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BLUES NOTES: December 6, 2021

Weekend Wrap:

Blues Record: 0-2-0 (3-2 L vs NEE, 6-3 L @ NEE)

Winnipeg lost two tough games to the Neepawa Titans, leaving them six points back of the Steinbach Pistons for first place in the MJHL. 

On Friday, Winnipeg welcomed Neepawa to the RINK Training Centre for their first meeting of the season. Neepawa started strong, scoring 53 seconds in and using that momentum to drive to a 3-2 win. Winnipeg scored two power play goals to go 2/7 on the man advantage.

The next night in Neepawa, Winnipeg opened the scoring early, but the Titans responded with three goals in the first to put themselves in control of the game. Jake Dale scored his first as a Blue to pull Winnipeg back within one, but Neepawa locked the game down to finish Winnipeg off 6-3 at Yellowhead. 

Upcoming week:

After an off-day Sunday, Winnipeg has four days of practice before two games against the Dauphin Kings.

The Blues and Kings met on November 24 at the MJHL Showcase in Portage – Dauphin won that game 5-2.

The Blues have to be ready for to break through the leagues best defensive team. Dauphin has only allowed 58 goals against this year, ten less than the second-place Blues. The Kings have a strong, smart defense core with a number of players like Klim Georgiev and Colby Jaquet who can rip it from the line.

The first game comes Friday, December 10 at 7:30 p.m. in Winnipeg. The next night, the two teams battle in Dauphin with a 7:30 p.m. puck drop. 

News and Notes:

Zaplitny joins Everett Silvertips:

Winnipeg Blues forward has been called up by the WHL’s Everett Silvertips. 

Zaplitny, who has 14 points in 25 games this year, is expected to be up with Everett until the new year. This means Zaplitny will miss four games with the Blues, while being up with the Silvertips for ten games, starting December 8 against the Kelowna Rockets. 

Foreman out week-to-week:

Blues captain Brayden Foreman is expected to be out week-to-week with a lower body injury. 

Foreman sustained the injury late in Saturday’s game in Neepawa when he was driven into the Titans net by a Neepawa blueliner. A quick examination in Neepawa determined Foreman dodged the worst possible outcome, but he will be out until at least the new year.

Michaels back on the ice:

Jayden Michaels is back skating with the Blues in a non-contact jersey.

Michaels hasn’t played since October 23 against the Selkirk Steelers. The Blues brass expects Michaels to be available for action next week.

Three Keys for the Week:

1st: Special Teams

The Dauphin Kings have the league’s best PK and the second-best power play. Winnipeg has struggled on the man advantage recently: Winnipeg is 4/34 with an extra skater in their last six games. The coaching staff said they will be spending a lot of time working with the team to get their special teams back to their excellent early-season form.

2nd: Communication is Key

The Blues have been a quiet team over their past few games, literally. The coaches want their players talking more on the ice and hyping each other up on the bench. Neepawa used their bench’s energy to stack together quality shifts; the Blues will look to do the same.

3rd: Let’s Get it Start

Eric Fawkes’ goal 25 seconds in to Saturday’s game was only the third time in the past ten games Winnipeg has gotten the ice breaker. The coaches have expressed to their team about starting games faster than they have been. The team got off to a great start in their last game – now they need to show they can do it again.