Thursday, May 19, 2016
Junior hockey is in the spotlight for the next 10 days with Memorial Cup tournament in Red Deer.
This is a unique format that is totally different from the regular league playoffs.
This is a round robin format with very little room for error.
In a best of 7 series you can have a couple of off nights and know there are many more games to make up ground. Your goalie can have an off night and have a chance to rebound. Your team can have a game or two of being undisciplined and take too many penalties. You have up to 7 games to feel out your opposition and take advantage of their weaknesses that you have discovered.
In a 3 game round robin it is very important to get your first win as soon as possible. When you win a game you are guaranteed to at least get to the tiebreaker game. Win 2 games and you will at least get into the semi-final game or may even get a bye all the way to the Final. In a short tournament you can’t plan to hope to get better later in the week because you could find yourself going home really quick. Every game is a game 7. The longer you go without a win the more pressure you will feel later in the week.
Another factor is that you are playing in a neutral site. The Rebels are the home team and every time they play the building will have a playoff atmosphere. But for the other games the majority of the fans will not be routing for either team. There is no loud encouragement when you are playing well. There is no booing like when you are playing in a rivals’ building. It has the feel of being at a minor hockey tournament.
London appear to the best team and should be playing at WHL team in the Final.