Battle for Turner Cup down to Four Teams
The IHL’s Eastern and Western Conference Finals are now well underway. There could, potentially be a rematch of the Chicago-Grand Rapids final that we witnessed last season as both teams are still alive and well. Let’s take a look at the match-ups and quickly summarize how each team advanced.
In the East, Grand Rapids swept Cleveland aside in four straight games. The Griffins, the IHL’s top team this season continue to ice a lineup that consists of a nice blend of youth and veteran talent. Chris Neil and Petr Schastlivy consist of the former while David Oliver, John Gruden, Todd White and Kip Miller have all spent a decent length of time in the NHL.
The Orlando Solar Bears carried their momentum from a solid second half of the season to roll over the Cyclones in five games. They are a very offensive-minded group that relies on league-MVP Norm Maracle to provide a solid final line of defence. Top players are Curtis Murphy, Todd Richards, J.P. Vigier, Hugo Boisvert, Brian Pothier and Jarrod Skalde.
The Solar Bears won the first game of this series 4-3 in triple overtime. The Griffins then rebounded with a 4-2 win in game two. And, Orlando bounced back for a 5-3 win in game three. The series now switches back to Grand Rapids for the next two games as arena booking conflicts called for a 1-2-2-1-1 format rather than the usual 2-2-1-1-1. Expect Mike Fountain to redeem himself in game four after a poor showing in game three and look for the Griffins to take this series.
In the We Read more»
Colorado College Forward Justin Morrison plays a lot differently than his namesake which is currently a Canuck, Brendan. He put up good numbers in his final season of NCAA eligibility, and is still unsigned. The Canucks should make a push to sign Justin before the Draft. ETA: 2004, probably on some other team.
Ryan Ready is a very hardworking youngster whom the Canucks have had in their system for two years. A former Belleville Bull, Ryan is making himself into a pretty decent two-way player down in Kansas City. His skating still needs some work, and he’s not much of a scorer, but he’s a good player in his own end, and can lend a hand in killing penalties. ETA: 2004, on some other team, if not, a high-end career minor-leaguer.
Josh Holden was expected to be a 50-70 point scorer in the NHL when he was drafted. That all looks like a pipe dream now. In fairness, he’s had a lot of injury problems, and has been a steady scorer in Syracuse and Kansas City, but, he still qualifies as a disappointment, because of his inability to stay healthy, and his inability to hold down a job in the NHL. He doesn’t figure into the Canucks’ mix anymore. ETA: This year, or never, as a Canuck.
Pat Kavanagh impressed in the playoffs. He showed vast improvement over his first season in the minors by doubling his point output, and adding fourteen more goals, swelling his season total to twenty-six. In the NHL playoffs, he was understandably nervous, but didn’t make any glaring errors in his limited ice time. He was mostly showcased in pena Read more»