How the West was Won (Almost)

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Updated: February 15, 2010

After weekend one of the West Coast Senior Hockey League playoffs it’s evident both the Corner Brook Royals and Deer Lake Red Wings are feeling the pressure falling 2-0 in their best of 7 series during their opening round battle.

Reports coming from Clarenville indicates the Royals looked ragged in their first game, trying to be physical but ended up making mistakes, taking dumb penalties and eventually losing 8-3 in game one.  One fan from Corner Brook sent an email to Newfoundland Hockey Talk stating “It was embarrassing to watch.  Our guys didn’t even show up to play.

Game two was a different story.  The Royals jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead and appeared to have a different plan of attack.  Several stupid penalties later (while some fans will say several questionable calls later), the Caribous were in the lead and never looked back.

The same can be said for the Wings / Cataracts series.  The once mighty Wings lost 4-1 in the opening game and could get nothing going offensively.  They had some chances but looked disorganized at times.  Their defense struggled throughout the game and leaving many scratching their head.

In game two, the Cataracts dominated with a 9-2 victory.  It was evident early on that the Wings were in trouble.

If things keep going this way, it is very evident the West will be won through speed and skill.  The Royals and the Wings have built their team around size and aggression but it doesn’t appear to be working in the new era that has come into the West Coast Senior Hockey League.

The Caribous and the Cataracts have definitely changed the face of the league combining speed and skill throughout their lineups and acquiring just enough grit to protect some of their top players.  Both organizations have held true to their commitments given to fans to have winning ways.

The Caribous set the bar when they entered the league.  They ushered in this new era that we are seeing.  Their players came with one thing in mind – winning!  This organization built a solid team on the ice with young up-and-coming players, strong goaltending, experienced coaching and community support.

The Cataracts followed suit, cleaned house of the “old guard” and dumped those that didn’t buy into the new program.  Despite outcries from fans, the management and coaching staff held true to what they felt was required to build a quality organization.

This season’s success is proof that it worked and the Cataracts are now poised to probably sweep the Wings.

Weekend two of the playoffs is just a few days away.  It will be interesting to see how Deer Lake and Corner Brook regroup on home ice.

The Wings and the Royals need to get their heads into the game and play smart hockey.  They can ill afford to take stupid penalties or blame their losses on the refs.

While the Wings have struggled all season with icing a full lineup and a struggling defense, there is still hope as they head back to Deer Lake next weekend – its haven when it comes to fan support and success.  There’s no doubting the heart that this organization has shown throughout their successful history.

The Royals are a different story.  This organization has struggled for several seasons.  They have what appears to be a pretty solid team on paper but have made what many fans have deemed as “mistakes” when it comes to their import cards.  Plus, the back-office disarray and behind the scenes squabbles continue to plague this organization.

For success, the Royals are going to have to keep their imports on the ice, not in the penalty box.  Even the die-hard fans of this organization are talking about how their imports are spending more time off the ice than on.  It just isn’t working.

While the Wings do have what it takes to turn it around, the verdict is still out on the Royals.  One thing is for sure, both teams had better come with their heads in the game or they will be watching the games from the sidelines!

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