Archive for March, 2013

Stefan Noesen (No. 11) of the Plymouth Whalers scores one of his team’s 11 goals Friday against Sarnia goalie JP Anderson. / RENA LAVERTY

HighlightsGame One Highlights

The week leading up to the game on Friday night was filled with Whaler players anxious for the playoffs to start. Something that was visible to anyone watching the game last night. Trocheck started the scoring 1:12 into the first period and the Whalers added another ten goals throughout the opening game of the series to come out with a win 11-2 and take a 1-0 series lead.

Rookie Alex Nedeljkovic got the start for the Whalers, letting only two goals in the game. The first was off a shot from Charles Sarault that bounced off Nedeljkovic’s pad, off Zach Lorentz’s leg and into the net during the Sting’s first of nine power play opportunities in the game. The second came 0:25 seconds into a 5-on-3 Sting powerplay in the second period. Nedeljkovic stopped 31/33 shots for a .939 save percentage, and had some big saves in his first playoff start.

To say that OA J.P. Anderson did not have a good night would be a severe understatement. Anderson saw a full 60 minutes of action last night when he should have only seen 20 after letting in five goals on seventeen shots in the first period. For some reason Sting coach Jacques Beaulieu saw it fit to keep Anderson in despite the number of pucks that ended up in the net behind him.

If I was a Sting fan I would be questioning the actions of GM/Coach Jacques Beaulieu as he saw it fit to keep his backup on the bench and the timeout in his pocket. One would think that after Trocheck’s second goal of the evening, making the score 4-1 with 3:38 remaining in the first, that a timeout would have been called to settle down the players. Granted, I am not the GM/Coach of an OHL team in the playoffs, but there should have been a point where they put in the back up to get some playoff action, especially with game two the next night.

Three Stars of the Game

  1. Nick Malysa – 3 Assists (Career high)
  2. Vincent Trocheck – 3 Goals, 2 Assists
  3. Stefan Noesen – 2 Goals, 1 Assist

Blue Colar Player of the Game

  • Sebastian Uvira – 1 Assist

Honorable Mention

  • Alex Nedeljkovic – 0.939%, 2.0 GAA, 31/33 Shots

The Sting will not have much time to rest of change their game plan as game two is tonight at the Compuware Sports Arena and the Whalers are looking to go up 2-0 in the Western Conference Quarterfinals.

 

 

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I’ve been seeing this issue crop up more and more. People want to follow the Whalers on the road and are unsure of what options are available to them. Some are free, some cost, but here are three of the top choices for you.

OHL Livestream
If you want to watch the OHL road games on the playoffs you can always watch them on your computer through Neulion. This option will cost though. $130 CAD for the entire playoffs, $23 CAD for a single first round series, and $7 CAD for a single game. You can sign up for a package at OHL.neulion.com

It is a nice service, but unless you tie your computer feed to your TV, you are stuck at your computer. I hope that in the next year or so they find a way to have mobile streams of games so people can view the games with tablets and smart phones, until then we will take what we can get.

Audio Streaming
I personally use this feature the most, and I am going to give you step by step instructions to get this working for you on your mobile smart device.

1. Copy this link: http://meta.insinc.com/hockey/plymouth/live.asx
2. Go download the app TuneIn Radio. (The free one works just fine.)
3. In the app head to favorites and add custom URL.
4. Paste the link and enjoy!

CJ’s
A third option is to come join a bunch of fans at CJ’s to watch a Livestream of the game and enjoy food and drink specials there.

Whatever you decide, you have your options to follow your favorite team during their playoff run this year.

Back in December this is what I wrote about the upcoming second half.

With Hartman and Rakell off in Russia for World Juniors, and Noesen rejoins the team after his 10 game suspension after January 11th, the Whalers are going to need to pull together for the next few games. Mahalak had a good showing last game stopping nearly 50 shots, however Mike Vellucci should not be afraid of benching him and putting in rookie Nedeljkovic if Mahalak gets to be as shaky as he was earlier in the season.

Also fans, I would not be surprised to see some Vellucci magic as the trade deadline nears. I doubt that Vellucci will be quiet at the deadline like we was last year. This team is not bad. It is far from it, but when you watch this team you know that there is something missing from this team and this is a team that needs a spark. Maybe that will come in with a trade. Time will only tell. This is a team that can have a strong second half, but the players need to make this happen. They control their destiny for the rest of the season. It could be great or they could be a very low seed.

So where are the Whalers after a 15-11-5-3 first half?  How does a 27-6-0-1 sound? To me it sounds great seeing as the Whalers finished there season with a second straight West Division title and a second seed in the upcoming OHL playoffs. There were some changes that caused the amazing second half.

Trade Deadline

Just a few days after the half-way point of the season, OA Mitchell Heard was returned from the AHL Lake Erie Monsters to finish out the season. This left Plymouth with one two many OA players and a guarantee that Vellucci had to make a move at the deadline. The Whalers said goodbye to Alex Aleardi, Zach Bratina, and Simon Karlsson and hello to Zach Lorentz, Saginaw Spirit Captain Vincent Trocheck, and Sebastian Uriva. Trocheck added 59 points while with the Whalers and grabbed the OHL scoring title on the final day of the season.

