Monday, February 14, 2011

Getting Invited to the Party

The Sunday Report of New York Ranger and New York Islander prospects goes the opposite of yesterday's report as today's theme is about those who already have their ticket to the playoffs and now are jockeying for position.

4 games out of the OHL's Eastern Conference directly impacted everyone in the standing whether they won or lost. This is going to be really good race to the finish.

Jason Wilson (NYR 2010 5th) and his Niagara IceDogs have already clinched a spot in the first round of the OHL playoffs. But they are aiming for the first seed out of the OHL's Eatern Conference and the home ice advantage that goes with it.

After a 3-1 win over the Brampton Battalion, that goal is much closer than before as the IceDogs pulled to within 4 points of the current conference leader the Mississauga St. Michaels Majors

Wilson and his linemates Freddie Hamilton and Ryan Strome were the entire offense for the IceDogs who made 3 second period goals stand up. Hamilton earned the game's second star with a 2-1-3 +3 effort, Wilson the 3rd star after his 1-2-3 +3 and Strome was 0-3-3 +3.

After Hamilton scored 21 seconds into the second period to open the scoring, Wilson scored his 14th goal of the season at 4:03 to give the IceDogs a 2-0 lead and then Hamilton off a feed from Wilson finished the scoring at 7:20. Wilson's goal turned out to be the game winner his 3rd of the season after Brampton scored 1 in the third period to make it 3-1.

The win extends the IceDog's unbeaten streak to 7 games as they have gone 8-1-0-1 in their last 10.

Casey Cizikas (NYI 2009 4th) and his Mississauga St. Michaels opened the door for the IceDogs by losing  to the Ottawa 67's 4-2. Cizikas had a secondary assist for the Majors on their first goal is now 27-29-56, +35 which is tops among all Islander prospects.

Mississauga lost their 2nd straight game which equals their longest losing streak of the season have only lost 10 games in regulation and 2 in the shoot out to go 40-10-0-2. The 67's are currently the 2nd seed in the Eastern Conference 10 points behind the Majors but as the current leaders of the East Division only have a 6 point lead over 4th seeded Oshawa Generals.

On their second attempt Christian Thomas (NYR 2010 2nd) and his Oshawa Generals punched their ticket to the OHL playoffs by defeating the Belleville Bulls 6-4.   The Generals will be making their appearance in the playoffs since 2008.

Thomas continues his hot play with his 42nd goal of the season (new career high) and added his 33rd assist for his 34th multi-point game of the season moves up to 8th in overall scoring. To give you an idea how hot Thomas is last month was 9-6-15 in 12 games and this month in just 6 games Thomas is 8-7-15.

Dan Maggio (NYR 2009 6th) had his 5th assist since joining the Generals to go along with a +3, Tony DeHart (NYI 2010 5th) added his 20th and Calvin De Haan (NYI 2009 1st) was scoreless. Next up for the Generals is a game with Mississauga on Wednesday night.

If the OHL playoffs were to start tomorrow then it would be the Generals taking on Ethan Werek (NYR 2009 2nd) and his Kingston Frontenacs in the first round. We said tomorrow because after getting whipped 10-3 by the Erie Otters, the Frontenacs have lost 4 straight games and their hold on the 5th seed is down to 3 points.

Werek had an assist on Kingston's 3rd goal for his 21st assist and 38th point but Kingston who entered this season with higher expectations then being a 500 team as they are now. They are pretty safe bet to make the playoffs but they do not want to lose their 5 seed since at 6 they would face either Mississauga or Niagara which  is asking to be 1 and done season is over.

Out west, Roman Horak and his Chilliwack Bruins saw their 3 game winning streak come to a crashing halt after Tri-City spanked them 6-1. We are going to bite our tongue and not rant about a team playing it's 3rd game in 3 nights.

Horak had a secondary assist on Chilliwack's only goal to give him 40 assists on the season and extend his scoring streak to 7 straight (4-6-10).


Monday night if you are anywhere in the NESN viewing area, Chris Kreider and his top ranked Boston College Eagles will be taking on Northeastern in the finals of the 59th annual Beanpot Tournament. The Eagles are looking for their second straight title.

Memo to Paul Kelly and his College Hockey Inc, if you want to help sell NCAA hockey then you have to find a way to get events like this off regional sports networks and onto an ESPNU or Fox Sports. The Beanpot is more than a game it is a fun event that sadly most do not get to see.

(Images: Wilson, Thomas, and Cizikas/ OHL Images-Aaron Bell and Terry Wilson)

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