Friday night hockey saw 14 New York Ranger prospects in action as there were some great performances as well as some entertaining hockey to more than make up for the Ranger's poor performance against Tampa Bay.
First Star Derek Stepan
For a while I was wondering when I was going to get a chance to rave about one of my favorite prospects Derek Stepan (2008 2nd) as he was the prospect I was expecting to have a monster season at Wisconsin. I had Stepan for 20 goals at the very least this season but only 3 goals after 12 games was a bit of a disappointment.
Friday night Stepan gave a display of what he was capable of doing as his Wisconsin Badgers did a number on 7th ranked Michigan State 7-3 at the annual College Hockey Showcase. Stepan with a goal and 4 assists for a career high 5 points was a huge reason why the Badgers whipped on the Spartans.
Stepan got his night going when he fed Brendan Smith for Wisconsin's first goal of the night at 9:23, Stepan then added a secondary assist on the Badger's second goal just 3:02 later on the power play.
In the second period, Stepan got his 3rd point of the night when he fed Mike Davies for Wisconsin's 4th goal and eventual game winner. Stepan then followed that up with his 4th goal of the season when he found a rebound and put it past Spartan goalie Drew Palmisano for a 5-1 Wisconsin lead.
Stepan and Mike Davies teamed up for Wisconsin's 7th and final goal of the night as Davies scored on the power play at 17:15 of the 3rd period. It was simply the best single performance by a Ranger prospect this season.
For his efforts, Stepan was named the game's second star as he went from 3-6-9 to 4-10-14 in one game. All of which sets up tomorrow's excellent match up as Stepan and Wisconsin head to Michigan to face Carl Hagelin and the Michigan Wolverines to see which team wins the College Hockey Showcase.
Second Star Carl Hagelin
Carl Hagelin (2007 6th) and his Michigan Wolverines appear to have shaken off whatever was wrong with them by whipping on the Minnesota Golden Gophers 6-0 in the first game of the College Hockey Showcase.
Hagelin took over as the leading goal scorer for Michigan by scoring his 6th and 7th goals in his 3rd two goal effort already this season. Hagelin's 2nd goal of the night was a shorthanded tally, his first of this season but his 4th of his career at Michigan.
Hagelin this season has scored his points in bunches and by that we mean during games as in each of the games he has scored multiple points; he did them one right after another. Against Minnesota it was an even strengthen goal at 17:45 of the second period then at 6:58 of the 3rd.
Hagelin on the season improves to 7-4-11 in 13 games which are not bad numbers but for Michigan to keep winning to turn this season around; Hagelin is going to need to become more consistent with his scoring.
Third Star Scott Stajcer
During the pre-season when we said that we thought Scott Stajcer (2009 5th) had all the makings of becoming an NHL goalie. We liked his size, his talent and skill package and that as a OHL rookie he already had faced the likes of Michael Del Zotto, Evgeny Grachev and John Taveres and held his own.
Against Daniel Maggio and the Sudbury Wolves it really did not look like Stajcer was going to have a good night. Giving up 1 goal in the first period facing only 5 shots then a second in the second on 15 shots left Stajcer and the Attack trailing 2-1 after 2 periods.
In the 3rd period, the Attack tightened up their defense to support Stajcer by limiting the Wolves to just 8 shots and scored 3 goals to come from behind for a 4-2 win. Stajcer earned his 9th win of the season and his 2nd straight win after 2 straight losses.
For Stajcer we have seen that in his 9 wins his goals against is 2.42, in his 14 other appearances it is 5.03. It is hard to be a goalie on a rebuilding team since your numbers are never going to reflect the real you.
Stajcer we have to hope can find ways to maintain his confidence during the season and hope that the Attack get better over time.
The Rest of the Ranger Prospects
Daniel Maggio (2009 6th) was scoreless in that loss to the Attack and was a -2. Maggio was not to blame for the loss but he does need to find the offense he had at the beginning of the season.
Ryan McDonagh (2009 Trade) was scoreless in the Wisconsin win over Michigan State.
Chris Doyle's (2008 5th) 11th goal of the season broke a 3-3 tie as his Prince Edward Island Rocket held off the Lewiston MAINEaics 6-4. Doyle earned the game's 2nd star for his efforts as he added a secondary assist as well.
Doyle is now 11-13-24 on the season as he took 5 shots on goal, was 4-4 on his faceoffs and 1 good hit.
Chris Kreider (2009 1st) scored his 2nd goal of the season as his 15th ranked Boston College Eagles and the Clarkson Golden Knights played a highly entertaining game of pond hockey. The Eagles jumped out to a 6-3 before holding on for a 6-5 win.
Kreider's goal came as part of a 3 goal outburst in the 2nd period. Kreider's goal should have been a backbreaker as he scored with just 21 seconds remaining in the period. If we were Boston College we would be very concerned as the 4-9-1 Golden Knights scored their 5 goals on just 18 shots.
Craig Cunningham (Traverse City) earned himself the game's 3rd star by scoring the game winning goal with just 32 seconds remaining in regulation as his Vancouver Giants scored 3 times in the 3rd period to win 5-4.
Cunningham had a great 3rd period as he set up the first 2 Vancouver goals in the period before scoring the game winner. Cunningham despite going 1-2-3 was also a -3 for the evening as the leading scorer among Ranger prospects is now 14-25-39 for the season.
Roman Horak (2009 5th) was held scoreless and a -2 as his Chilliwack Bruins lost 2-1 to the Kelowna Rockets. It was not a bad effort by the Bruins as they just could not get anything past Kelowna goalie Adam Brown.
Sam Klassen (2009 UFA) and his Saskatoon Blades are starting to pull away from the rest of the WHL after coming back to earn a 3-2 shootout win over the Lethbridge Hurricanes. Klassen did not score as his Blades earned points in their 13th straight game and won their 5th straight.
Ethan Werek (2009 2nd) was held scoreless as his Kingston Frontenacs dropped their 3rd straight game 6-2 to the Saginaw Spirit. Werek was a -2 for the game as his Frontenacs out shot the Spirit 55-34 but could not get more than the 2 goals.
Max Campbell (2007 5th) had an assist but his Western Michigan Broncos dug themselves a 3-0 hole against Nebraska-Omaha. WMU rallied to tie the game up at 3-3 only to give up the game winning goal 18 seconds later and lost 4-3.
Luke Pither (Traverse City) saw his own 5 game scoring streak come to an end but his Barrie Colts behind 4 third period goals won their 13th straight game over the Mississauga St. Michael's Majors 5-2.
Mitch Gaulton (2007 6th) missed his Erie Otter's 5-4 win over the Guelph Storm with what is being called a "lower body injury". Gaulton is listed as "day to day" but we still would like to send you to a nice article written by our friend Victor Fernandes of the GoErie.com.
Luke Walker (Traverse City) as we expected received a 1 game suspension for the elbow major he took on Wednesday night. Walker missed his Portland Winterhawk's 6-4 win over the Seattle Thunderbirds.
(Stepan courtesy of Melody Hasse, Hagelin courtesy of the Michigan Wolverines, Stajcer courtesy of the Owen Sound Attack)
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