November 3, 2009
Here goes our second installment of our bi-weekly overview of the past weekend’s games and events around the league:
1. I think that if the goalie situation stays like this, we will have a lot of upsets this year. Of the five goalies above .900 in save percentage, one (Keely Brown – Edmonton) is a "usual suspect" on that list. The other four (Deejai Mountford – Saskatoon; Kathleen Perrault – Montreal; Tori Goble – Ottawa; Juleigh Clarke – Saskatoon) were all expected to be solid goalies this year, but they have not normally been at the top of the goalie stats. If they keep up these kinds of performances, their teams will be much tougher to beat and will probably pull off some big upsets.
2. I think that if you looked at last year’s standings, you would think that games against Fraser Valley, Whitby, BLL and Saskatoon would be easy. I also think you would be wrong. Fraser Valley has three wins already after taking 3 of 4 from the Manitoba Jets at home, Whitby has won their first game of the year, BLL is winning games against good teams and Saskatoon more than held their own on the first road trip of the year getting 3 points out of three games against the Prairie Fire. There will be no easy games this year, and it seems apparent now that at least one very good team that made the national championship tournament last year will not this year, in favour of one of the league’s upstart franchises.
3. I think that the Prairie Fire and Rive Sud Revolution cannot expect to win enough games this year taking 14 minutes in penalties per game, tied for most in the league. Power plays lead directly to goals against, but they also tire out key players, so spending a lot of time in the sin bin will hurt you for 2 minutes and for a while after that. In this league, no one has the wiggle room to give up that kind of an advantage.
4. I think the ringette community is comprised of a compassionate group of individuals who are very quick to lend support. Case in point, Ottawa Ice and Gloucester Devils will be holding a breast cancer awareness game on November 29th to raise money for breast cancer research. Out on the West coast, Fraser Valley Avalanche are sharing their team name and logo with a newly formed Junior Fraser Valley Avalanche team in BC and they are conducting on-ice clinics for younger ringette players. As Avalanche owner Bill Bettles explains, "Investing in ringette is investing in the health and wellbeing of female athletes in our province. I am proud to be able to offer opportunities for success to these women and all of the youth athletes who will follow behind them.”
5. I think Ottawa Ice will be a force to be reckoned with. They have come out of the gate very strong and they currently stand at 5-0, with rookies Jayme Simzer and Jenna Love recording 23 points between them. Add 11 points in from Katie Lugg and you have these three Ottawa players standing at 7, 8 and 9 on the top scorers list to date.
6. I think that the new Elite 8 will surprise some people. I also think that some good teams are currently unranked and won’t stay that way for long.
7. I think that Bryanna Kelly of the Waterloo Wildfire is in position to be the breakout player of the year this season. She is off to a great start and with a team that made the national championships last year, she has a supporting cast.
8. I think picking up Melissa Findlay from Richmond Hill might be the best move in the young history of the Whitby Wild. With 10 points through her first five games she is combining with rookie Sheri Adams to provide the Wild with scoring power that can keep them in any game.
9. I think that despite the fact that it is early in the season, we have a candidate for game-of-the-year. In Leduc, Alberta, Calgary beat Edmonton in a 6-5 shootout. The game featured hat tricks from Calgary’s Victoria Russell and Edmonton’s Jennifer Hartley and the shootout went 6 shooters deep before Stacey McNichol made the final save to seal the game for the RATH. It will be tough to top that game, but it will fun trying!
10. I think these are my non-NRL thoughts this week:
a. I think that World Series game starts way too late. I would love to see more than what is on SportsCentre in the morning.
b. I think that if you are reading this, but not wearing your ringette jersey you are missing "Wear Your Jersey Day" for ringette week. Not too late to enter the photo contest though.