Since the CIS University Cup tournament went to a 6 team round robin format 11 years ago no team had ever lost their first game in the tournament and came back to win the University Cup. That is until Eric Hunter and his University of Alberta Golden Bears made history on Sunday evening with a dramatic 3-2 win over the top ranked University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds.
Ah but Hunter does not get tonight's star because his team won, he played a major role in his team's win. With the Golden Bears trailing 2-1 in the second period, Hunter set up Ian McDonald who fed Tim Krymusa to tie the game up at 2-2.
In the 3rd period Hunter was involved in 2 game changing plays; the first was during an Golden Bear power play when Hunter got the puck to Krymusa who this time fed McDonald for what proved to be the Cup winning goal. The second play took place with less than 2 minutes in the game when it appeared that Alberta was going to get called for a penalty.
Hunter was skating along the boards when one of the Varsity Red whacked him into the boards and wiped out the possible power play by taking a "checking from behind" penalty. From there it was just a matter of the Golden Bears surviving the remaining 1:45 and the party began.
Hunter finishes his freshman season with the Golden Bears 13-20-33 which places him as the 5th overall scorer among Ranger prospects. After all Hunter went though we are very happy that he ended his season as a champion.
The Rest of the Prospects
We said that we wanted to see Bobby Sanguinetti step up and help get his Brampton Battalion back in their OHL playoff series with the Barrie Colts. We got what was asked for as Sanguinetti got the Battalion going scoring a power play goal in the first period enroute to a Battalion 5-1 win.
It was more than just the goal that we were glad to see as Sanguinetti was a +3 on the evening being the player we know and believe he can be. Our challenge to Bobby who we know reads us is to ignore the critics, to be true to himself and make the Troop his team. Everyone knows about Sanguinetti's offense but there is much more to Sanguinetti than just offense and we think it is time he let the world see it.
With the win the Battalion end the Colt's 10 game playoff winning streak but more importantly now only trail 2-1 in this series. Game 4 will be Tuesday in Barrie.
David Skokan and his Rimouski Oceanic played as if they were content to split the first 2 games with the Baie-Comeau Drakkar and if that is the case they got what they wanted. The Drakker had little trouble with the Oceanic as they defeated them 5-2 to tie their QMJHL series at 1 game each.
Skokan hurt his Oceanic by taking 2 penalties that the Drakkar converted into goals so even though stats wise Skokan looked like he did well (1 assist, 3 SOG, 12-7 on face offs and 3 good hits) overall a not so good performance. The series now shifts back to Rimouski where the Oceanic will need show up with better discipline (gave the Drakkar 11 power plays for the game)
Danny Hobbs had a goal as his Ohio Junior Bluejackets prevented the Chicago Steel from clinching a USHL playoff spot with a 6-3 win. With 6 games remaining the Steel need one point or one Junior Bluejacket loss to eliminate them from the USHL playoff picture.
This reports marks our 200th report since we started, when you measure that along with the 52,733 page views then we are totally in shock about how much you folks have supported our efforts.
Once upon a time James Dolan told the world that Ranger fans would never every support a rebuild, that Ranger fans want superstars not a bunch of unknown kids. Our goal from day one when we first started covering the kids was to introduce these kids to you.
To tell you their stories and to help both prospects and fans connect with each other. Our greatest reward is to see Ranger fans saying "I can not wait until so and so gets here" while the prospects are saying "I can't wait until I play in front of the Ranger fans".
It has worked and we plan on hopefully expanding what we do in the coming months and thanks to you folks it might happen.
(Eric Hunter picture courtesy of the 2008 CIS University Cup Champions the University of Alberta Golden Bears)
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