Saturday, November 29, 2008

The Saturday Special

Tonight's Star - Max Campbell, Western Michigan Broncos

This one is kind of personal as we have gotten to know Max Campbell (2007 5th) over the last year and like the young man from Strathroy, Ont. It is hard not to like a prospect who spends his own money to attend Ranger camps in order to become a better player.

It is even harder not to like someone who when everything was not going right for him, did not quit on himself but in fact worked even harder to get his spot back. That is Max Campbell this season.

On Friday night Campbell scored WMU's only goal against 2nd ranked Notre Dame and then followed it up on Saturday with an even better performance. Campbell scored his 5th goal of the season, set up another and scored on his shootout attempt but it just was not enough to help WMU earn the upset win.

Notre Dame earned the extra point in the CCHA standings by winning the shoot out portion of the game 2-1 but Notre Dame knows they escaped barely with the 2 points as they should have lost the game.

Campbell scored his goal in the second period as his teammate Greg Squires found Campbell in front of the Notre Dame goal for a quick shot which gave WMU a 3-2. Campbell's assist was a simple feed that allowed linemate Patrick Galivan to score in the first period.

Campbell on the season is now 5-2-7 after a 2-1-3 weekend. The hope is that Campbell can now turn his game up still another level as if Campbell gets hot then some of these close games that WMU have been dropping will start to go their way.


The Rest of the Prospects

Derek Stepan (2008 2nd) had an assist as his Wisconsin Badgers shut out Carl Hagelin (2007 6th)'s Michigan Wolverines 3-0 to sweep the College Hockey Showcase for the first time since 2005-06. For Stepan it was his 6th assist on the season as the freshman from Hastings, Minnesota is now 2-6-8 on the season.

For Hagelin and his Wolverines, their poor goalie Billy Sauer has to wonder what he has to do in order to get any kind of offensive support. For the second straight game, Sauer got zero goals in support of his efforts.

Tomas Kundratek (2008 3rd) got to experience a WHL tradition on Saturday evening as Kundratek had the secondary assist on the "Teddy Bear Goal" but Kundratek's Medicine Hat Tigers failed to hold their lead and lost 3-2 to the Brandon Wheat Kings.

For those of you who do not know what the "Teddy Bear Toss" is; the teams of the WHL started this as a way to help local children's hospitals and other agencies that help children to collect toys for those in need. When the home team scores their first goal of the game then the fans are encouraged to throw Teddy Bears onto the ice.

It is a sight to see if you ever get a chance as to see an entire ice rink covered in Teddy Bear's but more importantly it is always for a great cause, kids.

It is always an interesting subject when someone who sees a prospect on a daily basis offer some interesting insight as was the case of Kelowna Rocket's play by play announcer Regan Bartel regarding Tysen Dowzak (2008 UFA).

At Regan's Rant, Bartel wrote: "The most encouraging sign was a fight Rockets defenseman Tysen Dowzak had with Bruins tough guy Randy McNaught. Dowzak dominated the tilt as the biggest Rocket stepped out of his comfort zone to flex his muscles. I would frankly like to see Dowzak go that aggressive direction more often considering he is a) the biggest player on the Rockets roster (by weight) b) the oldest."

Bartel has repeatedly shown himself to be very accurate regarding Dowzak so when he says something like this we tend to accept it. The Rockets shut out the Chilliwack Bruins 3-0 for their 5th straight win.

The more accurate description of this game would be shut down instead as they held the Bruins to a total of 11 shots for the entire game. The Bruins had just 2 shots on goal in the first, 5 in the 2nd and just 4 more in the 3rd.

As for Dowzak who does not fight very often; when he does then he tends to get his money's worth as Dowzak went after the Bruin's McNaught and earned 17 minutes worth of PIMs because of the scrap.

(Max Campbell courtesy of Western Michigan)

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