So there we were already to give Chris Doyle yet another star of the evening for his performance against the Moncton Wildcats when we got this excited call from a friend who was checking out the Brampton Battalion online.
"You are not going to believe what Grachev just did" our friend says. "Grachev just made Brampton history by fastest goal to start a period."
Sure enough in one of those "how do you top this one" moments, 2008 3rd round draft pick Evgeny Grachev did in fact earn a place in the Brampton Battalion history books by scoring just 7 seconds into the second period against the Kingston Frontenacs. It also is the fastest goal scored by any Ranger prospect in the 5 years we have been doing this.
The goal was Grachev's 4th of the season and it gave the Battalion a 2-0 lead that did not last. The Frontenacs scored 2 goals 23 second apart to tie the game at 2-2 when Grachev struck again.
Grachev added his second goal of the game at 8:45 of the same period off the power play to give his Battalion a 3-2 lead to take into the 3rd period with. It was Grachev's 5th goal of the season as well as his first power play goal with Brampton.
Grachev now has a 7 game scoring streak which ties the Prospect Park record set last season by 2006 5th round pick Tomas Zaborsky while he was with Saginaw of the OHL. During this streak, Grachev has gone 5-3-8 +8 as the Battalion have now won 6th straight games to move to 8-6 and first place in the OHL's Central Division.
Grachev goes for his next prospect record on Saturday evening as the Battalion "invade" Peterborough to face the Petes. This prospect is getting so very scary good that next season we just might see an all Russian Ranger line of Zherdev/Grachev/Anismov and we are not kidding.
Chris Doyle Week Continues
Last season it seemed that every time we named someone either Prospect Park of the Week or the Dean Prentice Prospect of the Month then it was like the "kiss of death" to their hot streak. So far it appears that this season is not the case as 2008 5th round prospect Chris Doyle simply just played better on Thursday evening.
Doyle and his Prince Edward Island Rockets traveled to Moncton to face the QMJHL's best team in the Moncton Wildcats. The Wildcats entering Thursday's match were an impressive 14-0-2-0 and at first glance the 7-9-0-1 PEI Rocket were not going to be much of a match.
Someone forgot to tell Chris Doyle that as the QMJHL Telus Player of the Week scored two goals on Nicola Riopel who was selected as the ADT CHL Goaltender of the week. Riopel and his Wildcats can honestly say that they really did escape this one with a 3-2 shoot out win over the Rocket.
With the Rocket on a 5 on 3 power play, Chris Doyle got the Rocket going as he scored his 8th goal of the season at 5:20 of the second period. 41 seconds later with the Rocket on a second 5 on 3 power play, Doyle added his 9th goal at 6:01 to give his Rocket a 2-0 lead.
It was a lead that the upset minded Rocket simply could not hold onto as the Wildcats took control shutting down the Rocket offense with a smothering defense. The Wildcats limited the Rocket to just 12 shots over the last 2 periods and overtime as they scored 2 goals to force overtime.
In the shootout, Doyle missed on his shoot out chance as the Wildcats were able to get one by Rocket goalie Bobby Nadeau to as we said escape with the win. The Wildcats know that they could have very well had lost this game if the Rocket had just a little more offense in the tank.
For his efforts, Doyle was named the game's second star by the Moncton media which in itself was a small miracle but it was a well deserved star. Doyle's line looks like this; 2-0-2, Even, 3 SOG, 2-4 on face offs and 0/1 on the shootout.
With the 2 goals Doyle is now in 9th place on the QMJHL scoring list at 9-15- 24 and tied for 3rd in power play goals with 6. Doyle now has a 5 game scoring streak of 4-6-10 which is 2nd best on the season behind Evgeny Grachev.
And the News Gets Even Better
We got word that the other 2008 3rd round pick Tomas Kundratek is expected to finally make his WHL debut this weekend for the Medicine Hat Tigers. This is one with a reason to get excited about because you take a talented prospect like Kundratek and place him with one of the best coaches in the WHL in Willie Desjardins.
Kundratek is expected to play either Friday night against Kootenay or on Sunday against Calgary. In either case the already strong Medicine Hat power play is about to get that much better as Kundratek is being looked upon to become the power play quarterback.
Given how little anyone in North America really knows about Kundratek then this will be an educational experience that we are looking very forward to seeing.
In a move that we have been calling for for the last couple of weeks the Rangers quietly have sent free agent signee Tysen Dowzak back to the Kelowna Rockets from the Charlotte Checkers of the ECHL.
The folks up in Kelowna were kind enough to make the announcement but then again they are very happy to get the 6'5 Dowzak back in their lineup. It made little sense to us why the Rangers did not send Dowzak back when he was not getting ice time with Hartford.
Dowzak is very much a work in progress and his improvement has been linked to former NHL defensive defenseman Jeff Finley joining the Rocket's coaching staff. It makes more sense to continue Dowzak's education with Finley where Dowzak will get more hand's on teaching as well as 20+ minutes a night to work on his development.
Amos to the Rescue
We can not take credit for this tidbit as one of the veteran prospect posters Amos found this one for us so here is the news from Amos himself:
Also, not only is the NHL network airing the Carl Hagelin game (on) Sunday (12:00pm est) but at 8:30 tomorrow night (Friday) the very same network (The NHL Network US and Canada) is airing the Wisconsin vs North Dakota, meaning I will be getting my first glimpse of Derek Stepan.
As will many Ranger fans who if they can should take the time this weekend to check out both very talented Ranger prospects. We got to spend last Sunday evening talking with Derek and we came away very impressed by Derek's maturity.
Next month's edition of the Blueshirt Bulletin will have the our first interview with Derek and the coach of the Wisconsin Badgers Mike Eaves in it. If you are not a Blueshirt Bulletin subscriber then sign up here.
Our thanks to Amos for helping out here as well.
(pictures Grachev-Brampton, Doyle-PEI Rocket, Kundratek-Medicine Hat, Dowzak-Kelowna, Stepan- NHL Media)
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