Tigres Stun Pistols to Steal East Title

For much of the season, the East’s playoff picture has seemed fairly stable.  The Hamilton Pistols seemed likely to finish atop the division, while the Quebec Tigres and Washington Galaxy would battle it out for second place.  Then the Galaxy collapsed after the All-Star break, and a Pistols-Tigres playoff looked likely, with Hamilton still on track to finish first.  Even when the Tigres went on an 8-1-1 stretch to close within 4 points of the Pistols, that margin persisted for weeks, as both team stumbled down the stretch.

But as the season entered its final week, a strange thing happened: Hamilton continued to struggle, while Quebec starting winning.  That set up a showdown on the last day of the season at Centre Citadelle: If the Pistols won, they’d hold on to the top spot.  If Quebec won, they’d tie Hamilton in the points column but would win the division based on having more total wins.

Steven Alexander

“We’ve come so far this season,” said Pistols LW Steven Alexander.  “Now we’ve got to go out there and finish the job.”

Unfortunately for Alexander’s club, they ran into a stone wall in the form of Quebec goalie Riki Tiktuunen, who stopped all 30 Hamilton shots.  The game remained scoreless until Tigres LW Rupert MacDiarmid went five-hole three and a half minutes into the second period.  Quebec took advantage of a 5-on-3 power play in the third period, scoring twice to secure a 3-0 victory.  The orange-clad throngs roared their approval as the Tigres traded high-fives and waved their sticks in appreciation.

Martin Delorme

“This is a tribute to this wonderful team,” said Tigres coach Martin Delorme, who joins his team in making his first trip to the postseason.  “They have been doubted and dismissed many times, but they have ignored the critics and worked hard and won.  I am sure the same doubters will believe that they cannot win the Vandy, but we are prepared to keep working hard and win it.”

As for the Pistols, who were on top of the world last week after punching their first-ever playoff ticket, they’re now faced with the cold reality of losing home-ice advantage in the upcoming series after losing 10 of their last 13 games.

“Obviously, we haven’t finished up the regular season the way we wanted to,” said Pistols coach Keith Shields.  “But we’re going to put that behind us.  It’s not like we forgot how to score, or that the talent that got us this far suddenly dried up.  We just have to keep playing our game, keep believing in ourselves, and we’ll get ourselves back on track.”

Continue reading “Tigres Stun Pistols to Steal East Title”

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2018 SHL Week 13 Team Stats

Team Totals

====================================================
Team              GP    SH    G    A  Pts   PP%  +/-
----------------------------------------------------
New York          60  2341  224  406  630  20.0   26
Anchorage         60  2226  201  377  578  15.5   51
Hamilton          60  2019  202  375  577  23.3   36
Seattle           60  2177  198  362  560  15.3  -12
Washington        60  2037  196  357  553  22.0  -15
Hershey           60  2166  176  335  511  16.2    0
Michigan          60  1807  179  327  506  12.5   64
Quebec            60  1661  172  314  486  13.5   41
Dakota            60  1875  163  297  460  17.1  -32
Saskatchewan      60  1933  152  281  433  13.4   -4
Kansas City       60  1500  154  276  430  15.8  -72
Boston            60  1213  112  210  322  17.7  -83
====================================================

==================================================================
Team              GP   W   L   T   GAA   SH   SV    SV%   PK%  PIM
------------------------------------------------------------------
Michigan          60  44  12   4  1.70 1444 1341  0.929  88.1  581
Quebec            60  37  22   1  2.07 1624 1499  0.923  89.4  548
Hamilton          60  37  18   5  2.33 1727 1586  0.918  86.0  592
Anchorage         60  36  23   1  2.49 1844 1694  0.919  85.7  638
Saskatchewan      60  24  32   4  2.73 1838 1673  0.910  82.2  652
Hershey           60  24  32   4  3.09 1727 1540  0.892  83.0  675
Washington        60  29  30   1  3.19 2007 1815  0.904  84.3  585
Dakota            60  22  36   2  3.32 2113 1912  0.905  78.0  584
New York          60  32  25   3  3.45 2324 2116  0.910  77.0  599
Boston            60  16  43   1  3.45 1977 1769  0.895  77.7  621
Seattle           60  27  31   2  3.58 2225 2009  0.903  83.2  621
Kansas City       60  16  40   4  3.84 2105 1872  0.889  83.9  588
==================================================================

