It may just be the exhibition season but Chris Doyle is not waiting for the regular season to begin. Doyle the New York Ranger's 2008 5th round pick has exploded out of the gate for the Prince Edward Island Rocket.
3 games into the exhibition season and Doyle has been an impact player in each game. Doyle repeated his 2-1-3 performance from Friday evening as the Rocket improved to a 3-1 pre-season record after whipping the Acadie-Bathurst Titan 8-2.
Doyle is now 5-2-7 in 3 games as he enters his last season in the QMJHL but more importantly fighting for a Ranger contract. One of the areas that Doyle has always been at his best is on the power play as Doyle led Ranger prospects with 14 power play goals last season.
In Saturday's game, Doyle scored both of his goals on the power play with his assist also coming on the power play. For the night, Doyle was 2-1-3, -1 6 shots, 3 scoring chances, and 1-2 on faceoffs.
Mitch Gaulton was scoreless but played a steady game as his Erie Otters lost their exhibition opener to the Niagara Ice Dogs 4-3. For Gaulton after all the drama of last season maybe quiet was exactly what he needed.
The Ranger's 2008 6th round pick has struggled with injuries over the last 2 season as well as finishing last season in Otter coach Robbie Ftorek's doghouse. This season Gaulton appears ready to put all the problems from the past behind him and concentrate on hockey.
Gaulton dropped from 231 to 195 and spent most of the off-season working with a trainer. When healthy Gaulton has the potential to be a very good offensive minded defenseman who the Otters will be looking towards for a significant contribution from this season.
In other action, Roman Horak (2009 5th) had the night off as his Chilliwack Bruins got the weekend sweep of defending WHL champion Kelowna Rockets. Roman Horak according to reports is going to be an exciting player to watch this season.
Sam Klassen sat out as his Saskatoon Blades had little trouble with the Prince Albert Raiders 6-2. Klassen is a free agent defenseman who will be attending Traverse City.
Luke Walker will also be attending Traverse City but he sat out the Portland Winterhawk's loss to the Seattle Thunderbirds 4-2. Based on what we know, we would like to see Walker on a line with Roman Horak and Evgeny Grachev to combine power with finesse.
(Chris Doyle courtesy of PEI Rocket, Mitch Gaulton courtesy of the Erie Otters)
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