Today's Star Michael Del Zotto
Today's Word is HUNGER and we are going to highlight some excellent examples of it because that is the difference in our eyes between winning and being a Ranger these days.
Fresh off his 3 assist, first star of the game performance against Kitchener on Sunday, Del Zotto scored his 11th goal of the season while adding his 42nd assist as his London Knights had no problem defeating the Guelph Storm 5-1.
Del Zotto earned a second star for his efforts as he extended his scoring streak to a season high 7 games (1-9-10) but also to 4-16-20 in 17 games since his trade to London. When we talked to him earlier this month about what motivates him; his response was to win not the personal stuff.
Del Zotto said he wanted a shot at the Memorial Cup and that the personal goals will take care of themselves. Kind of hard to disagree with him since we talked to Del Zotto on February 2nd right at the start of this streak.
The Man Called Hatch
I made the trip up to Portland to interview Tysen Dowzak for the Blueshirt Bulletin, great kid and perhaps the most different interview I have ever had the most fun doing.
First the game as Dowzak's Kelowna Rockets lost to a very hungry Portland Winterhawk team 4-3. The Winterhawks entered this game 41 points behind the Rockets in the standings, they are virtually eliminated for playoff contention and have nothing to lose other than pride.
Someone forgot to tell the Winterhawks that as they out hustled, they out worked and out played the 4th best team in the WHL's Western Conference. They even survived one of the worst called games I have seen in years as the ref called things that had the press box shaking their head in disbelief.
The Rockets did their imitation of the Rangers going 1 for 9 on their power plays. The Rockets were simply a step slower and like the Rangers waited until they were down 4-1 before starting to play.
Dowzak for this game got graded out with a B+ as like his teammates he was a step slow in the beginning but we did like that he played with some emotion, that I credited him with 4 hits including one that planted one of the Winterhawks into the boards and then flat on his back.
I can see why the folks in Kelowna want Dowzak to be more physical because he does not need to use a lot of effort to knock someone down. I also liked his shot from the point and wished he took it more often as if Dowzak puts it on net then it is the kind of point shot that generates rebounds in the crease. Use it more Tysen and you will have a future.
Got to thank former Ranger Jeff Finley and Rocket's announcer Regan Bartel for taking the time to talk to me before the game. Kelowna is a class franchise where I hope the Rangers look to draft more prospects from.
Now about Dowzak the interview, during the interview Dowzak said his nickname was "Hatch" after injured Flyer Derian Hatcher so we found pictures and you be the judge.
Grachev Goes Scoreless
It has gotten to the point where when Evgeny Grachev does not score in a game that is news but Grachev's latest scoring streak only lasted 6 games but his Brampton Battalion defeated the Mississauga St. Michaels Majors 3-1 on Monday.
Grachev who also saw a 4 game goal scoring streak come to an end had a shot at an empty net goal but it was blocked as time expired was a +2 which makes another of his stats look pretty good with a + 34.
Next up will be a possible preview of the OHL final as for the first time this season, Evgeny Grachev will be facing Michael Del Zotto as Grachev's Battalion will host Del Zotto's Knights on Thursday evening.
This one will be a fun one to watch.
(Pictures: Del Zotto-Rangers, Dowzak-Kelowna, Hatcher-The National Hockey League)
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