Bruins still winless after 10 games
Former National Football League head coach and Super Bowl champion Bill Parcells once said, “You are what your record says you are.” With the Grand Forks Border Bruins losing another five games over the past two weeks, it’s time to look deeper into what the Bruins’ record says they are. Coming into action on Oct. 6, the Bruins held a 0-win, 5-loss record and further added to it by losing to the Nelson Leafs, 12-1, that evening. On Oct. 7 the Bears were blanked by the defending Kootenay International Junior Hockey League (KIJHL) champions, the Osoyoos Coyotes, 10-0. This dropped the Bruins record to: 0-wins, 7-losses. The following night, Oct. 8, Grand Forks lost to the Creston Valley Thunder Cats, 4-2, in a game that was not nearly as close as the score indicated. The Bruins were outshot 49-22 in the game. If not for Grand Forks’ own Nathan Nicolson who played the game of his life in net and produced quite arguably the only bright spot on the Bruins season to date, the game would have been as lopsided as the others. A week later, on Oct. 14, the Bruins squared off against the Kimberley Dynamiters and lost 10-2. This past Sunday, Oct. 16, the Bears again lost 11-4 to the upstart Summerland Steam. The four goals scored by Grand Forks was there highest offensive output on the season to date. So what does their record tell us? Well, for one, they have not won a game this year and sit on a 0-win, 10-loss record. On the surface this is not that bad. The Chase Chiefs have not won a game either. They have a 0-win, 13-loss record, and the Columbia Valley Rockies have also not won a game but have had one game go into overtime to garner one point, which is one more point than GF or Chase. They stand at a 0-win, 12-loss record through 13 games. What is bad for Grand Forks is the way they have been losing. Through ten games, Grand Forks has given up 10 or more goals, 7 times. Further, Grand Forks has only been able to muster four goals, once. They have been shutout twice, scored one-goal twice, tallied two goals on four separate occasions and registered three-goals in a game, only once. What does this all mean? It means the Bruins are only averaging 1.70 goals-per-game. This also means that for Grand Forks to have won 8 of their first 10 games, they would have to have given up 1-or-fewer goals. On the surface this would be all fine and dandy, but scoring goals is not the Border Bruins only problem. They also can’t stop the puck. And a team that can’t score or keep the other team from scoring is not going to win many games. Grand Forks gives up more goals-per-game than any other team in the KIJHL at a staggering 9.70 goals-against-per-game. Match that with the 1.70 goals they are scoring on average per-game, and their goal differential is minus 8 goals per-game. Next closest to them are the Columbia Valley Rockies with a goal differential minus 5.35 goals-per-game. In fact you would have to go all the way back to the Bruins’ inaugural season, the 1969/70 season, to find another Bruins team with a goal differential that high. That is 42 years and their differential was minus 8.91. The ‘69/’70 Bruins scored 2.09 goals-per-game, and gave up on average, 11 goals-per-game. Also of note, in all of the Border Bruins’ 42 years, no Grand Forks team has ever finished with a goals-per-game under 2.00. Remember, the Bruins sit a 1.70. To sum it up then: The Bruins score the second fewest goals in the KIJHL on average per-game at 1.70, (Columbia Valley averages 1.62), gives up the most goals per-game on average at 9.70 (the next closest is Columbia Valley at 6.77), and have a goal differential that is the worst in the KIJHL at -8.00. What does this say then about the Border Bruins record then? It says that if the ship keeps getting steered in this direction, this years’ Border Bruins will not be winning many games, if any at all. It also says that with forty-two games left on the schedule there is plenty of time to turn the boat around. Even more, it says that game 11 on the season, to be played this Friday at 7:30 p.m. at the Grand Forks Arena is against the Columbia Valley Rockies, and is there any better chance for the Bruins are to turn things around than this game? This would be the absolute best time for it to happen, as one of these two teams will have a win following this Friday’s game. And if that team so happens to be the Grand Forks Border Bruins, what would their record say then? It would say that they are tied with those previously mentioned ‘69/’70 Bruins in wins… with one, which would quite honestly say a lot.
Following Friday’s game, the Bears will play the Fernie Ghostriders on Oct. 23 at 2 p.m. and the Beaver Valley Nitehawks on Oct. 27 at 7:30 p.m. Both games are in Grand Forks.