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Sunday, April 3, 2011

OHL Playoffs - Day 10

Saginaw 5 Guelph 4 - Saginaw leads series 3-2

Guelph opened the scoring with a goal when Peter Holland scored at the 7:42 mark with assists from defensemen Stephen Gaskin and Goaltender Brandon Foote. Saginaw tied it on a unassisted power play goal by John McFarland at 17:44.

Jordan Szwarz gave the Saginaw an early lead with a goal at the 4:36 mark of the second period with assists going to Peter Hermenegildo and McFarland. Guelph’s Francis Menard tied it less then 3 minutes later when he was set up by Sam Lofquist and Zack Mitchell at the 7:07 mark.  Then Guelph took the lead at the 10:34 mark, with winger Scott Kosmachuk scoring from Andrey Pedan and Lofquist. Saginaw tied the game once more at three apiece near the end of the period, on power play goal. At 17:33 Josh Shalla scored with assists from Mathew Sisca and Szwarz. 

Saginaw captain Szwarz opened the third with a goal at the 5:16 mark, assisted by Ivan Telegin and McFarland, his 3rd point of the night, to give the Spirit a 4-3 lead. Once again the game would be tied when Guelph's Daniel Erlich scored at 9:05 with assists going to Taylor Beck and Matt Finn. Saginaw went ahead to stay at 11:46 center Vincent Trocheck tallied the game winning goal from Shalla.

Saginaw goalie Mavric Parks stopped 29 of 33 shots, while Storm goalie Brandon Foote stopped 26 of 31 shots and had an assist.


Kitchener 2 Plymouth 0 - Series tied 3-3

I said the other day I had a gut feeling that the Rangers would go with Morrison in goal for game 5 and they did, and they got the victory to stay alive. So why wouldn't the Rangers go back with Morrison for game 6? No reason; They did and they evened the series at 3 games apiece. Morrison stopped all 40 shots he faced for the victory. Scott Wedgewood stopped 35 of 36 for Plymouth.

The question now is; What does coach Steve Spott do with his goaltending on Monday? Do you go with the hot hand in Morrison, who would be playing his 3rd game in 4 days, something he hasn't done in the OHL, or do you go back to your number 1 goalie in Brandon Maxwell who's been in this situation before?

This time my gut tells me that Spott will go back with Maxwell for game 7.

As for the hero at the other end of the ice, once again it's

Ryan Murphy, red Mohawk and all. Murphy put the Rangers on the board with his second of the playoffs at 7:06.  His point shot bounced off a couple of defenders and into the net three seconds into a powerplay. Jason Akeson, who scored his first goals of the series on Friday, assisted on the Murphy goal.

For the second straight game Plymouth didn't have another comeback in them. Jerry D'Amigo closed it out with and empty net goal with assists from Michael Catenacci and Jonathan Jasper.

Not many expected Plymouth to come this far including yours truly. And the Whalers are by no means done. It's a game 7 where anything can happen, it's winner take all. I'll stick with Kitchener, but I am by no means as confident in saying that as I was prior to game 1. Good luck to both teams on Monday.


Owen Sound 6 London 0 - Owen Sound leads series 6-0

I had to get a shot of Logan here who proudly wore his Jared Knight jersey to the game after making the 3 hour trek from London with his parents and a contingent of fans from London. He even got his picture taken with the Owen Sound mascot. It was strange seeing a Knight Jersey and Attack jersey hugging happily.

Logan and his fellow Knight's fans didn't have too much to cheer about on this night, but I'm sure he will be at the John Labatt Center on Sunday cheering on Jared and the Knights.

As for the game itself, strange things happened before the drop of the puck. First it was announced that Stephen Sanza would miss game 5. Jared Knight would stay on the checking line where he scored twice in game 4 playing with MacEachern and Sanza. Then I learned that Vladimir Namestnikov would be filling in Sanza's spot and I scratched my head.

But it gets even more confusing. The Attack announce that Jordan Binnington, who carried them in goal for most of the season, would be scratched and Michael Zador would start the game. And yes, Scott Stajcer was back and backing up Zador.

This game had chippy moments especially with Michael Houser being run at least 4 times in the first period alone and a couple of more times in the 2nd with only one goalie interference call made. Houser was thrown off his game and he didn't have his best game and he was pulled in favor of Igor Bobkov at 13:44 of the 2nd.

It wasn't a knock on Houser as the team couldn't muster much offense with only 14 shots on goal in the game, and just 1 in the third. This was a move by Hunter, with the game already decided to save his number one goalie for the next day.

One thing I've seen in Houser in 2 seasons with the Knights is his ability to fight through adversity and to bounce back stronger than ever. Back to back tough games are not in his repertoire. I called this series to go 7 games and still believe it will. Not only will Houser steal the show in game 6, he'll be the show.

Finally, in the third, another odd move by the Attack. With Zador riding a shutout, Coach Reeds pulls him in favor of Stajcer to finish the game. Likely to to London Coach Dale Hunter's comments about the Attack running Houser earlier in the series. Let the head games begin....

For all the scoring, check out the boxscore

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