KINDERSLEY KLIPPERS vs. ESTEVAN BRUINS
BETWEEN THE PIPES: Rookie Tyrell King has been quite a story, especially down the stretch, for the Klippers as he posted a 5-and-2, 2.22-GAA, and .935-SPCT after January 28th and appeared in seven of the club’s final eight games. Since January 12th, he has only had two games in which he’s been beaten more than three times in a game. He finished the year 11-14-and-2, 3.27, .911. He secured the number one job from veteran Warren Shymko after getting hot shortly after Christmas, as evidenced by the numbers above. Shymko does have previous playoff experience and is waiting in the wings should King develop a hiccup.
The Bruins have, basically, gone with one goalie all season long. Curtis Martinu led the league in minutes played and missed just seven games all year. He’s had peaks and valleys in how well he’s played, as can be expected from a netminder who went, pretty much, unchallenged all year. He was red hot in December, cooled off after Christmas, but has put together three pretty good games to end the regular schedule. Overall, he was 16-and-29, 3.35, .893. I’m sure the Bruins would never, purposely, wish ill will on anybody but a quick exit from the Saskatchewan Midget ‘AAA’ Hockey League playoffs from the Saskatoon Blazers could mean Brett Lewchuk could serve as Martinu’s back up.
OTHER NOTES: The Klippers won the season series 4-1-1. The Bruins were 2-and-4 against Kindersley...Powerplays for both teams were anemic as the Klippers ranked 11th and the Bruins 12th. Estevan had a better PK, ranked 7th overall; while Kindersley was 11th... The Bruins had four games decided in overtime this season and lost all of them...The Klippers are 10-and-1 when they have the lead after one period, 9-and-0 on home ice when leading after one; while the Bruins are 1-13-and-1 when trailing after one on the road. That record for Estevan improves to 3-3-and-1 when trailing after one on home ice. Neither team inspires much confidence away from home as Kindersley went 5-18-2-and-1, while the Bruins were 6-20-and-1. Those are the two worst road records in the league for playoff clubs...The Klippers got a bulk of their offense from Giovanni Bombini (48-21-26-47) and Colby Daniels (48-20-26-46). Ryan Doner (29-5-16-21) was a nice addition after the Klippers lost Connor Gay to the WHL. Bombini also led the team with nine powerplay goals. Bradley Buckingham had a strong finish to the season (8-5-3-8). The Klips also saw offensive improvement in rookie Colton Schick (19-4-6-10)...Dylan Smith came back to the Bruins on January 10th after a stint in the United States and has been on fire ever since (18-15-10-25). Alex Cote (21-4-19-23) was another late addition who has looked very comfortable on the top line. Calder Neufeld missed most of the year with an injury, but is improving with each passing game. Matt Brykaliuk (10-4-3-7) played his best hockey of the year down the stretch. Rookie Hudson Morrison paced the Bruins with 20-goals, while Cole Olson was the top point getter with 40. Smith bolstered the powerplay as his six powerplay tallies ended up leading a team where nobody had as many as ten powerplay points.
CONSENSUS: Kindersley is a slight favorite based on overall finish, home ice advantage, and head to head record; but there is something about the Bruins that leaves you thinking they may be capable of an upset or two if they can gain confidence.