FTLComm - Tisdale - February 24, 2000
The Pasquia Senior Hockey League Semi finals are chugging right along. The Ramblers lost their first game in the best of seven series to Nipawin Sunday night, but have come back two straight with a win Monday night 4 - 2 and last night's win of 9 - 3. The picture above was taken to show the final score and a moment later the Ramblers got one more.
There was a good sized crowd on hand for last night's game, almost double what had been expected and the fans were treated to some excellent hockey from both teams. The Ramblers had taken an early lead in the game and at mid way through the second held a comfortable 5 - 3 situation. Nipawin has a number of their leading players off with injuries including Sunday night's awesome goalie Curtis Parkinson. Parkinson pulled a groin muscle on one of the first plays of the Monday night game but said he
expects to be back in net this coming Sunday night. Other injuries include the excellent goal scorer Graham Comfort who is out of the Nipawin line up for the rest of the season.

With Parkinson unable to play and Kevin Lockwood unavailable Nipawin had a Bantam goalie in net last night who can not but be proud of the excellent showing he had.

Early in the game Nipawin's Curtis Wanamaker and Jeff Farber were unable to reach an understanding and after some blows were exchanged both retired from the game. With Tisdale's bench full the absence of Jeff was not a
serious set back but Nipawin was missing people and losing a defenseman was a definite setback. Nipawin continued its successful tactic of simply knocking all forwards down as you can see in the picture on the left where Murray Harrower eliminates a forward but with three full lines against Nipawin's two lines of defense there was just not enough Murray Harrower to go around. At the same time Tisdale stuck to its standard game plan and that is to skate, skate and skate some more. Their defense, lead by Brad Kirkland, Pete McAvoy, Luc Simoneau, Jim Fafonoff, Brad Farber and Lee Morgan just kept moving that puck up the ice and into the Nipawin zone often carrying it themselves or getting those crucial passes onto
the forward's sticks. The good natured Lee Morgan (above right) skating under full power and carrying the puck drove into the side of his own goal in what should have been a collision that had to have hurt. But Lee (7 right) was up and was able to play the rest of the game as though nothing had happened.

Marc Rio was in net for Wednesday night's game and Nipawin's fast forwards put him to the test steadily throughout the game. The one sided score was not reflected in the play, as Nipawin was in the game from beginning to end.
On Monday night the Ramblers with two players out of the line up shuffled their lines a bit and the result has made life difficult for Nipawin's defenseman. Up until then the Ramblers had teamed up veterans and rookies to produce balanced lines with diggers and sharp shooters on each line. Monday night and last night, the Whiz kids, Jeremy Markwart, Ryan Turcotte and Jordan Spagrud worked together and just to make matters worse for Nipawin, at times the Ramblers would play this ultra fast line for less then a minute, pull them off the ice, and then a minute later, they would be back, swarming over the Nipawin zone.

The second line change was to team Chad Olson and Scott Kearns with Scott Homstol. Murray Harrow, who had up til this point only had to get Homstol when he was on the ice was faced with having to cover three similar players and to make matters worse for him, all three will shoot from close in or just over the blue line. This line can be seen in the picture above and below. The picture below shows them scoring goal number eight from a point shot and Scott Kearns right on the doorstep.
Neil Elmslie, Shane Magnus and Al Leblanc made up the other line and we can expect to see this winning combination on the ice for the rest of the series and perhaps beyond should the Ramblers march on into the Finals.

This unusual picture on the right is with Spagrud on one knee, Turcotte just in front of the goalie and Jeremy picking himself up off the ice in the midst of the Nipawin rabble. Throughout the season we have seen the Ramblers using the orbital play when they get into the opposition's zone and are allowed to skate. The picture above is what happens when the opposition defense stops this play by downing two of the forwards but if they don't the picture below shows what can happen.

In an orbital play the puck carrier keeps on the move either attempting to get a shot on net or transfer the puck to another orbiting forward. The concept of wing and centre is completely without meaning in this formation as you can see Olson (44) is heading around to follow the puck carrier and in the foreground Neil Elmslie is setting off to pursue Olson. This flexible play can route the orbit behind the goal, include defenseman and make the defending goalie dizzy. Mike Weatherald (Nipawin 7) is directing his attention to the puck carrier as are the other two defenders, but he should be turning his attention to the nearest orbiting player and that is Elmslie. Failure to check in a situation like this means the Ramblers will certainly score.