Saturday, February 14, 2009

A Very Very Strange Saturday

Tonight's Star Tysen Dowzak

You know it is a crazy night when your offensive star is the guy who is supposed to be your shutdown defender but that is exactly what happened with the Ranger prospects on Saturday night.

Tysen Dowzak had 2 assists as his Kelowna Rockets won their 6th straight game, 5-1 over the Prince George Cougars. It has been a very good weekend for Dowzak who played a very good game on Friday against the Vancouver Giants and then followed it up with an effort like this one.

Dowzak got his night going with a secondary assist on Lucas Bloodoff's 16th goal of the season at 15:24 of the first period. This goal gave the Rockets a 3-0 lead and for all purposes was the goal that put the game out of reach for Prince George.

In the third period, Dowzak appeared to have scored his first goal since March 2nd 2007 (113 games) as his shot went in but it turned out that teammate Mikael Backlund had tipped it in. Dowzak wound up with a primary assist instead of the goal but as we are discovering Dowzak is more about helping the team than personal goals.

It is also has to be noted that Dowzak was a healthy scratch against these same Cougars on Jan 17th and since his return to the lineup the Rockets have gone 9-1-1-1 . We are looking forward to Monday as we are going to meet up with Dowzak and his Rockets for a Blueshirt Bulletin profile
in the next issue.

The Rest of the Prospects

So now the night got interesting for the prospects

Tomas Kundratek got into his very first WHL fight as he dropped the gloves with Kamloops Blazer forward Brent Lyon. We do not have any reports as to how he did but what we do know is this was Kundratek's best game in over a month.

Kundratek had a power play assist for his 17th point of the season, a modest 3 game scoring streak and points in 6 out of his last 7 games. Kundratek just missed out on his very first Gordie Howe Hat Trick as was just a goal short of it.

We do want to encourage people to take a look at the goal scored by Tyler Ennis at 12:25 of the first period. There is a reason why this kid was a first round pick of the Sabres and his 30th goal of the season is one of them.

No your browser is not having color issues as this picture is of Max Campbell and his Western Michigan Broncos as they wore pink jerseys, pink socks and pink laces as part of their annual Hockey Cares Weekend.

The Broncos were trying help raise money for the American Cancer Society as well as show support for the USA Hockey's Hockey Weekend Across America.

We give kudos for WMU as they work hard at giving back to their local community with events like these and the "Teddy Bear Toss".

As for the game, the Broncos dug themselves a 4-2 hole and was not able to dig out of it as they lost 4-3 to the Alaska-Fairbanks Nanooks in CCHA action. Max Campbell was held scoreless in this game.

Speaking of Campbell, WMU's Assistant Director of Media Relations Adam Bodnar shared this about him:

Sophomore center Max Campbell leads the Broncos with a career-high 14 goals on the season, with 10 of them coming on the power play. His 10 power play goals ranks him first in the CCHA and third in the nation. Campbell has 12 of his 21 points on the season (10-2-12) coming on the power play. In his last seven games, the Strathroy, Ontario, native has scored six goals and tallied four assists for 10 points.

We have a Danny Hobbs sighting as Daniel Hobbs returned to the UMass lineup for the first time since Jan. 30th and scored his first point since October 21st (17 games) as his UMass Minutemen upset 2nd ranked Northeastern 4-1.

Hobbs assisted on Michael Lecomte's 5th goal of the season at 10:27 of the second period to make the score 3-0 for UMass. It was Hobb's first NCAA assist as the struggling freshman had his best game of the season with the assist as well as a career high +2.

Now let us see if Daniel Hobbs can stay in the lineup longer than Danny Hobbs did.

Carl Hagelin and his 4th ranked Michigan Wolverines are right back at the top of the college polls after they swept the Nebraska -Omaha Mavericks 4-2 on Saturday night. This will be one of those games that Hagelin will not consider in his season highlight reel.

Hagelin got undressed a couple of times on the penalty kill, had no shots (he leads the team with 98) on goal and his penalty kill unit gave up 2 goals in the first period. In some ways the news was that Hagelin actually had a bad game which is a new experience for him; let us see how he responds next weekend.

Mitch Gaulton was scoreless but his Erie Otters defeated the Kingston Frontenacs 4-3 to move into 6th place in the OHL's Western Conference. This was a key bounce back win for the Otters who lost a heartbreaker of a shootout loss on Friday night to Michael Del Zotto's London Knights.

Since we are highlighting numbers then here is one for Gaulton; since Gaulton joined the Otter lineup the Otters are 7-3-0-1. The Otters are now a season high 5 games over 500 and have a very good chance to make the playoffs for the first time since the 2004-05 season.

Greg Beller also was scoreless but his Manitoba Bison did something they had not done since Oct 14th 1995 which was defeat the University of Alberta on their home ice as the Bison handed the Golden Bears a 2-1 loss.

The streak which last 13+ year and a 30-0-1 record was a shocker for the Golden Bears who are traditionally one of Canada's very best college hockey teams. For the Bison this was a huge win as while they have clinched a playoff spot they have set their sights on a second seed which would mean a first round bye.

Antoine Lafleur was the backup once again as his Rouyn-Noranda Huskies broke a 7 game losing streak with a 7-2 win over the Victoriaville Tigres. Lafleur can only blame himself for this situation as he was handed the starting job, did not grab it so now he can only sit and watch.

Lafleur is a very nice kid who is hard not to like but we wish there was some way to light a fire under this kid. Nothing is more frustrating than to see someone who has clearly the talent but can not show the consistency.

(Pictures: Dowzak/Tim Swanky, The Broncos/Western Michigan)

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