Plymouth 4 Kitchener 2 - Plymouth winds series 4-3 (Prediction: Kitchener in 5)
Well, I was a little off on this one as many others were. But give full credit to Plymouth as they played a "Whale" of a series.
If you only happened to catch last nights game it was indicative of the way the Whale played. There was always a forward back, especially when they had the lead. They absolutely owned the neutral zone and, with the exception of Murphy rushing up the ice, stymied the Rangers between the blue lines.
And of course there was the last line of defense, goaltender Scott Wedgewood. The New Jersey Devils prospect stopped 37 of 39 shots. And some were huge including 2 miracle saves in close on Gabriel Landeskog. He finishes the series stopping 285 of 307 shots with a 3.05 GAA and .928 SV%.
At the other end, Mike Morrison got the start and stopped 30 of 33 shots. His almost 90 minutes of shutout hockey came to an end when Richard Whaley scored at 9:21 of the first to give the Whale a 1-0 lead.
Robbie Czarnick scored at 14:51 to make it 2-0 with assists going to Stephan Noesen and Colin MacDonald, who also got the lone assist on Czarnick's goal.
Just when it looked like Plymouth was in total control, Gabriel Landeskog scored on a set up from Jason Akeson and Ryan Murphy on the power play at 5:17 of the third.
Again Plymouth took control of the game until they took a penalty at 12:57 of the third. With Wedgewood making save after save and frustrating the Rangers, Gabriel Landeskog went hard to the net and although he took a slight push, ran into Wedgewood taking him out. Wedgewwod laid on the ice for a few moments and Landeskog took a penalty.
Playing 4 on 4 Jerry D'Amigo scored to tie the game with assists again going to Akeson and Murphy. It was a bit of a fluky goal as the puck bounced in off a Whaler defender.
At 16:56 James Livingston scored a soft goal back for the Whalers. He threw a harmless shot towards the net that just caught the post to the right of Morrison and into the net. It was probably a shot Morrison would like to have back.
At 18:13 things got interesting when Jamie Devane threw a high elbow that caught Ryan Murphy in the head. Murphy looked a little dazed but stayed in the game and Devane was assessed a 5 minute major and game misconduct. The league will most definitely look at this hit.
If the Rangers could somehow tie it, they would start the overtime with 3:13 of power play time. Coach Steve Spott decided to pull his goaltender and go 6 skaters against 4. But it didn't help and the Whalers got an empty netter Tyler Brown with 2 seconds remaining.
For Plymouth, Stephan Noesen finished the series with 4 goals and 5 assists for 9 points in the 7 games. Rickard Rakell returned last night for his first game and was pointless. On Kitchener's side, Gabriel Landeskog had 6 goals and 4 assists for 10 points and Ryan Murphy had 2 goals and 9 assists for 11 points.
Up next for Murphy is the Ivan Hlinka Under 18 Tournament for team Canada in Germany where he will join his good friend Daniel Catenacci, who took in the game last night with Murphy's other good friend Barclay Goodrow.
There's just one series left to be decided and that also will be a game 7 tonight between Windsor and Erie. My prediction for that was Erie in 7 so I have to cheer for Erie as my record now is a measly 5 for 7. The winner of that series goes on to face Saginaw in round 2.
I'll have a preview of round 2 on Thursday with some of those series beginning Thursday night.