Prospects Playoff Updates
Quebec Major Junior Hockey League
Halifax Mooseheads vs. Victoriaville Tigres
Halifax leads the series 2-1
Jakub Voracek, Columbus' first pick (seventh overall) in the 2007 Entry Draft, rang up five shots in the series opener on March 21 but was held without a point in a 6-2 Halifax win, a rare occurrence for the polished Halifax playmaker. Voracek notched an assist in an 11-1 Halifax drubbing the next night, a game in which nine different Moosehead players scored. With his team up 2-0 in the series, Voracek managed to score Halifax's lone goal in a 3-1 loss in Victoriaville in game 3. He has 13 shots on goal in the first three games of the series. Game 4 is Friday.
Baie-Comeau Drakkar vs. Rimouski Oceanic
Series tied 1-1
High-scoring winger Matt Marquardt, the Jackets' 10th pick (194th overall) in the 2006 Entry Draft, was held pointless as the Drakkar dropped the first game of their opening series with the Oceanic 3-0. But the North Bay, Ontario native, who scored 43 goals in 68 games during the Q's regular season (split between the Drakkar and the Moncton Wildcats), was a big contributor in Baie-Comeau's 5-2 win over Rimouski on March 23. He scored a goal and added an assist, while going +2 on the night in an important win. The series resumes Thursday night.
Ontario Hockey League
Kitchener Rangers vs. Plymouth Whalers
Kitchener sweeps the series 4-0
Standout goaltender Steve Mason, selected 69th overall by Columbus in the 2006 Entry Draft, staked his new team to a 2-0 lead over the Whalers in the OHL's opening round before sitting out the next two games with the flu. Mason stopped 25 of 27 shots in the series opener, a 9-2 drubbing by Kitchener. The Rangers built a 3-0 lead in the game before Mason was beaten on a Plymouth power play. Down 9-1, the Whalers added a meaningless goal in the third period against Mason. Plymouth racked up 40 shots in game 2 and managed to beat Jackets' prospect four times but the Rangers, who led 6-2 at one point, finished with a 6-4 win. Two of Plymouth's goals came on the man advantage. Josh Unice replaced an ailing Mason in games 3 and 4, which Kitchener won handily 7-3 and 7-4 respectively.
Niagara IceDogs vs. Mississauga St. Michael's Majors
IceDogs sweeps the series 4-0
Stefan Legein, Columbus's second-round pick in 2007 (37th overall), had a torrid stretch to the end of the regular season after missing significant time with a shoulder injury suffered at the World junior Championships. Legein has maintained that momentum in Niagara's opening round series against Mississauga. He had a goal and six penalty minutes in a 4-0 win in game 1 and was in on every goal by the IceDogs in a big 3-1 game 2 win. Legein had two assists and then iced the game with a short-handed goal in the second period, finishing +2 on the night. The Oakville, Ontario native had two assists in a 5-2 win in game 3 and in the series finale, he scored twice, chipped in an assist and racked up an impressive +4 rating in a decisive 6-3 Niagara win.
Western Hockey League
Swift Current Broncos vs. Regina Pats
Series tied 2-2
Jesse Dudas, a big, puck-moving defenseman drafted 159th overall by Columbus in 2006, has been a revelation since joining the Broncos from the Prince George Cougars via trade. But the St. Albert, Alberta native, who was making dramatic strides defensively in Swift Current, is out of the lineup after suffering a broken wrist in game 2. Dudas was +1 in a 2-1 Regina win in the series opener and was +2 in the second game (eventually won by the Broncos 5-3) before the Pats' leading scorer Jordan Ebberle hit the defenseman, from behind, causing the injury. Ebberle was suspended for one game by the WHL. Regina took a 2-1 series lead with a 4-3 OT win in game 3 but Swift Current evened the series the next game with a 5-4 2OT win. Dudas has been ruled out for the remainder of the series and will be evaluated again to see if he can get back in the lineup in the event the Broncos advance.
Note: The United States Hockey League seasdon ends on April 5.