Prospect Park First
Since the 2004 season I have been covering Ranger prospects and never before has any Ranger prospect accomplished what Ryan Hillier of the Halifax Mooseheads did on Friday Night.
By earning the "First Star" during Halifax's 3-2 win over the Lewiston MAINEaics, Hillier became the first Ranger prospect in the four seasons that Prospect Park and the Blueshirt Bulletin have been covering Ranger prospects to earn either the first or second star in 4 straight games.
Last season Tom Pyatt and Ryan Russell earned stars in 3 straight games but even their stars were nothing like this run that Hillier is on. Marc Staal had a run where he dominated in the OHL playoffs but even he did not earn consecutive "star of the game" honors like Hillier has done.
As the game Hillier scored his 5th goal of the season on what was described as a really nice "razzle-dazzle" play by Matthew Wuest of the Halifax Daily News as he called it in his game blog. It was the 2nd power play goal of the season for Hillier and it tied the game for his Mooseheads at 1.
Hillier is red hot and hopefully this will last for a while because hot on Hillier's heels is Bobby Sanguinetti who is equally as hot and could be Hillier's main competition for Prospect of the Month.
On any other night we would have been talking about how Bobby Sanguinetti's 2 goal performance for the Brampton Battalion (OHL) was our lead report. Sanguinetti like Hillier is on fire following up a 5 point performance with 2 more goals as his Battalion destroyed an out manned and outplayed Sudbury Wolves 10-2.
Sadly Sanguinetti's performance will most likely be lost in most game reports due to a lengthy brawl that took place during the 2nd period of the game. Sanguinetti was not part of the brawling and is not going to face any sanctions unlike some of his teammates.
For Sangunetti, those 2 goals gave him 5 goals for the season, a 3 game goal scoring streak, a second star (stars in 2 straight games as well), and most of all a 5-3-8 +7 start to his season. Team USA needs to take a close look at this kind of firepower when selecting players for the World Junior Championships.
Antoine Lafleur had a major bounce back game one night after being pulled for his Prince Edward Island Rocket (QMJHL) but still was tagged for a loss as the Rocket were shut out 2-0 by the Moncton Wildcats. Despite the loss Lafleur can take away a lot from this game as this was just a hint of the kinds of performances Ranger fans should expect to see from him this season.
Lafleur faced 27 shots of which 15 were rated as "dangerous" (which is a polite way of saying his defense was MIA tonight). It wasn't an earth shattering performance BUT it should go a long way towards helping Lafleur cure himself of the PDBs he has been suffering from.
David Skokan had an assist and went 11-11 on faceoffs as his Rimouski Oceanic (QMJHL) lost to the Quebec Ramparts 8-5. Skokan actually was looking for his offense in this game which is a good sign as his defense did not suffer for it as it has in previous games.
Tomas Zaborsky was scoreless as his Saginaw Spirit lost in overtime 5-4 to the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds.
In other news Eric Hunter was offered a chance to play for Charlotte in the ECHL but choose to attend college and play for the University of Alberta. I am sure some people are going to say it is a dumb move but I will not.
Hunter in my eyes is doing what is best for his own personal future. He suffered a very badly broken leg during the second round of last season's WHL playoffs in April.
Having just finished almost a year of recovering from my own broken ankle, I think Hunter is doing the right thing by attending school which will give him a chance to strengthen his ankle. The Rangers do still own his rights and if things work out I am pretty sure we have not seen the last of Eric Hunter.
We will be watching how he does and reporting back to you on his progress.
11 hours ago