Hey look a Saturday night and New York Ranger prospects showed up with some production and even a bit of standout play. Last week we had to struggle to name stars, this week we had our pick of 5 prospects who played very well for their teams.
He has been struggling along with his Owen Sound Attack teammates; we even suggested last night for him to take a night off but 2009 5th round pick Goalie Scott Stajcer did not take Saturday night off and Owen Sound is glad he did. The Attack behind Stajcer's 36 saves defeated the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds 6-3 in OHL action.
The Greyhounds were the last team anyone expected the Attack to break their 6 game winless streak against but Stajcer was up to the task while making his 9th straight start for the Attack. Stajcer getting some help from the Owen Sound penalty kill (0 for 7) was able to get vision at the puck as well as some offensive support in the 6 goals the Attack scored.
We still believe Stajcer needs a game off if for no other reason now but to rest after 9 straight starts but for one night we saw the prospect we believe has a strong future with the Rangers. With the win, Stajcer improves his numbers to 2-5-1 4.16 GAA and 0.882 save percentage.
We have this feeling that we are going to see Carl Hagelin (2007 6th)'s name here a lot more this season as the Michigan Wolverine junior left wing is getting his 2009-10 season off to a faster season than anything we have seen in his previous 2 seasons at Michigan. Hagelin with his first official points of the season helped key a 6-1 rout of the Alaska-Anchorage Sea Wolves at the Kendall Auto Hockey Classic on Saturday night.
Hagelin and his linemates combined for 8 points on the night (4-4) as they rebounded from Friday night's upset loss to Alaska-Fairbanks. Hagelin scored his first goal of the season as he grabbed a rebound and lifted it over Sea Wolves goalie Bryce Christianson at 18:25 of the first period.
It was a power play goal and it gave Michigan a commanding 3-0 lead. In the 3rd period Hagelin set up linemate Chris Brown for the Wolverine's final goal of the game for his 2nd point of the evening.
If Hagelin has his offense this early in the season then this is going to be a huge season for the typically slow starter.
The Saskatoon Blades are on a 3 game winning streak; Sam Klassen (UFA) the normally defensive minded defenseman is on 3 game scoring streak (1-4-5, +6). Draw whatever conclusions you may like but we say it is back to back 3rd stars for Klassen
On Saturday night with the Blades trailing 2-1 to the Lethbridge Hurricanes in the last minute of the 3rd period it was Klassen who got the puck to teammate Derek Hulak who stuffed past Hurricanes goalie Linden Rowat to tie the score and force it into overtime where Saskatoon was able to win the game 3-2.
Sam told us in an interview for the Blueshirt Bulletin that his goal for the season was to get more involved offensively. Now we understand why the Blades were so happy to welcome Sam back.
Chris Doyle (2008 5th) found set up teammate Ben Duffy for the winning goal just 26 seconds into overtime giving his Prince Edward Island Rockets a 2-1 win over the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies. Doyle on the night was 0-1-1, +2, 2 good hits and seems to be focusing more on hockey now.
Roman Horak (2009 5th) is quietly making a name for himself as a member of the WHL Chilliwack Bruins. Horak had 2 assists, was a +2 in a losing effort as Chilliwack lost to the Kamloops Blazers 5-4 in the shootout.
We say quietly as even we were caught off-guard when we realized that Horak in 8 games in the WHL is 1-7-8, +7 and has scored in 6 of those 8 games. Chilliwack is struggling with a record of 2-5-0-1 but they have been playing some tough teams and are in every game so a break here or there and this is a winning team.
The Rest of the Prospect Lineup
In the battle of former Traverse City teammates Craig Cunningham (Traverse City)'s Vancouver Giants scored with just 43 seconds remaining in the 3rd period to hold off Tomas Kundratek (2008 3rd)'s Medicine Hat Tigers 5-4. It was a heartbreaking loss for the Tigers as they had rallied with 3 third period goals to tie the game and had momentum on their side.
Both Cunningham (5-9-14) and Kundratek (0-3-3) each recorded primary assists in this game.
There would have been a second battle of Ranger prospects but Mitch Gaulton (2008 6th) missed his 3rd straight game for the Erie Otters as they took on Luke Pither (Traverse City)'s Barrie Colts. Pither was held scoreless but Barrie was able to send the Otters to their 4th straight loss 7-4
Daniel Maggio (2009 6th) and his Sudbury Wolves had a Saturday night they would rather forget as they got spanked 9-2 by the Plymouth Whalers. It was an ugly evening with Maggio scoreless and less said the better.
Luke Walker (Traverse City) was also held scoreless but his Portland Winterhawks continued their almost shocking start with an 8-3 win over the Prince Albert Raiders. With the win the Winterhawks are now 7-2 which is tied for the 2nd best record in the WHL; after the last 3 years this is already a great story to keep an eye on.
(Pictures: Stajcer/Owen Sound, Hagelin/Michigan, Klassen/Saskatoon)
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