Friday, April 22, 2011

No Sweeping Here

To show how not so smart we can be at times when talking about the chances of New York Ranger and New York Islander prospects then allow us to make one prediction that will turn true. The road to the OHL final is not going to be without it's bumps and bruises.

For those of you not familiar with how the OHL does things during the playoffs, the format is not in the more traditional 2-3-2 or 2-2-1-1-1 but rather the 2 teams alternate each game. After several years of watching it we are still are not sold on it.

But for the Niagara IceDogs and Windsor Spitfires liked getting to play on their home ice for Game 2 after dropping Game 1 of their respective series. The results were much better as both teams won to tie both series at 1-1.

For the Niagara IceDogs, the concern has been that the Mississauga St. Michaels had so dominated the series this season between the 2 teams that it was creating a mental wall for them. Dropping 8 of the last 9 meetings between the teams did not help either.

Mississauga was coming into game 2 having not lost in their last 20 games dating back to the regular season.

Jason Wilson (NYR 2010 5th) and his IceDogs teammates started out looking as if the mental block was working for them. The IceDogs jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first period but the Majors scored at 19:55 of the period to send the teams into the intermission tied.

Casey Cizikas (NYI 2009 4th) earned the primary assist on that goal for his 7th point of the playoffs and extending his point streak to 4 games. But for Cizikas it is a play that does not show on the score sheet that stood out.

From our friends at Buzzing The Net:

Cizikas, the Majors' captain, blocked a hard shot with his left arm in the first period, skated off favouring it and did not even miss a shift. The New York Islanders prospect ended up posting two assists in the loss. The first assist late in the opening period was classic Cizikas as he and linemates Riley Brace and Rob Flick converted after an extended encampment in the IceDogs zone.

For the IceDogs, it did not help matters when the Majors went in front 2-1 at 3:38 but the IceDogs tied the game at 11:29 rather than folding. Wilson then put the IceDogs ahead for good on his 5th of the playoffs at 14:08 and it gave the IceDogs some life.

The lead held through the 2nd period and the IceDogs made it 4-2 on a power play goal midway through the 3rd period and it turned out to be a bigger goal than expect. Cizikas and his teammates were not going away as they pulled their goalie with 90 seconds left.

It paid off as the Majors cut the lead to 4-3 with Cizikas getting the secondary assist at 18:53. On this night though the IceDogs did not fold as they put the game away with an empty net goal at 19:18 to send the series back to Mississauga for Game 3 on Saturday tied at 1-1.

Wilson with his 5th goal is now 5-7-12 in 11 playoff games and Cizikas is 2-6-8 in 6 games after missing the first round of the playoffs.

Scott Stajcer (NYR 2009 5th) also saw his winning streak come to an end but we are going to blame the folks at Buzzing the Net for it as they never showed him any love (just kidding guys). Stacjer suffered his first loss off the playoffs when the Windsor Spitfires defeated Stajcer's Owen Sound Attack 4-2 to even their series at 1-1.

People are going to look at Stajcer facing just 22 shots and allowing 3 goals. It did not help matters when the Spitfires scored just 43 seconds into the game on a power play goal.

Stacjer gave up 1 goal in each of the periods so while he deserves his share of blame he should not be the only one. It will be interesting to see on Saturday if Owen Sound continues their trend of switching goalies after a loss.

Finally our friends from the Winterhawks asked if we would pass along this offer from the team:

Create an auction account (registered bidder) at before May 31, 2011 and you could win a Ryan Johansen or Nino Niederreiter game used, autographed stick! We are also giving away hats autographed by Ryan, Nino, Brendan Leipsic, Mac Carruth, Joe Morrow, Ty Rattie or Sven Bartschi. No bids or purchases necessary. Use this link to enter: 

Me if I was allowed to bid I would want a Joe Morrow hat because I think come draft time he will be the first Winterhawk taken this year.

(Images: Wilson/Niagara, Stajcer/Aaron Bell-OHL Images)

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