Monday, February 3, 2014

Playoff forecast and awards

With not seeing each team it is hard to determine all the playoffs match ups and awards.  Let's start with the west kootenays this is the only division we haven't seen this year. The top two teams are Nelson and beaver valley but I wouldn't rule out Castlegar.  The nighthawks seem to be the favorite. One of the coaches from the Eddie mtn. Division says they are similar to the Storm skilled and big.  They play on a small surface and don't know about their skating but the top two players Ryan Edwards and Dallas Calvin are well known to the league and they can create havoc.  Nelson appears to be a smaller team but reported to be very fast.  Goaltending could be a question mark.  Mada came in a little before Christmas which resulted in the leafs moving the starter to another junior b team.  He was at the top of the league in most categories when they made the change. Mada seems to have picked up where the last guy left but is it a great defence or strong goaltending. Could be interesting as mada doesn't seem to have the experience of playoffs.  Nelson are guaranteed a spot in the provincials and may not be as motivated for a long playoff.  I like a lot of the Castlegar players. Good experience in playoffs, and question seems to be goaltending. Beaver valley just resigned their number two goalie was he hurt, an off ice problem? Why was he gone for most of a month?  The other tender has been good all year so bv should be ok. Back to Castlegar, they picked up a scorer from Golden,who is good, add that to Bartlett and Disher and they could be the spoiler.  Nelson could decide not to push too hard and look to deliberately go only one or two playoff rounds. Several teams have taken this route over the years with the idea of staying healthy for the Cyclone but sometimes you lose your competitive instincts. Could be interesting.  If bv plays Castlegar in round one I would take bv in 5 if Nelson plays Castlegar I might go for Castlear in 7.  Who ever plays Spokane should win that series but Spokane will be tough.  Nelson in 6 if bv, bv in 5.  

In the east Kootenays I think fernie will eventually come out of the Eddie Mountain.  Good team good coach, just underachieving so far.  Duner will get them going for playoffs.  Creston has a15 point lead and will finish first.  I was not impressed by their goalies but picking up Michalovsky from us in January should be a big help.  Problem is Kyle has not dressed the last few games.  Is he hurt?  He is very good, not that Levebvre isn't good, but he is young and not a lot of experience, and that could be a real problem.  Creston leads the league in goals scored but can be a run and gun team, that relies heavily on goaltending. Experience and timely saves are a must in playoffs.  Kimberley are one point ahead of Fernie so home ice could be a factor.  Whoever plays creston in round one Columbia Valley or Golden will have their hands full.  Don't know cv's coach but do expect Ty Davidson to have his team ready if they get that final playoff spot.  Ty has a game in hand and is tied with cv for the final spot.  If creston plays cv I predict creston in 5.  If Golden creston in 7.  Coaching will be the difference in the first round and Golden could upset, no disrespect to crestons coach, I just think Ty could have the experience to pull it out.  Ty in my mind can be one of the top playoff coaches.  Back to fernie and Kimberley, Kimberley is lead by some good young players. Their top scoring 93 has only 26 points, and it seems they only have 3 20 year olds in the lineup on a regular basis.  Morriseau is good in net but would need to be at the top of his game against Fernie, again a good coach for Kimberley, but they lack experience.  Fernie should ride Logan Hill in net and he has lots of experience. Coach Duner brought him in knowing he could win some playoff rounds.  There is a strong Princeton posse influence that followed Duner to Fernie and they will be motivated for playoffs.  They were the most consistent team we saw in the Eddie mountain. I think Fernie in 6.  I predict Fernie and Creston in the division final for the Eddie Mountain.  A long series for Creston in the opening round could hurt in the division final, so they will want to finish off either cv or Golden quickly.  

Will update on Okanagan later in week

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