Sunday, April 3, 2011

3 Players 3 Different Outcomes

On a rather quiet day one New York Ranger prospect had his season come to an end, a second saw his extended for another series while a third forced a Game 7 on Tuesday night. 3 prospects with 3 different outcomes but only 1 prospect was a part of what his team did.

Dylan McIlrath (2010 1st) is going to have an empty feeling for a while as he has to know that his Moose Jaw Warriors should have beaten the Kootenay Ice in their series. But after a 5-4 loss, McIlrath and his Warriors were eliminated in 6 games by the Ice.

Not taking a single thing away from the Ice as they did everything you are supposed to do in order to win a playoff series which tells you that the Warriors did not. What a shame for a place like the "Crushed Can" to end it's time as the Warrior's home with a loss but that is what happened.

The Warriors are going to look back at this series and the key to losing was letting Kootenay jump out to a lead and then force the Warriors into playing catch up. Game 6 can best be described as a game of keep away as the Ice jumped out to a 3-0 first period lead and every time the Warriors would get close the Ice would make a play or two to protect the lead.

Oh the Warriors had their chances but they just could not make the play that would turn the game into their favor. It will be a huge learning experience for McIlrath despite signing a Ranger contract should not be seen a serious contender for a roster spot in next season's training camp.

McIlrath has lessons that he needs to learn starting with getting that shot of his on target. McIlrath has the kind of heavy shot that if he learns how to get it on target will be a nice rebound generator when it is not hurting someone.

We want to see McIlrath work on his skating to make his stride smoother so he can get up to speed with less effort. The defense is almost there and will get even better as McIlrath's body matures.

Next season we are going feel sorry for those going up against McIlrath as he already is a punisher with his checks but an off-season of Reg Grant's workout schedule will unleash the beast within. We also want to see McIlrath spend some time with Marc Staal as he has some real leadership potential in him and we want to see McIlrath do for the Warriors as Staal once did for the Sudbury Wolves.

Turn the Warriors into his team and carry them as we once watched Staal do. McIlrath is bigger, stronger and meaner than Staal ever was but when Staal came to the rink everyone followed his lead because Staal's presence on and off the ice was magnetic.

 Scott Stajcer (2009 5th) had the best seat in the house to watch his Owen Sound Attack eliminate the London Knights in 6 games squeaking by with a 1-0 win. Stajcer was the backup goalie as Michael Zador posted his 2nd straight shutout to push the Attack into the 2nd round.

In a series that was more soap opera thanks to the drama generated by the opposing coaches; game 6 was a goalie clinic as even in defeat London goalie Michael Houser was outstanding. Houser did what you asked of a goalie give your team a chance to win and that he did stopping 38 out of 39.

Owen Sound now has to wait to find out who they play next but the Attack have the luxury of 3 goalies who will give this team a great chance to win. Before the Attack are done we expect Stajcer to have an impact on their fortunes.

Andrew Yogan (2010 3rd) if he recovered from his being "sick" got to watch a heartstopping win by his Erie Otters as they forced a game 7 with a 6-5 overtime win over the Windsor Spitfires. We have no word as to his status other than he did not dress.

Yogan missed Game 5 not even traveling to Windsor because according to Otter coach Robbie Ftorek, Yogan was "sick". Sorry but past experience with the Otters under Ftorek strongly suggests that Yogan is in the coach's doghouse and we will be shocked if Yogan even travels to Windsor for Game 7 let alone play.

(Images: McIlrath/Moose Jaw, Stajcer/OHL Images-Aaron Bell and Terry Wilson)

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