Friday, January 16, 2009

Bandits vs. Knighthawks Game Preview

It is the battle between the ageless wonder and the great one tonight in the HSBC Arena.  For being a fan that never got a chance to see Gary Gait in action during his first tour of duty, this is a special night for me to see two great legends in action.

Tavares passed Gait in the final category, all time goal scorer, on January 19, 2008 against the New York Titans.  Right now Tavares has 625 goals and 1334 points in his career.  Gait came back onto the scene last Saturday against the Wings and scored 5 goals on 8 shots in his return.  Therefore, Gait now has 601 goals and 1096 points.  Therefore, the only category Gait could recapture would be the goals category.  The race is on then for the all time goal title.  Gait needs to score 24 goals more than Tavares this season to recapture his crown.

Seeing Gait for the first time is somewhat special due to the fact that this main is legendary.  You know a player has had a great career when he has a shot named after him, the “Air Gait.”  I would give an ovation to him to see it pulled off again.

On to the game, the Knighthawks themselves are in a mess they are slowly cleaning up.  They are without Pat O’Toole for about the first month and that should mean that either Derek Collins or Phil Wetherup is going to get the start tonight for the Hawks.  The Hawks also are still trying to get used to Paul Gait’s new system and I imagine are going to look a little disorganized like they did against the Wings last Saturday.  They could have some problems coming out of this weekend if they do not pick up a win in either of their two games against the Bandits or Stealth. 

For the Bandits, Ken Montour stood on his head against the Rock which led the Bandits to their second win of the season.  In net tonight will be Mike Thompson as the Bandits are going to use a goalie rotation unless one of them is injured.  Rich Kilgour is still out for this game, therefore Chris White will be serving as the captain again.  The Bandits look as they are in mid-season form and they look to be the team to beat this season.  With their wins against the Wings and Rock, they have shown that their defense can carry them through games until the offense is hitting their stride.  More players on the offense though need to pick up the pace.  Steenhuis and Tavares have been their usual selves but the secondary scoring is not there.  Of the 23 goals scored this season, 12 of them have been scored by Tavares and Steenhuis.  Sean Greenhalgh has not scored a goal, but does have three assists and Vyse and Bomberry only have 2 goals a piece on the season. 

The Knighthawks are a dangerous team in that their offense is still good.  They have lost their two major weapons but gained one in Gait.  They are a team that can score on will and while the defense needs to play another sound game, the offense needs to be able to do the same and possibly play and dueling goals matchup.  As always, I will be at the Bank for the game tonight and have my take on it in the morning.  

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