Goaltending

Nedeljkovic started a lot more games in the second half. He finished with a 19-2-1-1 record on the season, a 2.28 GAA and a .923 save percentage. The accolades don’t stop there as the Whalers rookie goaltender picked up aVaughn CHL Goaltender of the Week nod, the Vaughn CHL Goaltender of the Month for March, Rookie of the Month in the OHL and the F.W. “Dinty” Moore award for Best Rookie GAA. Mahalak has been good as of late posting two straight shutouts to end the season, earning him Vaughn CHL Goaltender of the Week this week. He finished the season with a 2.86 GAA, .906 save percentage, and a 22-11-4-3 record with two shutouts.

The team as a whole has been running on all cylinders coming into the playoffs, and that’s with resting Colin MacDonald, Ryan Hartman, Tom Wilson and Rickard Rakell in the final week of the season. The Whalers scored a league-leading 292 goals throughout the season (granted 10-2, 8-2, and 9-2 wins help pad that stat) and went 9-1 in their final 10 games.

The Whalers got a spark (more like a few sparks) at the right time and showed everybody the depth of this squad. The prediction is that London and Plymouth are going to meet in the conference finals, but let’s not count our chickens before they hatch. The Whalers have to take on the Sarnia Sting in the first round of the OHL Playoffs. Granted anything can happen (such as the second round upset last year) but I for one am ready for a long playoff run this year.

Good morning everyone. 10:45am does seem like an early start, but it happens every year, so let’s go. The Whalers are inching closer to clinching their second straight West Division Championship, while the Spirit have all but clinched the last playoff spot in the West, and potentially could knock Windsor out of contention with a win today and a Windsor loss on Thursday.

The puck is dropped, stay tuned for updates…

First Period

I can see the OHL app is not a fan of the early morning games.

I can see the OHL app is not a fan of the early morning games.

6:34 – WHALERS GOAL – Trocheck nets his 47th goal of the year with assists coming from Wilson and Carrick.

17:44 – WHALERS GOAL – Matthew Mistele scores his 32nd goal of the season late in the period to give the Whalers a 2-0 lead over the Spirit. Nick Malysa and Garrett Meurs assisting with the Mistele goal.

END OF THE FIRST – The Whalers go to the locker room with a 2-0 lead over the Spirit, and hold a slight edge in shots 11-10. There were no penalties in the first, but that might change coming up in the second period.

Second Period

3:09 – FIGHT – Sebastian Uvira rocked Zach Bratina and Greg Sutch took exception and came after Uvira in what was described as the longest fight that Krupper has seen this year. Both players go to the box for five minutes.

3:45 – FIGHT – Carrick and Kia drop the gloves just :36 seconds after the Uvira/Sutch fight.

4:26 – SPIRIT GOAL – Andrey Alexeev shoots the puck over Nedeljkovic’s shoulder giving the Spirt life and making this game 2-1. Assist by Brandon Lindberg. This goal snapped Nedeljkovic’s shutout streak at 123:47 minutes.

11:07 – WHALERS GOAL – Tom Wilson jams the puck into the net to give a two goal lead back to the Whalers. Ryan Hartman and Vincent Trocheck get the assists. This was Wilson’s 23rd goal on the season and Trocheck’s 100th point on the season, being the first Whaler player to surpass the 100 point mark since Tyler Seguin.

11:53 – PENALTY – The first man-advantage of the game comes to the Spirit as Austin Levi heads to the box for a slashing call.

END OF THE SECOND – The Whalers and Spirt trade a goal this period, but the Whalers still have a two goal lead going into the locker room. The Whalers outshot the Spirt 16-8 in the second for a two-period total of 27-18 in favor of the Whalers. Vincent Trocheck is two points behind Charles Sarault of the Sarnia Sting for the position of top scorer in the OHL. Sarault and the Sting have five games remaining in the season while Trocheck and the Whalers have for more after this game. The Spirit had the only man-advantage of the game so far going 0/1 on the power play.

Third Period

5:33 – PENALTY – Greg Sutch gets called for high sticking and the Whalers have their first power play of the game.

6:39 – WHALERS GOAL – Mitchell Heard scores on the power play giving the Whalers a 4-1 lead. The goal was Heard’s 12th of the year and it was scored unassisted.

10:08 – PENALTY – Vincent Trocheck heads to the box to serve two penalties. (Five minutes was previously reported on the OHL stat page) Two for slashing and another two minutes for unsportsmanlike conduct.

14:41 – PENALTY – Trocheck heads to the box for another two minutes for slashing.

15:42 – PENALTY – Kia gets called for goaltending interference and both sides will now play with four a side for the next 0:59 seconds.

18:05 – PENALTY – Tom Wilson gives the Spirit a power play in the last two minutes of the game as he is called for roughing. Saginaw is 0/4 today on the power play.

END OF THE GAME – Whalers win 4-1 in Saginaw this afternoon with Heard scoring the only goal in the third period. The Whalers were outshot in the third 7-10, but the Whalers outshot the Spirit a total of 34-28. The Whalers next game is five days from now when they host the Spirit at Compuware Arena this Sunday at 2:00 PM where postgame fans will be able to skate with the Whalers.

The three stars for today were:

1. PLY – 39 Alex Nedeljkovic (27/28 saves)
2. SAG – 8 Andrey Alexeev (1 goal)
3. PLY – 15 Mitchell Heard (1 goal)