Can we have a moment of silence for my prediction skills? I buried them in the backyard this weekend while my family swore they heard a melancholy rendition of "Taps" being played in the distance (that one's for you, fellow Christmas Story fans).
You know what I think my problem is? I'm not listening to my gut and I'm getting too cute with slicing and dicing the facts.
In last week's edition of Game of the Week!, I called for the Thunder to beat the Blue Icehounds of Carmel, 3-2 in their first out of two games this past weekend. I made that choice because I thought Evansville's slightly older (read more experienced) team would make a difference. I should have listened to my own advice as Carmel Blue has played double the amount of games Evansville has played this year. Maybe that age difference would have meant something at the beginning of the year but mid-season and thirty games later? Not so much.
I did, however, say that I thought the game would be evenly matched. With Carmel putting 15 shots on goal and Evansville directing 13 at the net, at least from a scoring chance stand point, the game was pretty close. Additionally, both teams had opportunities on power play, Carmel going 1-6 and Evansville coming up 0-4.
And with that, Hoosier Hockey Faithful, I crash and burn to 3-5 on the prediction front. That .500 mark seems to be a tad elusive but I'm back at it with this week's edition of Game of the Week!
Bundle up if you're heading to South Bend this weekend.
I have three words for you: LAKE EFFECT SNOW.
That's what awaits the high school teams traveling to South Bend this weekend for the Crossover Showcase. The forecast is calling for 1-3 inches of accumulation with snow squalls all day on Saturday. But that's hockey weather, baby and we wouldn't have it any other way. The winter backdrop is fitting for the last big tournament weekend before we head into the holiday break. And being that it's a tournament weekend, there are a number of good games happening across the board, including a potential meet up of Carmel Gold and Culver A at the Cornfield Cup in Culver. But for this week's edition of Game of the Week!, we're braving the snow in South Bend and hanging out in the Icebox to catch the Bloomington Blades vs. the Carroll Chargers at 9:30 PM on Saturday.
I like this game because both teams are struggling to match last year's finish as the Blades will land at #20 in the INHockey.net rankings and Carroll will fall to #23 (from #21 last week). Last year, both teams went deep in the tournament before falling to eventual 4A state champion, Culver A. Bloomington lost in a 5-6 shootout heart-breaker and Carroll lost 6-2 in the championship game. So far this year, the Blades record is 5-6-0 while the Chargers are 6-9-0. The teams have played a comparable schedule with Bloomington just edging the Chargers in RPI ranking, 20-24. That being the case, I would expect this game to be a very competitive match up between two similar teams -- perfect criteria for the Game of the Week! Now, let's look at the teams...
Chris Wollam brings the puck up against Bishop Dwenger. Photo from the Chargers Facebook page.
The Chargers have had mixed results in their games this year. While Bishop Dwenger has stolen all three match-ups so far, the Chargers are 1-1 against the Leo Lions who sit atop the Fort Wayne League standings. After that, they've split wins and losses with most of the other teams in the Fort Wayne league but have not fared well when they play teams outside of Fort Wayne. In fact, Carroll is 0-4 against non-league opponents. Still, there are some bright spots including the fact that the Chargers are 3-1 in their last four games and should be able to pull off another win tonight against the Bruins. They'll also face Munster and Evansville before they meet up with Bloomington on Saturday night so depending on how those games go, Carroll could be riding high or at the very least looking for another 'W' on the weekend.
As far as skaters go, the Chargers do a very good job of spreading out the offense with nine of their skaters with 6 points or more on the year. Trevor Thomson leads Carroll with 17 points. Goaltender Isaac Hyde has faced 236 shots on goal with a .869 SV% so far this season.
The Bloomington Coaching staff is managing their team through a tough 6 games worth of top ten opponents.
I would just like to say that I think a real opportunity was missed to run with the name "The B-Town Bombers." Is there a third jersey possibility here? Just sayin'.
After getting off to a good start, beating Westfield and the South Stars in their first two games in early October, the Blades went on to lose their next five games. However, in that time they had to face soon to be ranked #1, Carmel Gold and #4 Zionsville. By the time they face Carroll on Saturday night, they'll have faced Culver A, Central Indiana, St. Joe, and Lake Central Blue in their last six games - all of which are top ten teams. As much as the Chargers could be riding high coming into Saturday's game, the Blades may be limping in. That's not necessarily a bad thing providing Coach Appel and crew can keep the player's motivated and focused.
It's funny how teams change from year to year. Last year's Bloomington Blades were a 193 goal, offensively-oriented team. By contrast, this year's Blades are on pace to barely crack the 65 goal mark. As such, Sam Burris is the only Blades skater with double digit points (6 goals, 5 assists). However, the Blades are on track to give up about 20 goals fewer than last year. Aidan Lowinger has been solid in net for Bloomington this year with a .909 SA%. That's important in this match up because the Chargers are on pace to bank 110 goals for the season.
The real question is "who gets sprinkles for their post game cupcakes?" Because, you guessed it, sprinkles are for winners.
Well, after I went all the way out to my prediction grave site where I left my crystal ball and dowsing rods (What? I don't know...it's supposed to be entertainment, people. Work with me.) And I shook off the pain of dropping to 3-5 on the season, I mustered enough guts to look back into the crystal ball and divine the future.
Amid the snow squalls and freezing temperatures surrounding the Icebox in the frozen tundra of South Bend, I have to call for the
B-Town Bombers Bloomington Blades to put those sprinkles all over their cupcakes on Saturday night. The Blades win this one 2-1.
There you have it, Hoosier Hockey Faithful. The Bloomington Blades are my team this weekend. You heard it here first!