Continue reading “2018 SHL Week 13 Team Stats”

2018 SHL Week 13 League Leaders

=========================
         Points          
-------------------------
McNeely        WSH     95
Frye           HAM     87
Lafayette      HAM     87
Winchester     NY      82
Thurman        WSH     82
Alexander      HAM     79
Costello       WSH     78
Camernitz      QUE     71
Manning        NY      67
Koons          ANC     65
=========================

=========================
          Goals          
-------------------------
McNeely        WSH     54
Alexander      HAM     53
Manning        NY      45
Frost          ANC     43
Frye           HAM     40
Bailes         MIC     33
Nelson         NY      33
Mango          SEA     32
Thurman        WSH     32
Camernitz      QUE     30
=========================

=========================
         Assists         
-------------------------
Lafayette      HAM     69
Winchester     NY      69
Costello       WSH     62
Ericsson       ANC     53
Thurman        WSH     50
Frye           HAM     47
Sanchez        NY      47
Smyth          HAM     45
Koons          ANC     44
Cherner        DAK     43
=========================

=========================
     Penalty Minutes     
-------------------------
Duckworth      NY     119
Nistrumov      SAS    107
Baker          BOS    101
Mulligan       HAM    100
Meloche        HSY    100
McCallan       BOS     97
Trefilov       DAK     96
Smyth          HAM     96
Hampton        WSH     95
Risch          HAM     83
=========================

=========================
       Plus/Minus        
-------------------------
Beruschko      MIC     38
Kronstein      MIC     34
Alexander      HAM     32
Frye           HAM     32
Lafayette      HAM     32
Bailes         MIC     31
Lunsford       MIC     30
Frederick      ANC     27
Madison        MIC     26
Poulin         MIC     25
=========================

=========================
       Goalie Wins       
-------------------------
Lundquist      MIC     37
Worthington    ANC     29
Tiktuunen      QUE     28
Koskinen       HAM     27
Clarkson       NY      22
=========================

=========================
           GAA           
-------------------------
Lundquist      MIC   1.54
Lattimore      QUE   1.82
Mason          HAM   1.99
Tiktuunen      QUE   2.14
Worthington    ANC   2.39
=========================

=========================
         Save %          
-------------------------
Lundquist      MIC  0.938
Tiktuunen      QUE  0.927
Worthington    ANC  0.925
Koskinen       HAM  0.922
Clarkson       NY   0.918
=========================

SHL Player of the Week – Week 13

In an unprecedented move, the SHL named the entire Michigan Gray Wolves‘ defense as its Players of the Week.  “Up until now, we’ve always limited the Player of the Week honor to a single player,” said SHL Commissioner Perry Mitchell.  “But we felt that Michigan’s defensive work needed to be recognized, and we couldn’t single out any one player for it, so we’re recognizing them all.”

The Wolves’ blueline corps – which includes “Mad Max” Madison, Fritz Kronstein (who won solo Player of the Week honors three weeks ago), Frank Mudrick, Brooks Zabielski, Sam Bergdorf, Bjorn Tollefson, Lyndon Bullock, and Cedric Berlinger – were in top form with the playoffs approaching.  Michigan allowed only two goals in their four games this week, thanks in large part to the shot-suppressing ability of their defenders.  The Wolves’ opponents averaged less than 16 shots this week.  In Sunday’s showdown against Hamilton, a potential Finals opponent, Michigan held the high-flying Pistols to only 19 shots in a 3-0 win.  Then in consecutive games against Dakota and Kansas City, the Wolves limited their opponents to 12 shots each, allowing them to edge the Jackalopes 1-0 and stop the Smoke 4-1.

“Our core identity is defense,” said Wolves coach Ron Wright.  “And it says a lot about the group we have here that even though I’ve been rotating guys in and out this week, giving the starters a little rest, we haven’t missed a beat.”

