Friday, March 21, 2008

An Upsetting Evening

Peterborough 5 Belleville 4 OT

Three Ranger prospects got to see action on Thursday evening but only Justin Soryal got to be happy about the outcome of his game as upsets were the order of business for the evening.

Justin Soryal scored his first career playoff goal as his Peterborough Petes jumped out to a 4-2 lead but wound up winning in the first overtime 5-4 to even up their series with the Belleville Bulls at 1 game each.

As we mentioned yesterday, the OHL has a very different schedule system for the playoffs and the Petes took advantage of it using their home ice to tie up this series.

For Soryal his first career playoff goal was also just his 3rd career playoff point in 33 playoff games. It was exactly the kind of goal Ranger fans should expect from Soryal as he deflected linemate John Armstrong's shot past the Belleville goalie which gave the Petes a 4-2 lead.

Soryal also had 4 minutes in penalties while being even in the plus/minus. The series will return to Belleville for game 3 on Saturday evening.

Barrie 3 Brampton 1

Brampton coach Stan Butler warned his players not to take Barrie lightly despite their record and being the 7th seed. Turns out Butler was right as the Barrie Colts stole home ice away from the Battalion by coming back with 3 unanswered goals to win game one of their series and take a 1-0 series lead.

Bobby Sanguinetti had an assist on the Battalion's only goal which was on the power play just 40 seconds into the second period. A "spirited" affair was one way to describe this game while Brampton supporters were very unhappy with what they called "questionable officiating" among other issues they had complaints about.

Here is one they should worry about: With the win the Colts now have won 9 straight playoff games against the Battalion dating back to 2006. Game 2 will be Saturday evening in Barrie.

Moncton 2 Alberta 1 OT

Eric Hunter and his University of Alberta Golden Bear took can only blame themselves as they put themselves into the position of having to come from the loser's pool to try to win the CIS University Cup. The Golden Bears really only have themselves to play as they repeatedly made mistakes and took bad penalties while failing to take advantage of their own chances such as going 0 for 4 on their power plays.

The Golden Bears now need to come back on Friday evening and beat McGill to try to become the first team to losing their opening round game and then win the University Cup something that has not happened since the CIS went to a 6 team round robin tournament.

The QMJHL Playoffs

Ryan Hillier and his Halifax Mooseheads open their quest for the Memorial Cup by hosting 8th seeded Victoriaville. Given all the upsets that have already happened in the playoffs we are not going to take any team lightly but realistically the only way for the Mooseheads to lose this series is going to be if they defeat themselves with the inconsistent play that has plagued them over the last couple of months.

The Mooseheads are too deep and too talented at every position to allow this series to go past 5 games.

David Skokan and his Rimouski Oceanic are huge underdogs as they face Baie-Comeau in their first round match up as Baie-Comeau went 9-1 in the season series between the 2 teams during the regular season. We do not expect the playoffs to be any different as we think that if the Oceanic even win a game against the 7th ranked team in the entire CHL.

However if it means anything Skokan's fellow prospect Antoine Lafleur actually thinks the Oceanic can force this series to go 7 games.

Speaking of Antoine Lafleur and his Prince Edward Island Rocket, they are taking on the 2nd seeded Saint John's Sea Dogs in a series that on paper looks like a huge mismatch as the Sea Dogs went 5-1 on the year against the Rocket including 2 double digit wins.

What the Rocket do have that the Sea Dogs do not is 2 advantages, the first being a more experience playoff team (a total of 16 years to just 2 for the Sea Dogs) and a coach Guy Chouinard who has coached in 144 QMJHL playoff games and won 78 of them which are both QMJHL records. Since nobody wants to give the Rocket a chance we will as we think that if Lafleur plays like he did last season then the Rocket have a huge chance at the upset so we say Rocket in 6 games. If Lafleur of this season shows up then the Rocket are going to be gone in a hurry.

CCHA Final Four

Carl Hagelin and his top ranked Michigan Wolverines are facing Northern Michigan who are coached by former Ranger assistant Walt Kyle in one CCHA semi-final on Friday evening. It is almost a given that Michigan is going to the NCAAs but the question is where and what seed.

Win the CCHA and the Wolverines will get a 1 seed and perhaps a closer regional than having to go on the road. Lose however and they could find themselves in a very tough regional trying to make it to the Frozen Four.

We believe that Michigan will win the CCHA Tournament and earn a spot in the Mid-West Regional

(Soryal picture courtesy of the Peterborough Petes)

No comments: