OHL Roundup: Playoff and Draft Look-In
By Mackenzie Liddell, Contributing Editor
Toronto, Canada (Sports Network) - Between the unfolding drama of the championship series and the OHL Priority Selection, there was plenty to consume for junior hockey junkies this past weekend.
OWEN SOUND CRAWLS BACK
Two games into the OHL final between Mississauga and Owen Sound and it looked like the Attack were facing their rapidly approaching demise.
Down 2-0 and outscored 11-4, the Attack didn't have an answer at either end of the rink for the disciplined and well-structured play of coach Dave Cameron's squad.
But after a pair of overtime wins on the weekend, the Attack have found new life and will head back to Mississauga on Tuesday with a chance to take control of the series.
If they are to steal another game from the Majors, the Attack will need a similar performance from forward Joey Hishon, who was buzzing all over the ice in Game 4 and eventually set up Cameron Brace's overtime winner.
Mississauga's defense has done a good job limiting Hishon and linemate Garret Wilson's effectiveness, but they're too good to be held in check over the course of a series and Sunday's 2-1 thriller was a testament to that.
Owen Sound will need a similar performance from their two stars if they are going to take this series the distance.
They will also need reassigned starter Michael Zador to build off his stellar performance in Game 4, where he finished with 41 saves and was named the game's third star.
For their part, the Majors shouldn't dwell on dropping consecutive games for the first time this post-season, as they played well enough to win on Sunday and were a bad late penalty away from heading home up 3-1.
The OHL draft unfolded as many expected, with 15-year-old Aaron Ekblad, who became the first player since John Tavares in 2005 to be granted exceptional status to join the league, leading the pack.
After getting selected first overall despite being a year younger than his competition and deemed in the same category as Tavares, it's fair to say the Colts hit a home run in landing the 6-foot-2, 205 pound defenseman.
Having drawn comparisons to future Hall of Famer Chris Pronger, Ekblad will be leaned on heavily to help turn around a Colts team that allowed a league-worst 348 goals.
The Sarnia Sting and Peterborough Petes also had a very successful draft weekend.
Sarnia nabbed offense-minded power-forward Ryan Kujawinski with the fourth pick and followed that up by gambling on American blueliner Anthony DeAngelo with their second pick.
DeAngelo possesses an elite skillset and had top-10 potential if not for questions surrounding his intention to play in the OHL next season.
Another highly touted player who could be heading south next season is Kingston Frontenacs first-rounder (eighth overall) Max Domi.
There was a lot of speculation leading up to the draft that Domi, the son of former Maple Leafs enforcer Tie, would be reunited with his old man's former teammates in Kingston - rookie general manager Doug Gilmour and newly minted coach Todd Gill - despite making clear his intentions to play in the United States League before heading to Ann Arbor to suit up for the Michigan Wolverines.
It's still possible the diminutive and highly-skilled forward will report to Kingston, but it could be a damaging decision for Gilmour to spend a top-10 pick on a question mark when the rebuilding team he will ice in the fall could use the immediate help of a talented prospect.
There could be some silver lining if Domi decides to go the NCAA route, as the Frontenacs will be awarded a compensatory first-round pick next year (one spot down, in this case ninth) if they can trade his rights prior to next season.
Following up on a successful draft, the Sarnia Sting continued to add pieces by naming London Knights assistant coach Jacques Beaulieu as the team's new coach and GM.
Beaulieu will replace interim coach Trevor Letowski who took over for Dave MacQueen when he was fired in February. Beaulieu first caught on as an assistant in London in 2002 and eventually took a job in Saint John of the Quebec League.
He is largely credited for having helped build their current team, who are Memorial Cup contenders and finished the regular season as the top team in all of major junior.
He was fired in 2009 and rejoined the Knights after compiling a 95-111 record with the Sea Dogs and claiming GM of the year in 2007-08.
The Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds also made some changes behind the bench, as 25-year-old GM Kyle Dubas introduced Tim Stapleton as the team's new coach on Thursday.
Stapleton, who spent this season as an assistant for the Syracuse Crunch of the American League, is not new to the OHL circuit, having spent four seasons as an assistant with the Greyhounds and Erie Otters.
Speaking of the AHL, OHL MVP Ryan Ellis hasn't missed a beat since joining the Milwaukee Admirals following the elimination of his Windsor Spitfires. In six games since joining the team, Ellis has a goal and an assist.
05/10 14:32:44 ET