To start, I want to take a moment to thank all of the veterans and current service men and women around the World for their sacrifices. Their efforts let me do what I do, and give others the opportunity to enjoy the freedoms we do in Canada.
Thank you for everything.
Yes, the Ice Wolves and Red Wings will go head to head for the third time in four games (five for Weyburn). Interestingly enough, both teams went to OT in their meeting with the Hawks that spread out the meetings in La Ronge from tonight's contest in Weyburn.
Thus far, the Ice Wolves hold the series count at two games to one by virtue of a 5-1 win, 4-3 loss and 6-3 win.
Tonight's game brings some interesting game stories leading off with the new additions to the Ice Wolves lineup.
The big add for the Wolves is obviously the 2011 SJHL MVP, Marc-Andre Carre returning to the lineup. Carre had a slow start to the SJHL season when he began the year with the Wolves. With only four points in nine games, it was apparent Carre didn't play in the pre-season and he really started to pick up his play just before heading down to Rio Grande. It will be interesting to see how well he adjusts to playing with players at the junior level again.
I touched briefly on Zac Ashdown in my last post. We have yet to see Ashdown on the ice as the Wolves didn't skate and he'll have to come up to speed very quickly with two games in the next couple days. He's been a successful point producer at every level and I wouldn't be surprised to see him play with Carre tonight with the Enns/Hladun/Ethier line performing so well at the moment.
The Wolves will also have an Affiliate Player in the lineup with Jared Iron off to Langley, B.C. for the CJHL prospects game. Forward Brett Kealey from the Pilot Butte Storm will play with the Wolves tonight (and possibly Saturday). Kealey has seven points in eleven games with the Storm in the PJHL this season.
If you missed our broadcast on Wednesday, you may have not heard the news that David Greyeyes will likely retire from Junior hockey. There is still a small chance he may play in a few months, but Coach Bob Beatty says it's about a 5% possibility he could return. It's a sad thing highlighting the danger of head injuries to players careers, but also shows responsibility of the player and coaches to make the right choice for someone's life. David's future goes far beyond the game of hockey and it's good to see the safe and responsible choices being made in his situation.
Focusing more on the actual game tonight, these are two teams that have a little bad blood running between them. With relevance to the last paragraph, it was a high head hit that put David Greyeyes out of the lineup once again last Friday. Some fisticuffs between the sides broke out in that Friday game and the Wolves nearly pulled out a comeback. Saturday, another high shot on an Ice Wolf resulted in Skyler Hladun not giving Jack Kennelly an option on dropping the gloves before scoring a decisive knock out. Needless to say there could be some extracurriculars tonight in the fourth meeting of the season between these squads.
The Wolves will be tasked with shutting down the Red Wings top unit. The defence hasn't been able to keep Keegan Bruce, Jesse Ross and Coltyn Sanderson off the scoreboard in any of the previous meetings of the season. They were reasonably successful in their last meeting, limiting the damage to two combined points, but still had a lot of close calls. Jesse Ross is the driving force as his combination of speed, skill and size is a tough thing to stop. It could be on the Ice Wolves goalie tonight to keep that line off the scoreboard.
I'm excited to see tonight's game and it's always a pleasure to call a game from the spacious surroundings of the press box at Crescent Point Place. I'll have the call of tonight's game starting at 7:15 with the Pre-Game show. I'll be joined on the broadcast by Jason Knox, writer of the Knox Tox sports blog and host of Knox Tox Sports on BlogTalkRadio.com.