Just as we were going to send out a New York Ranger's Prospect missing persons alert on him, Chris Doyle showed some signs of life with a goal and an assist on Sunday. Doyle and his Prince Edward Island Rocket thanks to 3 goals in the 3rd period defeated the Halifax Mooseheads 6-3.
It was Doyle's 25th goal of the season at 1:11 of the first period that got the Rocket's going. Doyle also added his 38th assist of the season on PEI's 3rd goal to bring his season's numbers to 25-38-63 which is good for second place among Ranger prospects.
Doyle despite the game is someone who we believe is playing hurt as his numbers even with his effort on Sunday have been going south since the first of the year.
Doyle's stock has dropped because of his injury and his best hope for a future contract will be returning to the QMJHL for another season.
Michael Del Zotto had an assist to go along with a +3 to get his March going as Del Zotto's London Knights had no problem with the Kingston Frontenacs 7-2. Del Zotto's assist was his prospect leading 46th and came on the Knight's 6th goal on the power play.
For Del Zotto, while his offense was quiet his defense has been improving as the OHL regular season winds down. The Knights have long clinched their playoff position so the hard part now is to finish the regular season without injury while getting ready for the playoffs.
For Del Zotto these are the ideal times for him to be working on the parts of his game as the OHL playoffs are going to be where both the Rangers and Del Zotto will see how advanced Del Zotto has developed.
Our belief is that Del Zotto is going to have a very strong playoff run which will help knock a year off his development.
We have a new first for Evgeny Grachev; in the Brampton Battalion's 7-0 win over the Peterborough Petes marked the first time that Grachev did not register any points in the first game of the month. In 5 previous monthly openers, Grachev was 3-5-8 but guess that shows he is not perfect.
Grachev had a quiet game as Brampton coach Stan Butler used this blowout to try to rest some of his players (playing their 3rd game in 4 nights) so he changed up lines and rested his star players.
The win for the Battalion clinched the OHL's Central Division title and not worse than the 2nd seed in the OHL's Eastern Conference. The win did help the Battalion pull within 2 points of the Belleville Bulls.
Mitch Gaulton and his Erie Otters had a chance to clinch their first OHL playoff spot since the 2005 but forgot to show up until they were trailing 6-0 to the Plymouth Whalers.
The Otters made a mild run to get the score to 6-3 with Gaulton assisting on the Otter's second goal but it was too little too late.
Gaulton wound up with his first point in 6 games but the bigger question right now is: Is their a problem between Mitch Gaulton and Otter's coach Robbie Ftorek?
Victor Fernandes in his Shootout blog wrote:
Erie Otters defenseman Mitch Gaulton enters today's game against Plymouth not having earned a shift in the previous four games. Gaulton said coach Robbie Ftorek might not believe he's in game shape, although Gaulton had at least a few shifts in the first 12 games since his return from a year-long rehabilitation of his surgically repaired left elbow. Gaulton is frustrated with his lack of ice time. But he said, "I've just got to work hard and change his mind."
Gaulton earned his first shift of today's game midway through the first period. He was on defense with Brian Shaw, who's subbing for the injured Tyler Hostetter.
Gaulton will be getting some more playing time as another Otter defender is expected to be suspended for a game misconduct he received in this loss.
Finally Antoine Lafleur got to watch yet again as his Rouyn-Noranda Huskies lost to the Victoriaville Tigres 4-3 in overtime in QMJHL action. Lafleur has now been the backup for the last 4 straight games after giving up 6 goals in his last appearance.
(Pictures: Doyle/PEI Rockjet, Del Zotto/New York Rangers, Grachev/Brampton Battalion, Gaulton/Erie Otters)
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