Well yesterday we knew very little about 2007 7th Round Draft Pick Danny Hobbs and while we have to admit we still are just learning about him, Danny decided to make sure we paid some serious attention to him and his Ohio Bluejackets.
All the game's second star Hobbs did was score 2 third period goals (one shorthand, one empty net) to help lead his Ohio Bluejackets to a 6-3 win over the Green Bay Gamblers in USHL action on Saturday night.
When we talked to Ranger's Director of Player Personal Gord Clark about Hobbs, the thing that Clark keyed on was that Hobbs plays better when he is either playing with or against better players. In the case Saturday night the SH goal gave his Bluejackets a 3-1 lead that broke open the game.
Last year the Bluejackets were an expansion team that had next to no offense (Hobbs was 10-11-21 in 60 games). This year an older and more experienced Hobbs is being counted on to provide a lot of offense.
Not a bad job by Danny to earn our Prospect of the Night in just his second appearance as a Ranger prospect. Ranger fans will get to like this young man is these are the kinds of performances we see every night.
Last night's PPP (Prospect Park Performer) Tomas Zaborsky had 2 assists Saturday night but his Saginaw Spirit lost to the Belleville Bulls 3-2 in overtime. As it was pointed out last night, Zaborsky is getting lost in the shadows of Ryan Hillier and Bobby Sanguinetti but 8 points in 6 games should be an attention getter.
Speaking of Ryan Hillier, his 8th goal (unassisted no less) was part of a 6 goal out burst as his Halifax Mooseheads doubled up on Antoine Lafleur's Prince Edward Island Rocket 6-3. Lafleur had yet another rough outing in goal giving up the 6 goals on 35 shots.
Lafleur 's season record has dropped to 2-5 and yes Lafleur is struggling but again we have to point out that it remains way too early to give up on Lafleur. Hillier on the other hand is having a very special start to his season.
In addition to his unassisted goal, Hillier registered 6 shots all credited as dangerous but also 3 "good" hits. After tonight's game Hillier is the leading goal scorer in the QMJHL.
Danny Skokan and his Rimouski Oceanic continued to struggle dropping their 7th straight game after a good start losing tonight to the Chicoutimi Saguenéens 4-1. Skokan has not played badly during this losing streak but losing still drains a player so now we have to watch to see how Skokan handles this.
On any other night Senior Billy Ryan (2004 3rd Rd) would have been our star of the evening BUT because his Maine Black Bears were playing an exhibition game against the US Under-18 team then his stats will not count. The Black Bears won 5-3 and if this game is any indication of what to expect then watch out for Billy Ryan.
In this non-counting game Ryan notched a hat trick and an assist in his season debut including a goal that proved to be the game winner. During the off-season his coach at Maine, Tim Whitehead said IF Billy was able to have a healthy off-season where he could train then Ryan could become an elite player in his senior season.
Ryan had that off-season and we can honestly say this is very much a talented player to watch.
Another college senior is Jordan Foote (2004 6th Rd) of Michigan Tech also got their season underway with an exhibition game against the University of Toronto. Foote had a goal as the Tech wiped out Toronto 7-0.
Foote is a huge power forward (6'3 210) prospect who has spent most of his career as a defensive specialists. His MTU team has been rebuilding during Foote's career and this season we believe they are going to get an NCAA bid.
Finally Eric Hunter had a goal but it was a lost weekend for his University of Alberta Golden Bears as they dropped a 6-2 decision to the University of British Columbia.
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