Monday, 6 May 2019

Masella modern day version of P.A. Raiders tough

Rearguard throws in the odd goal here and there

Jeremy Masella has been a solid defensive defenceman for the Raiders.
    Jeremy Masella is used to working in obscurity but won’t object to having five minutes of fame.
    In Game 1 of the WHL Championship series last Friday, the Prince Albert Raiders defensive defenceman turned into Bobby Orr for one shift against the Vancouver Giants.
    Early in the third period, Masella, who stands 6-foot-5 and weighs 216 pounds, got the puck at the left point of the offensive zone.
    He skated along the blue-line, zipped down the right wing, cut to the front of the Vancouver net and tucked home a shot between the legs of Giants goaltender David Tendeck. The sellout crowd of 3,289 spectators at the 2,580 seat Art Hauser Centre erupted as the Raiders cut the Giants lead to 5-4.
    That score held up as the final, but Masella came out of that contest with a fancy video highlight.
    “We like to do the top switches,” said Masella. “I saw a little opportunity to get across the blue-line there.
    “I just kept her going down the wall and cut to the net. Good things happen when you go to the net I guess.”
Jeremy Masella celebrates his goal in Game 1 of the WHL final.
    With that said, scoring pretty goals is not Masella’s forte. Appearing in all 68 of the Raiders pre-season games, Masella posted two goals, 12 assists and a plus-30 rating in the plus-minus department to go with 93 penalty minutes.
    In 18 post-season games, the Phoenix, Arizona, product has a goal, two assists and a plus-three rating to go with eight penalty minutes.
    While scoring a finesse goal for his team was nice, Masella wished it would have come in a win. He knows his role when it comes to helping the Raiders win games, and that means playing physical and being tough in his own zone.
    Masella is aware that includes taking a hit in his own zone to make a play to clear the zone or transition the puck up ice, especially against the Giants.
    “We know that they are going to come at us physically,” said Masella. “Obviously as a defenceman, they are going to come in and hit us pretty hard.
    “We just have to make sure we keep our gaps good when they are coming out and try to hit them as much as we can as well and keep the physical game going.”
Jeremy Masella protects the defensive zone for the Raiders.
    Masella assumed his regular role to perfection in the Raiders 4-0 win in Game 2 of the WHL final last Saturday in Prince Albert.
    The best-of-seven WHL Championship series, which is tied 1-1, switches to the Langley Events Centre in Langley, B.C., for the next three games. Game 3 is set for Tuesday at 7 p.m. local time.
    Raiders head coach Marc Habscheid was happy Masella came through with a goal in Game 1, and the bench boss is all for seeing his players get creative when an opportunity presents itself.
    ““The big diesel” was roaming around the offensive zone,” said Habscheid with a chuckle regarding Masella’s goal. “He got that, and it was good.
    “He does all the work that sometimes doesn’t get glorified, and for him to pitch in and get a goal, it is exciting for him.”
    The Raiders acquired Masella on Jan. 4, 2018 in a trade with the Victoria Royals sending forward D-Jay Jerome to the British Columbia capital.
Jeremy Masella keeps the peace in a possible rough moment.
    Make no mistake; Masella was brought in to make the Raiders stronger in the defensive zone. He has done that and become popular in the club’s dressing room too.
    “I think the best thing I can say about him is he is just a great teammate,” said Habscheid. “He knows his job. He is a puck mover. He is a defender.
    “He is a proud Raider. He is very intelligent. He has a real good stick defensively.
    “He breaks up a lot of plays. He just does all the work a lot of times that doesn’t get glorified like blocking the shots or taking a hit or making a hit. He has been real good for us.”
    Born in Montreal, Que., Masella grew up in Arizona but still knew about major junior hockey in Canada. He had more knowledge about the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League but joining the WHL was always on his mind.
    When he had the chance to become part of the Royals, he jumped at the opportunity.
Jeremy Masella has had a blast playing in Prince Albert.
    “It was pretty crazy,” said Masella. “I was just kind of wearing a Western League jersey.
    “It took me a couple of games to really get used to it. It is a fast league and there is a lot of skill, but also a lot of physical play. It is kind of an all-around league.”
    He has had a blast in Prince Albert, since he joined the Raiders. The fact the Raiders topped the WHL regular season standings with a 54-10-2-2 record and were rated second in the final CHL Top 10 rankings was a sweet bonus too.
    “I think we have an unreal group of guys with lots of skill and lots of grit,” said Masella. “It has been pretty fun to be a part of this year.”
    Masella loves the physical aspect of hockey and said battles for the puck in the corners help get him into games. His game has a controlled physicality to it as well where he can flick the switch to be more or less intense on the ice depending on the situation that kind of evolves.
    With the Raiders having a tradition of having players on their roster like Dave Manson and Ken Baumgartner in the 1980s, Masella is aware of what toughness used to mean in hockey, where someone had to go out and fight every night.
    He knows times have changed drastically and toughness is measured in other ways.
    “You kind of have to have your head screwed on,” said Masella. “You can’t be running around always.
Jeremy Masella enjoys a Game 2 win with goalie Ian Scott.
    “The game has changed a little bit. There are not too many guys running around looking for fights and stuff. It is a good puck moving game now, so you have to kind of have that aspect going first.
    “Then, you can always resort to physical play as well.”
    In the WHL final, the Raiders are up against a tough challenge in the Giants. Vancouver finished second overall in the WHL with a 48-15-3-2 mark and was rated sixth in the final CHL Top 10 rankings.
    With the Raiders making their first appearance in the WHL final since they last won the league title and advanced on to capture the Memorial Cup in 1985, Masella said his squad is even more motivated to keep their current run going.
    “Obviously being this far, it doesn’t happen too often,” said Masella. “It probably won’t ever happen to me again, so I am trying to take advantage of the opportunity that we’re given.
    “It is a lot of fun with all the guys. There is no one else I’d rather do it with.”

