Sunday, April 3, 2011

The End in More Ways Than One

For us Saturday was a bittersweet night in our coverage of New York Ranger and New York Islander prospects. In Spokane, the Spokane Chiefs ended Roman Horak (NYR 2009 5th) and his Chilliwack Bruins season with a 6-4 win that gave Spokane a 4-1 series win.

It may also be the last game played by a team called the Chilliwack Bruins and that royally pisses us off but we will save the rant for a quiet day as it plays out. As for the game itself, it was the same script; 3 Spokane goals in the first period and the Bruins having to play catch up.

3-1 after one period had the makings of another blowout but as Chilliwack has done they did not fold. A goal 17 seconds into the 2nd period got them to within 1 and then Horak set up Robin Soudek at 6:28 for a power play goal and a tie game.

Spokane though broke the tie 27 seconds later at 6:55 for a 4-3 lead and that was how the 2nd period ended. As it has done so many times during this series Spokane fired 20 shots on goal while keeping the Bruins to single digits.

But in the 3rd period Chilliwack tied the game once again at 11:14 and were staying with the Chiefs. But that hope really died less than 2 minutes later at 13:05 when Spokane broke the tie a 3rd time this time for good.

Spokane added an empty net goal at 19:41 to end the Bruin's season and possibly their time as a franchise. Spokane moves on to face the Tri-City Americans in what should be a great series between 2 close rivals.

As for Roman Horak, he finished the playoffs 1-2-3 -4 in 5 games after a 26-52-78 regular season. As far as we are concerned Horak has earned his Ranger contract and should be brought to the CT Whale on an ATO as soon as he can get to Hartford.

In Medicine Hat, there was actually a playoff game where there were more goals scored than there were penalties handed out. The Medicine Hat Tigers with 4 unanswered goals in the second period roared back from a 2-1 deficit to grab a 5-2 lead and went on to win Game 5 9-5 over the Brandon Wheat Kings.

David Toews (NYI 2008 3rd) had primary assists on Brandon's 2nd and 3rd goals to give him 2-5-7 during this playoff series but it simply was not enough. The Wheat Kings head back to their adopted home in Winnipeg for game 6 hoping to force a game 7.

In the OHL, to be honest the war of words going on between Owen Sound Attack coach Mark Reeds and London Knights coach Dale Hunter has been way more entertaining that the series itself. It has taken what should have been a typical 1 seed vs 8 seed and turn it into something along the lines of Ali-Frazier.

To catch you up it goes like this; before the series began the Knights were telling anyone who would listen that Attack star Joey Hishon was a world class diver. The Knights actually were doing a great job keeping Hishon from hurting them limiting him to just a 1-2-3 in 4 games.

Then things turned ugly as players were getting hurt and suspended for their play. After Game 4 Owen Sound coach Reeds went off claiming that the Hunter brothers (coach Dale and GM Mark) had undue influence in the OHL and that everything went their way after Reeds Attack were called for 14 power plays.

Of course the Hunters denied that they get any sort of special treatment from the OHL. So in game 5 in Owen Sound, it looked like Reeds complaints worked as the Attack were only called for 4 power plays against.

And the Attack really attacked at both ends of the ice using a 44 shot barrage and a 4 goal 2nd period to lead to a 6-0 blow out win. It gives the Attack a 3-2 series lead going into game 6 on Sunday afternoon in London.

But what we loved the most was Reeds giving the Knights something more to think about when with the Attack up 6-0 in the period; Reeds inserts Scott Stajcer (NYR 2009 5th) with 8:34 into the game. Up to that point the Attack had limited the Knights to just 13 shots on goal and when Stajcer game in the Attack allowed just 1 shot on Stajcer.

For Stajcer it was his first action since November 20th and one has to wonder who gets the start in Game 6? Rightfully it should be Michael Zador who finished up game 4 and started game 5 but Stajcer was the starter who lost his job due to injury.

Tune in tomorrow to see how this soap opera plays out.

(Images: Horak/Chilliwack Bruins, Stacjer/OHL Images-Aaron Bell and Terry Wilson)

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