Friday, February 15, 2008

Kicking the Door Shut

Tonight's Star

When we try to decide who deserves the stars of the night we look for the things that stand out whether they are key goals, assists or plays. Goalies on the other hand unless they post shutouts are harder to judge as they have so many different factors to go by.

When we saw that Antoine Lafleur of the Prince Edward Island Rocket had stopped 51 out of the 52 shots he faced, we did not even look to see if he had won as there was our first star of the night. Facing 52 shots is a mind boggling statistic but when we saw that he only gave up just 1 goal it was without a doubt on the par with one of the scorers having a 5 point night.

For the record, Lafleur's Rocket defeated the St. Johns Fog Devils 4-1 as Lafleur was in fact named the game's First Star by the St. John's media. It was a well deserved first star as Lafleur as we have previously reported has gotten hardly any support from a very young defensive corp that the Rocket dress every night.

15 shots in the first period, 17 in the second and then 20 more in the third. What we really would like to hear is how many of those shots were in fact quality shots since out of those 52 shots only 8 were rated as dangerous. As it is on the average Lafleur according to the QMJHL faces 33 shots a game which is at the hide end even in the offense crazy QMJHL.

With the win Lafleur improved his season record to 12-16 but now as much as we were impressed by his performance this evening we also would like to see him follow it up with another solid performance. Consistency is the one thing we have not seen from Lafleur (where have Ranger fans heard that?)

The Rest of Prospect Action

Eric Hunter and his University of Alberta Golden Bears had nothing but pride to play for as they went up against the University of British Columbia. Having already clinched the first seed in the Canada West playoff, there was nothing at stake and the Golden Bears played like they did not care as they lost to UBC 3-2. Hunter did not score.

Bobby Sanguinetti and his Brampton Battalion saw their 6 game win steak come to an end as they lost to the Oshawa Generals (and superkid John Tavares) 3-2. While Sanguinetti was scoreless with a -2, the hands down expected first pick in the 2009 NHL draft John Tavares scored the game winner, a shorthanded goal not less at 15:21 of the 3rd period.

Tomas Zaborsky had an assist but his Saginaw Spirit dropped a 4-2 decision to the Plymouth Whalers. Zaborsky's 28th assist of the season gives Zaborsky 54 points in 54 games.

Ryan Hillier at least had 4 shots but now has gone 5 games without a point as his Halifax Mooseheads did beat the Baie-Comeau Drakkar 4-1. We are concerned because we felt Hillier had turned a corner and was on track to put in a solid full season instead of what his critics had called a half season player. We hope January's prospect of the month gets back on track very quickly as we really do like Ryan.

David Skokan was scoreless, missed his shot on the shoot out but did go 12-9 on his face offs and register 2 solid hits as his Rimouski Oceanic won in the shoot out 3-2 over the Val-d'Or Foreurs.

All good things sadly do come to an end as Max Campbell's 6 game scoring streak ended when 8th ranked Michigan State shut out Campbell's Western Michigan Broncos 3-0. Campbell was on the short end of a -2 for his evening but he has shown us that he bounces back from bad efforts with an even better performance.

Jordan Foote was scoreless but his Michigan Tech Huskies whipped Minnesota Duluth 5-2. The Huskies will be shooting for the weekend sweep as they face Minnesota Duluth again on Saturday evening.

As seen on CSTV, Carl Hagelin and his top ranked Michigan Wolverines had little trouble with Lake Superior State winning 4-2. Hagelin was scoreless but for the Wolverines the good news was that 2nd place Miami was upset by Ferris State and now have a 3 point lead over them in the battle for first place in the CCHA.

Billy Ryan remains out and Maine remains barred by federal law from discussing his injury status but his Maine Blackbears lost a heartbreaker in overtime to Boston University 2-1. The only thing Maine can tell us is that they do expect Ryan to return to the lineup before the end of the season.

Danny Hobbs though missed his 2nd straight game with an undisclosed illness but his Ohio Junior Bluejackets shut out the Green Bay Gamblers 2-0.

Check back tomorrow as we report on all the happenings with the Ranger prospects.

(Lafleur picture courtesy of the Prince Edward Island Rocket)

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