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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Memorial Cup : Owen Sound Attack

The Attack finished the regular season first in the Western Conference and second overall In the OHL. They appear in the Memorial Cup as the OHL Champions. They were second in the OHL with 283 goals scored in the regular season and sixth in goals against with 215.

How they got here :

Round 1 : Beat the London Knights 4-2. It took overtime for the Attack to win game 1 at home 3-2. Game 2 moved to London and the Knights took that game 5-1. Back in Owen Sound for game 3, the Attack prevailed with a 5-3 victory. In London for game 4 once again, the Knights took the game 5-2. The Attack would shut out the Knights in games 5 & 6, 6-0 at home and 1-0 in London.

Round 2 : Owen Sound would sweep the Plymouth Whalers 4-0. They were victorious in over time in game one, 4-3 at home. Game two was in Plymouth with the Attack pulling out a 3-2 victory. Games 3 and 4 both ended in 4-1 scores, with game 3 being at home and game 4 in Plymouth.

Round 3 Owen Sound would defeat the Windsor Spitfires 4 games to 1 to win the Western Conference Championship. Game one was all Owen Sound as they took the game 8-1 on home ice. Windsor would win game two on home ice 4-2. Owen Sound would take game three back at home 6-4 and game four back in Windsor 3-2. They would close out the series with a 10-4 pasting at home.

Round 4 : Owen Sound would win the series 4-3 over the Mississauga St Mikes Majors capturing the OHL Championship. After losing the first two games 5-2 and 6-2 on the road and at home respectively, they would take the next two in Overtime. Game three was 6-5 in Mississauga while game four was 2-1 at home.  Mississauga would take the series lead once again with a 7-3 win at home. Owen Sound would tie it with a win on home ice itself with a 3-2 win. And the stage would be set for an epic game seven show down that went into overtime with the Attack taking it 3-2, and with it the title of OHL Champions.

There may be more questions about the Attack heading into the Memorial Cup than answers right now. First and foremost is who will be the goaltender of choice? Jordan Binnington would seem to be the logical choice. He came in and closed out the Majors in game 6 and 7 after not playing for over a month after being scratched after game 4 of the Knights series in favor of Michael Zador and then the returning Matt Stajcer who was out with an injury.

When Stajcer was out for most of the season, Binnington carried the team to the top of the Western Conference. But he faltered in round one but did come back with a vengeance in the finals. And there is power forward and 28 goal scorer Andrew Fritsch who only played in 7 playoff games, missing most with an injury. He too returned for the final two games of the Finals.

Fritsch can and will provide open ice for Joey Hishon, who's goal production dropped dramatically in the playoffs with only 5 goals. The Attack will need more from Hishon in this tournament and that's where Fritsch may just come in.

Including Binnington, Owen Sound has a handful of draft eligibles available for the first time for the NHL Entry Draft. here's a look at their stats:

Hard to determine whether winning the OHL title will be a motivation for Owen Sound or whether they will suffer a let down after winning what to a man they called "the more important title".

My gut tells me they are looking at third place.

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