Thursday, October 18, 2012

If Guy is right, we'll be in for a treat

When we did our WHL pre season predictions, Guy's final was the defending Edmonton Oil Kings up against the Kamloops Blazers.  Tuesday night the two teams met and the Blazers snuck out of town with a 5-4 shoot out victory.  Some observations after the jump.

The J C in J C Lipon could stand for Just Crafty because he was on this night.  It actually stands for JC.  Crazy eh?  So was his play against the Oil Kings.  Along with linemates Tim Bozon and Collin Smith Lipon the leading scorer in the WHL added to his totals by opening and closing the scoring.  He tied the game with 1:24 to go, shorthanded no less, and just 35 seconds after the Oil Kings jumped in front for the first time in the game.

That line has so much chemistry it's almost not fair.  They played together all season last year and it showed.  With 68 points already in just 11 games, they are tearing it up.  Particularly Lipon who now has a goal per game as well as 16 assists for a league leading 27 points in 11 games.  He's been the CHL player of the week 2 straight times and has more points than anyone in the CHL.

Last year's leading Blazer Brendan Ranford is playing a more complete game and along with "Mr. Everything" Dylan Willick make up a strong second line.

Tim Cheveldave has the best numbers of any starting netminder in the WHL and made several big saves for the Blazers as the Oil Kings picked up their attack as the game worn on.

Curtis Lazar continued his strong play, at times looking dominant as he did against Calgary last Friday on national television.  He was physical and strong on the puck and it was his shot that Henrik Samuelsson tipped in that put Edmonton ahead 4-3.

Edgars Kulda stood out for the first time in my view.  He was put on the top line with Samuelsson and Lazar and looked comfortable.

Mitch Moroz had his strongest game.  He levelled Brendan Ranford in the corner during overtime and along with Klarc Wilson and Travis Ewanyk were in the face of Kamloops' best players all night long. Moroz put home a power play goal, his first this year, and has battled a lower body injury most of the season.  The Oilers 2nd round 2012 draft pick is a force when he plays like that.

Full marks to the Blazers for the win, especially after playing last night.  The Oil Kings may have lost, but they did grab a point and I think realized how good they will have to play this year if they are to defend.

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