Saturday, March 22, 2008

When You Are Hot Your Hillier

Tonight's Star

So how do you follow up a 2-1-3 Game 1 if you are Ryan Hillier? Easy you go 1-2-3 in Game 2 to help his Halifax Mooseheads seriously whip the Victoriaville Tigres 11-1 and take a 2-0 series lead.

We won't rehash the struggles that Hillier went though but we will not deny that we are really happy to that Hillier is the hottest Ranger prospect there is.

Hillier got his evening going just as he did on Friday night by setting up teammate Bryce Swan for a power play goal in the first period which gave the Mooseheads a 3-0 lead.

Hillier added an even strength assist in the second period as Hillier set up Swan for Swan's second goal of the game which put the Mooseheads up 5-0. After Victoriaville scored their only goal of the game, Hillier scored his 3rd goal of the series (and 2nd on the power play) at 12:42 of the period.

After 2 playoff games, Hillier is 3-3-6, + 3, 2 power play goals, 2 power play assists along with 5 good hits. It also gives Hillier a 9 game scoring streak for the month of March as well as the Mooseheads a 2-0 series lead as the season now shifts to Victoriaville for games 3 and 4.

Going to the Frozen Dance

We send a shout out to Carl Hagelin and his top ranked Michigan Wolverines as they won the CCHA Tournament with a solid 2-1 win over Miami of Ohio. Hagelin did not score but was his normal force on the penalty kill helping to hold Miami to 1 for 5 on the power play (and the one goal was scored on a 6 on 4 power play).

Next up for Hagelin and the Wolverines is the automatic bid to the NCAAs for winning the CCHA tournament. The bids will announced Sunday morning at 11:30 AM on ESPN2.

Upset of the Evening

Someone forgot to tell David Skokan and his Rimouski Oceanic that they had any chance against the Baie-Comeau Drakkar. The Drakkar owned the Oceanic during the regular season going 9-1 against them.

Game one went to the Oceanic 3-0 as they played a solid defensive game which kept the Drakkar off balanced all evening long. Skokan was even, 2 SOG, 8-12 on face offs and 1 good hit.

Game 2 will be Sunday afternoon which might favor the Oceanic who won the game going away.

Having their Number

Bobby Sanguinetti set up Thomas Stajan for the game's tying goal but his Brampton Battalion lost Game 2 in the first overtime 3-2 to the Barrie Colts and now trail this series 2 games to none. One must wonder what the Battalion are thinking now that they have dropped their 10th straight playoff game to the Colts.

This is what we do know; that game 3 is an excellent test for us to learn about Bobby Sanguinetti. We hope to see Sanguinetti elevate his game when his team now needs it the most and be the leader we think he is.

The Rest of the Prospects

Justin Soryal and his Peterborough Petes might look back at game 3 against the Belleville Bulls and wonder what might have been. The Petes came back from down 3-1 to tie the game up but allowed a power play goal in the 3rd period to let Belleville escape with a 4-3 win and a 2-1 series lead.

The Petes scored 2 shorthanded goals but giving up 7 power plays was their down fall.

Danny Hobbs netted his 13th goal of the season but his Ohio Junior Bluejackets fell in overtime to the Waterloo Black Hawks 3-2. The Junior Bluejackets are for all purposes eliminated from playoff contention with the loss trailing the Chicago Steel by 14 points with 7 games remaining.

As we expected Antoine Lafleur paid for the failures of his Prince Edward Island Rocket teammates by being benched for game 2 against the Saint John Sea Dogs. It did not make a difference as the Rocket were whipped 7-3 and trail in the series 2-0.

The series now shifts back to PEI and we still expect Lafleur to ride the bench.

History Could Be Made

Eric Hunter and his University of Alberta Golden Bears could nothing but watch and hope as their fate was up to the University of McGill as they took on the University of Moncton in the final game of Pool B play at the CIS University Cup. If McGill won by 7 or fewer goals then the Golden Bears would get to play in the University Cup final.

McGill shut out Moncton 3-0 and now Sunday evening the Golden Bears have a chance to become the first team to lose their opening round game and come back to win the University Cup. The 2nd ranked Golden Bears will be facing top ranked University of New Brunswick.

If you live in Canada the game will be televised on Roger Sportsnet, if not then you can watch the game free on the web at this link. The Game starts at 8 PM Atlantic time (7 PM EDT/4 PM PDT). We wish the Golden Bears the best of luck in their quest to become Canada's National College Champions.


Poor Ice Conditions led to Game 2 of the Saginaw/Saute Ste Marie series being postponed. The OHL has made changes to the schedule of this season so now Game 2 will be played in Saute Ste Marie with Games 3 and 4 on Wednesday and Thursday in Saginaw.

Saginaw trails in this series 1-0
(Ryan Hillier picture courtesy of the Halifax Mooseheads)

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