I wasn't as excited about the lineup for this game as I had been on Halloween. At first, I thought it was my NCAA bias, but with former Wolverines captain Mark Mitera a prominent figure on the Condors blueline, that rang false. And really, going to see two First Round picks (Mitera and Logan MacMillan) should have been more exciting than going to see two NCAA free agents (MacGregor Sharp and Dan Sexton). But I guess I've given up on MacMillan, and I really wasn't all that impressed with Mitera at camp. They would both have to win me over again.
Unfortunately, like Halloween, last Wednesday was not a game that could highlight their skills. Despite sitting atop their ECHL division and Pielmeier scoring a goal this weekend, the Condors powerful suck in Ontario this season. It was essentially another shutout effort, but the team rallied to scrum the crease and score a goal in the waning seconds of the 2-1 loss.
But as I attended the game to provide you with an update, an update you shall get after the jump...
Ed. Note: I went to this game with CK, but she hasn't put the pictures together as of this post. I'll post a photo gallery (probably as a link to a post on the old Blogger site for copyright reasons) when she gets them to me.
Logan MacMillan (1st Round - 19th Overall - 2007 Draft. Pick acquired with 2nd Round - 42nd Overall - 2007 pick [Tangradi] from Minnesota in exchange for 1st Round - 16th Overall - 2007 pick. That pick was acquired with Gerald Coleman from Tampa Bay in exchange for Shane O'Brien and a 3rd Round 2007 pick)
It's unfortunate, but even if you're not a scorer, scoring is important when you're trying to get out of the minor leagues (or in this case, when David McNab is trying to get you on an AHL team). I don't think anyone sees MacMillan as a dynamic offensive force anymore, but he's spent most of his first pro season thoroughly snakebit. When Sharp was sent to San Antonio this month, Stu Bickel went along with him. Why Bickel and not MacMillan? Well, Bickel had twice (yes, twice) as many points as MacMillan, 12 to Logan's 6.
But if anyone has benefitted from the exodus of offensive weapons like Sharp and Sexton, it's Logan MacMillan. Going into Wednesday's game, he had two multi-point efforts in his last five contests, and he exuded that confidence in his first few shifts. I still don't think he's trying to create an attack sequence or be part of an attack sequence, but he's mauling the puck carrier and trying to get the biscuit in the basket. That's really what you want to see out of a banger, and it should produce some excellent results on the stat sheet sooner or later. He may not find his way onto an AHL squad this season, but he's finally building confidence, which is something that had started to slip through his fingers at the end of his career in the Q.
Mark Mitera (1st Round - 19th Overall - 2006 Draft)
The snarl is still there. He gives you the boards, but really, he plans to take you out either way.
Mitera is one of many Ducks that tried the San Antonio rout this year, only to end up in Bakersfield. And McNab made the right call here, just as he did with Sexton. Playing is always better than not playing. Mitera saw A LOT of ice time on Wednesday, and he even joined the offense from time to time. That's right. Mark Mitera SHOOTING-- on net, once or twice. I almost sued Dr. Ghosheh for malpractice.
Predictably, Mitera tried to bring the puck in past the hash marks, and he got knocked down when he couldn't find the trigger. But that's not the point. The point is, he's playing. He's finding his confidence. He's proving he HAS a trigger. He's got 4 assists in 17 games (well on his way to outscoring MacMillan), and he could find his way back to the AHL before the season is over. But even if he doesn't, this setup isn't too bad for him. As Ducks fans have seen in the last couple of games of Brett Festerling's current call up, it's good to play. It's good to be the go-to-guy, even on a minor league team. You find parts of your game that you (and by you, I mean I) didn't know existed.
Pielmeier had more than a few gems against the Reign, and both goals would have been gems if he'd gotten to them. With Pogge out of the picture, the young German is building his confidence behind a good team in the ECHL-- I mean, what do you call taking shots at the empty net, if not confidence?
Goaltender development is always hard to forecast, but it should comfort Ducks fans to know that the Pielmeier displays a mastery of his raw athletic skills and hasn't run into any major setbacks in the lower levels. He didn't have a great camp this year, but it's hard to argue that the 20 year old isn't as far along as he should be right now.