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London rolls over Rangers in opener; Scott Laughton commits suspendable hit: OHL post-game questions

Tierney scored the dagger goal for the Knights on Friday (Claus Andersen, Getty Images)

The Oshawa Generals are in a 2-0 hole and star Scott Laughton got the heave-ho for a hit from behind in Barrie, while Belleville, London and Plymouth won their series openers on a busy first Friday in April. On with the post-game questions!

Western Conference

London 4 Kitchener 1, ENG (Knights lead 1-0) —Why should you never play against Knights coach Dale Hunter in any game of chance? Because stuff such as this happens. The first two Knights goals came from 18-year-old rookie Kyle Platzer, who has five points in as many playoff games after getting 22 in spot duty across 65 regular-season games. Then grizzled utility player Tyler Ferry ended going out for a power play since winger Matt Rupert has having a skate repaired.

It took Ferry a whole 11 seconds to put London into the lead with his 10th goal in 263 OHL games. Only London pulls this off. It's the whole luck is the residue of design deal.

From Ryan Pyette (@RyanatLFPress):

Before the game, he was shifted to forward because captain Scott Harrington’s return squeezed him off the blue line.

He has 10 career goals and five of them are game-winners — two of those to sink Kitchener in series openers against John Gibson, the best major junior goalie on the planet at the moment.

Ferry laughed when asked if he haunted the Rangers stopper.

“It was pretty sweet,” he said. “I’m happy my mom and dad were here, my aunt and uncle and cousins, too. They got to see it and I guess I got to put on a little show for them.” (London Free Press)

San Jose Sharks prospect Chris Tierney got his seventh point in five playoff games by deflecting in a point shot with 11:16 left.

Was the Rangers' lack of scoring depth exposed? Not really, since it's well-established the Rangers' attack is top-heavy. Kitchener coach-GM Steve Spott had to call out his younger forwards.

“We need production out of [Brent] Pedersen, [Justin] Bailey and [Matia] Marcantuoni,” Spott told the London Free Press. “They don't have a goal in six games. Two of those guys are first-round picks [in the OHL] and Justin Bailey could’ve been a first-round pick. We need to create offence out of those guys.

Can the Rangers bank on their final 40 minutes being indicative of brighter times ahead, or was it a case of mentally digging a hole early? It's not unusual in junior to see a team dominate a first period on the shot count but not get a big lead and then grow frustrated. London outshot Kitchener 18-3 in the first period but needed nearly 18 minutes to break on top. Yet it only seemed make the Knights mad, plus goalie Anthony Stolarz was his redoubtable self.

From Josh Brown (@BrownRecord):

Credit the Rangers who outshot and out-chanced the Knights in the final two periods. The pushback was an important element moving into Sunday’s Game 2, back at Bud Gardens.

“We have a resilient group and have gone through a lot of adversity this year,” said Spott. “They believe in themselves. But ultimately this time of the year, it comes down to being opportunistic.” (Waterloo Record)

Plymouth 4 Owen Sound 1, ENG (Whalers lead 1-0) — How did this illustrate there is much more to the Whalers than their scoring stars? The three stars were as follows: third-line wing Sebastian Uvira, the trade-deadline add from Oshawa, with two third-period goals; a defenceman, overage Austin Levi; and rookie goalie Alex Nedeljkovic, who stopped 22-of-23 Attack shots.

St. Louis Blues goaltending prospect Jordan Binnington (30 saves on 33 shots) stymied Plymouth for 42½ minutes before Garrett Meurs finally broke through for the Whalers, who went on to their 13th consecutive win. Aside from how long it took for Plymouth to score, the result was not far off from what one would might expect. The Whalers are just that strong. Their 13-game streak is starting to evoke the 17-win skein they had in 2000, when they came up one game shy of the J. Ross Robertson Cup. Sorry to dredge up an old wound, Whalers fans.

When did this start to get away from the Attack? Notice a pattern with Owen Sound's penalties? Several were to their more integral cogs — Daniel Catenacci, steady stay-at-home defender Nathan Chiarlitti big-bodied wing Kurtis Gabriel and playoff scoring leader Gemel Smith. The Attack's pesky style does mean they occasionally beat a path to the penalty box, but they probably can't trade power plays with the potent Plymouths.

“We took foolish penalties at needless times,” Attack coach Greg Ireland told the Owen Sound Sun Times. “The same guys we need out there playing 5-on-5 are out killing penalties. They’re getting tired. And it shortens our bench and guys don’t get into [the game]. I don’t know where the leadership is going to come from on this hockey team to get our guys to buy into not taking penalties."

Eastern Conference

Barrie 4 Oshawa 1, ENG (Colts lead 2-0) — Will Generals star Scott Laughton face supplemental discipline before Game 3 on Sunday in the 'Shwa? Laughton, the Philadelphia Flyers first-rounder, got a checking-from-behind major/game misconduct with 2:11 after putting his stick right across the shoulder blades of Barrie right wing Zach Hall, who was bleeding and shaken after he was helped to the bench. It was a bad penalty by Laughton, who is in repeat offender territory since he already has a 10-game suspension this season for a check to the head in October.

Oshawa is not out of the series by any means, but its chances of winning Sunday and Tuesday on home ice would drop significantly without Laughton.

How is the Generals power play coming along? Not much better — 0-for-8 through two games, to drop for 1-for-34 in the post-season. It's got to the point where the Gens, whose used a five-forward power play at one point, are almost better off not to draw penalties, typing this only half tongue-in-cheek.

That might have been illustrated by a sequence in the second period. Oshawa had a chance to take control in the second period after Laughton gobbled up a flubbed first pass by Aaron Ekblad — a rare mistake by the bright young blueliner — and scored the game's first goal while the teams were playing 4-on-4. The lead lasted all off 44 seconds before Detroit Red Wings prospect Andreas Anthanasiou (1G-2A, +3) carried deep into Oshawa's zone, creating a chance that New York Islanders pick Mitchell Theoret (3G, +2) buried for the first of his three goals. Barrie was up 3-1 before the period was over.

Belleville 6 Sudbury 3 (Bulls lead 1-0) — So this is closer to that elusive 20/60 effort the top-seeded Bulls have been chasing since the playoffs began? Like Keith Olbermann said to Rich Eisen, "Nope, not yet," but the Bulls were still dominant. Thirteen of the 18 skaters chalked up a point and no one had more than two, with rookie first-round pick Niki Petti getting his first OHL playoff goal and Edmonton Oilers third-rounder Daniil Zharkov showing quick hands to stuff in a deflating goal that opened a 4-2 lead in the second period.

That came after the Bulls' only rough patch, when Sudbury erased an early two-goal margin.

“The guys were pretty ticked off with how they handled themselves when we were up 2-0,” Bulls GM-coach George Burnett told the Belleville Intelligencer. “But we liked a lot of what we did in the second period, especially our work down low.”

Malcolm Subban (29 saves on 32 shots) was shaken up by a shot off his head late in the third period, but the Boston Bruins prospect finished the game.

Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet. Please address any questions, comments or concerns to btnblog@yahoo.ca.

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