It seems like the Warriors just left the rink after Game 1 of the Western Canada Cup and they're already back (okay so thats kinda true because this is being written early morning on Sunday). It's the toughest turn-around in the entire Western Canada Cup for any team, but its not like the Warriors have done anything the easy way all postseason long, so why start now.
The AJHL Champion Brooks Bandits will pose a big test for West Kelowna this afternoon, as they look to set their tournament off on the right foot, while the Warriors are looking to move to 2-0. The Bandits were the lone team off on Saturday night, and much like the Estevan Bruins, will look to bring energy to the start of the hockey game.
Unlike the Bruins however, it's only been nine days since they last played, when they knocked off Spruce Grove in Game 5 to win the Gas Drive Cup. Brooks went 12-1 in the postseason with a pair of sweeps, before dropping just one game to the Saints in the finals.
The Bandits pose a balanced attack, with a team that averaged over five goals a game en route to a 49-9-2 record on the season, which happened to have them finish BEHIND Spruce Grove at 49-7-4. Brooks has just one 30-goal scorer in Jared Cockrell, but have 13 players that had 40 or more points this season. Cockrell, Landon Welykholowa, and Josh McKechney all had 11 PP goals on the season.
Since we're talking special teams, the numbers were flattering for the Bandits as well as they had 341 man advantages this season (5.7/gm) and scored 78 goals while a man up. In comparison, the Warriors scored 67 PP goals, but in just 272 opportunities (4.7/game). In the postseason, its the Brooks PK that jumps out, killing at a 93.1% efficiency having allowed just four power-play goals against in 13 games.
You can't have a good PK without good goaltending and the Bandits have that as well with Garrett Hughson. A 1.10 GAA and a .957 SV% in the playoffs are gawdy numbers, but he was stellar down the stretch in the regular season too with a 14-3 record, 2.23 GAA, and a .918 SV%. Today's game might be 2-1 or 1-0.
There is one somewhat familiar face on the Brooks side, as former Vernon Viper and Salmon Arm Silverback Logan Mick plays for the Bandits.
Puck drop for this one goes at 1 PM (BC time) and is available on the screens at Kelly O'Bryan's, as well as www.fasthockey.com with subscription, just search Western Canada Cup.
All the audio-only broadcast issues we had last night should be fixed, so you can also tune in there at www.mixlr.com/bchlwarriors.