Week in Review:
Blues Record: 1-2-0 (2-1 SOW @ POR, 4-1 L @ WNK, 7-2 L vs WNK)
Winnipeg found a good start to their week, but a pair of losses on the weekend have put their hopes of home ice advantage in jeopardy.
On Wednesday, Dawson Green was excellent, stopping 42 of 43 shots he faced in regulation and overtime. The Blues also got their first power play goal in nine games with Tyler Teasdale getting a bounce to send his point shot home. In the shootout, Sean Williams scored the lone goal to give Winnipeg the win.
Friday night, the Blues went down to Winkler to battle the Flyers for second place. In front of a packed barn, the Blues could only find one goal from Mike Tanchak while Winkler got four to lead them to the win. Mike Svenson led the way for the Flyers with two highlight reel goals. Despite the loss, Winnipeg clinched their playoff spot thanks to the Selkirk Steelers losing their matchup against Steinbach.
The next night, the Blues penalty trouble in the third allowed Winkler to blow the game open with three straight two-man-advantage goals. Daniel Isaak and Troy Hamilton each scored two goals for the Flyers while Sean Williams and Ryan Ostermann scored Winnipeg’s goals
After the back-to-back losses to Winkler, Winnipeg is now four points back of the Winkler Flyers for second place in the East Division.
Winnipeg has three games set for this week.
On Tuesday, the Blues welcome the Portage Terriers to Winnipeg for the first time since October 8. Portage is battling hard for the East’s final playoff spot. Right now, they’re two points back of Selkirk with three games in hand. They control their destiny but will need wins against Winnipeg to claim the last spot.
On Wednesday, the Blues go back to Winkler to battle the Flyers one more time in the regular season. It’s a must-win match if the Blues hope for home ice in the first round against Winkler. If the Blues lose this game, the road to hosting game one would almost certainly be blocked.
To finish off the week, Winnipeg hosts a matinee matchup against the Steinbach Pistons. The game is the earliest start of the season for the Blues, so it will be interesting to see how to of the East Division’s top teams come out to start Saturday’s action.
The Blues welcome Portage on Tuesday, March 8 at 7:30 p.m. On Wednesday, March 9, Winnipeg goes to Winkler to fight for second place. On Saturday, March 12, Steinbach comes to Winnipeg to face off early at 1:00 p.m.
Three Keys for the Week:
1st: Finding More Scoring
Winnipeg hasn’t scored three goals in a game since February 15 – in that span, the Blues only have one win. Winnipeg’s defensive hockey is good but against a dynamic Winkler offense, two goals won’t get wins. Some of this will be mitigated once the Blues get some of their guys back from injury, but other guys need to step up in the meantime.
2nd: Defensive Details
Small mistakes killed the Blues in their two games against the Flyers. No one player is responsible, but every individual must take individual responsibility to commit to polishing their game in their own end or the Blues won’t go on the deep run they believe they can go on this year.
3rd: Get a Win Streak Going
With only five games left in the season, the Blues are mired in one of their worst stretches of hockey of the season. Losing five of their last six, Winnipeg cannot enter the playoffs as a cold team with no momentum. Winnipeg reversed their last slump quite well with their excellent January play; now, they need to do it again.