One of the areas that the folks who decide who earns an invite to the final evaluation camp for Team Canada's Under-20 team is how well a player has been playing prior to the camp.
Well Team Canada may we please make a case for Mr. Ethan Werek (2009 2nd) of the Kingston Frontenacs? You guys kind of overlooked him this past summer despite his scoring 32 goals as a OHL rookie in 66 games.
That is OK because here we are in the 2009-10 season and Ethan already has 15 goals in just 21 games including 2 huge goals Wednesday evening to lead his Kingston Frontenacs to a 3-2 come from behind overtime win over the Mississauga St. Micheal's Majors.
All Werek did was score the tying goal and then the overtime winner to earn his 3rd "First Star" in a week. Thanks to Werek's heroics the Frontenacs have a 4 game winning streak and opened up a 4 point lead over the Peterborough Petes in the OHL's East Division.
The team they beat was no slouch either as the Majors just so happen to be the OHL Eastern Conference leaders. All Werek did with his 2 goals was end the Major's 5 game winning streak.
And the goals that Werek scored were typical of what he has been doing all season long; crease area rebound goals. The first goal which tied the game came at 2-2 came at 11:31 of the 3rd as Werek gobbled up a rebound off a Tyler Moat shot and beat Major's goalie Chris Carrozzi .
The game winner was why the Rangers think they may have their future power forward as with the Frontenacs on the power play in the overtime, Werek grabbed another rebound and one timed it past Carrozzi for the win.
Our friends from the Frontenacs once again provided us with the video tape to watch so check it out and see why we are becoming fast fans of #25.
The goals helped Werek extend his own scoring streak to 6 games as Werek has gone 7-4-11 during that streak. Werek also has been climbing up the OHL scoring list as he jumped from 30th to 21st after this game.
And on Thursday Werek will be playing for the OHL All-Stars against Team Russia in the Subway Super Series up in Barrie. Werek will not be hard to spot, he wears 25 and will be the one out working the Russians.
Luke Pither (Traverse City) earned his own "First Star" as the Barrie Colt forward scored his 15th and 16th goals of the season while adding his 17th assist as his Barrie Colts won their 9th straight game 6-2 over the Peterborough Petes .
Pither now has back to back 3 point games with the Petes being the victims in both games. For Pither it is part of his own hot streak as he has 10 points (4-6-10) in his last 5 games.
The Colts thanks to the win now have points in 11 straight games as they are fighting for first place in OHL's Eastern Conference with the above mentioned Majors.
As for Pither he too is jumping into the OHL scoring race as with his 16-17-33 numbers they are good for 6th place. Pither also with his getting hot again has also taken back the lead in the Ranger's prospect scoring race due more goals than Vancouver's Craig Cunningham.
Speaking of Craig Cunningham (Traverse City); he and his Vancouver Giants were generous hosts to Roman Horak's (2009 5th) Chilliwack Bruins as the Bruins whipped the Giants 6-1 to pay them back for a home loss last week on Remembrance Day. Cunningham had an assist (21st) for his 33rd point while Horak may not have scored but played yet another solid 2 way game for the Bruins.
Luke Walker (Traverse City) and his Portland Winterhawks traveled up to Kelowna to face the defending WHL champs the Kelowna Rockets. Walker had a quiet day but his Winterhawks jumped out to a 3-0 lead before settling for a 4-2 win.
Still now that the first CSB lists are out here is a name that folks should tuck away for the 2010 NHL Draft as this is a player who's stock is rising every day. His name is Nino Niederreiter and he just might be the best player to come out of Switzerland in years.
We are talking premier talent with a 6'2 200 lb body. This is not your average 17 yr old as he already is 10-12-22 in 24 WHL games. CSB had him listed 5th in the WHL in their first list but expect him to be Top Ten when draft time arrives.
We are really beginning to feel sorry for Scott Stajcer (2009 5th) as one has to wonder how much his confidence can take when his defense in front of him disappears. It is like we are watching Antoine Lafleur all over again as Stajcer has to be picture perfect or he is going to look bad.
Take Wednesday night as Stajcer's Owen Sound Attack lost to the Saginaw Spirit 7-5. People will see 6 goals for Stajcer and think he was terrible when he was not. The Attack jumped out to a 3-0 lead and then forgot to play the rest of the game.
Stajcer was charged with 6 goals on 34 shots but in reality 3 goals were because his forwards did not come back and the 2 were bad board bounces. One has to wonder how much playing on the team with the worst record in the OHL is going to affect his development.
Daniel Maggio (2009 6th) and his Sudbury Wolves are not in much better shape as they have the second worst record in the OHL. Maggio was a -2 as the Wolves got blown out by the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds 7-0.
(Werek and Pither courtesy of OHL Images/ Aaron Bell and Terry Wilson)
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