.

The Mustangs are now 14-0 when leading after two periods of play.

The series now shifts back to Melfort and the Northern Lights Palace.

Puck drop is at 7:30.

You can listen to the game on CK750 starting at 7:15 or you can watch online via the Mustangs Broadcast Network at http://www.melfortmustangs.com.