Barrie sophomore defenceman Alex Yuill scored his first OHL playoff goal in Tuesday's clincher (OHL Images)
The Plymouth Whalers win a power-play parade while a Barrie-Belleville Eastern final is only one game away, barring a minor miracle from the Sudbury Wolves. On with the post-game questions.
Barrie 4 Oshawa 2 (Colts win 4-0) — What was the spur for Barrie to sweep? Having Mathias Niederberger, the league's lone 'two-spotter' import/overage goalie, is a compelling reason to buy in. The German goalie, save for a really unfortunate Game 7 overtime goal that he allowed last April vs. the Ottawa 67's, is fashioning a solid body of work as a money goalie. Try a 2.16 average and .939 save percentage across 21 OHL playoff starts, along with having helped Germany earn promotion to the top division during the 2012 world junior cycle.
“When I look back there, I see an extra defenceman for me,” Colts defenceman Lepkowski told the Barrie Examiner about Niederberger. "He helps me out back there and he helps the team out hugely."
All around, it was a thorough win for Mark Scheifele and Co. The only downside is breezing through Oshawa means captain Ryan O'Connor cannot return from suspension until Game 5 of the Eastern final. The long break also bought time for 19-year-old wings Zach Hall and Mitchell Theoret to heal from injuries that sidelined them on Tuesday.
Where did it go wrong for the Generals? To answer a question with a question, if losing a late two-goal lead in Game 1 undid Oshawa, what where they were really capable of doing vs. Barrie? The Generals seemed to have a realistic shot at winning the series. They couldn't stop the Colts from creating chances with the long stretch pass. Their 19-year-old stars Boone Jenner and Lucas Lessio ended up with a combined zero goals, three assists (all by Jenner) and minus-9. Standout centre Scott Laughton was suspended after Game 2. Their power play also went 0-for-14, to finish 1-for-40. Plus, Niederberger.
Belleville 4 Sudbury 0 (Bulls lead 3-0) — What George Burnett buzzword best describes how Los Toros are getting on in the series? Following Malcolm Subban's club-record-tying second shutout of the post-season, the Bulls skipper called his team "efficient."
There was little question coming into these playoffs that Belleville's goaltending or the raw scoring potential belonged in the front rank among OHL teams. But one reason to think it might take five or six games was that Belleville was a little cazh during its six-game first-rounder vs. Mississauga. It has pretty much controlled every game in this series against the wet-behind-the-ears Wolves.
Vancouver Canucks prospect Brendan Gaunce has 15 points (5G-10A) in nine games. Gaunce's three-point effort on Tuesday came following a disruption to his line; veteran Michael Curtis drew in to fill in for the absence of Scott Simmonds (who reportedly has a brain injury, who knows about the timeline for him to return).
Is there a media-friendly moniker for the Eastern Conference final? The Intell in Bellevegas is calling it the Barnyard Battle. That's a reference to the team nicknames and not what anyone's putting out there on Twitter, correct?
Plymouth 6 Owen Sound 3 (Whalers lead 2-1) — How will the Attack, to quote Cal Naughton Jr., get over the anger bridge and regroup for Game 4? From the look of it to someone who switched levels of hockey for a night, this one spiralled down into a series of power plays.
The Whalers, who got a hat trick from Vince Trocheck, were 4-for-6 with the extra skater(s) and also scored another goal one second after a PP expired. Owen Sound was 2-for-8.
How did Whalers rookie goalie Alex Nedeljkovic respond to the Game 2 loss? The 17-year-old rookie goalie had a 29-of-32 night and allowed only one even-strength goal. It might be concerning that the Parma, Ohio, native gave up goals 13 seconds apart in the first period. Ultimately, as the Whalers went across the final 40 minutes, so did their goalie.
One lineup note: the Whalers get 17-year-old goal scorer Matt Mistele back from suspension for Game 4.
(Does BTN always mention that Alex Nedeljkovic's hometown is listed as Parma, Ohio because it's a reminder of the original theme song to The Drew Carey Show? Why, yes.
Don't presume bad taste. Your agent grew up with the 3FC television package — three freakin' channels.)
Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet. Please address any questions, comments or concerns to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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