Prospects Playoff Updates
Quebec Major Junior Hockey League
Halifax Mooseheads vs Gatineau Olympiques
Semi-final series begins in Halifax on April 19
Jakub Voracek, Columbus' first pick (seventh overall) in the 2007 Entry Draft, had an assist in the Mooseheads' 5-2 win over the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles, a result that lifted Halifax to a 4-1 series win in the Q's quarter final playoff round. Entering the semi finals against Gatineau, Voracek has four goals and 12 assists in 11 playoff games this season.
Ontario Hockey League
Kitchener Rangers vs Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds
Kitchener leads OHL Western Conference final 1-0
World Junior Championship gold medalist goaltender Steve Mason, selected 69th overall by Columbus in the 2006 Entry Draft, has been near perfect when suiting up in the OHL playoffs. Mason is 5-0 with a 1.92 goal against average and a .946 save percentage in six post-season appearances but it's believed the young standout goalie is suffering from a groin injury. He missed the last two games of Kitchener's 4-0 sweep of the Sarnia Sting in round two and then once again gave way to Josh Unice, a native of Holland, Ohio, in a 3-1 series opening win over Sault Ste. Marie. Mason could be back at some point during the conference final. "We hope Mason will be back this series, but I won't go into it (the injury) any deeper than that," Kitchener head coach and GM Peter DeBoer told the Sault Star following the Rangers' game one victory.
Western Hockey League
Swift Current Broncos vs Calgary Hitmen
Hitmen win series 4-2
Jesse Dudas, a big, puck-moving defenseman drafted 159th overall by Columbus in 2006, suffered a broken wrist after being hit from behind in the opening round of the WHL playoffs against the Regina Pats. But Dudas showed tremendous grit and returned to the Swift Current lineup for game 2 of the second round against Calgary. He picked up an assist in a 6-5 2OT Hitmen win then went without a point in a 3-2 Broncos loss in game 3. With Swift Current in desperate need of a win, Dudas had his best game of the series with a goal, an assist, a +2 rating and six PIMs in a decisive 5-2 Broncos win in game 4 on April 11. The Hitmen closed the series out 4-2 with an 8-4 victory the following night.
Lethbridge Hurricanes vs Calgary Hitmen
Series opens Thursday in Calgary
Ben Wright, the Jackets' fourth round selection (113th overall) in the 2006 Entry Draft, is known as a technically-sound, stay-at-home D-man but the Lethbridge captain has chipped in on the offensive end throughout an impressive post season run for the Hurricanes. Wright has eight assists through 11 playoff games, none bigger than when he set up the game-winning goal in overtime to help Lethbridge take a commanding 3-1 lead over the Kootenay Ice in the second round of the WHL playoffs back on April 9. The Hurricanes eliminated the Ice two nights later in a 3-0 victory, winning the series 4-1. In the opening round against the Brandon Wheat Kings (won by Lethbridge 4-2), Wright registered six of his eight assists, with two multi-points games. He is also +7 in the 11 games with 15 PIMs.
Sioux Falls Stampede vs Lincoln Stars
Lincoln leads series 3-0
Jake Hansen, the Jackets' fourth selection (68th overall) of last year's Entry Draft, established himself as one of the premier point producers in American junior hockey this season with 31 goals and 27 assists in 60 games for the Stampede. He was held off of the scoresheet in the first two games against Lincoln but did manage to produce some opportunities, registering eight shots on goal in the two contests. In the third game of the series, Hansen scored his first of the post season to tie things at 2-2 but after the Stampede took a 3-2 lead, Lincoln scored five straight times in an eventual 7-3 blowout to even the series.
Chicago Steel vs Indiana Ice
Steel lead the series 2-1
The Steel feature Columbus draft pick Will Weber, a big defenseman chosen 53rd overall in the 2007 Draft. Weber has been out of the lineup in all three Steel playoff games.