By Glenn Odebralski for floridapanthers.com
|2011 PLAYOFFS |
Looking For Championships Several Panthers prospects are aiming for league and national championships this spring.
It was a busy Saturday night for the prospects as 12 of them saw their teams in action. It was a mixed bag at the end of each of their nights as two of the three college teams came out victorious while just only one of the five teams in juniors came out on top.
Denver and North Dakota will meet in the Midwest Region final Sunday afternoon (5:30pm ET on ESPNU). While North Dakota rolled, it took Denver longer to get there to set up a rematch of the Final Five (WCHA) Championship. It also almost didn't happen.
In the early game in Green Bay, Wisc., North Dakota, the one-seed of the region, scored four times in the second period to turn a 1-0 lead into a 5-0 advantage against RPI. They would add one other goal 32 seconds into the third to roll past the Engineers 6-0. Corban Knight
would set up North Dakota's second goal 3:58 into the second as his cross-crease pass found it's way to Brad Malone who potted his second of the game. The Panthers fifth-round pick (135th overall) in the 2009 NHL Draft would give the Fighting Sioux a 5-0 lead as he scored on a short-handed breakaway with 2:49 to play in the middle stanza.
Ryan Watson and Western Michigan had Drew Shore
, John Lee
, Sam Brittain
and Denver on the ropes, holding a 2-0 lead until late in the game. A power-play goal by Denver captain Kyle Ostrow cut the deficit to one with 4:29 left in regulation. Then Shore would set up the tying marker with 2:36 remaining as he won a face-off in the offensive zone and Jason Zucker got the puck back to the point where Matt Donovan let one rip that beat the Western Michigan netminder. It would take more than a period and a half of overtime for Zucker to send the Pioneers on to the next round as his initial shot was blocked by a defender but he followed up on the shot and roofed in with 11:14 gone. Brittain stopped 30 shots for the victory while Shore had the one assist.
Playing in the East Regional finals, Joe Basaraba
and the Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs used four second period goals to upset top-seed Yale 5-3. The region's third seed was helped by a five-minute major penalty after Brian O'Neill was ejected for a hit to the head. The Bulldogs would scored twice on that power play. It is the first time that Minnesota-Duluth has made the Frozen Four since 2004.
Over in the Ontario Hockey League, Owen Sound had their series tied at one after falling 5-1 in London. The Knights scored 19 seconds into the game and never looked back, adding a second goal five minutes into the second and then scoring three times in the third after Owen Sound got on the board. Garrett Wilson
finished a minus-one on the night. The two teams will take two days off before Game Three with Owen Sound playing host on Tuesday.
Val-d"Or was much more competitive in their second game of their series against Quebec despite missing their regular season leading scorer for the game. Recently signed Jonathan Hazen
was handed a three-game suspension for a hit in the back in Game One but his teammates kept it close before falling 6-4 to fall in a two-game disadvantage. Val-d'Or got to within 5-4 when they scored with four minutes left in the game but Frederick Roy gave the Remparts a two-goal cushion on a power play goal with 47 seconds left in the game.
After stealing game one of their series in Kootenay, Moose Jaw dropped game two by a score of 5-2. The Ice scored twice in the opening period and then again 56 seconds into the second to jump out to a three goal lead. Panthers prospect Quinton Howden
would score his third in two games 2:16 into the third stanza to make it 3-1 and then the Warriors would get within one with 9:36 left. The visitors couldn't get any closer as the Ice scored twice into the empty net in the last minute of play.
With a 1-0 lead in their series after pulling away late in the third against Edmonton, the Red Deer Rebels had a little easier go at it in game two as they won 5-1. Potential first overall pick Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored 10:39 into the opening period and the Rebels made it 2-0 with 2:16 left in the first. The Oil Kings scored their goal with 56 seconds left in the period but the Rebels regained their two-goal lead 14:05 into the middle period. They would add two goals in the third with the final tally coming on the power play with 44 seconds left in regulation.
In Portland, the top-seeded WInterhawks got almost all their scoring in the first period as they shut out Josh Birkholz
and the Everett Silvertips 4-0. Riley Boychuk scored a power play goal 4:46 into the game, Brendan Leipaic netted one 2:40 later and Ryan Johansen potted a shorthanded goal 41 seconds later. Brad Ross recorded the fourth goal of the game with 7:32 left in the contest.