The Down-Low with Bristowe
The WHL’s Western Conference of the playoffs has gone as predicted so far. Both series are even at 2 after the first 4 games with the home teams prevailing in all of the games. Vancouver dominated in their own building as they always do and didn’t allow 20 shots in either game. Spokane got back in the series in game 3, but they needed World Junior star Dustin Tokarski to steal them game 4. Tokarski made 41 saves in a 1-0 win. I still believe Vancouver has the edge in the series because they have more depth. I guess we’ll tell by this time next week.
The other western series was exactly the same. Tri-City took care of Kelowna in the first two games at home. Rockets GM Bruce Hamilton came out saying he was not pleased with his team’s performance down in Kennewick Washington. Kelowna bounced back at home in game 3 with a solid 7-2 win. Again like the other series, game 4 would be a little different. The Americans held a 3-2 lead half way through the third only to see Kelowna tie it a minute later. In overtime the Okanagan bunch would connect on the power play for the third time in 4 opportunities to win it 4-3 and tie the series at 2. It was former Rocket Riley McIntosh who was in the box when the deciding goal went in. In my opinion, Kelowna has not played their best hockey yet. If they don’t do that in the next two or three games it will not matter.
One other note I wanted to make is about the Canadian Under 18 team and some of the things Hockey Canada has done to impress me. Even though the players are representing our country, Hockey Canada is still making sure the players are keeping up on their school work. Before the players left, Hockey Canada made sure they spoke with the player’s teachers and the young men were still required to bring their school work. Hockey Canada Head Scout Al Murray is one of the classiest guys you can talk to. When Brett Connolly made the team he was quick to respond with a phone interview where he laid out everything on the table. Finally, I was impressed with Hockey Canada’s initiative to provide activities that would help the team bond. The first order of business was attending the Minnesota Twins home opener against the Seattle Mariners together.
Kudos to Hockey Canada and all the best at the World Under 18 Hockey Championship.
That’s the Down-Low with Bristowe.