Image courtesy of CSNPhilly.com
Anthony Stolarz, the Philadelphia Flyers’ top goaltending prospect, has been suspended eight games by the Ontario Hockey League for his slash to the back of Joshua Ho-Sang’s head. Stolarz slashed the forward in the London Knights’ 10-2 win on Tuesday over the Windsor Spitfires in Game 3 of the teams’ Western Conference quarterfinals series.
Video courtesy of HockeyWebCaster
The incident occurred when Ho-Sang slashed Stolarz slightly after the whistle on a play in the first period, to which Stolarz responded by swinging his stick with just his right hand and connecting to the back of the forward’s head while skating away from the crease. A mild scrum ensued from the incident, as both Stolarz and Ho-Sang earned minor penalties from the interaction. According to a tweet from The London Press’ Ryan Pyette, the slash looked worse on television than it did in person. With that being said, it was still a reckless play by Stolarz that warranted some type of punishment from the OHL.
The London Knights, the four-seed in the OHL’s Western Conference, currently have a 3-0 advantage in their series with the fifth-seeded Windsor Spitfires. Depending on how well the Knights do in the goalie’s absence, Stolarz’ next turn in net can range anywhere from Game 5 of the Western Conference semifinals to Game 4 of the Western Conference Championship. If the Spitfires do the improbable and overcome their 0-3 series deficit, Stolarz’ suspension will likely impact his start to next season. In the first three games of London’s series against Windsor, Stolarz was 3-0-0 with a .933 save percentage and a 2.00 GAA.
With Stolarz suspended the Knights will turn to Jake Patterson, a 19-year-old goaltender who has yet to take part in a postseason game this year. He was 22-9-3 during the 2013-2014 regular season with a .897 save percentage and 3.15 GAA.
As for Ho-Sang, he is a highly-touted prospect that is anticipated to be drafted high in this year’s NHL Entry Draft. In a pair of mock drafts currently posted on NHL.com from a pair of scouts, Ho-Sang is going 20th overall and 22nd overall. He has a goal and two assists so far in his series against the Knights.
Stolarz was picked 45th overall by the Orange and Black in the second round of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. The Jackson, New Jersey native helped the Knights win their second straight J. Ross Robertson Cup last season, which is handed out each year to the OHL playoff champions. Stolarz played in 18 games for the Knights during their postseason run to the OHL Championship, as he went 13-4-1 with a .923 save percentage and a 2.53 GAA.