Goalie is in control

TERRY KOSHAN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:19 AM ET

Daren Machesney will have some butterflies before tonight's playoff game against the Sudbury Wolves, but he is adamant he will get everything under control for the opening faceoff.

"I think it's just a matter of being excited," Machesney said yesterday after learning he will make his first playoff start for the Brampton Battalion. "I get nervous before every game but you can control that. I have confidence in myself and I know I can get the job done."

The opening game in the OHL's best-of-seven quarter-final is at the Brampton Centre at 7:30.

Machesney, an 18-year-old rookie, was chosen to start over veteran Kevin Couture, who played in 11 of the Battalion's 12 post-season games last spring. A solid prospect for the next NHL draft, Machesney was 16-13-6 during the regular season, including a smart 11-2-2 record at home. Couture has been tabbed by Brampton coach Stan Butler to play Game 2 tomorrow evening in Sudbury.

"You get one chance and you see what happens," Machesney said. "(The Wolves) can put the puck in the net. (Benoit) Pouliot (the leading scorer among OHL rookies) is a guy who can dictate a game. He has that offensive ability."

Discipline and special teams are crucial in any playoff series but could be even more so in the Brampton/Sudbury matchup. The Wolves led the Eastern Conference with 1,647 penalty minutes during the regular season, second in the OHL to the Kitchener Rangers' 1,728. Brampton's power play was 10th in the OHL with an 18.8% success rate, while Sudbury's penalty-killers were sixth at 83.5%.

"You always have to be disciplined in the playoffs, but we are what we are," Sudbury general manager/coach Mike Foligno said. "We can't change what we are. We're optimistically looking forward to the series."

Battalion captain Ryan Oulahen has been cleared to play after suffering a minor rib injury last week. A Detroit Red Wings prospect who has established himself this season as a fine defensive forward, Oulahen is fully aware that special teams can be a deciding factor.

"We can take advantage of them on the power play because they are a team that takes a lot of undisciplined penalties," Oulahen said.

"But I'm sure they're going to try to entice us into taking stupid penalties."


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