Thursday, April 19, 2012

Doyle Cup- Penticton vs Brooks:

And then there were two.....

The Brooks Bandits have been crowned as AJHL Champions.
The Penticton Vees walked away with the BCHL title as expected.

Now, both teams will collide in the 2012 Doyle Cup, with the winner earning a pass to the RBC Cup, to be held May 5-13 in Humboldt, Saskatchewan!

Brooks finished the Alberta League season tied with Spruce Grove with a record of 47-7-0-6 and 100 points, while Penticton set records with a 54-4-0-2 record, including a Canadian record 42 game winning streak, while the finished 26 points ahead of 2nd overall, with 110 points.

Here's the lowdown on the two teams, and who has advantages in different areas of the game according to my own personal opinion and statistical figures from the BCHL/AJHL websites as well as

OFFENSE- Penticton Vees
The Bandits scored 273 times in 60 games this season, which is an average of 4.55 goals per game. Penticton scored 334 goals, or 5.57 a game. These teams are offensive dynamos. The only other team to break 250 goals between the two leagues was Fort McMurray, who scored 254 times. Brooks had 6 players who achieved a PPG or more, while the Vees had 9, including 4 of the top 5 scorers in the league(Brooks had 3 in the top 5). In the playoffs, Brooks scored an average 4 goals/game while Penticton averaged under 3.5. Playoffs are a whole new season, and judging by the type of players these two teams possess, I will give the offensive edge to the Penticton Vees

DEFENSE- Brooks Bandits
Both teams possessed top notch defensive abilities this season, with the Bandits taking a SLIGHT advantage. And by slight, I mean slight. The Vees allowed just two more goals than Brooks, bringing their total to 133(Brooks allowed 131). Starting netminder Jan Obernesser, won 36 of his 46 starts and his team got 37 goals from defensemen(14% of their offense) while in the playoffs, the team got 7 more from the point. Penticton has been a similar story; although just 14 goals came from defensmen OTHER than Mike Reilly, who scored 24 goals for the Vees. In perspective, Reilly scored more goals than all but 3 Bandits. In the post season though, the team has been without league-leading goaltender Michael Garteig, and Reilly has been held to just one goal, while getting 4 goals from other point-men. I give the slight edge to the Brooks Bandits due to their defensive depth and experience.

TOUGHNESS- Brooks Bandits
It doesn't take a rocket scientist to know that the Vees focused on sniping gino's bar down and getting huge saves from their netminders all season long. They had players drop the gloves just 24 times, which was the 2nd fewest in the BCHL. Of those 24 fights, 10 of them would occur in multi-fight games, like just 14 fights for the remaining 55 games of the season. Brooks would achieve 15 fights in 6 games, leaving them with 36 fights through the remaining 54 games. I know there are some kids on the Bandits that will drop the mitts with any one in either league, and I feel that throughout the series, the toughness of Brooks will be the difference maker. But, all being said, the Bandits have to stay out of the box more. They took more than DOUBLE the penalty minutes the Vees did. (1683 min vs 815 min) 5 different Bandits had 100+ PIMS while no Vee players broke over 90 minutes of penalties. Since the playoffs began, Brooks has compiled 337 PIMs, while Penticton has spent just 185 minutes in the box. Brooks has far more players that will throw the body around, and the Vees will be battered and bruised early on in this series. Advantage Bandits!

SPECIAL TEAMS- Brooks Bandits
In the regular season, Brooks had a 30.35% Powerplay, scoring 105 goals on 346 opportunities, which was good for first in the AJHL. Penticton lead the BCHL with a 31.36 percentage, scoring 90 goals on 287 chances. Both teams have players who can wire the puck from the point, including Vee Mike Reilly and Bandit Colton Semeno, who both scored 10 goals on the PP in the regular season. In the playoffs, Brooks went 22-for-85(25.88%) on the man advantage, while the Vees went just 7-for-36(19.44%).
On the other side of things, Brooks finished 5th in the AJHL in Penalty Kill Percentage, with 86.31%, while the Vees topped the BC League with a 85.11% PK. The Bandits were shorthanded 61 more times then the Vees, and killed off just 7 less then this years Fred Page Cup champions. In the post season, both teams have improved, as Penticton has killed off 90.38% of their penalties, while the Bandits hold another edge, killing off 91.18 percent of theirs. This is where I think these teams will have the closest battle, but because I am only relying on stats, the advantage goes to the Brooks Bandits.

DEPTH- Penticton Vees
Just TWO Vees forwards failed to reach the ten goal plateau, including 16 year old(now 17) Cody DePourcq and homegrown Grant Nicholson. Brooks had eight players finish below the 10 goal milestone. Also, Brooks had 3 players surpass 30 goals while the Vees had 8. Not all of these players scored all their goals with their respective teams, as a few select players were acquired mid-season, including 91-point man Wade Murphy, who scored 14 goals with the Vees(36 total) and Bryce Gervais, who got 26 of his 42 goals as a Vee. This area requires no more definition as the Vees clearly have the depth charts filled with stars, while the Bandits will require their big 4, 5 or 6 players to play at 110% if they wish to be successful. Penticton, you have more depth than any Junior Hockey team I have ever seen.

GOALTENDING- Brooks Bandits
Here is the one area of the game I feel very uneasy about choosing an advantage. Jan Obernesser has a 2.16 GAA and a .915 Save Percentage, but if you don't include the Bandits first four playoff games against Calgary, those numbers change significantly; a 1.90 GAA and a .939 Save Percentage. For the Vees, starter Michael Garteig last played on February 26th and is doubtful to return in the Doyle Cup, but backup netminder Chad Katunar has held the weight in relief through the playoff run. After putting up dismal numbers in his rookie season, Katunar has allowed more then 3 goals just 3 times this post season. He has a 1.73 GAA and a .938 save percentage, and has made several saves that have kept his team in the game. I like the play of both netminders, but I am unsure Katunar will be able to hold off the strong, go to the net style that Brooks plays. Goaltending edge goes to the Enerflex Cup champpion Brooks Bandits.

Both of these teams are so talented and to my belief, have what it takes to win an RBC. But the question is, who will it be? Well.... I hope I helped clear up a few differences and similarities between these two clubs. I think both arenas will be packed to the rafters, and both will be loud and proud. I would like to wish the best of luck to both teams, and to all the fans, enjoy the series! If you disagree with my personal opinion or have any comments, please comment (in a respectful manner) and share your thoughts! Also, I would like to extend best wishes to Dakota Mason and RJ Reed of the Brooks Bandits, friends of mine who have worked hard to get to where they are. I interviewed RJ earlier this season and you can catch his one-on-one interview HERE.



Game 1 - Friday, April 20th, 2012 in Alberta PENTICTON WINS 7-2
Game 2 - Saturday, April 21st, 2012 in Alberta PENTICTON WINS 1-0
Game 3 - Tuesday, April 24th, 2012 in Penticton
Game 4 - Wednesday, April 25th, 2012 in Penticton
Game 5 - Friday, April 27th, 2012 in Penticton
Game 6 - Saturday, April 28th, 2012
in Penticton
Game 7 - Sunday, April 29th, 2012
in Penticton

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