Zack Kassian (-1) notched an assist for his 20th career playoff point as Windsor opened the 2011 playoff year with a 2-1 loss to Erie. Kassian, whose power play blast by tipped-in by Stephen Johnston for the only Spits goal, put together a decent performance despite the loss while on a line with Johnston and Leafs prospect Kenny Ryan. The 6'3 banger showed engagement early, opening the game with a big hit only to be whistled for charging a couple of shifts later. He was controlling and patient with the puck, and more importantly was physical in all three zones in an effort to pressure the Otters carriers. Windsor scored on just one of 11 power play opportunities, a stat that will need to improve when the series shifts to Erie for game #2 Saturday.
Elsewhere on opening night, Steven Shipley finished +1 as Niagara rolled to a 7-1 thrashing of Brampton. The IceDogs rode four goals from the stick of Darren Archibald to notch their first win of the playoff year, while Shipley remains without a point through five career playoff games. Ranked #9 in the final CHL rankings, Niagara now travels to Brampton for Sunday's game #2.
Gregg Sutch played even as Mississauga defeated Belleville, 4-1. The 6'2 grinder, who came to life last year in the playoffs with four goals and an assist in 16 games, will have plenty of opportunities to eclipse that line with the CHL's #3 ranked Majors hosting this year's Memorial Cup. Austen Brassard ('11) scored the Bulls' lone goal.
On Wednesday, Christian Isackson (+1) scored his 16th goal of the year as Sioux Falls downed Omaha, 4-1. The goal thrusts Isackson into the team scoring lead with 41 points, one ahead of Brown commit Ryan Jacobson in two fewer games. Another future Gopher, Kyle Rau ('11) paced the Herd with two goals and an apple.