Prospect Park Prospect of the Week and Tonight's Star
A funny thing happened on the way to selecting this week's Prospect Park Prospect of the Week; we did not think we had anyone worthy of selecting. Several of the prospects played well but nobody was standing out for this week.
That is until we went back though the entire week not just Friday, Saturday and Sunday. It was when we looked back at last Wednesday and realized that Sam Klassen (2009 UFA) did not have a bad week after all.
Going backwards from Saturday we saw that Klassen played well on Saturday earning the star of the night for a goal and an assist to lead his Saskatoon Blades to a 4-1 win over the Kamloops Blazers. Klassen was named the game's 3rd star for his efforts and our Star of the night.
On Friday night Sam and his teammates would prefer that we did not say much about the 6-2 loss that the Swift Current Broncos pasted them with as it ended a 6 game winning streak for the Blades. Klassen was a -3 for the night but was on the ice for 4 of the Swift Current goals.
But when we remembered his play from last Wednesday night it was then that we decided that despite the bad Friday night Sam Klassen deserved being our Prospect of the Week. In this one Klassen made a picture perfect pass to spring teammate Travis Toomey for a shorthanded goal in the 3rd period that proved to be the game winning goal.
Klassen's numbers may not have been earth shattering at just a 1-2-3 but his timing of his points were what stood out. The already mentioned assist, his power play goal on Saturday and for the most part some very steady defensive play all combined to sneak up and tell us that Sam Klassen was our Prospect of the Week.
Actually what made us take a second look at Sam Klassen was Tuesday night when Klassen with a goal and 2 assists led his Blades to a 7-2 blowout of Tomas Kundratek's (2008 3rd) Medicine Hat Tigers. Kundratek was returning to the Tiger lineup after missing 3 games with the flu should have skipped this one as well the way his team got manhandled by the Blades.
Klassen in earning the game's First Star now has back to back games where he has earned a star for this efforts. He was the 3rd star on Saturday for going 1-1-2 which added to Tuesday's 1-2-3 gives him 2-3-5 in his last 2 games.
Klassen earned 2 secondary assists on the Blade's 2nd and 4th goals before scoring his now career high 3rd goal of the season at the 10:02 mark of the 3rd period for a 6-1 Blade lead. Klassen on the season is now 3-8-11 for the season.
Not to mention that Klassen was a +3 on the evening to bring his total to a +11. What made this 7-2 win that much more impressive was that Medicine Hat came into this game having won their last 2 games by a combined 16-3 score.
As for Kundratek, tonight's loss was not his fault as his teammates ran into a buzzsaw and there was nothing really they could do about it. Kundratek was a respectable 1 assist -1 in his return from the flu bug.
Luke Walker (Traverse City) and his Portland Winterhawks returned back home after a very good 4-2 Eastern Canada road trip only to have to escape the Brandon Wheat Kings via a 5-4 shootout win over the Brandon Wheat Kings. The Winterhawks blew a 4-1 second period lead and hung on to earn this win.
Walker had his prospect leading 11th goal of the season which was Portland's 4th goal in regulation and added his 9th assist of the season. Walker now is 11-9-20 which puts him in 12th overall in the WHL, 2nd among Ranger prospects behind Craig Cunningham in points and as we mention the leading goal scorer.
(Klassen courtesy of the Saskatoon Blades)
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