Saturday, March 31, 2007

Let's try that again

Thumbs down for the Regina Pats, who lead the Swift Current Broncos three games to two in their opening round WHL playoff series. The Pats came out flat - and stayed that way - in dropping a 3-2 home ice decision Friday night. The home team had a chance to eliminate the visitors, but were unable - or unwilling - to close the deal. The Pats were absolutely horrible in their own zone, regularly coughing up the puck under aggressive forechecking.

Give the Broncos some credit, though. Faced with elimination, they were aggressive, played with a sense of desperation, and received top-notch goaltending from Kyle Moir. Next stop, Speedy Creek for game six on Sunday night. As the doctor who delivered the Dionne quintuplets said, "Don't go anywhere, this isn't over yet."

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Bringin' it home

Thumbs up for the Regina Pats, who now lead the Swift Current Broncos 3-1 in their opening round WHL playoff series. The Pats knocked off the Broncos 5-2 last night, to take games three and four on the road - a pretty significant accomplishment, especially considering the Pats' well-documented road woes this season.

So, now the Queen City Crew can close out the series on home ice tomorrow night. Let's hope the good people of Regina - along with a few visitors from Swift Current - pack the Brandt Centre for game five. Considering the home team hasn't advanced past the first round in almost a decade, a playoff celebration is loooooooooooong overdue! I guarantee young Jacob will be primed for a party - that little dude lives and dies by the exploits of his local hockey heroes.

And I suppose Rod Pedersen will need protection, based on his adventures in Swift Current this week. Never a dull moment when Rod's around.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

SportZone lineup for March 26th

Here's the lineup for this week's blockbuster, airing Wednesday at 6 p.m. and Thursday at 3 p.m. on Access channel 7:

SportZone Guests for Mar 26/07
Community Co-Host – Carlo Palazzo

1. A post-mortem on the 2006/07 season for the University of Regina wrestling team. Guests: Ali Bernard & Chad Bates (Wrestlers).

2. The Sheldon-Williams Spartans celebrate a city and provincial 5A high school boys’ basketball title. Guests: Ray Jacoby (Head Coach) & Jason Price (Player).

3. The Queen City Marathon lands a title sponsor – plus an update on preparations for the QCM. Guest: Doug Russell (Race Director).

4. The Lonsdale Boxing Club gets set to host the Battle of the Prairies III on March 30th. Guest: Frank Fiacco (Lonsdale Boxing Club President) & Chris Fiacco (boxer).

5. A post-mortem on the 2006/07 season for the Regina Pat Canadians midget AAA hockey club. Guests: Darryl Baumgartner (Assistant Coach) & Jordan Heywood (Pat C’s captain).

6. A post-mortem on the 2006/07 season for the University of Regina track and field team. Guests: Carla Nicholls (Head Coach) & Gerod Weins (Track athlete).

7. A preview of the 2007 golf season, including a new development in on-line golf booking. Guest: Brad Herridge (LastMinuteGolfer Canada).

Monday, March 26, 2007

Eight years and going strong!

It's my little man Jacob's birthday today! Hard to believe it's been eight years since that fabulous spring day in 1999. He's quite a guy, let me tell you. Smart, funny, and sweet - every parent's dream! Happy Birthday, Jacob. Your Dad loves you like crazy!

Now, I've gotta run and pick up the Jakester for his birthday lunch.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Even after two

The Pats and Broncos split the first two games of their WHL playoff series at the Brandt Centre. The Pats steamrolled Swift Current 4-0 in the opener, and the Broncos rebounded to take game two 4-3 in overtime.

The Pats outworked, outhit and outhustled their opponents in the opener, then mysteriously let their collective feet off the gas pedal in game two. To be fair, Speedy Creek came up with a significantly better effort Saturday night - but the Pats were still the architects of their own undoing. Regina's powerplay is 1/15 in the series. A couple of goals with the man advantage, and the Pats would easily be taking a 2-0 series lead to Swift Current for games three and four Tuesday and Wednesday. Now, they'll be hard-pressed to split those two games in a hostile environment. Oh well, no one really thought this would be a four game series, did they?

Thursday, March 22, 2007

On the eve of the "second season"

The Regina Pats and Swift Current Broncos open their WHL first-round playoff series tomorrow night at the Brandt Centre. The Pats have done very well against the Broncos this season, winning 6 of 8 meetings. Now, take that stat - crumple it up - and toss it directly in the garbage!

It's a whole new season, one the Pats have been building for since retooling their lineup in December and January. The Broncos have also been solid of late, winning 7 of their last 10 to close the regular season. This should be a war of attrition, and will probably take six or seven games to settle. Heck, even the radio play-by-play guys are getting into it - launching bombs at one another in the blogosphere this week. And I get to sit between them in the pressbox. Perfect.

