Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Texas Tornado Blane Showcase Review

With the Blane Showcase in the books, here's a look at how both the Texas Tornado and the Wichita Falls Wildcats did last week in Minnesota.

Texas Tornado

Record: 2-1-1

9/16 VS. Marquette Rangers 2-0 (L)
9/17 VS. Bismarck Bobcats 3-2 (OTW)
9/18 VS. Owatonna Express 6-5 (OTL)
9/19 VS. Alpena Ice Diggers 2-1 (W)

9/16 VS. Marquette Rangers 0-2

It was a mixed week for the Tornado going 2-1-1. In the opening game against the Marquette Rangers, they just wasn't much the Tornado as the Rangers goalie Kevin Kissaw was just in the zone stopping all 41 shots while outshooting the Marquette Rangers 41-18 in the game. In addidition to Kissaw's great match was just a fantasic effort by the Rangers Defense to keep the Tornado away from the front of the net to get 2nd chances and bang in rebounds. He just simply had an awanser for everything.

Not even Jack Prince who lead the team in points during the 4 games had some problems despite leading the team with 6 shots on goal in the game. For Texas goalie Dan Sullivan, he had a good game by stopping 16 of 17 shots where a Marquette goal by Andrew Klob in the 2nd period was the only thing he gave up all day, then in the closing seconds, an empty netter by Tanner Kero put the game away to win it 2-0.

Here's the game boxscore: www.pointstreak.com/prostats/boxscore.html?gameid=1068068

9/17 VS. Bismarck Bobcats 3-2

The 2nd game against the Bobcats provided a back and fourth affair where the Tornado were leading by a goal at least tied during the entire game. After being outshot 11-7 in the 1st period, early in the 2nd, it didn't take very long for Tornado Forward Steven Behm scored to put them 1-0 about 7 minutes into the game, however just a minute later, Bobcat forward John Avino tied the game at 1-1 at the 8 minute mark of the 2nd period.

However, the Tornado late in the 2nd period had a chance to get some breathing room with 3 straight power plays, but couldn't get anything going inculding being on the PP for nearly the final 4 minutes of the 2nd period. Despite the PP, the team only got 8 shots in the 2nd period but squarnaed a great chance to take advantage of the PP Time.

In the 3rd period, it was mostly a defenseive period as both teams were afraid to give up a pontential game winning goal. However the Tornado made it 2-1 with a goal from Scott Deur just 2:39 into the 3rd period to make it 2-1, however once again, the Bobcats didn't take very long to strike back, about 7 minutes into the 3rd period, Nick Jensen on his 2nd point of the night made it 2-2 on a great faceoff with assists coming from Casey Kleisinger and Sam Rendle to tie it at 2-2. After this, both teams went into a defenseive shell where it got the game into OT.

Early in the OT Period, Andrew Muller was feeded a great breakaway pass from Jack Prince where he got a great pass from Jared Williams to win the game in OT 3-2.

Here's the Boxscore: www.pointstreak.com/prostats/boxscore.html?gameid=1068077

9/18 VS. Owatonna Express 5-6 L

This is the game the Tornado should have won easily, after the Tornado were up 3-1 at the 2nd intermission. The Express stromed back with a 4 goal 3rd period which forced the Tornado to come back to tie the game at 5-5 before the Express won in OT.

After a scoreless 1st period where the Tornado cleary outplayed the Express and outshot them 12-10. The Tornado had a period where Alex Jacobs, Jack Prince and David Rigatti all scored in a timeperiod of 5:10 during the 2nd period to go up 3-0 midway through the game. About 5 minutes later, Marian Fiala started the comeback with a goal with 6 min left in the 2nd period to make it 3-1. Despite Owatonna fighting hard and making it a 3-1 game, the Tornado were outshooting the Express 24-16.

