Tonight's First Star - Ethan Werek
It seems like it was just yesterday that we were singing the praises of Ethan Werek (2009 2nd) after a 3 point night. We wondered how long it would take for him to have another night like he did.
The answer was simple just one day and one game later as Werek had his 2nd straight game with 3 points as well as the "First Star of the Game" as Werek led his Kingston Frontenacs to a 4-1 win over the Belleville Bulls. Werek did slip a little as he was only a +2 against the Bulls but we will not hold it against him.
Yesterday Werek was the goal scorer but against the Bulls it was Werek the playmaker as Werek had 2 assists and 1 goal on the evening. Werek got his evening going by setting up teammate Corey Durocher for a shorthanded goal at 4:59 of the first period for a 1-0 Kingston lead.
After Andy Bathgate (grandson of Ranger Hall of Famer of the same name) tied the score in the second period, Werek went back to work in the 3rd period. Werek set up the game winning goal as he fed Mitch Lebar just 46 seconds into the 3rd period for a 2-1 lead.
The Frontenacs added another goal exactly 59 seconds later at 1:45 then Werek put the Bulls away for good when he scored his 13th goal of the season at 3:39 for the 4-1 lead and the Frontenacs were well on their way for their 2nd straight win and pulled to within 1 game of a 500 record at 10-11-0-2 which is good for 2nd place in the OHL's East Division.
Somewhere out there one of our newest Facebook Friends Jayson Letsch has got a huge smile on his face as if he was happy with Werek yesterday then he should he even happier today. Werek now has a 4 game goal scoring streak (5 goals), 8 points in those 4 games and goal number 13 means he leads all Ranger prospects in goals (13-10-23).
Second Star - Danny Hobbs
OK so we are going to eat some serious crow here as when UMass Head Coach Don Cahoon told us that he saw Danny Hobbs (2007 7th) as a serious offensive weapon this year we thought he was just being nice to us and was not trying to hurt out feelings. Turns out that the coach knew something we really did not have a clue about which was the "Danny Hobbs Coming Out" party."
Hobbs set up Casey Wellman for the game tying goal with just 11 seconds remaining in regulation as the 10th ranked UMass Minutemen went on to score in overtime to defeat the University of New Hampshire 4-3. Hobbs had another assist earlier in the game (setting up Justin Braun on UMass's 2nd goal of the game) as part of a personal career night for the sophomore from Shawville, Quebec.
When you only had 2 points during your freshman season it is not hard to pass your totals but Hobbs has in a matter of 3 games. Hobbs has a 3 game scoring streak (1-3-4), his 2 assists were a single game high in points for him as well as a new career high in points.
Even better is that UMass is off to their best start in over 8 years at 7-1 as the team expected to be at the bottom of the Hockey East conference is sending a message they are for real.
Third Star - Mitch Gaulton
Nothing is nicer to see then when you say you would like to see something from a prospect and he goes out and delivers. On Thursday we mentioned that we wanted to see some more offense from Mitch Gaulton (2008 6th) of the Erie Otters.
Gaulton picked a great time to score just his 2nd goal of the season as the young defenseman from Grimsby, Ontario scored the game tying goal at 11:45 of the second period as the Otters won their 4th straight game 3-2 over the Oshawa Generals.
For Gaulton it was his first goal in 15 games but his Otters appear to have turned their season around as they have reached the 500 mark (9-9-2-1). Gaulton has been a key reason as to why the Otters have their 4 game winning streak as he has been 1-3-4 +7 during this stretch.
The Rest of the Ranger Prospects
It was a wild affair in Sudbury as the Sudbury Wolves and Mississauga St. Micheal's Majors took turns blowing leads before the Majors eventually won in the shootout 6-5. Daniel Maggio (2009 6th) did not score but somehow in all this offense managed a +1.
In this one the Wolves had a 3-1 lead only to see the Majors come back and score 4 unanswered goals to take a 5-3. The Wolves then scored 2 goals to tie the game and send it into overtime before the eventual loss.
Sam Klassen (UFA 2009) did not score but was a +1 as his Saskatoon Blades had to go to the shootout before defeating the Brandon Wheat Kings 4-3. The Blades lead the WHL with 37 points and are currently 9-0-0-1 in their last 10 games a very impressive mark.
Tomas Kundratek (2008 3rd) had an assist but took what proved to be a costly crosschecking penalty as his Medicine Hat Tigers lost in the shootout to the Calgary Hitmen 3-2. It was nice to see the Tigers play 2 good games back to back for a change.
Kundratek now has 10 points on the season all assists.
Derek Stepan (2008 2nd) had an assist while Ryan McDonagh (Trade 2009) was held scoreless as their 21st ranked Wisconsin Badgers improved to 5-3-1 with a 5-1 win over the Alaska Anchorage Sea Wolves.
For Stepan it was his 3rd assist on the season (3-3-6) came on Wisconsin's 4th goal while McDonagh's penalty's led to the Sea Wolves only goal of the game.
Carl Hagelin (2007 6th) scored his 4th goal of the season at 12:07 of the 3rd period but it was not enough as his 6th ranked Michigan Wolverines lost 3-2 to instate rival 14th ranked Michigan State. It was the first time since 2001 that the Wolverines had lost 3 straight home games.
Hagelin is now tied for 2nd in Michigan team scoring but his Wolverines are a shocking 4-5 this season. Hagelin is 4-4-8 on the season
Max Campbell (2007 5th) and his Western Michigan Broncos let a 1-0 3rd period lead slip away and lost to Ohio State 4-2. Campbell had a bad evening as he was a -2, took a minor and was 3-6 on his faceoffs.
Craig Cunningham (Traverse City) set up the game winning goal with his 20th assist of the season and prospect leading 32nd point as his Vancouver Giants defeated the Red Deer Rebels 4-1.
Sadly this game is going to be more about the end of the game fights (6 fighting majors at 19:54) which will lead to fines and suspensions for both teams.
(Werek/Ian McAlpine, Hobbs/Dennis Pause, Gaulton/OHL Images)
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