Monday, March 11, 2013

Never a dull moment

Peter Ceresnak (OHL Images)
Boy if you want to talk about a really interesting last 7 days for the New York Ranger and New York Islander prospects then what will they do during this upcoming week for an encore? Depending on whether you are playing in the NCAA or the Canadian juniors; this week is "sudden death" or "new life" week for the prospects and their teams.

Nobody symbolizes this point any more than Peter Ceresnak (NYR 2011 6th) and his Peterborough Petes as the team that at one time was 16 points out of a playoff spot has played their way into contention for a spot after a 7-2 win over the Ottawa 67's on Sunday. Ceresnak who found himself sitting in the press box as a health scratch for 3 games in February scored his first goal since October 18th (41 games) as the Petes pulled to within 2 points of current 8th placed Mississauga.

Ceresnak's goal was a power play goal coming at 18:58 of the 1st period and tied the game up at 1-1 as the Petes would go on to score 3 goals each in the 2nd and 3rd period to earn the win. With just 3 games left in the OHL's regular season, the Petes can force their way into a playoff spot that nobody even thought possible at the beginning of 2013.

It starts Tuesday when the Petes in their final home game of the regular season will be hosting the very Mississauga team they are trying to catch. Win the game and their chances are better than Mississauga since the Petes have the easier schedule of the 2 teams in the final 2 games.

But first the Petes have to win Tuesday or else the final home game could also be their final shot. Ceresnak with the goal reached double figures for the season at 2-8-10.

Mitchell Theoret (NYI 2011 7th) and his Barrie Colts took on the Niagara IceDogs with Ryan Strome (NYI 2011 1st) and Jesse Graham (NYI 2012 6th) in a back and forth contest that eventually Barrie would come away with a 6-5 win. Barrie needed this win just to pull into a tie for 1st place in the OHL's Eastern Conference Standings while Niagara was hoping to pull within 1 point of the Sudbury Wolves for 5th place in the same conference.

Ryan Strome did his best to try to ruin Barrie's chances as he had a goal and a primary assist for Niagara but Niagara didn't have an answer for Mark Scheifele who's 5 point effort (3-2-5) helped Barrie come from behind for the win. Strome who extended his scoring streak to 12 games (6-16-22) raised his numbers to 34-60-94 (6th overall OHL).

Theoret didn't score against his former teammates nor did Graham as Barrie has 3 games left while Belleville has 4 against a much easier set of opponents. All Barrie can do is win their games and hope for some help.

As for Strome and the IceDogs, they have a tough road ahead of them if they hope to pass Sudbury as they play Sudbury but also have to face Barrie again only this time on the road and in the regular season finale.

Andrey Pedan (NYI 2011 3rd) and his Guelph Storm defeated the Sarnia Sting 4-2 to pull to within 2 points of Kitchener for 4th place in the OHL's Western Conference. Pedan was scoreless but avoided the penalty box as his Storm team placed without their captain defenseman Matt Finn who was injured Saturday night (the incident was a knee on knee hit that Pedan jumped the offending player for).

Pedan now needs to realize with 3 games left and no idea when his team might get their captain back that the Storm need him on the ice not in the penalty box.

With the playoff seedings of 6 WCHA teams resting on the outcome of Scott Mayfield's (NYI 2011 2nd) Denver Pioneers game against Alaska-Anchorage; Mayfield got his team rolling with their 1st goal of the game as Denver beat up Alaska-Anchorage 7-1.

Mayfield's goal was his 4th of the season as Mayfield wound up 1-0-1 on 2 shots and a +2 for the game as Mayfield is now 4-11-15. The win gave Denver 5th place and they will host arch-rival Colorado College in the first round of the WCHA playoffs starting next Friday.

Speaking of playoff matchup, Michigan (Cristoval Nieves) and Notre Dame (Anders Lee, Robbie Russo and Steven Fogarty) learned who they would be facing in the 2nd round of the CCHA playoffs. Notre Dame who finished 2nd in the regular season will be hosting Bowling Green while Michigan will be traveling to face Western Michigan.

Both series will be a best of 3 with the winners heading to Detroit for the CCHA semi-finals and finals.

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