by Jared Spears
Tomorrow’s one o’clock matchup features the Jets, firing on all cylinders after sweeping the Kings last round. Waiting for them are the Crosbys, who for the first time ever outplaced the Jets in the regular season, securing a first-round bye. This will be a contest of skill, grit, and determination, and each side has its fair share to unleash on the pavement tomorrow.
The Jets (11-8) have once again assembled an all-star lineup, and they demonstrated their prowess last week against the Kings. Whatever issues they had during the regular season seem to be shed when the full squad is assembled. With the talented firepower of Barca and Kanz, the Jets are capable of scoring from anywhere on the ice. Paired with the two-headed monster, the defensive skill of Campbell and Doyle presents a powerful top four. Add the force and presence of Nick Siniawski, and the Jets become a fully-loaded hockey machine.
Attempting to dismantle that machine tomorrow are the upstart Crosbys (13-6), who come well rested off their best regular season yet. As always, the Crosby’s rely on depth and a stay-at-home defensive style. The rotating wall of George, Cullen, and Perhac is sure to be a test for the two-headed monster. What sets this Crosby team apart from years past was the eleventh-hour trade which shipped former franchise player Roy McDonald (and others) to the Pirates in return for Tony Bonocorso (and others). If the Jets boast a two-headed monster, than Bono is a one man army. Although his regular season numbers pale against both Barca’s and Kanz’, Bono’s ball-handling and killer slap-shot have been the downfall of many defensemen over the years. With sharp former Pirate Ryan Cleary as his line mate, the Crosbys fate lies squarely on Bono’s stick.
How The Crosbys Can Win It
The Crosbys bested the Jets twice since the trade was made. The key to victory is to keep the Jets’ offensive chances down by forcing turnovers, and to get Bono an open shot at the net. Without a stellar performance from Bono, the Crosby’s will have a tough time keeping pace with the Jets. Poor offence has blocked the Crosbys from the cup in years past, which is why Captain John George ultimately decided it was time to let Roy go and take a new belle to the ball. That trade will ultimately be judged now, in the post-season, when it matters most.
How The Jets Can Win It
The Jets have all the pieces of a championship-caliber team. If they can put it all together and play as one unit, then stopping them will be next to impossible. Losing the championship last year after going up 2-0 to Bishop Boyle no doubt left a bitter taste in the mouths of Jets leaders Barca and Campbell. This year, their team has more top talent, enabling them to take some pressure off of their leaders. To win, the Jets will need to put a variety of names on the score sheet.
The story lines have been told and retold. Tomorrow, one team takes a shot at redemption, the other at building something new. But only one team will make it forward to the FHL Championship, where history will be made.