Tuesday, April 26, 2011

1 Can Be The Toughest Number

For 1 New York Ranger and 1 New York Islander prospect, Monday night helped to move them both to 1 win away from a date in the OHL finals.

Casey Cizikas and his Mississauga St. Micheals Majors used a 4 goal second period outburst to a close game open and lead to a 6-1 win over Jason Wilson and the Niagara IceDogs. The win gave the Majors a commanding 3-1 series lead and a chance to win the OHL Eastern Conference Championship on home ice Tuesday night.

Neither Cizikas and Wilson figured in the scoring but Cizikas and his line were big reasons why Wilson and his line were non-factors in this game. Cizikas and his linemates showed why they were part of the OHL's best defense as they smothered Wilson's line preventing them from gaining any serious scoring chances but keeping the IceDog fans pretty quiet.

Mississauga appears to have broken the spirit of the IceDogs as the win was the 10th in 12 meetings between the 2 teams this season. The Majors were already guaranteed a spot in the 2011 Memorial Cup as the host team but having won 21 out of their last 22 games; they plan on going in as OHL champions not just the hosts.

No that is not Scott Stajcer scoreboard watching but after a weak effort in game 3 of his Owen Sound Attack's series with the Windsor Spitfires; Stajcer rebounded with a strong 26 save effort to lead the Attack to a 3-2 win and a 3-1 series lead.

On Tuesday night, the Attack will have a chance in front of their home fans to give them a double gift that the team has not had since moving to Owen Sound in 1986.

A win alone puts the Attack into the OHL finals for the very first time since they were known as the Guelph Platers in 1986. But a win combined with a win by Mississauga would also guarantee the Attack a spot in the 2011 Memorial Cup as the 2nd OHL representative whether they win the OHL title or not.

Stajcer improved to 7-1 with a 1.83 Goals Against and a 0.937 Save Percentage and it is really going to be interesting to see if Stajcer can keep this kind of performance up in the OHL finals as well as the Memorial Cup.

With the Rangers having to decide whether or not to sign Stajcer right now his numbers would open the door for some serious criticism if they did not sign him given their lack of goaltender depth in the system.

For us at Prospect Park as well as over at the Blueshirt Bulletin, Stajcer's play could not come at a better time. Stajcer is our featured prospect in the April issue and could wind up as the only Ranger anything playing in May.

Right now Stajcer, Ryan Bourque and Jason Wilson are the only Ranger prospects still playing. With Mississauga about to be eliminated then the number will shrink to 2 but we have serious doubts that Bourque and his Quebec Remparts will win the QMJHL title.

The Islanders also have 3 prospect remaining as joining Casey Cizikas is Nino Niederreiter and Kirill Kabanov. Kabanov and his Lewiston Maineaics are down 2-0 in their series in the QMJHL so we doubt they make the Memorial Cup while Niederreiter and the Portland Winterhawks have good chance if they can survive Spokane in the WHL.

(Cizikas and Stajcer/Aaron Bell-OHL Images)

1 comment:

Kmp said...

Does the OHL get 2 teams in because Mississauga is host?