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BLUES NOTES: February 15, 2022

Week in Review:

Blues Record: 1-1-0 (5-2 L vs WPF, 5-1 W @ WPF)

In the Blues final two games against their cross-town rival this season, the Freeze finally found a way to upset their big brother.

The Blues held the lead after one, but the Freeze scored four unanswered goals and shocked the Blues. The Blues had won all eight of the previous meetings between these teams dating back to last season. 

On Saturday, the Blues got their revenge with a victory in the final Battle of Winnipeg this season. Eric Fawkes scored twice and Tazio Cianflone picked up his first MJHL point, an assist on Fawkes’ first goal. The win put Winnipeg four points up on the Winkler Flyers for second place in the East Division.

Upcoming week:

Winnipeg has two games this week, both on home ice.

On Tuesday, the Flyers visit the RINK Training Centre. The Blues won three of the first four meetings with the Winkler Flyers this season, but the Flyers are a much better team now than they were in late October. The owners of the best power play in the East Division, Winkler runs on the explosive abilities of their superstars. This game could very well be a first-round preview.

On Saturday, the Portage Terriers come to Winnipeg to re-acquaint with the Blues. The Portage Terriers handed the Blues their first loss of the season back in October. The Blues are hopeful Rhys Raeside, who they acquired from Portage at the trade deadline, will be able to make his season debut with the Blues.

The Flyers come up north to the RINK Training Centre on Tuesday, February 15 at 7:30 p.m. On Saturday, February 19, the Blues welcome the Terriers to the RINK Training Centre at 7:30 p.m. 

Three Keys for the Week:

1st: No More Off Nights

The Winnipeg Blues are a talented team, there’s no doubt there; however, they are not talented enough to win games they don’t play well.  There will inevitably be losses for this team during the rest of this year, but the Blues can’t be the reason they lose a match. 

2nd: Do Some Drawing

Only the OCN Blizzard have taken more penalties this season than the Winkler Flyers. Earlier this season, the Blues had 14 power plays in one game against Winkler. Special teams are an area where the Blues want to constantly improve, and the Blues are 0/16 on the power play in their last four games. The Blues need to get their man advantage clicking like it was against the Selkirk Steelers in January, because a power play like that one is one that can win a playoff series. 

3rd: Figuring Out the Goalie Balance

Twelve games remain on the Blues schedule before the playoffs begin. Winnipeg will need Dawson Green as healthy as possible so they will need to find games to give him some rest. Green has played 272 more minutes (or four-and-a-half-games) more than any other netminder this season. Dawson Cowan had his best game for the Blues in the win Saturday – if he keeps playing like that, Winnipeg will be able to give Green more rest before the playoffs begin.