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Farm Report: Bulls' Comeback Falls Short

by Aaron Lopez / Colorado Avalanche

After falling into an 0-3 hole against the Kitchener Rangers in the OHL’s Rogers Conference Championship Series, the Belleville Bulls pulled out three straight wins to even their best-of-seven series, but ultimately fell short after dropping Game 7 on Monday evening.

Bulls defenseman Nigel Williams recorded two assists – including one on the game-tying goal in the third period – in Belleville’s 5-4 overtime victory on Tuesday (May 6). Williams was held without a point in the Bulls’ 2-1 win on Thursday, but scored a goal on Saturday as Belleville evened the series at 3-3.

Kitchener then earned a 4-1 decision in Monday’s Game 7 to capture the J. Ross Robertson Cup.

Williams finished second among OHL defensemen in playoff scoring with 18 points (7g/11a) in 21 postseason contests.

Both Belleville and Kitchener will compete in the 2008 MasterCard Memorial Cup, set for May 16-25 in Kitchener, Ontario. The Bulls open the tournament on Saturday, May 17 against the Western Hockey League Champion Spokane Chiefs, while the Rangers will face the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League Champion Gatineau Olympiques on May 16.

Minnesota junior forward and Avalanche prospect Ryan Stoa, who missed nearly the entire 2007-08 season with a knee injury, has been selected by his teammates as the Gophers’ captain for the 2008-09 campaign.

Stoa suffered the injury in the first period of Minnesota’s second game of the season, an Oct. 13 contest against the University of Michigan. The forward, who served as an assistant captain this past season, will likely be granted a medical redshirt due to the injury.

Selected by Colorado with the 34th overall choice in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft, Stoa has totaled 51 points (23g/28a) in 84 career games with the Gophers.

IIHF Men's World Championship
Avalanche prospect Vladimir Denisov – who played with the Lake Erie Monsters during the 2007-08 campaign – recently finished competing with Belarus at the 2008 International Ice Hockey Federation Men’s World Championship.

Denisov posted an assist in back-to-back games against the Czech Republic (Saturday) and Denmark (Monday), but it wasn’t enough to help Belarus advance to the tournament’s quarterfinals. The top four teams in both Group E (in which Belarus finished fifth) and Group F advanced to the quarterfinal round.

The defenseman finished the event with three assists and a +4 rating while averaging 21:48 of ice time in six games.

Denisov was a teammate of Avalanche defenseman Ruslan Salei at the event. In addition, Peter Budaj represented Team Slovakia (which avoided relegation with two victories over Slovenia), while Jaroslav Hlinka (Czech Republic) and Jordan Leopold (United States) are still in the hunt for medals at the tournament.

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