Rishaug's Playoff Preview

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Rishaug's Playoff Preview

Post  R.Rishaug on Mon Jul 04, 2011 7:55 pm


Season series: Cash Only 0-2-1, SHJB 2-0-1

How Cash Only can win this series: a team with an array of shooters this team needs to get shots off and to the net. They have changed their identity multiple times this year but a strong team effort and strong starts are necessary if they want to upset the powerful SHJB. 70% of CO’s games have been settled by 2 goals or more in wins and losses. Come playoff time itll be vital to keep games close and not trail during their first round series. Cash Only needs to keep up their second half surge and play solid defense infront of Alex Hoang. It will be vital for CO to lock down leading scorer Keith Mah as SHJB offense often runs and breathes through this talented forward. Stopping Steve Wong’s point shot will remove a lot of havoc in front of the net and go a long way in slowing this SHJB offense. Thirdly, they cannot forget about Garvin Chow, the under the radar sniper who finished with 21g and 2a. Offensively, they have the weapons. Curtis Mah needs to perform like he did in week 7 when he notched 6goals. Jason Lee must return to form from his first half of the season and Bryan Lee needs to anchor the back end defensively and offensively. Theres no doubt emotional leader Ryan Ho will leave it all on the floor, but he must be the backbone to the team. His vision and unheralded scoring could prove to be the difference. A huge task ahead, but if CO plays their game nothing is impossible.

How the SHJB can win this series: SHJB has the comfort of being the first place overall team in the ABHL. They don’t have to change much as it has proven to have worked all season. They play a solid team game and possession is their forte. With their ball movement they will definitely make defenses work. Their time with the ball often makes life easy for goaltender Hoac Tang, and SHJB must keep it up to put the heat on CO. SHJB plays defense by playing such a strong offense, in their eyes if they possess the ball they don’t have to play defense. CO is a deep team just like SHJB. SHJB will need to key in on sniper Curtis Mah and not allow him to erupt for any huge sum of goals. SHJB has to keep their variety on offense and constant motion to put CO on their heels. Scoring goals from far near anywhere and in bunches will definitely take the wind out of their opponents sails.

Cash Only question mark: Alex Hoang. Which Alex will we see? Insider reports note that Alex Hoang is as confident as can be and is determined to put on a show and lead his team to victory. He guaranteed a playoff berth, and he made good on that deal. Let’s see what he does come playoff time.

SHJB question mark: Playoff atmosphere and environment. SHJB is probably one of the most sportsmanlike teams in the ABHL. They’ve won with grace and beat their opponents down. The playoffs are known to be a different beast, often taken to the next level of intensity and heart. Will the SHJB style fit this new season all together? We’ll have to see.

Cash Only key stat: With Ryan Ho in the lineup CO is 6-2-1 without they are 0-6-1. Staggering stats that prove this team isn’t the same team that lost 13-5 way back in week 2 of the ABHL.

SHJB key stat: SHJB is undefeated in its last 14 games going a ridiculous 11-0-3. Talk about hitting stride. Keith Mah has lost just 1 game in his ABHL career. While all that is dandy a lost this week will make that wonderful regular season all for none.

Cash Only X-Factor: Wilson Man. Shouldn’t have to say much about this and why he is the X-Factor in this series. After a much storied bitter leaving of the SHJB squad, Wilson Man has a lot to prove. His stats do speak loudly, but the other stuff also speak loudly. On one hand, he is the most penalized player this year in the ABHL, on the other, he probably has the most clutch goals as well. He’s scored numerous game winning/tying goals with seconds left on the clock. Love him or hate him this guy can play. 23 points in 14 games in nothing to sneeze at. If he’s motivated he definitely could prove to former GM Daniel Mah why he shouldn’t have been dealt.

SHJB X-Factor: Victor Trac. With the SHJB you know what their big players can bring. While they are all good players none of them bring what Victor brings. Rightfully nicknamed “the Tractor” Vic brings a big body with some finish and some grit to his game. He seems to be in all the right places and with a few lucky bounces he can fill up the score sheet, as seen with his 4 point outburst in week 8. Everyone knows he’ll be infront of the net making life for Alex Hoang a nightmare. If Trac brings it like he can look out as SHJB is as well rounded as any.

Team Categories

Goaltending – Edge CO. While Hoac Tang has had great stats and a great record he also plays for a superb team. Hoac played extremely well showing he can carry the load as well, but he has never faced the work load Alex has faced game in game out. Alex needs to be on top of his game for his team to succeed. With his confidence flying high the edge albeit slight goes to CO.

Forwards – Edge SHJB. With a whopping 92 goals for this forward core can score. Almost any combination of forwards for the Red team can score. While CO has some potent offense as well, the edge here clearly goes to SHJB. Also to boot having a top 3 scorer in Keith Mah can change the game at any time.

Defense – Edge SHJB. While CO has leader Ryan Ho and often underrated Bryan Lee manning their backend, SHJB plays a uncanny team defense. This edge being given to SHJB does not undermine the talent of CO, it just shows how good the SHJB squad is. Defense by committee is a powerful thing. As mentioned earlier they possess the ball more than any other team in the league, without the ball you can’t score. That’s one hell of a defense if you ask me.

Intangibles – Edge CO. Intangibles – that of which cannot be perceived by the senses. That’s exactly what CO has going for them. This team has something you can’t quite put your finger on. With the biggest surge from the basement of the ABHL, this team is playing some of the best hockey in the league. Ryan Ho’s emotion and on field leadership can’t be measured, his return has brought the confidence of his teammates up to levels unimagined. Confidence and Revenge can be two of the most powerful things in sport. Wilson Man’s determination may just be enough to put CO over the edge.

Winner and why: SHJB wins the series by a total score of 10-7. I believe the SHJB constant flow and offense will be too much for CO to handle. Its tough to think otherwise with a record of 11-2-3. This SHJB team has just been so dominant. I as a fan of the ABHL can’t wait for the series to take place. CO has to put week 8’s performance behind them as they lost to a Daniel Mah-less SHJB squad. Don’t miss this series come Saturday, its going to be a doozy.

This is Ryan Rishaug reporting from TaSN – Edmonton.


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