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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Mississauga A Victory From Championship After 7-3 Win Over Owen Sound

The Mississauga St Mikes Majors are just one win away from the OHL Championship after a decisive 7-3 victory over the Owen Sound Attack last night at the Hershey Center in Mississauga.

Michael Zador got the start in goal for Owen Sound, while who else but JP Anderson got the start for Mississauga. Zador's night didn't go to well, but more on that later.

Rob Flick got the ball rolling for Mississauga at the 6:57 mark with his 8th goal of the playoffs with the lone assist going to Riley Brace. Justin Shugg followed that up with his 9th on the power play from Stuart Percy and Casey Cizikaz at the 9:01 mark of the first period.

It would also be just the 6th shot on goal for Mississauga at the time and it marked the end of the night for Zador as Coach Mark Reeds yanked him in favor of Scott Stajcer. The Hershey Center had a throng of Attack fans who made the trip for the game, and many asked each other why Zador got the start to begin with.

Shortly after the switch, the Majors took a 3-0 lead when Maxim Kitsyn scored his ninth from Michael D'Orazio and Brett Flemming. It was the Majors second power play goal of the period. Devante Smith-Pelly would make it 4-0 with his 12th goal from Cizikas and Flemming at 15:46.

However, Owen Sound would get two goals back before the close of the period. At 17:06 Jarrod Maidens would get his 4th to make it 4-1 from Liam Heelis and Jesse Blacker. Then, 2:02 later, the Attack would pull within 2 when Keevin Cutting scored his second from Garrett Wilson and Cameron Brace to close out a wild first period.

Mississauga would direct 8 more shots at Stajcer in the opening frame and go 2/3 on the power play. Owen Sound had 16 shots at Anderson and were 0/1 on the power play.

The second period saw no scoring as Mississauga would out shoot Owen Sound 12-9 in the period. Mississauga's penalty killing was again perfect thwarting Owen Sound on one opportunity while having none of their own.

But just 1:19 into the third a power play marker by Robby Mignardi put Owen Sound on the verge of a comeback. It was Mignardi's 15th of the play offs. Joey Hishon and Blacker assisted on the goal that made it 4-3.

At 11:46 Shugg scored his second of the game to put the Majors back up by two with Smith-Pelly drawing the assist. After that, all hell broke loose with 14 penalties being called the rest of the way. There were just eight in the first two periods.

Smith-Pelly would notch two power play goals to complete the hat trick. The first came at 14:49 from Percy and Cizikas. His second of the period came 16:17 from Shugg and Marc Cantin. That made it 7-3 and closed out the scoring.

The game would end with the Majors out shooting the Attack 35-30. Owen Sound was 1/3 on the power play on the evening while Mississauga was 4/6.

Game 6 goes Thursday night at the Bayshore Arena in Owen Sound when its do-or-die for the Attack, at least for the OHL Championship as they still have the Memorial Cup to look forward to. But Coach Reeds will have some decisions to make starting in goal.

Just as the Attack fans were questioning Zador's start in the first period, they began questioning Stajcer at the end of the game and some suggested that it's time for Jordan Binnington to make a start. Binnington is one of the top ranked OHL goalies for the NHL Entry Draft in June and hasn't made a start since giving way to Zador since round one against the London Knights.

Binnington has dressed as a backup once in the final series to Stajcer. When Stajcer got injured early in the season, it was Binnington who carried Owen Sound the rest of the way and to the top of the Western Conference standings. Some feel it's time to give the net back to him.

The problem this presents to Reeds is there is no tomorrow, unless he is strictly looking towards the Memorial Cup. But for the OHL Championship, it's one loss and go home. That's quite the risk to take on a goalie who's last complete game start was March 29th.

My guess is that Stajcer will get the nod for game six. He's the number one and has the experience. But, Binnington will back him up instead of Zador and should Stajcer falter, Binnington would get his chance. But I wouldn't wager any money on that.

The other question facing Reeds: "Is it time to start Andrew Fritsch?" He's only dressed for 5 playoff games this year and has two assists and is a plus three. But he had 28 goals and 63 points in 60 games this season and its obvious the Attack need help scoring goals, especially on the power play.

Mind you, he had only dressed for four games because he was out with a lower body injury, but he did make one appearance on May 3rd in this series, a 5-3 Majors win. Some say Joey Hishon's lack of goal production is due to the absence of Fritsch. But if he re-injured himself the Attack are being quiet about it and Hishon's scoring woes will continue.


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