Friday, March 7, 2008

Skokan is Smoking

First Star

On Wednesday evening, David Skokan showed us his solid defensive skills; Friday he showed us that his offensive game is not that shabby either.

Skokan set up linemate Michael Frolik at 1:38 of overtime for his 3rd point of the game to lead his Rimouski Oceanic to a 6-5 overtime win over the Gatineau Olympiques. Skokan the game's Third Star had 2 goals to go along with that assist.

With his Oceanic trailing 3-1, Skokan got his evening going with his 16th goal of the season on the power play at 12:05 of the second period to bring his Oceanic to 3-2. In the 3rd period with the Oceanic trailing 4-3, Skokan tied the score at 4-4 with his 17th goal at 14:11. That goal was at even strength and set the stage for Skokan's overtime heroics.

The rest of his numbers are as follows: 2 shots (2 goals), 2 "dangerous" shots (scoring chances), Even, 3 "good" hits, a power play goal and the only negative stat was that Skokan went 9-10 on his faceoffs.

It seems that we go out of our way to be different when it comes to believing in Ranger prospects. It was us the Prospect Park that disagreed with all the other "experts" when we said Brandon Dubinsky, Nigel Dawes and Ryan Callahan were going to play in the NHL and look which 3 players are playing key roles on the Rangers recent roll.

We said last season that Marc Staal was going to jump directly to the NHL and he has in a big way. So are you seeing the theme here as we are going to tell people that you need to stop looking so hard at numbers whether they be size or scoring.

We look to see the size of a prospect's heart about how bad they want to become Rangers and Skokan has repeatedly shown us he badly wants Broadway Blue. Skokan was the player who set up the game winning goal at Traverse City, was the star of his Slovakian World Junior team and since his return from the WJC Skokan has been elevating his game.

We can not wait until Skokan gets to Hartford because we know that his hard work and excellent attitude will win him fans very quickly.

Second Star

It was a mixed day for Bobby Sanguinetti as earlier on Friday the Ranger's 2006 1st round pick was named as the OHL's Defenseman of the Month for February but Friday evening, Sanguinetti's 27th goal was in a losing effort as his Brampton Battalion dropped a key 5-2 decision to the Niagara IceDogs but we will get to that in a minute.

Sanguinetti was the lone bright spot for his Battalion as his goal at 2:53 of the first period gave the Battalion a chance to get back into the game as they had given up 2 goals in the first 2:14 of the game. It was a hope that was short lived.

Ignore the -1 that Sanguinetti had as it was the result of an empty net goal that the IceDogs scored in the 3rd period to "ice the win". Sanguinetti gave his usual best as the prospect point’s leader is now 27-39-66 on the season.

Getting back to the "key loss" because had the Battalion won they would have clinched the OHL Central Division championship and 2nd seed in the East Conference playoffs that goes with it. The Troop entered the game with a 7 point lead with 5 games left.

Win and the Troop would be partying as we speak but with 4 games remaining and just a 7 point lead the door remains open just a crack for the IceDogs. We do expect that it is just a matter of time but the lesson the Battalion has to learn is to finish someone off when you get the chance.

Sanguinetti in earning the OHL Defenseman of the Month was based on his 7-5-12 performance and it was well earned.

The Rest of the Prospect Action

Eric Hunter had a goal as his University of Alberta Golden Bears drew first blood with an 8-3 whipping over the University of Saskatchewan Huskies in their Canada West Final. Hunter's goal was part of a 2 goal first period that helped the Golden Bears jump out to a 1-0 series lead. Game 2 is Saturday night.

Greg Beller's Vernon Vipers took to the road for game one of their BCHL Interior Conference semi-finals against the Penticton Vees but it appears they forgot to bring their game with them. The Vipers got torched 7-2 in Game one of their best of seven series.

Max Campbell's Western Michigan Broncos went back and forth with the Ferris State Bulldogs throughout regulation and wound up with a heartbreaking 4-3 overtime loss to lose game 1 of their best of 3 CCHA tournament playoff. Campbell had an assist on the Bronco's first goal of the game in the first period.

Campbell's freshman season is on the line Saturday night as his Broncos face the elimination game at Ferris State.

Billy Ryan was scoreless as his Maine Blackbears defeated UMass/Lowell 4-1 to keep their faint hopes of making the Hockey East playoffs alive. The Blackbears needed some help from Merrimack and did not get it. Now Ryan's career as a Blackbear could end Saturday evening unless Maine defeats UMass/Lowell and Merrimack upset UMass/Amherst.

Jordan Foote and his Michigan Tech Huskies went on the road to Minnesota State and came away 5-2 losers as Foote was scoreless.

Ryan Hillier had an assist as his Halifax Mooseheads got smoked 9-3 by the Acadie-Bathurst Titan. The Mooseheads continue their late season swan dive with yet another blowout loss.

Danny Hobbs and his Ohio Junior Bluejackets kept their faint USHL playoff hopes alive as they defeated the Sioux City Musketeers 4-2. With 14 games remaining, the Junior Blackjackets trail the Chicago Steel by 11 points as the 2 teams have 6 games left with each other.

(Picture Credits: Skokan: Rimouski Oceanic, Sanguinetti: OHL (Aaron Bell))


Lee said...

Of course I wish them all long successful playoff runs, but how soon can college seniors like Ryan or Foote begin a PTO?

Jess Rubenstein said...


As soon as their college season comes to a end. For Ryan that could mean after this evening.

Jordan Foote has a game tonight and then the first round of the WCHA playoffs (I think Michigan Tech is going to be a dangerous team to play against)

What I believe is that the Rangers will rotate the prospects in and out of the Hartford roster with the exception of Sanguinetti who is the only defenseman among the prospects.