Thursday, April 9, 2009

Grachev is Great

Got to hand it to Evgeny Grachev as just one day after being named as the OHL Rookie of the Year; Grachev showed why OHL General Managers voted that honor to him. Grachev scored his team leading 7th goal of the playoffs and added an assist as his Brampton Battalion earned a 4-2 win over the Mississauga St. Michael's Majors.

Grachev earned the game's second star as the Battalion held home ice to take a 3-2 series lead over the Majors as this hard fought series is more than likely going to come down to the 7th game given how close both teams have been.

As we have been saying all along, that the Majors do not have an answer for Grachev as his 6'5 200+ size makes him hard to stop when Grachev wants to do something. In this game Grachev helped get Brampton going in the first period as with the Battalion on a 4 on 1 rush Grachev fed Matt Duchene who's shot hit the post and right onto Anthony Peluso's stick who slammed it in for a 1-0 lead.

The Battalion scored 2 goals in the second to lead 3-0 when Grachev showed his finesse side by grabbing teammate Alexander Erikson's pass, used a stick fake and then went bar high right over Major goalie JP Anderson's glove. This one would look great on a video clip as Grachev had been using pure power during the first 4 games of this series.

Grachev is a magician who has more tricks up his sleeve than we have seen and what is scary is that Grachev has more magic tricks that nobody has yet to see. For Brampton to finish off the Majors then Grachev needs to repeat his performance of Game 5.

Grachev now is up to 7-7-14 points in 9 games which is good for 13th overall in the OHL playoff scoring race. Fellow prospect Michael Del Zotto is 15th thanks to 2-12-14 which together is the highest combo we have seen from Ranger prospects since the 1990s.

Grachev and company go for the series win Friday evening.


Also on Friday Tomas Kundratek and the Medicine Hat Tigers face the possibility of their WHL season coming to a 4-0 end in Brandon against the Wheat Kings. The more we see of the Wheat Kings the more we see a team that is going to be very tough to stop.

Tysen Dowzak and his Kelowna Rockets try to become the first team to win a road game in their series against the Tri-City Americans. This series has been about two things: each game has been decided by a power play goal and the home team has been the only team to get their power play working.

Dowzak is not scoring but his defense has gotten better with each passing game and that is a huge reason why his Kelowna team has gotten right back into this series.

(Grachev: Aaron Bell/OHL Images)

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