2018 SHL Week 13 Standings

East W L T Pts GF GA Home Away
x-Hamilton Pistols 37 18 5 79 202 141 19-9-3 18-9-2
x-Quebec Tigres 37 22 1 75 172 125 22-7-0 15-15-1
New York Night 32 25 3 67 224 208 16-15-0 16-10-3
Washington Galaxy 29 30 1 59 196 192 17-11-1 12-19-0
Hershey Bliss 24 32 4 52 176 187 16-14-2 8-18-2
Boston Badgers 16 43 1 33 112 208 11-16-1 5-27-0
West W L T Pts GF GA Home Away
y-Michigan Gray Wolves 44 12 4 92 179 103 25-4-1 19-8-3
x-Anchorage Igloos 36 23 1 73 201 150 21-8-0 15-15-1
Seattle Sailors 27 31 2 56 196 216 16-12-2 11-19-0
Saskatchewan Shockers 24 32 4 52 152 165 15-13-2 9-19-2
Dakota Jackalopes 22 36 2 46 163 201 14-15-1 8-21-1
Kansas City Smoke 16 40 4 36 154 233 10-18-3 6-22-1

x-clinched playoff berth.

y-clinched division title.

Interview of the Week: Jake Frost

This week’s interview is with Anchorage Igloos C Jake Frost.

SHL Digest: This week, we’re talking to one of the SHL’s top scorers and best-known players, Jake Frost of the Anchorage Igloos.  Jake, thanks for speaking with us.

Jake Frost

Jake Frost: Hi, how you doin’?

SHLD: This week, your team clinched a trip to the postseason for the third time in four seasons.  How does that feel?

JF: Honestly, not that great.  We certainly feel like we could have done better this season, and just making the playoffs is definitely not our goal.  We want another Vandy, and if we’re really going to celebrate something, we’ll do it then.

SHLD: So would you consider the regular season a disappointment?

JF: It’s definitely below what we know we can accomplish.  One thing that I am proud of, though, is the way we played down the stretch, especially after the [trading] deadline.  Seattle loaded up and told the world they were coming for us, and we knew we had to strap in and really get the job done.  And we did.  We’ve won maybe 15 of our last 20 [actually, they’ve gone 16-3-1].  That’s the kind of play we expect of ourselves.

SHLD: Looking ahead to the playoffs, you’ll be facing your longtime rivals. the Michigan Gray Wolves, for a spot in the Finals.  What do you think of your chances in that series?

JF: It’s going to be a real battle, no question.  Michigan is tough, competitive, and they’re playing great hockey.  You know [coach Ron] Wright is going to have his team whipped up into a frenzy.  We couldn’t ask for a tougher matchup.  But I think we can take them.

SHLD: What are the keys to victory for you against the Wolves?

JF: They play a total physical game.  They’ll try to slow us down in the neutral zone, neutralize our speed advantage, deny us clean entries to the zone and clean looks at the net.  We’ll have to avoid letting them trap us, use our speed and skill to stay a step ahead, and take advantage of our opportunities when they come.

SHLD: Sounds like a tall order.

JF: Sure is.  We also know they’ll try to intimidate us, make the games as physical and ugly as possible.  We’ll need to step to them to show we aren’t scared, but don’t let them bait us into a bloodbath.

SHLD: Again, a pretty tough task.

JF: Oh, yeah.  But if you’re going to be the best, you’ve got to beat the best.  I’ve got confidence in our guys.

SHLD: Turning away from the playoffs for a minute: Earlier this year, you pledged to donate $100 to the Lupus Foundation of America for every goal you scored, in honor of your teammate Les Collins’ sister Teri.  How’s she doing?

JF: Teri’s doing all right, thanks for asking.  Obviously, Les is a pretty private guy and doesn’t like to talk about it a lot, but we’ve definitely been keeping up with her situation.  She’s on a new course of medication that really seems to be helping.  But there’s still no cure, which is one thing the Lupus Foundation is working on.  And I’m proud to help out.

SHLD: It’s great that you’re doing it.

JF: Now I just need to score a bunch more goals in the final week so I can up the donation even more.  I’m aiming for $5000, which is seven goals away.

SHLD: Not an easy target with only four games left!  But you’ve gone on runs like that before.

JF: I got five this past week.  I can do it.

SHLD: Well, thanks again for your time, Jake, and good luck in the playoffs!

JF: Thanks.  We can use it!