Wednesday, March 30, 2005


A Giant Comeback and a Record Crowd

There was a record crowd at the Pacific Coliseum last night (just under 13,000), and it was almost like two games in one last night as the Vancouver Giants came back from a 3-0 deficit to beat the Kelowna Rockets by a 4-3 score. The Giants now lead the best-of-seven series by a 2-1 count.

For the first half of the game, the Kelowna Rockets played their typical mechanical defensive style to a ‘T’. The Rockets held the Giants to just 9 shots through the first 30 minutes, and led the game 3-0 thanks to some bad penalties by the Giants and some opportunistic goals. The crowd wanted to get into the game, but it was impossible given the score and the fact the Giants couldn’t establish any sort of forecheck. As coach Don Hay said on the post-game radio show, the Giants were playing too pretty and not gritty.

Once the Giants finally realized what brought them success in the first two games – lots and lots of hitting – the Giants piled up two quick goals and started the amazing comeback during the second half of the game. The Pacific Coliseum went from a graveyard-like atmosphere to that of a Mormon frat house (loud, but clean).

Cam Cunning tied the game during the last minute of the 2nd period and the 2nd intermission had a much different buzz to that of the 1st intermission.

Andrej Meszaros’ Power Play blast half-way through the 3rd period, the Giants tireless penalty killing effort, and Marek Schwarz’s acrobatic saves helped the G-men complete the comeback and now the Giants have the Rockets reeling somewhat.

One thing about that crowd that I noticed was the lack of Kelowna Rockets fans in the crowd. I know it’s a midweek game, but usually there are always a large group of fans from the opposing side. Last year’s series versus the Kamloops Blazers saw at least 100 Blazers fans at the Pacific Coliseum for each game. I counted only 3 noticable Rockets fans in last night’s big crowd. This is probably another reason why we didn’t see any fights.

Scouting Notes and Observations:

The Rockets defence was without the injured Shea Weber once again (And it was vs. the Giants that he suffered his injury a few weeks back).
Without Weber, who is a big and nasty defenseman, the Rockets have a noticibly small and finesse defensive group. The Giants have taken advantage of this all series long with aggressive forechecking and the Rockets D looked a bit worn down during the 3rd period. The Giants have the big forwards like Triston Grant, JD Watt, Mitch Bartley, and Cam Cunning as well as the aggressive Gilbert Brule (Who knocked about 3 different Rockets players on their asses last night and earned the game's 1st Star). Don Hay realizes this advantage and we’ll continue to see the Giants forecheck aggressive and lay down a lot of hits.

Derek Yeomans

Derek Yeomans, G – Rockets
Yeomans didn’t do his team any favours last night as he could not stop the Giants comeback with any big saves. It doesn’t help that he is, quite possibly, the worst stickhandling WHL goaltender that I have ever had the pleasure of seeing.
He also has the largest set of hockey pants that I’ve ever seen on a player. This picture really doesn’t show it too well, but rest assured that even Rosie O’Donnell would have a lot of extra room wearing Yeoman’s hockey pants. You can add Yeoman’s pants to Garth Snow’s lacrosse pads as prime examples of goaltending equipment gone too far.

Kyle Cumiskey, D – Rockets
A very offensive-minded defenseman for the Rockets, Cumiskey is listed at 5’11” and 164.
Eat a sandwich, would ya!
I was impressed with his puck control and puck poise. He was the one Rockets defenseman who was comfortable with carrying the puck up the ice and weaving through the Giants forecheck. Cumiskey would be draft eligible if there is a 2005 Entry Draft, and I’m sure he would get taken despite his lack of girth. On the other hand, I would be concerned that he doesn’t seem to get much power out of his skating stride. While he was great carrying the puck up the ice, he looked a lot like Larry Murphy in that he was going about 3 miles an hour. Perhaps if he were to add about 10 pounds of muscle to his legs, he would get more bang for his skating buck.

Marek Schwarz, G – Giants
Before the game, Schwarz was presented with the Player of the Month Award for March (For the Giants, not the WHL). I think Marek was hopped up on the ‘sudes’ as he was really jumpy while waiting to be photographed. He kept looking between the photographer and the dude presenting him with the trophy ever 0.03 seconds.
The tweaky Schwarz was definitely at his acrobatic best last night, and his reflexes and flexbility were even more phenominal than usual. I’ve never seen another WHL goalie move as quickly as Schwarz’s just a matter of improving his fundamentals and positioning.

Marek Schwarz

So, that’s the experience from a WHL playoff game. This has been a great series and the ticket prices are still the same they were during the regular season ($16-18 CDN).

AQuietGirl details her experiences from a recent OHL Playoff matchup – The first she has ever attended - on her weblog.
Without the NHL, it’s a great time to get into what the CHL offers.

hey the rockets killed the giants soo u really shouldnt be talking soo just soo you know who won the WHL eh? just think about it
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?