Friday, May 13, 2011

Rollling The Dice

When you are down to your last loss of a playoff series forget the corny nonsense about sticking to your game plan. Toss the book out the window and do what Owen Sound coach Mark Reeds did in Game 6 of the OHL Finals.

Reed decided to send out Jordan Binnington as his goalie scratching Scott Stajcer and benching Michael Zador. Binnington who had not seen any action in over a month just went out and stopped 41 out of 43 shots as Owen Sound surprised Casey Cizikas and his Mississauga St. Michaels Major 3-2 to tie the series up at 3-3 and force a Game 7 on Sunday.

It was not as huge a gamble by Reeds as people may think as most forgot that while Scott Stajcer was out injured, it was Binnington who was the starter and he was a big reason why Owen Sound won the OHL Western Conference regular season championship.

Now Owen Sound remains alive for a winner take all game 7 on Sunday but more importantly the Attack have shown that they can play with the Majors which the other teams in the Memorial Cup had best not forget.

Mississauga jumped out to a 1-0 first period lead on a power play goal and really looked like they would blow this game out in the first thanks to a 16-5 advantage in shots. Owen Sound did not quit and tied the game in the second on a power play goal of their own.

The Attack then went ahead in the second period for good on an even strength goal late in the period then gave the Majors a dose of their own defensive pressure in the third period. The Attack added an insurance goal to make it 3-1 with a second power play goal and while the Majors scored to cut the lead to 3-2 it really was too little too late for them.

Casey Cizikas was held to just a primary assist on the 2nd Majors goal to improve to 5-14-19 for the playoffs but it was not enough. The goalie switch may have worked to catch the Majors off guard in game 6 but there is little doubt who the Attack will start on Sunday in game 7.

Unless you were sleeping then you already know that Jason Wilson of the Niagara IceDogs (NYR 2010 5th) signed his Entry Level contract on Thursday. It really was not a surprise as Wilson had played his way into this contract putting up 18-25-43 during the regular season and then nailing the deal down with a 5-12-19 playoff.

Wilson is a 6'3 210 power forward who as we have said all season is a player that Ranger fans are going to really like. Jeff Blay who worked media relations for the Niagara IceDogs got a chance to talk to Wilson after the signing became official and got these words from Wilson.

The original article is right here  so we thank Jeff for letting us use his quotes.

“It feels great to get signed; it’s definitely a sigh of relief,” Wilson said. “It’s something I’ve dreamed of doing ever since I was a little kid and since being drafted last year by the Rangers, it’s something I’ve really been working towards.”

“Getting signed is a step but making the team is another, but training is something I take very seriously and I will be working extremely hard at over the summer.”

And if you want to make a very good first impression on Ranger fans then you say this (and if you saw him play you will know this to be very true)

“In order to make the team I feel as if I have to stick to a simple, aggressive, honest style of play,” he commented. “I try to mold my game after a player like Brandon Prust, who plays in all situations and works hard game in and game out to perform his role.”

We think Wilson is being a bit modest as we see him with a better offensive upside than Prust but the work ethic as well as understanding his role is to protect his smaller teammates is exactly like Prust.

We apologize for this being on the run but Blogger has been down since 12 PM PDT on Thursday and we really wanted to get this out.

Friday it will Nino Niederreiter and his Portland Winterhawks doing their last stand as they host the Kootenay Ice in Game 5 of the WHL finals. The Ice hold a 3-1 series lead and while it is very easy to blame 2 of the losses on poor officiating, now it is up to Portland to take it one game at a time to try to win this series.

(Wilson/Aaron Bell-OHL Images)

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