Friday, November 20, 2009

Road Trippin'

Friday night the Mooseheads begin a massive 3 in 3 through Montreal and its respective suburban areas. They will be taking on Montreal, Dummondville and Victoriaville, in that order.

It is generally accepted that  facing Montreal will be the easiest of these three tasks as the boys will be rested (should be arriving in Montreal today) and because the Montreal Juniors can be easily distracted by their own ice girls (if they still have them).

Chapter One:  Halifax Mooseheads vs Montreal Junior
The problem: Goaltender Jake Allen
The mission: hugging

As TSN's Jay Onrait pointed out - The goal of hockey is to hug your teammates in public as much as possible. This is FACT - The team with more PDAs always wins. The more elaborate the better. I want to see massive displays of fist pumping, ass tapping, and dry humping.

Jake Allen, fresh off the Canada/Russia Challenge (or whatever they are calling it nowadays) is probably full of confidence. Allen, an early second round draft pick of the Saint Louis Blues (the team you go to when you want to be forgotten about) is 8th amongst goaltenders in the QMJHL for  GAA (2.71)and is also sporting a healthy  0.909 sv % in 16 games (6W, 9L). Back up 'tender Berube, on the other hand, has not been so lucky.  His fortunes mirror the losing fate of his team - 3.40 and 8.91 in 9 games  (4W, 3L). Since Berube has already occupied the nets in a win over the Mooseheads this season it remains a possibility that he is again handed the reigns for this upcoming bout. However, given the fact that Montreal are also playing a 3 in 3 (Halifax, Shawinigan, Quebec), and Shawinigan are also a weak opponent one would expect to see goaltending duties divided up thusly: Allen, Berube, Allen.

Other possible dangers include David "balls of steel" Stich on defence, Pier-Antoine Dion's on fisticuffs, and Trevor Parks on forward. Parks was QMJHL offensive player of the week two weeks ago... he is the biggest point producer on the team and yet has only 20 points in 24 games. It may also be important to keep an eye on former Screagles Chouinard (23GP, 8G, 10A) and Gouchie (24GP, 7G, 9A) - they may know us too well.

Because of their lack of offense Montreal have an abysmal powerplay (14.7%) but that is offset by their respectable penalty kill (80.9%) and respectable defence. In 24 games they have allowed only 75 goals, while in the same number of games the Moose have allowed 95.

Chapter Two: Halifax Mooseheads vs Drummondville Voltigeurs
The Problem: Marc-Oliver Vachon
The Mission: Deciding which is your favorite flavour of Passion Flakie.

Vachon has 18 goals and 17 assists in 24 games and is currently third amongst all point getters in the QMJHL, and first among scorers. I have not been making  a Marc-Oliver Vachon voodoo doll out of discarded 'ah caramel' packages.

Other offensive threats include Sean Couturier (24GP, 16G, 12A), Gabriel Dumont (18GP, 9G, 16A) and Ondrej Palat (24GP, 7G, 14A). The team currently has 13 players with 10 or more points.

Did I mention that the Volts are currently the 4th ranked team in the CHL with a 19, 4, 0, 1?

Their PP (21.1) is actually just worse than that of the Mooseheads (21.9) but could not be considered shabby.  Their PK, on the other hand,  is awesome (82.1%).

If the Moose can get the puck past off the sticks of Drummondville's forwards and dodge their defence there is a possibility they can get it in the net. Oh I know that the Volts have allowed only 65 goals in 24 games BUT they have also only allowed 550 shots on net, an average of only 23 shots per game. Now look at the goaltender stats: both goalies have a sv% under 0.9. Starting goaltender Antoine Tardif has a 0.881%, while Ginger has a 0.895%. In his 4 wins Ginger has the league's best GAA at 1.75... but that is just 4 (+) games. Last year with the Titan Ginger had 19 losses and 0 wins. He doesn't scare me.

Chapter Three: Halifax Mooseheads vs Victoriaville Tigres
The Problem: Tomas Kubalik
The mission: Czeching - any way possible.

This is the Tigres Second week in the CHL top ten. The team are currently ranked 4th in the Q with a 17,7,0,1 record and are on a seven game winning streak.

Kubalik, Nestracil, Devos and Hynes are all at or above a PPG pace. Don't take this adorable face lightly - it can now grow facial hair and is developing a mighty five head. Puberty is cruel.

If you can catch Hynes I recommend simply picking him up and putting him in your pocket to take him out of the play - yes, he is pocket sized. Once pocketed this 16 goal scorer can be restrained until it is time to be shipped to Santa's workshop (its getting busy up there now and he needs extra workers). Don't let his small size and funny accent fool you - he is from Northern Newfoundland. He is not a leprechaun.

The Moose will need grit to keep the Tigres's forwards down. Body czeching, sneakily cross-czecking (while the refs aren't looking) or simply maintaining possession of the puck could all help.

The problem with Victoriaville is not just the offence, but also the defence. Their Penalty kill is the best in the league at 84.7% efficiency and Joel Chouinard (9G, 10A) QBs the power play with ruthless effectiveness (6 G on the PP).

Goaltender Kevin Poulin is rocking 12 wins and 5 losses with a 2.42 GAA  and 0.921%. second best amongst starting goaltenders in the league and in the top 5 for both GAA and save%. Mastropietro is not as lucky - his save % is on par with Corbeil's. The Tigres are not as busy this weekend, with a Friday game against Gatineau and a Sunday game against the Moose, so I am keeping my fingers crossed that we face Mastropietro in nets.

To increase our chances of getting what we want I have no problem resorting to mysticism. So if someone can rub Hynes just to see if you can make a wish for even a single Moose win - that would be great.

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Yes the spacing on this is awful. I don't know why.

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