Saturday, November 22, 2008

Back to Back

Tonight's Star Antoine Lafleur (2007 2nd) Rouyn-Noranda Huskies

Got to be happy for the young goalie as Lafleur earned his 7th win of the season by stopping 26 out of 27 shots to help his Huskies earn a 2-1 overtime win over the Baie-Comeau Drakkar. Lafleur also earned the game's First Star honors as well.

It is great to see Lafleur earning back to back stars of the night from us because this is a really good kid who has gotten a bad rap in many quarters.

For Lafleur this was his 3rd straight win since getting yanked against the Prince Edward Island Rocket. That game is starting to look more and more like the lightning rod that is turning Lafleur back into the player who earned being selected in the 2nd round by the Rangers in the 2007 draft.

Against the Drakkar the only goal Lafleur gave up was a power play goal in the second period that Lafleur really had no chance on. Stopping 9 shots in the first, another 9 in the second and then 8 more in the third period. This was a good effort for Lafleur and he can thank the support that Lafleur got from his teammates for limiting the kinds of scoring chances the Drakkar got.

With the win, Lafleur lowered his Goals Against to 2.89 and raised his save percentage to 0.868. This is the Lafleur we thought the Ranger's drafted and while he still needs work on his game, now we can say there is legit hope for his potential.


The Rest of the Prospects

In the WHL, Tysen Dowzak (2008 UFA) and his Kelowna Rockets repeated their efforts against the Prince George Cougars as they swept the 2 game series by taking Saturday's game 6-2. Dowzak played his normal strong defensive game in this win as the Rocket won their 4th straight game.

Kelowna is not the only hot team in the WHL as Tomas Kundratek (2008 3rd) and his Medicine Hat Tigers are 8-0-0-1 in their last 9 games thanks in part to the Tiger's 4-1 win over the Regina Pats. Kundratek may not be putting up the offensive number that people have been expecting but his defense has been pretty solid.

In the NCAA's, Danny Hobb's (2007 7th) hard work earned him a promotion to the UMass Minutemen second line and while they did not provide instant dividends, the Minutemen earned a weekend split over the NCAA defending champions the Boston College Eagles.

In a penalty filled game UMass earned a hard fought 4-3 overtime win over Boston College. Hobbs did not score but as we keep saying that come the second half of the season watch out for Hobbs as we will see him put up some numbers.

Derek Stepan (2008 2nd) was moved back to center as his Wisconsin Badgers earned a split of their weekend series by shutting out St. Cloud State 1-0. It was a good bounce back performance for the Badgers after getting whipped on Friday evening 6-2.

Finally Michigan's offensive woes continue as Carl Hagelin (2007 6th) and his teammates lost the second game of their series with the Miami of Ohio Redhawks 2-1. The Wolverines are just unable to sustain any kind of offensive pressure against one of college hockey's better defensive teams.

Next weekend, Carl Hagelin who is the Ranger's best defensive forward prospect is going to match up against Derek Stepan who could develop in the best pure goal scorer among Ranger prospects. This will be a fun matchup to watch.

(Antoine Lafleur courtesy of PEI)

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