Now, we just need to get the fans on board. At last count, fewer than 4,000 tickets have been sold for tomorrow night's lid-lifter. That's just not good enough! C'mon folks, it's time to support your team. Even the Speedy Creek fans are welcome - we'll take your money too.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

SportZone lineup for March 19th

A busy show this week! Here's the lineup. As per usual, the show airs Wednesday at 6 p.m. and Thursday at 3 p.m. on Access channel 7.

SportZone Guests for Mar 19/07
Community Co-Host – Tim Hubic

1. The Leboldus Golden Suns celebrate back-to-back 5A high school girls’ basketball provincial championships. Guests: Jim Gallagher (Head Coach), Rumali Werapatiya (Assistant Coach) & Porscha Fordham (Player).

2. A post-mortem on the 2006/07 season for the Regina Capitals Junior B hockey club. Guest: Leo MacDonald (Head Coach).

3. The Regina Pats gear up for a WHL first-round playoff match-up with the Swift Current Broncos. Guest: Terry Perkins (Assistant Coach).

4. The Johnson Wildcats celebrate a city 4A high school girls’ basketball title, and provincial silver medal. Guests: Katie Perras, Jayda Wakelam & Kayla Simonson (Players).

5. A post-mortem on the 2006/07 season for the University of Regina men’s hockey team. Guest: Blaine Sautner (Head Coach).

6. The Sheldon-Williams Spartans capture city gold and provincial bronze in senior boys’ curling. Guests: Rob Notenboon (Head Coach), Trent Knapp, Kelly Knapp, Todd Greenwood & Rob Philipson (curlers).

7. A profile of Regina’s First Tee indoor golf facility – get those games tuned up for spring! Guest: Jim Johnson (Managing Partner).

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Season ends in style

A sell-out crowd of almost 6200 fans got full value for their dollar Saturday night at the Brandt Centre, as the Regina Pats rallied to beat the Brandon Wheat Kings 4-3 in overtime. Rookie sensation Jordan Eberle scored the overtime winner, to finish his first WHL campaign with 28 goals.

The Pats looked as though they were going through the motions for the first half of the game, before coming alive in the third period and rallying from a 2-1 deficit. The other goal scorers for the Pats were Justin Scott, Craig Schira and Josh Elder. You have to think the Pats coaches were happy to see offensive contributions from unlikely sources. The playoffs are all about unsung heroes rising to the occasion, after all.

So, now Curtis Hunt's crew has the week to prepare for their first-round encounter with the Swift Current Broncos. Games one and two are Friday and Saturday night at the Brandt Centre. Should be a fun ride!

Friday, March 16, 2007

Move over, Harry Neale

I'm looking forward to tomorrow night's WHL regular season finale between the Regina Pats and Brandon Wheat Kings. I'll be doing colour commentary on the Access Communications' tv broadcast with the loquacious Mitchell Blair. Literally a heavyweight broadcast team - Paczko and Blair - the return of the original Cable Geeks!!!! Then immediately afterwards I'll zip over to the O-T Sports Lounge to ride shotgun with Rod Pedersen on the post-game show. And I'll be doing all that while making sure young Jacob is suitably entertained and taken care of. (Memo to son - don't hurl, boy!)

As for the game itself - there's a chance it may not go down in history as an all-time classic. Both teams will utilize a number of affiliated players, giving some veterans a well-deserved breather before the long playoff grind. Mind you, that does give us a sneak peak at the future of the franchise - players like Matt Strueby and Curtis Kulchar. And of course, it's St. Paddy's Day - which means the Pats will be wearing and auctioning off those stylish green jerseys. Maybe Mitch and I will throw on a couple of those green babies for the broadcast. Do they make them in XXXXL?

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

SportZone lineup for March 12th

Here's the lineup for this week's show, airing Wednesday at 6pm and Thursday at 3pm on Access channel 7:

SportZone Guests for Mar 12/07
Community Co-Host – Corey Matthews

1. The Scott Blues reach the city finals in high school junior boys and girls basketball. Guests: Aaron Pasap & Annette Knipfel (Players).

2. A preview of the annual University of Regina Cougar Athletics fundraising dinner. Guest: Greg Fieger (Event Chair).

3. A post-mortem on the 2006/07 season for the University of Regina women’s volleyball team. Guest: Melanie Sanford (Head Coach).

4. A preview of the 2007 national Tae-Kwon-Do Championships, March 16/17 in Regina. Guests: Clint Norman (Coach/Organizer), Mark Hanson & Leigh Hanson (Competitors).

5. The Regina Christian Grizzlies celebrate a city high school 4A boys basketball championship. Guests: Geoff Glasspell (Head Coach), Tyrel McLaren, Gavin Stonehouse & Graham Brace (players).

