Attack’s Binnington gets shutout

Owen Sound Attack goalie Jordan Binnington clears the puck away from Kootenay Ice forward Matt...

Owen Sound Attack goalie Jordan Binnington clears the puck away from Kootenay Ice forward Matt Fraser (L) during the second period of their round-robin Memorial Cup ice hockey game in Mississauga May 21, 2011. (Dave Thomas/QMI Agency)

Terry Koshan, Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 4:08 AM ET

MISSISSAUGA, ONT. - Jordan Binnington doesn’t get shutouts often.

In fact, prior to Saturday night, his lone shutout in major junior came last Nov. 27, when the Owen Sound Attack blanked the Sudbury Wolves. We’re willing to bet the 17-year-old Binnington doesn’t forget his latest.

A solid prospect for the NHL entry draft in June, the lanky netminder made 29 saves in the Attack’s 5-0 win against the Kootenay Ice in the first game at the 2011 Memorial Cup for both teams.

Attack coach Mark Reeds referred to his crowded goaltending crease as a ‘three-headed monster’ a day earlier, but he made the right choice in going with Binnington. The Richmond Hill native got the call over veterans Michael Zador (who backed up) and Scott Stajcer (who did not dress).

The lanky Binnington — he is listed at 6-foot-2 and 160 pounds — stretched himself through the blue paint to make at least a half-dozen eye-popping saves. His best were in the second period, when he stoned defenceman Jagger Dirk on an odd-man Ice rush, and in the third, when he thwarted Cody Eakin.

“It has been incredible,” Binnington said of a recent personal run that started with a victory in Game 6 of the Ontario Hockey League final against the Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors. “I’ve had a lot of fun through this.”

Was it Binnington’s best game as a junior?

“I’ll have to ask my dad (John),” Binnington said.

The Attack had to kill off some penalties early, and Binnington was bumped around in the crease.

“Earlier in the year I think that would have got to my head,” Binnington said. “Through this playoff experience I had ups and downs, I think I have learned a lot.”

Point shots

Many observers, immediately following the game, figured Kootenay captain Brayden McNabb will get suspended for elbowing Attack star Joey Hishon late in the game. If that happens, it would mark a large blow for the Ice’s title hopes. It plays the Majors on Sunday night, and one team will be 0-2 afterward. Just once, in 2009 when the Windsor Spitfires did it, has a team won the Cup after losing its first two games ... The Attack fans got plenty of ink in the past week and they didn’t disappoint on Saturday night. At one end the rink some held up a sign that read ‘Bayshore Community Centre South’ and they weren’t far off. The Attack may as well have been playing at home, the cheers for them were that boisterous. Among those in the crowd was Nashville Predators forward Joel Ward, a former Owen Sound junior ... Conversely, there was almost no reaction when the Ice players skated on to the ice at the beginning of each period ... The Colorado Avalanche selected Hishon in the first round of the 2010 NHL entry draft, and the kid can fly. Hishon darted around Ice defencemen for a bunch of good scoring chances and looked good when he back-checked in the first period to take a scoring chance away from Drew Czerwonka ... Mike Halmo made a small but significant play on the Attack’s second goal. Controlling the puck at the Kootenay blue line, Halmo turned his back and drew an Ice defenceman to him. Roman Berdnikov popped into the open lane and took a short pass from Halmo, skated a few strides before using a wrist shot to score on goalie Nathan Lieuwen ... The Ice netminder made some big saves, including a couple on Hishon and another on Andrew Shaw. But at times it looked like he had trouble catching the puck.

From the hash marks

Eakin emerged at the world junior championship as one of the top two-way juniors in Canada and that reputation has followed him here. Kootenay gave up no less than five players (including four prospects) and three draft picks to acquire the Washington Capitals pick from Swift Current in January. Eakin likely will give the Majors fits, and Majors coach Dave Cameron, who had Eakin for a month with the junior nats, knows it. “Respect, just respect,” Cameron said. “He is going to be a pro player for a long time.” ... Jesse Blacker is the lone Maple Leafs prospect participating in the tournament, and it’s all but certain his junior career will end this week. The 20-year-old Attack defenceman has signed with the Leafs and is destined for a spot with the Marlies next season unless he stuns everyone at training camp. Blacker and Leafs director of player development Jim Hughes have been in weekly contact. “He has given me advice when I needed it and has helped mould my game,” Blacker said. Blacker is the only Owen Sound player with a Memorial Cup ring, which he earned two years ago with the Spitfires ... The Attack is the lone team at the Cup which did not have a player on Canada’s junior team in Buffalo. Forward Garrett Wilson was one of three Attack players (along with Hishon and Blacker) who were cut at the selection camp. Wilson was strong on the penalty kill versus the Ice with several blocked shots ... Ice alternate captain Steele Boomer has the best name in the tournament, bar none.

terry.koshan@sunmedia.ca
twitter.com/koshtorontosun

 


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