Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Tuesday lives On

We said yesterday that in order for the Saginaw Spirit to have a chance at winning that Tomas Zaborsky needed to start scoring. Guess we should have said that in addition to Zaborsky scoring that the Spirit need to continue playing solid team defense.

Game 3 of this OHL series was basically a blowout as the Saute Ste Marie Greyhounds jumped out to a 5-0 second period lead before Zaborsky scored the first of his 2 goals. By then it was too little too late as the Greyhounds cruised to a 6-2 win.

With the win the Greyhounds own a 3-0 series lead and a chance to put the Spirit out of their misery on Thursday evening with a 4 game sweep. As for Zaborsky who earned the game's second star it had to be a frustrating evening as he was the entire Spirit offense.

Now for Zaborsky at 20 he is facing what could be the final game of his OHL career in Game 4. Unlike Justin Soryal or Bobby Sanguinetti, Zaborsky does not have a Ranger's contract already signed and ready to go so he is facing an uncertain future.

For Antoine Lafleur, his season has thankfully come to an end even if it was on a very sour note. Lafleur gave up 6 goals on 37 shots as his Prince Edward Island Rocket lost to the Saint Johns Sea Dogs 6-3 and were swept out of their QMJHL series 4 games to none.

What more can one say about the problems that Lafleur and his teammates went though. No matter what reason, what cause or whatever is decided; Lafleur's future as a possible NHL goaltender is on very shaky ground. One of the reasons the Rangers used a second round draft pick on Lafleur was because he had all the signs of becoming a very good goalie.

Lafleur has size, some solid skills and a good grasp of the fundamentals. We are not going to go negative on the young man but we do think some serious change needs to happen by Lafleur during this off-season and it has to start with a new team. The one thing we have to take a stand and say is that Lafleur needs a change of scenery via a trade.

For now we will hope he can put this season behind him and that the Rangers will give him another year to see if things will turn around.

During games 1 and 2 at home, the Halifax Mooseheads played like the team that in the first half of the season was one of the hottest teams in the QMJHL. Totally dominating at both ends of the ice, the Moosehead and Ryan Hillier (3-3-6) made the Victoriaville Tigres look like they did not belong on the ice with them out scoring them 17-3 to earn a 2-0 series lead.

But come game 3 on the road in Victoriaville, the inconsistent Moosehead team of the second half of the season made the trip as the Tigres climbed right into the series with a 3-1 win. For the first time in the month of March Ryan Hillier was held scoreless and that might have been the key to the Tigre win as they shut down Hillier's line in game 3.

Hillier did not play badly and nobody really thought he was going to run the table by scoring every game. The streak was nice as Hillier went 9 games going a rather nice 9-9-18 during that streak.

Now the test for not only Hillier but his Halifax teammates as to they need to shed this inconsistent label and they have only 24 hours to do so.

We are going to be disappointed when Danny Hobbs moves on to UMass/Amherst next year as we have really developed a liking for the USHL. This was our first experience with the only Tier 1 Hockey league in the US and we have to admit we have gained an admiration for this Junior Bluejacket franchise.

Facing impossible odds with no room for error these Ohio Junior Bluejackets keep preventing their own elimination by winning games. Wednesday evening it was a 6-3 win over the division leading Indiana Ice.

Danny Hobbs scored his 15th goal of the season, his 3rd straight game with a goal and his 7th goal in his last 7 games. This late season surge has basically doubled Hobb's out put for the season but we are now getting to see a little clearer what the Rangers saw in Hobbs when they used their second of their 7th round picks in the 2007 draft.

The Junior Bluejackets with 5 games remaining need a miracle, they trail the Chicago Steel by exactly 10 points in the standings. The next loss or Steel win eliminates the Junior Bluejackets but that is not stopping the Junior Bluejackets nor will it stop us from rooting for them.

(Tomas Zaborsky Picture Courtesy of the Saginaw Spirit)

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