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Sunday, April 29, 2012

Because it's the Cup: 2012 Robertson Cup predictions

By: Joey Battaino

It's the oldest trophy in junior hockey. The Chuck Robertson Cup has been awarded since 1976. The trophy is named after the former owner of the Paddock Pool Saints, who won the league championship seven straight years from 1976-1983.

The 2012 Robertson Cup Tournament is one for all you nostalgia fans out there. Four of the Six teams in this years field have previously won the Robertson Cup. (St. Louis 3, Texas 3, Bismarck 1, Fairbanks 1) In the 2011 Robertson Cup in Topeka, the four teams shared zero Robertson Cups.

Round Robin play starts on May 3rd with the defending champion Fairbanks Ice Dogs battling the 2007-09 Robertson Cup Champs, The St. Louis Bandits.

Now what you've been waiting for, the picks...
(the seed and what I think their record will be in RR play)

Pool A                                                   Pool B
#1 Amarillo 3-0                                    #2 Bismarck 1-2
#3 Fairbanks 2-1                                  #4 St. Louis 2-1
#5 Port Huron 1-2                               Host Texas 0-3

Pool A Final                                       Pool B Final

Amarillo 4 Fairbanks 2                     Bismarck 3 St. Louis 2

Robertson Cup National Championship Game

Bismarck 5 Amarillo 3

So there ya have it. I have Bismarck winning their 2nd national title. Their first came in 2010 in Wenatchee. Yes I am aware that I have Bismarck going 1-2 in Pool play yet winning the title. Remember what the Michigan Warriors did last year folks. Desperate hockey is championship hockey and I think the Bobcats get it done.

This is my personal blog and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Michigan Warriors, the NAHL, or any of it's Franchises. 

Monday, April 16, 2012

NAHL Division Finals: My picks

By: Joey Battaino

Well, with my picks in round one, I proved that I don't know anything about the division I work in and I don't stay up late. I struck out on both picks in the North and the West. Then again 6 out of 10 isn't too bad. You guys act like i'm some kind of expert or something. Here's some more picks to put zero stock into.


1 Bismarck Bobcats vs. 3 Austin Bruins

This series is going to be a beauty. Lots of skill on both sides. Interesting to see which style defense wins out. Bismarck with the run and gun or Austin with the physical stay at home. I like Bismarck in 5


1 St. Louis vs. 3 Springfield Jr. Blues

St. Louis gets back to the Robertson Cup by using their big D (Garret Peterson, Wes Elrod) to neutralize Springfield's physical forwards (Gavin Tufte, Kyle Cook) St. Louie in 4


1 Port Huron Fighting Falcons vs. 2 Kalamazoo Jr. K-Wings

Port Huron got great goaltending in round 1 from Max Milosek. Will that continue into round 2? I'm not sure of it. K-Zoo can shoot the lights out. And they will in this series, winning in 4 games.


1 Amarillo Bulls vs. 2 Topeka RoadRunners

This is war folks. To say these two teams don't like each other is an understatement. The fans don't like each other, the front offices don't even like each other. Topeka went as far as to put Amarillo Bulls stickers in their urinals last season. (You get the picture) This will go 5, but I like Topeka on the road to get it done.


 1 Fairbanks Ice Dogs vs. 2 Wenatchee Wild 

I clearly underestimated both of these teams in the first round. Alaska wet the bed by giving in after building a 2-1 lead in the series. I like Fairbanks and only because of their lousy playoff format over in the West. Fairbanks in 4

This is my personal blog and in no way does it reflect the views of the Michigan Warriors, the NAHL, or any of it's franchises.  

Monday, April 9, 2012

Home Sweet Home: Series shifts to "Vehicle City" tied at one apiece

By: Joey Battaino

After a split in Port Huron, as a smart broadcaster so duly predicted, the Michigan Warriors are spending this long six days between games two and three, preparing for the potent Port Huron Fighting Falcons offense.

You figured it was just a matter of time after their 43 shot performance in game 1 only resulted in one goal for the Falcons. They came back the next night with a 42 shot performance that saw Warriors rookie netminder Trevor Gorsuch yield five Port Huron goals.