Hannoun, Scott take weekly WHL awards

Dante Hannoun was named the WHL’s player of the week.
    It was a clean Prince Albert Raiders sweep, when it came to giving out the WHL’s weekly awards.
    On Monday, Raiders standout overage centre Dante Hannoun was named the WHL’s player of the week, and Ian Scott took honours as the WHL’s goaltender of the week. The awards were given for the week starting on April 29 and wrapping up on Sunday.
    Only two games occurred over that time period, which were the opening two contests of the WHL Championship series featuring the Raiders taking on the Vancouver Giants.
    Hannoun had two goals, three assists and a plus-two rating in the plus-minus department in those contests.
    The Delta, B.C., product had a goal and an assist in the Raiders 5-4 setback to the Giants in Game 1 of the WHL final held in Friday in Prince Albert. One night later, Hannoun had a goal, two assists and a plus-two rating as the Raiders blanked the Giants 4-0 in Game 2 in Prince Albert.
    In the Raiders 18 playoff games, Hannoun has 11 goals, nine assists and a plus-eight rating.
    Acquired in a trade with the Victoria Royals on Jan. 3, Hannoun posted 29 goals, 38 assists and a plus-19 rating in 56 regular season games with both the Royals and Raiders.
Ian Scott was named the WHL’s goaltender of the week.
    Scott started both of those games for the Raiders posting a 1-1 record, a 2.52 goals against average, an .878 save percentage and one shutout.
    The Calgary, Alta., product stopped 21-of-26 shots in the Raiders Game 1 loss to the Giants. Scott turned away all 15 shots sent his way in the Raiders shutout win in Game 2.
    In 18 playoff games, Scott has posted a 13-5 record, a 1.92 goals against average, a .925 save percentage and four shutouts.
    He had a spectacular regular season posting a 38-8-3 record, a 1.83 goals against average, a .932 save percentage and eight shutouts.

    If you have any comments you would like to pass along about this post, feel free to email them to
    If you like what you see here, you might want to donate to the cause to keep independent media like this blog going. Should you choose to help out, feel free to click on the DONATE button in the upper right corner. Thank you for stopping in.