In the 3rd period, the Express reved up the teams motors and where Cory Thorson scored just a minute into the 3rd with a great one timer from Jake Youso to make a 3-2 Tornado lead. After a defenseive 1st half of of the 3rd period, the Tornado restored the 2 goal lead with an unassisted goal from Jake Pino midway through the 3rd period to make 4-2. Then the Tornado collapse with Cory Thorson scoring his 2nd of the game, he would later finish off a hat trick by scoring the OT winner.

Also Zach Vierling and Jake Youson also scored to help the Express go up 5-4 with just under 4 minutes left in the 3rd period. It finally took a Tornado game tier from Andrew Mueller which on the PP in the final minute of relegation to tie the game and get it to OT before Throson scored his 3rd of the night to win the game 6-5 for the Express.

In this game, more then any other proved that espically early on in the season proved my point in the Tornado preview that they will need to keep the scores low to be successful this season.

Here's the boxscore: www.pointstreak.com/prostats/boxscore.html?gameid=1068089

9/19 VS. Alpena Ice Diggers

The Tornado ended the showcase with a game against the struggling Alpena Ice Diggers that were looking to end a good run in Minnesota after some people picked them to be the in the North Division baesment. After wins against Kenai River and North Iowa and a loss against a strong Wichita Falls team.

In a game where the offense was a very high temp despite the scoreline. This is a game where the Tornado should have just pounded the Ice Diggers in the 3rd period after a ton of stupid penalties and several miscoundct pentalites during the 3rd period. During the 1st period with a comined 25 shots in the 1st period and 33 shots in the 2nd period, only provided a 1-1 scoreline where the Tornado struck 1st with Jack Prince scoring his 2nd goal of the showcase at the 9:53 mark with assists from Ware and Braun helped on the score midway through the 1st period.

Then despite 33 shots, not much penatly time during the 2nd period provided for some wide open play and some great saves by both the Tornado goalie Dan Sullivan and Ice Diggers goalie Nick Holmes to keep the score at 1-0 for the Tornado, until Sam Cheraso with a great pass from Kevin Crowe late in the 2nd period to tie the game at 1-1.

The 3rd period is where this game should be a blowout with 52 minutes worth of penalties and 3 10 minute consducts including Steve Tulgestka getting ejected with just over a minute left in the game. Despite all the penalites, the Tornado were able to muster a Scott Deur goal with 3 minutes left in the game to win it 2-1.

Game Boxscore: www.pointstreak.com/prostats/boxscore.html?gameid=1068096

What I learned from the Showcse:

This is a team that will need to use their speical teams for a ton of goals, with limited offense firepower on the team. The Power Play is going to be an extremelly big key to success this season.

Also, Jack Prince who was brought in from the U.K. has turned out to be a great find. Currently leading the team with 6 points (2G 4A) also at 6'4" 200 lbs, he will be able to use his size to bring a physical presnence to the team forwards. Also Scott Deur and Andrew Mueller have some great speed to keep opposing teams to keep up with these two and with Mueller being a defenseman, this is something the Tornado have been looking for a long time where the team has been needing a speedy defensemen instead of just being physical.

With St. Louis going a perfect 4-0 and the rest of the teams at 2-1-1, they won't by any easy games in the South Division is going to be tough with the Springfield Jr. Blues whose offense looks much improved after scoring just 183 goals last year and look to have a strong goalie CJ Groh having a .922 SV% during the showcase last week.

Watch for the Wichita Falls Wildcats review of the Blane Showcase coming up.

This weeks games in the NAHL

After each team playing 4 games last week, the league is taking several days off for the teams to recover before the league resumes on Friday night.

All Times are CST

Here's the Tornado's next 5 Games

9/25: VS. Topeka Roadrunners 7:30 PM
9/26: VS. Topeka Roadrunners 7:00 PM
10/2: @ Topeka Roadrunners 7:05 PM
10/3: @ Topeka Roadrunners 7:05 PM
10/9: @ St. Louis Bandits 7:05 PM

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