Prospects Playoff Updates
Quebec Major Junior Hockey League
Halifax Mooseheads vs. Gatineau Olympiques
Gatineau leads series 3-0
Jakub Voracek, Columbus' first pick (seventh overall) in the 2007 Entry Draft, scored Halifax's lone goal in a 2-1 Mooseheads loss in the QMJHL semi-final series opener against the Olympiques. In game two, a 4-3 Gatineau win, he managed to register just an assist despite having ample opportunity in the offensive end – he led all players on both teams with 10 shots on goal. Voracek was held off of the scoresheet in game three as Halifax was sent to the brink of elimination in a 6-1 loss. The future Blue Jacket has had a decent playoff run overall, scoring five goals to go along with 13 assists in 14 playoff games this season.
Ontario Hockey League
Kitchener Rangers vs. Belleville Bulls
OHL final series begins April 30 in Kitchener
World Junior Championship gold medalist goaltender Steve Mason, selected 69th overall by Columbus in the 2006 Entry Draft, will miss the remainder of the playoffs after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery to repair a minor tear. Acquired by the Rangers from the London Knights earlier this season, Mason will be unable to play in the Memorial Cup, which Kitchener will host May 16-25. According to The Hockey News, Mason limped off of the ice in game three of the Rangers' semi-final match-up with the Sarnia Sting. He never returned to action and finished 5-0 with a 1.92 goal against average and a .946 save percentage in six post-season appearances. Josh Unice, a native of Holland, Ohio, has replaced the star netminder.
Western Hockey League
Lethbridge Hurricanes vs. Calgary Hitmen
Lethbridge sweeps series 4-0
Ben Wright, the Jackets' fourth round selection (113th overall) in the 2006 Entry Draft, continued his impressive post-season performance in game one of the WHL semi-final with Calgary with a crucial goal en route to a 5-2 Lethbridge win. The captain had a +1 rating in the Hurricanes' 4-3 game-two win and was again +1 in a 6-0 Lethbridge blowout victory in game three. In the series finale, a 4-2 Hurricanes win, Wright added another assist and registered a +2 rating. He has a goal and nine assists in 15 playoff games so far. Wright was +15 in 69 regular season games and is already +13 overall in the post-season. Lethbridge will face the winner of the other WHL semi between the Tri-City Americans and the Spokane Chiefs, a series currently tied 2-2.
Sioux Falls Stampede vs. Lincoln Stars
Lincoln wins series 3-0
Jake Hansen, the Jackets' fourth selection (68th overall) of last year's Entry Draft, had one goal in three playoff games against the Lincoln Stars. The Stars swept the Stampede 3-0.
Chicago Steel vs Waterloo Black Hawks
Waterloo leads series 1-0
Columbus draft pick Will Weber, a big defenseman chosen 53rd overall in the 2007 Draft, has been unable to compete in the playoffs for Chicago after undergoing surgery on his left wrist two weeks ago. Weber suffered a fracture in the wrist earlier this season but eventually returned to the lineup. As the playoffs approached, Weber couldn't suit up. "He felt some pain in his wrist that just wasn't going away," says Steel head coach Steve Poapst. Surgery was therefore a necessity and though Weber is ahead of schedule, he isn't expected to participate in the remainder of the USHL post-season.