Things I've Noticed:

1. Port Huron looked mighty tentative in game 1. They were pulling up at the first sight of contact and handling the puck like a piece of glass.

2. For as tentative as Port Huron looked in game 1, the Warriors may have looked more so in game 2. The Warriors had trouble even completing passes to get out of their zone, let alone, setup the offense. They had only 18 shots in all of game 2.

3. "Playing with Fire" If Port Huron plays as aggressively in game 3 as they did in game 2, they will get burned. Perani Arena is a bigger ice surface and if you try to forecheck 3, it's coming back 3 on 2 90% of the time. Port Huron even sometimes had a fourth forechecking defenseman step up to disrupt passes in game 2.

4. "Rattle Milosek" It's pretty obvious to me that Falcons goaltender Max Milosek can be rattled. By multiple things. He was upset at himself for giving up certain rebounds and it really seemed to me that his game fell apart in game 1 when Dan Sakalian scored by driving the net and then ran him over. On the other side of the spectrum, it seems that he gets real confident, almost cocky, if he can make a couple early saves. Point being, If you're the Warriors, drive the net and score early in game 3

5. "Turnovers" You would have thought the Warriors were running a bakery with how many turnovers they had in game 2. Port Huron was forechecking hard, and the time and space that was there in game 1, was no longer there in game 2.

The biggest key for game 3 for a Warriors perspective is to score first. This Port Huron team is too good to spot them the first goal or two. Not to mention the Warriors offense was whistling in the dark for most of game 2.

If your a Warriors fan however, you must be satisfied with where your team is at. A split in Port Huron gives the Warriors home ice advantage and a chance to end the series this weekend in Flint.

Game 3 and 4 are Friday and Saturday, April 13th and 14th. Both games start at 7pm and can be heard on Supertalk 1570AM and on the web at w/ yours truly.

Warriors fans are being encouraged to wear red to the rink this weekend to support the Warriors "Let Em See Red" playoff campaign.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Looking into the Crystal Ball: My NAHL first round picks

By: Joey Battaino

Well folks, it's almost that time to drop the puck on the 2012 NAHL playoffs. Here in the first round you really don't see too many upsets. This year, that will change.


1 Bismarck Bobcats vs. 4 Aberdeen Wings

Pick: This one won't be a cake walk for Bismarck. Aberdeen has some guys that can put the puck in the net, Corey Ward in particular. Bismarck in 5

2 Alexandria Blizzard vs. 3 Austin Bruins

Pick: Doc DelCastillo's team certanily lacks size to Austin. Interesting battle between Austin forwards Kirby and Whalin and Alexandria's top D pairing of Vadim Gyesberghs and Charlie Aus. I think Austin has too much skill to lose. Austin in 4


1 St. Louis Bandits vs. 4 Coulee Region Chill

Pick: No contest. St. Louis in 3

2 Janesville Jets vs. 3 Springfield Jr. Blues

Pick: Janesville plays well defensively, but Springfield's size up front will be too much for the Jets to handle. Springfield in 4


1 Port Huron Fighting Falcons vs. 4 Michigan Warriors

Pick: Warriors must continue to bang bodies and not give Port Huron's mobile defense time to make plays. Warriors steal one at McMorran to turn the tides of the series.Warriors in 4.

2 Kalamazoo Jr. K-Wings vs. 3 Traverse City North Stars

Pick: These two teams don't like each other much. Should be a battle. I like Traverse City in 5 only because of Kalamazoo's lack of consistency in goal.


1 Amarillo Bulls vs. 4 Odessa  Jackalopes 

Pick: Amarillo in 4. I think Connor Hellebuyck steals a game for Odessa.

2 Topeka Roadrunners vs. 3 Texas Tornado

Pick: Topeka in 5. Neither one of these teams loses at home, so with Topeka having home ice, that will be the difference in this series


1 Fairbanks Ice Dogs vs. 4 Kenai River Brown Bears

Pick: Here's my upset special. Reigning Robertson Cup Champs go down in round one at the hands of Kenai. Not sure why. I just have a feeling here. Kenai River in 4.

2 Wenatchee Wild vs. 3 Alaska Avalanche  

Pick: I don't know too much about Alaska except for they're coached by Corey Millen and he's a beauty so i'll go with Alaska in 4.