Friday, March 21, 2008

This Hill is Alive

Tonight's Star

The true test of a person's character is how they handle the worst of times. It is easy to handle life when things are going nice and smooth but what happens when things look like they are falling apart?

Ryan Hillier had the a month of February where nothing seemed to go right as he could not score a goal no matter what he tried. However despite all his struggles, Hillier maintained a positive attitude and even turned his bad times into a learning experience.

Hillier told us that he learned a lot during his struggles and how he realizes that he needs to work on his all-around game if he wants to make it to the next level. He never stopped believing in himself and now it is paying off.

Halifax 6 Victoriaville 2

Ryan Hillier had 2 goals and an assist to help the Mooseheads take Game one of their series with Victoriaville with little trouble. Hillier got his playoff season going setting up the first of teammate Bryce Swan's hat trick just 2:00 into the game on the power play. Later in the first period with the Mooseheads up 2-1, Hillier scored the first of his 2 goals as teammate Swan returned the favor and set Hillier up for a power play goal at 16:46.

While that goal proved to be the game winner, Hillier added his second goal of the evening in the second period taking a pass from teammate Brad Marchand and converting it for the Mooseheads 6th goal of the evening at 17:58. In the 3rd Hillier had several chances for the hat trick including one that appeared to have gone in but was waved off by the officials.

Since March 1, Hillier has gone 8-7-15 in 8 games and if Hillier continues to play like this then the Mooseheads are going to make some serious noise in the QMJHL playoffs. Halifax will look to take a 2-0 series lead on Saturday evening.

Saint Johns 10 Prince Edward Island 4

No that is not a misprint as Antoine Lafleur's PEI Rocket simply were no-shows in game 1 of their QMJHL series with the Saint John Sea Dogs. It is rare when a goalie can give up 5 goals in the game's first 30 minutes and not be totally to blame but that was the case in this smoker.

It was bad enough that Lafleur faced 20 shots on goal in his half game (his replacement faced 26) but the lack of smart play is what killed the Rocket in this game. Lafleur actually was keeping the Rocket in the game but 2 straight short handed goals put the game out of reach and led to Lafleur getting the hook.

It is a shame that people are going to see this score, see that Lafleur gave up the goals that he did and think he was the problem. Far from it as when you are facing clean breakaways with no help then you are at the disadvantage. The shame is that Lafleur is more than likely going to be replaced even though his replacement fared no better than he did.

Michigan 6 Northern Michigan 4

This CCHA semi-final was a lot closer than the score indicates as Northern Michigan came ever so close to pulling off their second straight major upset of the CCHA tournament. Carl Hagelin and his Wolverines were very guilty of looking past Northern Michigan and at the CCHA finals where Miami of Ohio were awaiting.

In fact going into the 3rd period the top ranked Wolverines were trailing 3-2 and if not for a late goal at 16:00 of the period were headed to sudden death overtime. Northern Michigan may have been the lesson that the Wolverines really needed as maybe now they will realize that they are the hunted as many want to finish with that number one ranking that Michigan has held most of the season.

Hagelin was moved back to left wing for this game and while he had 5 shots even if he did not score, we question the move. Hagelin played his best hockey of the season last weekend back at his original position of center so with no disrespect intended toward Red Berenson we think he made a mistake. Going scoreless also ended Hagelin's 3 game goal streak as Michigan gets ready for the CCHA Final against Miami of Ohio on Saturday Evening (a shame that it is only on FSN Detroit).

Saute Ste Marie 5 Saginaw 4

Tomas Zaborsky's Saginaw Spirit put up a good fight but the Greyhounds simply had too much depth for the Spirit to overcome getting goals from 4 different scorers to take game one of their OHL Western Conference series. Zaborsky was held off the scoresheet and they proved to be one of the differences as the Spirit are going to need his offense if they have any dream of the upset.

Game 2 will be in Saginaw on Saturday.

Alberta 7 McGill 3

We will report the easy stuff first as this one will get very complicated later on but Eric Hunter's Alberta Golden Bears kept their dream of winning the CIS University Cup alive with a 7-3 win over the McGill Redman in Pool B round robin play. Hunter was kept off the scoreboard for the 2nd straight game.

OK now let us explain the one thing we know for sure which is for the Golden Bears to advance to Sunday's University Cup final they need McGill to now come back on Saturday to defeat Moncton by 7 goals or less.

So the Golden Bears are needing the team they just defeated (McGill) to defeat the team (Moncton) that had defeated the Golden Bears on Thursday but only by 7 goals or less as if it is more than 7 goals then McGill will steal the spot in the finals for themselves. A very strange concept.

Rimouski/Baie-Comeau Postponed

Bad weather forced the cancellation of game one of this QMJHL series because QMJHL officials were unable to make it to the game site. The series will now start Saturday with Game two now reset for Sunday.

Playoff Leaders

1-Ryan Hillier Halifax 2-1-3
2-Justin Soryal Peterborough 1-0-1
3-Bobby Sanguinetti Brampton 0-1-1

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