Saturday, April 19, 2014

Win Some Lose Badly

Ryan Graves (Val-dO'r Foreurs)
We are down to the Final Four in the 3 CHL leagues with ironically 2 New York Ranger and 2 New York Islander prospects left alive with all 4 being defensemen. The question though is which of the 4 will make it to the 2014 Memorial Cup.

Ryan Graves (NYR 2013 4th) is perhaps the least known of the Ranger prospects but if I was going to bet on which prospect had the best chance to hoist the Memorial Cup then Graves is my pick. In game 1 of the QMJHL semifinals Graves and his Val-d'Or Foreurs were in Halifax to take on the Mooseheads.

At first it looked like Halifax was going to dominate this game grabbing an early 1-0 lead on an even strength goal at 6:02. The lead looked like it would last until the Foreurs tied the game up with an even strength goal of their own at 14:28. Exactly 3:10 later, Graves would earn a secondary assist on the Foreur's 2nd goal of the game giving them a lead they would not give up.

The Foreurs would go on to earn a 5-2 win to grab a 1-0 series lead and steal away home ice advantage from the Mooseheads. Graves had a night full of "1's" as he had the 1 assist on 1 shot and was a +1 with 1 hit and a minor penalty for elbowing. Graves assist was his 3rd point of the playoffs.

Game 2 of this series will be Saturday night in Halifax.

In the OHL, the Erie Otters led by the twin defenders Adam Pelech (NYI 2012 3rd) and Troy Donnay (2012 NYR UFA) were on the road for game 2 of their OHL Western Conference Final against the Guelph Storm. This one was ugly as the Storm grabbed a 3-0 first period lead and cruised to a 7-2 win and a 2-0 series lead.

The Otters seem to have a goalie problem as game 1 starter Devin Williams was replaced by Oscar Dansk who gave up 7 in this loss. Neither Donnay or Pelech scored but Donnay was a -1 while Pelech was a -2 with a minor for interference. The series switches to Erie with the Otters facing a ton of questions starting with which goalie plays?

Game 3 will be Monday.

And those Medicine Hat Tigers, their reward for their remarkable series comeback after falling behind 3-1 was a series against the defending WHL Eastern Conference Champions the Edmonton Oil Kings with 2012 Islander first pick Griffin Reinhart. The Oil Kings would score the games first 7 goals in less than half the game and would cruise to an 8-3 win and a 1-0 series lead.

Reinhart scored the Oil King's 6th goal for his 2nd goal of the playoffs and 7th overall point. Reinhart was also a +3 but his biggest contribution might have come just 32 seconds into the game when he took a roughing minor as perhaps the Tigers were looking to set a tone and Reinhart the Oil Kings Captain stopped them dead in their tracks.

Game 2 will be Sunday.

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