Sunday, March 4, 2012

A Hero is born

Sunday really wasn't about the New York Ranger or the New York Islander prospects as the big story was about a young man who stepped in as an emergency goalie and the class shown by the fans of the other team for acknowledging what a young man named Connor Crisp did.

By now most of you heard about the young man who because of injury to the starting goalie was pressed into service as a goalie because there was no backup available due to injury. If you have not been the story then here briefly is what happened in the game between the Niagara IceDogs and the Erie Otters a 13-4 win for Niagara.

On Saturday night, Erie Otter goalie Devin Williams was injured and unable to play Sunday afternoon. That left the Otters with just one goalie Ramis Sadikov to face one of the top teams in the OHL the Niagara IceDogs.

At 1:45, Sadikov was injured when Niagara IceDogs Alex Friesen ran him over knocking him out the game. The Otters because they had no backup were left with two choices; they could forfeit the game or they can dress one of the scratched players.

Enter Connor Crisp normally a center who had not played this season due to a shoulder injury but into the game he went. People are wondering why Erie did not recall a goalie from a lower-level and that answer is because Erie was on the road and it is not always easy to contact one of your farm players and get them to the game in time.

Still Crisp gave it a go and in the first period gave up 3 goals on 9 shots he faced, in the second it was 4 goals on 16 shots and finally 6 goals on 20 shots. Not bad considering he was facing one of the most potent offenses in the OHL and had not been used as a goalie since he was five years old.

Yet the Niagara fans showed true class not razzing the young man and acknowledging the situation that he was in. At the end of the game Crisp was named the game's 1st star for his efforts and Niagara fans let Crisp know with a standing ovation what they felt about what he had done.

What got lost in all this was Ryan Strome (NYI 2011 1st) had a 6 point game on 5 goals and an assist. Any other day and people would be raving about Strome's game. In fairness to Strome and the IceDogs they really had no choice but to keep playing.

Strome was awarded the game second star but it's great to see all the attention being given to Connor Crisp which makes up for. Strome's teammate Michael Theoret (NYI 2011 7th) was one of 3 IceDogs not to register a single point for this game.

The IceDogs earned their 4th straight win and open up a 3 point lead over the Ottawa 67's for the OHL's Eastern Conference championship. The win also pulled the IceDogs to within 4 points for the overall lead in the OHL.

We have our first elimination as goalie Cody Rosen (NYI 2010 7th) and his Clarkson Golden Knights were defeated 4-1 by the Rensselaer Engineers and lose the series 2-1. Rosen appeared in one game this season for a total of 27 minutes when he gave up 4 goals and took a loss (will not be cruel and post his other stats).

Rosen will return next season as a senior and it will be interesting to see if he is given a chance at the starting job.

In Edmonton, Michael St. Croix (NYR 2011 4th) scored his 41st goal of the season which also turned out to be the game-winning goal as his Edmonton Oil Kings defeated the Saskatoon Blades 3-1.

The win was the 5th straight for Edmonton as they increased their lead in the race for the WHL's Eastern Conference Championship to 6 points over the Moose Jaw Warriors. But they also pulled to within 1 point for the overall best record in the WHL.

What else is there to say about Michael St. Croix? 41-57-98 is good enough for me.

In the QMJHL, it was a battle of Islander versus Ranger prospect as Kirill Kabanov (NYI 2010 3rd) lead his Shawinigan Cataractes into Baie-Comeau to face Samuel Noreau (NYR 2011 5th). The Cataractes jumped out to a 4-0 lead before settling for the 5-3 win.

Kabanov scored the Cataractes 3rd goal of the game for his 20th goal on the season. Kabanov is 20-28-48 on the season for the Cataractes.

Noreau was scoreless with a -1 on2 whereshots and his 8th fighting major which is 2nd behind Dylan McIlrath who has 9.

Christian Thomas (NYR 2010 2nd) was back in the Oshawa General's after missing a game with what was described as some kind of bug. Whatever it was probably made the London Knights sick after Thomas set up what proved to be the game-winning goal as Oshawa defeated London 4-1.

While Thomas was registering his 32nd assist of the season (overall 30-32-62), his Generals have 2 straight and have jumped up into 6th place in the OHL's Eastern conference.

The Generals hold 1 point leads over Belleville (7th) and Mississauga (8th) and a 4 point lead over Peterborough (9th).

Andrey Pedan (NYI 2011 3rd) and his Guelph Storm picked the right time of the year to go on a roll after they defeated the Ottawa 67's 4-3 in the shootout to improve their unbeaten streak to 4 games.

Pedan was scoreless but he also stayed out of the penalty box as the Storm have moved up to 7th place in the OHL's Eastern Conference. They also enjoy 2 games in hand on the teams above and below them in the standings.

Don't look now but the hottest team in the OHL right now belongs to JT Miller (NYR 2011 1st) and his Plymouth Whalers after they won their 6th straight game 5-4 over the Sarnia Sting.

The better choice of words might of been that Plymouth escaped as they blew a 3-0 lead to Sarnia who scored 4 unanswered goals to take the lead. Miller fixed that when he set up Garrett Muers to tie the game at 4-4.

It was Miller's 37th assist of the season as well as is 60th point. Miller helped his Whalers pulled to within 2 of Western Conference leading London (has game in hand)

Finally Notre Dame will be facing Michigan in the quarterfinals of the CCHA playoffs after Bowling Green upset Northern Michigan in game three. Michigan will have a huge home ice advantage but if the Irish have found their offense than have a chance.

(Connor Crisp - Erie Otters)

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