Teeing this one up: we’ll be frank as possible. This weekend, the difficulty level just went up a notch.
Three games await the Silvertips, but three days are what’s required to get it done. Up to this point, the Tips had the luxury of competitive intervals lasting no more than two days in a row, just before a day, or two, or seven (in some instances) waited around the corner.
Now, it will be all about the typical ingredients we hear from the powers that be, directing the bodies and minds of talent in the game – pace, diet, fluids, rest in between.
FRIDAY: third meeting against the Rockets, and they’ll have more at their disposal (Chartier and Thurkauf are back from the WJC). In spite of how tough it’s been to defeat Kelowna over the last four seasons, the Tips have won three in a row over their B.C. Division counterpart. Big miss for the Rockets: Jackson Whistle is on the shelf.
Of Carter Hart’s well deserved nod for the CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game, and homecomings, posted is a good read from Jesse Geleynse just before the boys hopped the bus for B.C., right here.
SATURDAY: Third meeting of the season against the Thunderbirds, and like the Kelowna matchup, the Silvertips have played to an amazing level for a pair of wins in the first two games. It took a lot of Carter Hart to get the first win done in October, but December’s win in Kent was intensified by the fact that the Tips were visiting their closest rival for the first time this season, and responded with an irrevocable attack for four unanswered goals. It gave the Thunderbirds their first regulation loss on home ice all season. And like Kelowna, the challenge becomes greater because the T-Birds get these names back: Barzal, Eansor, and True. Not to mention, they’ve been busy with the trading block.
SUNDAY: Opportunistic, productive, and resilient. That defines a 4-1 record in five games against Spokane this season. Last time these two teams met, Remi Laurencelle had a night we haven’t seen in nearly nine years. Waging battle with the Chiefs means accepting a quick, taxing, and strenuous challenge. The Tips have had to exert max energy for the four wins in five meetings. On the Chiefs side, it will be the first time there’s no Adam Helewka in the mix, permanently (traded in the blockbuster deal with Red Deer).
Still, there’s the challenge of dealing with Kailer Yamamoto, Dominic Zwerger and Jason Fram – they’ve combined for 15 points in the series.
- DID YOU KNOW: By the end of the weekend, the Tips will have played 10 games on the road in 12 overall. Their record in that stretch, currently: 8-2-0-0. Amazing.
PROGRAMMING NOTE: As revealed Tuesday on the Silvertips Hockey Show, tonight’s game brings an untimely but necessary absence for me in the booth. I hate missing work and it’s an objective each season to be there for every game. Conversely, family is needed in the time of tragedy. We are mourning a loved one’s passing, and responsibilities in California command a presence for the funeral. Grandmother, Jeanette, was celebrated for her love, compassion, work ethic, and humility. While her passing was sudden, her suffering was minimal, and she is in a better place.
It’s tough finding a replacement at the last moment, but massive thanks to Dave Sheldon (@DaveSheldonYVR) – a dependable, experienced, and familiar (ex-Silvertips color analyst) voice to take care of the broadcast tonight. I can’t wait to repay him in person for his help, and I wish him all the best with tonight’s call. Puck drop: 7:05pm from Prospera Place. Air time: 6:30pm on Fox Sports 1380.
I’ll be back with you tomorrow night (along with Al Kinisky) in Kent’s ShoWare Center: Tips at Thunderbirds. “See you” on the radio.