Friday, February 18, 2011

Difference Makers

Thursday Night Hockey for New York Ranger and New York Islander prospect was about those who made a difference in the outcome of their games.

Nobody was a bigger difference maker than Ethan Werek (2009 2nd) who carried his Kingston Frontenacs to a 6-5 win over the Peterbough Petes. Werek had his second 4 point game but this one included his first OHL career hat trick.

Werek and his Frontenacs snapped a 4 game losing streak while welcoming back star defender Eric Gudbranson from an 8 game suspension. In the first period, Werek got his night going with a secondary assist on Kingston's first goal of the game at 5:22.

Werek then got his first goal with his 18th of the year at 12:02 which gave Kingston a 2-0 lead. In the second period after the Fronts and Petes traded goals (with former Ranger prospect Mitch Gaulton scoring for the Fronts); Werek snapped in his 19th goal at the 11 minute mark for a 4-1 Kingston lead.

Peterborough scored 2 goals late in the 2nd period to cut the score to 4-3 so as they started the 3rd period, Werek needed just 45 seconds into the period to score his 20th goal for a 5-3 lead and finishing off the hat trick.

A badly needed win for Kingston thanks to Werek's efforts as he rightfully earned the game's first star. Werek improved to 20-22-42 on the season but also helped prove that Kingston's season is going to be determined by Werek's play. 13 points behind 4th seeded Oshawa and 5 points ahead of 6th seeded Brampton simply says Kingston should use their remaining 14 games in the regular season to sharpen up their game and come together as a team.

OK first things first; Jason Wilson (NYR 5th) of the Niagara IceDogs is a recent interview for the Blueshirt Bulletin, Jeff Blay a recently made new friend works for the IceDogs and the coach and general manager of the IceDogs, Marty Williamson is one of the very first coaches who exchanged emails back when he coached Barrie.

So after saying all that you can either believe or not that the match up between Niagara and Owen Sound was the very worst officiated game we have ever watched in the OHL. Anytime the on-ice officials have a direct affect on the outcome of a game then something is very wrong.

So here is the only thing that everyone can agree on which is that the Owen Sound Attack won the game 4-3.  No argument that the IceDogs played a weak game costing them a chance to pull within 2 points of idle Mississauga.

The problem begins on what led to the eventual victory.

The Owen Sound version right here does not make any mention of the fireworks that the Niagara version right here does. Now our version is more in line with the Niagara version but we did not know at the time what caused Marty Williamson to go nuclear until postgame.

Williamson for the first time in his OHL coaching career was given a game misconduct after he blew a fuse which he claims was lit when this reportedly happened:

From the St. Catherines Standard

"He comes over and tells me my star player (Ryan Strome) deserved to get punched in the face," Williamson said. "That's just unacceptable for this level to be mouthing off that way and to tell me something like that.

What happened was Joey Hishon of the Attack was heading to the penalty box when Ryan Strome of the IceDogs had words with Hishon and it led to a bit of a scrum. Hishon threw a punch (glove still on), Strome went down but Strome got called for "unsportsmanlike conduct".

Now here is a thought that we really wished would have come to a reality. Can anyone anywhere picture some ref going up to John Tortorella and saying that Marian Gaborik deserved to get punched in the face?

You want to talk about your "Sportscenter moment"; your true nuclear meltdown and what would have been the single most entertaining moment in the NHL this season.

Add that to the bench minor given to Williamson so instead of a Niagara power play it becomes a Owen Sound 4 on 3 power play. Owen Sound wins, Niagara in our eyes looked past Owen Sound with a huge game on Sunday against Mississauga possibly for first place in the OHL's Eastern Conference.

As for Jason Wilson, he did not score, really did nothing special but somehow was named the first star of the game. We would have given it to Steven Shipley who had a goal as well as a fight.

In the QMJHL, Kirill Kabanov (NYI 2010 3rd) had an assist for his 13th assist and 21st point on the season but it was not enough as his Lewiston Maineaics let a 3-1 lead slip away and become a 4-3 loss to the Montreal Junior. What looked for sure like a Lewiston win wound up as their 4th straight loss.

The Maineaic have fallen to 8th place in the QMJHL as they have gone 5-5 in their last 10 games. The further they fall the harder their first round opponent is going to be.

(Werek/ OHL Images/Aaron Bell)

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