Derek Stepan (2008 2nd) is a freshman on the Wisconsin Badger's hockey team and one expects freshmen to be 3rd or 4th liners. Only problem is that somebody forgot to tell Stepan that.
Stepan almost since the first day of practice with the Badgers has been a Top Six forward and as of this weekend has been the starting right wing for the Badgers. And as of this weekend against Minnesota-Duluth, Stepan has been the starting right wing for the Badgers.
With Stepan setting up the game winning goal, the Badgers were able to extend their unbeaten streak to 5 games thanks to the 4-1 win over the Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs.
That the Badgers have started winning as Stepan has also started playing better can not be discounted. In 12 games, Stepan is now 2-4-6 for the Badgers as they have now improved their record to 4-6-2.
We can not wait for the College Hockey Showcase on November 29th as Stepan who in our eyes has a chance to become a serious offensive threat at the NHL level will be going up against the prospect who will become the best defensive threat in Carl Hagelin of the Michigan Wolverines.
One way to get not only our attention but our support is to stand up to anyone pulls some kind of stunt. Tysen Dowzak (2008 UFA) of the Kelowna Rockets earned that kudo for going after Shayne Wiebe of the Kamlooops Blazers after Wiebe got called for kneeing.
Dowzak got the instigator as well as a fighting major and 10 minute misconduct in the 2nd period of the Kamloops/Kelowna game. The Rockets were able to put an end to a 3 game losing streak with a 5-0 win.
This win was important after the Rockets had lost back to back games to the Vancouver Giants to fall 11 points behind the first place Giants. But to us, seeing Dowzak dropping the gloves and responding to someone pulling something was equally important.
After witnessing Henrik Lundqvist getting run, it does make us happy to know that if Dowzak makes it to the NHL that running a Ranger teammate will not be acceptable to him.
The Rest of the Prospect Action
Staying in the WHL as Tomas Kundratek (2008 3rd) had a quiet evening going scoreless as his Medicine Hat Tigers saw their 4 game winning streak come to an end as they dropped a 6-5 shoot out decision to the Red Deer Rebels.
In the QMJHL, Chris Doyle (2008 5th) and his Prince Edward Island Rocket ran into the hottest team in all of the CHL as they fell to the Shawinigan Cataractes 3-1 as the Cataractes won their 14th straight game. Doyle was scoreless in his first game after seeing his scoring streak end.
Antonie Lafleur (2007 2nd) returned to back up status as his Rouyn-Noranda Huskies lost in overtime 6-5 to the Saint John Sea Dogs also in QMJHL action.
Danny Hobbs (2007 7th) returned to the UMass lineup but the Minutemen had the "Big Game Next Game" hangover as they dropped a 2-0 decision to UMass/Lowell in Hockey East action.
Hobbs was scoreless as well as the Minutemen got brought back to earth after upsetting top ranked Boston University on Friday evening.
And for our last game of the evening, Carl Hagelin (2007 6th) and his Michigan Wolverines bounced back from getting beaten on Friday evening by Max Campbell's (2007 5th) Western Michigan Broncos to return the favor 5-0. The Wolverines made the Broncos pay for the Friday evening embarrassment as they dominated this game from start to finish.
Neither Ranger prospect scored nor did they really factor in this game.
(Stepan courtesy of Wisconsin, Dowzak courtesy of the Hartford Wolfpack)
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