Saturday, September 29, 2007

Saturday Night is Always Right for Hockey

With less than a week away from the start of the Ranger quest towards a Stanley Cup, it is great to know that the future of the Rangers is just as bright. Ranger Prospects are showing that they too are going to be a part of the return to glory for the Ranger franchise.

How can you not like it when you have 3 different prospects to choose from as your prospect of the night? It is nights like these which send a message that the prospect pipeline has some talent in it and more on the way.

Bobby Sanguinetti clearly deserved a "star of the game" nod but the Barrie media gave it to their own players even though none of them came close to playing as well as Sangs. That snub is why Sanguinetti got the nod for our prospect of the night even though David Skokan and Tomas Zaborsky played solid games.

Sanguinetti's 6th goal of the season at 1:53 in the 3rd, tied the game at 3 before Sanguinetti's Brampton Battalion (OHL) would lose in the shootout 4-3 to the Barrie Colts. Sanguinetti now has a goal in all 4 OHL games that he has played in.

For Sanguinetti it was yet another multi-point game as he also added an assist in the 2nd period giving him a very impressive 6-4 10 (2nd in the entire OHL) +9 in just 4 games. Now the reason I highlighted the +9 is because there is no concern about Sanguinetti's ability to score but about his defense.

That Sanguinetti is a +9 even this early in the season after going a -16 for Owen Sound last season is a good sign that Sanguinetti's work during the off-season to improve his defense is paying dividends. Let us hope he continues this excellent trend

David Skokan also had a goal (his 2nd of the season) along with an assist to earn the game's first star as his Rimouski Oceanic rallied back from being down 3-0 only to fall 4-3 in overtime to the Shawinigan Cataractes in QMJHL action. For Skokan he gave us a glimpse of the offensive side he can possibly provide when he looks for it.

It was actually Skokan's assist that was the more impressive play as Skokan set up the tying goal with just 2 seconds remaining in regulation to force overtime. For a player best known for his checking skills this was a very nice game to see.

Overall clearly this was Skokan's best game of the still young season as he was a +2, took 6 shots (of which 3 were called dangerous) and received credit for 2 strong hits. The only negative if you really want to find one would be going 16-18 on faceoffs.

Tomas Zaborsky's 2nd assist of the night proved to be the game winner as Zaborsky's Saginaw Spirit defeated the Owen Sound Attack 5-3 in OHL action. For Zaborsky the 2 assists helped to earn him the game's "third star" .

Zaborsky who the Rangers said was a strong offensive weapon is being overshadowed by the play of Sanguinetti and Halifax's Ryan Hillier is not having a bad start to his season either. Going 2-3-5 in 4 games is not bad numbers either so we will not forget to keep a close on Zaborsky either.

And then there is the hottest of Ranger prospects Ryan Hillier who saw his "Star of the Game" streak come to an end at 4 as he was held pointless for the first time this season. His Halifax Mooseheads lost a tough one 2-1 to Lewiston as the defending QMJHL found a way to stop the Moosehead offense.

Overall how can a Ranger fan complain about a night like this? You have a Ranger win along with Ranger prospects going 2-4-6 with 2 of them earning "star of the game" honors.

That my friends is what we have to call a good night.

None of the prospects are in action so time to grab a day off because next week the college and USHL will start getting ready for their seasons.

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