Sunday, March 9, 2008

That Two Goal Lead

Sudbury 3, Brampton 2

Almost as long as organized hockey has been played have coaches warned their teams about putting away teams when they had them down. They always will say that if you give a team life then they will come back to haunt you with a loss.

Sunday was such a game for Bobby Sanguinetti and his Brampton Battalion as they had jumped out to a 2-0 first period lead over the Sudbury Wolves thanks to Sanguinetti's 28th and 29th goals of the season.

It really looked as the teams were midway through the 2nd period that the Troop were going to reduce their magic number for clinching the OHL's Central Division to 2 points when some strange things started happening.

A transformer in the area blew out and cause an 11 minute power outage at the arena midway in the 2nd period. When the power was restored, so had the Sudbury Wolves been restored as well. Despite taking a 2-0 lead into the dressing room after the 2nd period, momentum clearly was in the favor of the Wolves despite not scoring.

With the Battalion coaching staff warning their team about finishing off the Wolves, it never happened and in the 3rd period, the expected happened as the Wolves scored 3 goals in a span of 8:33 to come back and defeat the Battalion 3-2.

This could be a loss that really hurts the Troop as second place Niagara also won and cut the Battalion lead to just 3 points with 4 games remaining. The team that finishes 2nd in the OHL's East Conference will wind up seeded 4th for the playoffs something that the Battalion are not wanting.

As for Sanguinetti who despite the loss earned the Game's Second Star, his two goals puts him one short of the his goal of 30 goals on the season. It also regained the prospect scoring lead as Sanguinetti is 29-39-68 on the season.

Kitchener 4, Saginaw 3 OT

Tomas Zaborsky seems to like last second heroics only on Sunday it was a temporary measure as Zaborsky assisted on the game tying goal at 19:14 to force overtime before losing in the overtime session 4-3 to the Kitchener Rangers. For those who do not know the Kitchener Rangers are the top ranked team in all of the CHL posting 52-10-1-2 record on the season.

If the OHL season was to end today this would also be a first round OHL playoff matchup and the Spirit showed they could hang with the OHL's very best team. They just might be rooting for Zaborsky and his Spirit team to finish with a higher seed.

For Zaborsky this was his second straight game with a point in the last minute having scored a game winner on Saturday with just 9 seconds remaining. Zaborsky now is 31-36-67 +14 on the season.

Halifax 5, Prince Edward Island 4 SO

Ryan Hillier set up teammate Brad Marchand's 29th goal in the second period to tie the score at 3 as his Halifax Mooseheads went back and forth with Antoine Lafleur's Prince Edward Island Rocket before earning a win in the shoot out 5-4.

For Hillier who had a horrible month of February, March is being much nicer to him as Hillier is 5-2-7 in 4 games after going 10 games without a goal and 1-3-4 during February.

Hillier told us that during the slump he worked with his coaches on going back to the basics and concentrating on doing the little things. What we liked to hear was that Hillier said it was an education for himself as he now realizes how much harder he has to work if he wants to play at the next level.

For Hillier now the goal is to clinch the first seed in the QMJHL Eastern Division as his Mooseheads enter the final week of the regular season with a 3 point lead over St. John and would like to avoid a final day war against St. Johns next Sunday.

Antoine Lafleur was the backup for Prince Edward Island who hold a 4 point lead for the final playoff spot in the East Division with 4 games remaining on their schedule.

If come playoff time Lafleur does not get the start ahead of rookie goalie Marc-Antoine Gelinas then clearly the writing is on the wall for Lafleur to try his luck elsewhere next season if he had any hope of a Ranger contract.

Right now one has to believe that if this was Lafleur's 2nd season as a draft pick that he would not be offered a contract by the Rangers. Lafleur has the right "tools" but what ails his game we simply have no idea.

Rimouski 3, Drummondville Voltigeurs 2

So why exactly is David Skokan smiling like he is? Could it be that when we did our first half breakdown that we said he needed 20 goals to earn a Ranger contract that he is sitting at 18 goals with 3 games remaining in his Oceanic's regular season?

Sunday it was Skokan's 18th goal of the season that got his Oceanic going as they won their 4th straight game 3-2 over the Drummondville Voltigeurs. The Oceanic are one of the QMJHL's hottest teams going 8-2 in their last ten game climbing into 6th place in the QMJHL's "Telus" Division and clinching a playoff spot as well.

While all the big names keep getting the hype, here is this 7th round pick who could be a steal for the Rangers as a solid 2 way performer. With his goal, Skokan is now 18-21-39 on the season having set new highs in both goals and points.

(Picture Credits: Sanguinetti/Brampton Battalion, Zaborsky/Saginaw Spirit, Lafleur/PEI Rocket, Skokan/Rimouski Oceanic)

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