Raiders vs Hitmen

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Defence vs Offence marks this match up, but has the WoCHL's best defensive team this season found a way to become the best offence? Oppiicity and the Hitmen will have a lot of work ahead of them if the Raiders come out shooting like they did in round 1. The Raiders finished the season tied with the Hitmen in the ultra-competitive Coffey Central Division. With 4 playoff teams coming out of the division, the Raiders and Hitmen had a lot of experience playing competitive teams.
Dwyy took on the task of ownership after the break up of the Smokin' Aces, but Dwyy_ has always been a leader on his team, even before his tenure as an owner. Dwyy led the way on the blue line for his Raiders team, tallying 252 takeaways in just 20 games this season. Dwyy wasn't the only Raiders defenceman getting it done. Shenan1g0tes also reached the 200 takeaway mark with 205. Both of these guys have continued to play well in the playoffs, with 40 takeaways in 3 games for Dwyy and 27 Takes in 3 games for Shenan1g0tes. Bigloot24 has also emerged as another strong defender, tallying 24 takeaways and just 4 giveaways in this playoff run. The story of the playoffs for the Raiders is their unprecedented scoring pace. Unkywinks69 has 18 points in 3 games, Blackman_mafia19 has 16 points in 3 games and boatsnhoes333 has 15 points in 3 games. FinesseHoops led this team in scoring in the regular season, but he has taken a back seat this playoffs. I got a chance to talk to him about this and what he feels like his role is in helping this team win.
As for the Hitmen, they came into the season as one of the most feared teams. The lineup of Oppiicity, Atkins77- and ITZKUSHQC was supposed to be the line of the season. But, when KUSH got shipped off for the North Stars First Overall Pick, Tiernan2198, it was clear the Hitmen had some different plans in prepping for the playoffs. The Hitmen elected to play most of their players for only 2 games in the series vs the Spartans. Atkins77- had 11 points in 2 games, Oppiicity had 11 in 2, Ah-xx-fooStY-xx had 9 in 2 and so did xbradeii. Offence is not a proboem for this team, and niether is goaltending if MoshiMoshi17 keeps playing. He has put up an 0.50 GAA and .941 sv% in his share of the crease this playoffs. Lastly, there is the Hitmen defence, which was really a one man show led by Notoriousnick24. However, a flurry of trades brought in help from RBCressor and Tiernan2198, the latter being the WoCHL's first overall pick this season. I caught up with Tiernan2198 and asked him how he feels about his play going into this huge series.
TNT: You guys are matching up against the Raiders, who were defence-first all season. They put up A LOT of points last series. Does that change the game plan? Do the Raiders have any strengths you guys need to disrupt.
T: "The Raiders are a great team and Dwy has a done a great job of building a defensive minded team. What’s so great about our team is we have the ability to play multiple styles, run and gun, possession, lock down, which gives us the ability to adapt to different opponents. Dwy’s team has displayed an ability to play a solid trap all season but our players are all high level guys who have seen the trap before and I have no doubt in our ability to penetrate and beat their trap."
TNT: You have an 89% passing %. What do you think you contribute to the Hitmen from defence?
T: "I’m sure it’s no secret I like to move the puck from the back end and getting the chance to play with so many great players on the Hitmen really compliments my style and I feel it helps our offence having 5 guys on the ice who can be dangerous with the puck on their tape."
TNT: Are there any interesting pre-chel rituals any guys on the team have? Even yourself? What helps you prep for these important games?
T: "I think that it’s always important to get a couple games in together before playing league games. Something just feels off about jumping into a competitive game without a drop in or two. Playing with a bunch of goofs really makes it easy when you have guys cracking jokes in the party before a game, it gets the chem going and everyone is busy talking on the mic during the game so our communication when we’re playing is as strong as any team in the league."
These guys finished the season tied, but this series is bragging rights tonight. Tune in at 8:45 PM Eastern to find out who will talk the talk and walk the walk!
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