6. A preview of the 2007 SABBA Novice Bodybuilding Championships, and a CFL training camp preview. Guest: Andrew Greene (Event Organizer/Winnipeg Blue Bomber Offensive Lineman).

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Pats love home cooking

The Regina Pats ran their home-ice winning streak to six games, with an impressive 5-1 victory over the Moose Jaw Warriors. Kyle Ross and Garrett Festerling paced the Regina attack with two points each, including Ross' 20th goal of the season. That's the second straight year the Regina native has hit the goal plateau. The win also avenges a 4-3 shootout loss to the Warriors Friday night in Moose Jaw.

Next up for the Pats is a Wednesday night trip to Prince Albert, then the regular season wraps up with a home-and-home set with the Brandon Wheat Kings. I'm liking the way the Pats are playing heading into the post-season. I certainly like their chances of advancing past the first round of the playoffs. After that is where things get really interesting...

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Locomotive chugging along

I couldn't help but notice the Latvian Locomotive Kaspars Saulietis led the Regina Pats with two goals in a 5-2 victory over the Swift Current Broncos. The Salty one has really picked up his game the past couple of weeks, and could be a very valuable piece of the puzzle in the playoffs.

Last night's win could have been a first-round playoff preview, providing the Broncos can hold off Prince Albert and Moose Jaw for third place in the East. The Pats clinched second spot, and home ice in the first round of the playoffs, with last night's win.

Tomorrow night I'm on the road with Rodney P to call the Pats game in Moose Jaw. And Saturday the same two teams do battle at the Brandt Centre. Should be a fun weekend!

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

SportZone lineup for March 5th

Here's the lineup for this week's show, airing Wednesday at 6 p.m. and Thursday at 3 p.m. on Access channel 7. Once again this week - for the third consecutive week - members of the U of R men's volleyball team failed to show up for the taping. Hmm, perhaps there's a reason this hapless crew averages ONE win a season?

SportZone Guests for Mar 5/07
Community Co-Host – Tim Hubic

1. A post-mortem on the 2006/07 season for the University of Regina men’s hockey team. Guest: Ryan Martin (Player).

2. A post-mortem on the 2006/07 season for the University of Regina women’s hockey team. Guest: Sarah Howald (Head Coach).

3. A preview of the 2007 high school wrestling provincial championships, to be held at Regina’s O’Neill high school. Guest: Ron Gonzales (O’Neill Head Coach), Calvin Daum & Michelle Anderson (wrestlers).

4. A review of the 2007 Scotties Tournament of Hearts, from the perspective of the runners-up. Guest: Marcia Gudereit & Lana Vey (Team Saskatchewan curlers).

5. A discussion of recent developments with the Saskatchewan Roughriders and the CFL/NFL in general. Guest: Cal Murphy (Indianapolis Colts scout).

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Trying to figure out the Pats

The Regina Pats are a mystery - an enigma wrapped in a riddle. How can a junior hockey team be so good on home ice, yet so bad away from home?

That's the question puzzling those of us who follow the exploits of the Pats. The boys trounced Saskatoon 5-0 tonight, yet lost a 2-1 shootout decision to the same Blades (in Saskatoon) last night. What gives? The Pats have outscored the opposition 18-3 in their last three home games. Yet on the road they score less often than................well, you get the point.

Still, the Queen City Kids did manage to take five of a possible six points this weekend, and clinch a playoff spot in the process. That's a plus.

And I hereby start my official campaign to get Latvian import Kaspars Saulietis a golf shirt. We designate one player as the Taylor Toyota Hardest Working Pat on the CKRM post-game broadcast each night. A month ago I never would have dreamt it, but I'm gonna keep pushing until Kaspars (formerly the Friendly Ghost, but I've now renamed him the Latvian Locomotive) wins that award, and with it the complimentary golf shirt. Saulietis has turned his game around dramatically the past couple weeks - he's scoring, forechecking with abandon, fighting through checks and even throwing a few of his own. C'mon, who's with me? Let's get the Locomotive the recognition he deserves!

Friday, March 02, 2007

Friday night blowout

The Regina Pats crushed the Prince Albert Raiders 8-2 at the Brandt Centre Friday night. The Pats were an amazing 5/6 on the power play, and 9/9 on the penalty kill in a spirited - and chippy - contest. Does this win vault the Pats back into contender status? Not so much. But it's certainly a step in the right direction.

The Pats were actually quite sloppy in their own end in the first two periods. A better offensive team likely would have made them pay, but the Raiders weren't up to the task. However, Regina's team defence clicked in during the final frame, holding Prince Albert to just four shots. All in all, not bad.

Next up, a trip to Saskatoon Saturday night, then the Blades visit the Pats Sunday in the second half of the home-and-home set. It'd certainly be nice if the Pats could go a perfect 3-3 this weekend. Let's see what happens.