Saturday, March 1, 2008

Too Much Fun Just For one

First Star

It took all of one day in March for Ryan Hillier to return to the prospect we had been watching all season long. Hillier who could not buy a goal in February had 2 huge goals including the overtime game winner on Saturday night.

Hillier had not scored a goal since February 6th, a span of 10 games. Not scoring led to Hillier's demotion down to the 3rd line and questions about his future.

In leading his Halifax Mooseheads to a 4-3 overtime win over the Moncton Wildcats, Hillier scored his 29th and 30th goals of the season which also regained the prospect goal scoring lead for himself.

Hillier scored the first of his 2 goals in the 3rd period as it gave his Mooseheads a 3-1 lead that as been the Mooseheads habit over the last month gave right back allowing to the Wildcats to tie the game and force overtime.

Nobody ever knows what causes or breaks slumps but for Ryan Hillier these 2 goals just might be what he needed to restart his season.

Second Star

Since we are holding a reunion of lost Ranger prospects then let us also welcome back Billy Ryan as Ryan had a goal and an assist to help key his Maine Blackbear's 3-0 shut out over Vermont in Hockey East play.

Ryan's senior season has been nothing like anyone thought possible as between not scoring and missing 9 games due to injury it has been anything but frustration.

Ryan scored just his 5th goal of the season adding his 9th assist of the season to help Maine to the very earn some badly needed points. It may be however not enough to keep his career at Maine going past next weekend.

Maine right now is in 9th place in the Hockey East League, 2 points out of the 8th and final playoff spot. With 2 games remaining in the Hockey East season Maine will need to get some help from Merrimack while winning their last 2 games against UMass Lowell.

The Rest of the Prospect Action

We have to start with Eric Hunter and his University of Albert Golden Bears as they earned a spot in Canada's version of the Frozen Four the University Cup with a thrilling 4-3 double overtime win over the University of Manitoba to sweep the best of three series 2-0.

Hunter was held scoreless and before the Golden Bears head to the University Cup they will take on Saskatchewan for the Canada West conference championships.

Jordan Foote played his final regular season home game as a member of the Michigan Tech Huskies and while he did not score his Huskies upset the 7th ranked Denver Pioneers 2-1. The highlight of this game had to be the Huskie's killing off a 6 on 3 Denver power play in the game's last 1:30.

Tomas Zaborsky's 29th goal of the season was not enough as his Saginaw Spirit lost in overtime to the Windsor Spitfires ending the Spirit's 5 game winning streak. Zaborsky's goal did however extend his own personal scoring streak to 6 games. By earning a point in regulation the Spirit moved into a tie for the 5th seed in the OHL Western Conference playoff race.

Zaborsky's goal gives him stats of 29-35-64 which is tied with Bobby Sanguinetti for the best among Ranger prospects.

The highlight of the evening though was the pre-game Shocks and Saves charity which featured the first public skate by former Detroit Red Wing defenseman Jiri Fisher since Fisher collapsed and nearly died on the Red Wing bench in November of 2005. The charity event raised over 15,000 dollars part of which will be donated to the Windsor Spitfires in memory of their captain Mickey Renaud.

Bobby Sanguinetti had an assist as his Brampton Battalion earned a 3-1 win over the Barrie Colts. For Sanguinetti the assist in addition to helping him keep pace with Zaborsky for the prospect scoring title moved him 1 point shy of tying his OHL career high of 65 points.

Danny Hobbs and his Ohio Junior Bluejackets jumped out to a 4-1 lead over the Waterloo Black Hawks and held on to a 4-3 win. Hobbs did not score but his Junior Bluejackets were able to keep their faint USHL playoff hopes alive. The Junior Bluejackets are 13 games out of the final playoff spot in the USHL's East Division with 15 games to play.

One day after clinching their 10th CCHA Championship, Carl Hagelin and his top ranked Michigan Wolverines dropped a 4-3 overtime decision to Ferris State. Hagelin scored his 8th goal of the season in the loss.

Max Campbell was scoreless as 11th ranked Notre Dame defeated Campbell's Western Michigan Broncos 3-1.

Greg Beller was also scoreless as his Vernon Vipers jumped out to a 2-0 lead in their BCHL Elimination Round series over the Trail Smoke Eaters with a 7-1 win. The game was marred by a very nasty and ugly brawl in the 2nd period that led to the ejections of 7 players from both teams.

(Picture Credits: Ryan Hillier/Halifax Mooseheads, Billy Ryan/Maine Blackbears)

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