By Fred Wallace
The Ontario Hockey League season is over for the Owen Sound Attack; a season in which they will not advance to the playoff round which begins later this week.
A season in which decent expectations, goals and targets were missed by a wide, wide margin
In reviewing a season that wasn't, I've identified a half dozen factors with and around the team that torpedoed them this year.
So we'll start with factor # 1, the most obvious factor; injuries.
In particular, the injury sequence to Joey Hishon and Jason Wilson.
The offensively gifted Hishon started the season, the menacing Wilson did not.
Wilson made his Owen Sound debut October 15th at St Catharines in a game against the Ice Dogs, a game in which an errant Niagara shot beaned Hishon in the foot, and in short order knocked him out of the Attack lineup until December 20th.
In just their second full game in the lineup together, playing on separate lines, Hishon, Wilson & the Attack whipped the Generals in Oshawa 8-1.
I don't think it's a stretch to say that Owen Sound's best stretch of the year extended for a month when they pulled to within 3 points of 5th place by January 23rd.
Of course, on January 23rd, Wilson missed a check against Sarnia, and crashed his knee against the boards and was out again.
Just 7 days later, Hishon suffered a similar injury, and over the last 6 weeks when Hishon and Wilson were out, or obviously well under 100 percent if they were in the lineup, Owen Sound stumbled and missed the playoffs.
You can agree or disagree on whether this was the biggest factor in Owen Sound's fate, but to me it was, by far, the most significant reason why there's no playoff action this year.
Sadly, the injury bug isn't the sole factor, and we'll deal with the other issues surrounding an Attack season gone bad in the days ahead.
I'm Fred Wallace