Sunday, May 15, 2011

The Little Guys Can Win

It took them an extra 3:27 but the Owen Sound Attack are your 2011 OHL Champions. A game 7 3-2 overtime win capped a remarkable season for the Attack as they won their first title since the team relocated to Owen Sound in 1989 from Guelph.

The little town of 21,000 can claim being the top of the mountain on this Sunday evening. So much is made about how smaller markets can not compete and win but the Owen Sound folks proved them wrong.

Neate Sager over at Buzzing The Net did a great job detailing this win for the Attack. The Attack get the honor of telling how they won the OHL right here.

What made this win even better was the 2500-3000 fans from little Owen Sound who made the trip to Mississauga to support their team. It is a lesson that the NHL as well as the CHL needs to learn and that is if given the right tools, the right kind of management that even a smaller market can become a winner.

And it says a lot when the streets in Owen Sound were lined to welcome the team home. This is from about 9 PM when the team arrived home and it is yet another reason to love hockey.

Bravo to the Attack and their fans as the bond forged between team and fan base was a really nice thing to see. The Attack do not have the biggest arena but their fans have come out and supported their team.

Lost in this win was that Islander prospect Casey Cizikas finished off his playoff run with a 5-14-19 in the 16 games he played in. It was a very respectable showing by the Mississauga captain even if he was held scoreless in Game 7.

Scott Stajcer the Ranger's only prospect was once again relegated to the press box as a healthy scratch but we will say do not read anything into this. Owen Sound has 3 very good goalies and in many ways it was only fair that Jordan Binnington was the winning goalie for the Attack.

While Stajcer was out recovering from his surgery; it was Binnington who stepped in as the starting goalie and led Owen Sound to their best regular season ever. Binnington is eligible for the 2011 NHL draft and coming in after sitting for a month to win 2 crucial games is going to help improve his stock when the draft is held.

As for Mississauga, the team that was more machine like all year, the one who is going to be unfairly blamed will be Mississauga coach Dave Cameron. Finishing 2nd in the OHL after a great regular season combined with the Team Canada meltdown in the Under 20 gold medal game is sadly going see him labeled as someone who can not win the big game.

Let them label Cameron whatever they wish as if we were wanting someone who was going to develop our kids for the NHL; we would not even think twice about sending him to play for Cameron.

Cameron does a great job on as well as off the ice making sure his players play a 2 way game but become responsible young men. Mississauga will get a chance at revenge when they take part in the 2011 Memorial Cup they are hosting.

The field is set for the 2011 Memorial Cup; host Mississauga will open up on Friday evening against the Saint John Sea Dogs the champions of the QMJHL. Saturday the Attack will face WHL champion Kootenay in the battle of the smaller market teams that could win.

Circle May 25th which will be when Mississauga will face Owen Sound again but this time the stakes will be much larger.

(Image-Aaron Bell-OHL Images)

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