Sunday, September 16, 2007

Sunday Prospect Action

It was a mixed bag as the 3 Ranger prospects playing in the QMJHL were in action on Sunday afternoon. Ryan Hillier (2006 3rd) of the Halifax Mooseheads continued his strong play from the Traverse City Tournament to earn Star of the Day.

For Hillier, it was a strong effort as his Halifax Mooseheads visited the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles and came away with a 4-3 win to go 2-0 on the season. Hillier played a very solid all-around game scoring his first goal of the season (shorthanded no less), adding a power play assist, with 8 shots on goal, a +1 for the day and a roughing minor.

Rightfully so Hillier was named the game's first star by the Cape Breton media. Hillier knows how hard he is going to have to work to earn a contract from the Rangers and does not want a repeat of the slow start he went though last year>

His goal today is a prime example of how he has changed as Hillier broke up a power play attack then rushed the puck up the ice and then fired a very accurate shot that handcuffed Cape Breton's goalie over his glove side. Hillier is looking to make the play not have someone make it for him.

On the other hand goalie Antoine Lafleur (2007 2nd) struggled badly in his second start for his Prince Edward Island Rocket as they hosted the Saint John Sea Dogs. Lafleur was pulled near the middle of the 2nd period after giving up 4 goals on 23 shots in a game his Rockets lost 6-3.

It was a rough outing for Lafleur who really did not get much support from his defense but also could be suffering from "training campitis", a common problem for young players after their first training camp with an NHL team.

It really is nothing to worry about as most prospects struggle to adapting back to the lower level of play after their first taste of an NHL Camp. It is even harder for a goalie who has seen faster and tougher shots from a higher quality level of player.

A good example since we are talking about QMJHL prospects is how Ryan Hillier struggled at the start of last season when he came back from Traverse City. It took him a while to adjust but he did and went on to have a very strong season.

Lafleur needs to relax and not try to shut everyone out every night. Lafleur will be fine in time.

Our third prospect David Skokan (07 7th rd)may not have registered any points but his Rimouski Oceanic scored with just 19 seconds left in regulation to defeat Victoriaville 1-0. Skokan had a much better game with his faceoffs going 14-8 on the day (up from 7-14 on Friday evening).

Prospect Park will be back Tues as David Skokan and Rimnouski will be in action hosting Chicoutimi

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