Monday, September 26, 2005

Raszka making noise with Battalion

Taylor Raszka was taken in the first round of the 2002 OHL Priority Selection by the Plymouth Whalers, but since then has worn three other uniforms.

Raszka was dealt to the Saginaw Spirit as part of a deal for Chris Thorburn at the 2003 OHL trade deadline and stayed in Saginaw for the rest of that year and the 2003-2004 season. But coming into last year, the Spirit released Raszka and he surfaced in the USHL with the Lincoln Stars where current Plymouth forward Jared Boll was captain.

"It just wasn't fun any more in Saginaw," said Raszka, a Petersburg native, in a story for USA Junior Hockey Magazine last season. "We were losing a lot and guys didn't like coming to the rink. It was like we knew we were going to lose."

At the end of last season, Raszka continued to explore his options, came back to the OHL and signed with the Brampton Battalion as a free agent. In Brampton's home and season opener Friday night against the Barrie Colts, Raszka scored Brampton's lone goal in a 4-1 loss.

“I think Raszka came in and had an extremely good camp and all Taylor needs is some confidence,” said Battalion coach-GM Stan Butler. "And as the year goes on he’s going to be a pretty good player for us.”

But Raszka gave the Battalion a scare in a pre-season game Sept. 18.

Raszka took a punch from Kelsey Wilson of the Guelph Storm in a 5-2 road loss, but X-rays on Raszka’s jaw proved negative. Late in the second period, Guelph's Matt Lyall fired the puck into the Battalion net after an offside call and, in the ensuing melee, Raszka was decked by Wilson, who ended up fighting John de Gray. Wilson received an instigator penalty and a game misconduct while Raszka left with a suspected broken jaw.

“I thought my jaw was broken and I was in a lot of pain,” said Raszka, who turns 19 on Oct. 22. “It’s still very sore but it’s getting better. They didn’t find any broken bones, so as long as they let me go I’ll be out there. I thought the play was over and I was watching the scrum at the side of the net. Wilson came flying across the ice and hit me with a cheap shot. That’s all I can really recall, but the other guys stepped up for me and that was great.”

Brampton visits Plymouth on Sat. Nov. 19 and Saginaw the night before.

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