If you are a fan of the New York Ranger prospects then you have several different ways to spell clutch performances as we got some really solid performances to report about.
We have to start with Chris Kreider, the Rangers 2009 1st round pick who plays for 7th ranked Boston College. Since returning to the Eagles, Kreider has been on fire scoring 8 goals in his last 9 games.
2 weeks ago we thought Kreider's goal against UMass-Lowell with just 13 seconds remaining was his best of the year. Nope as Kreider's goal at 2:02 of overtime lifted Boston College to a 2-1 win over Danny Hobb's UMass Minutemen.
The win sets up a show down next weekend for first place in the Hockey East as Boston College will have a "home and home" series with current leader New Hampshire. Win both games and Boston College is the regular season champion.
As for Kreider, quite simply and very quickly he is earning the nickname "Kaptain Klutch Kreider" as the young freshman has been making big play after big play since playing for Team USA.
The sad side of Kreider's heroics is that Danny Hobb's own clutch play is being overlooked. UMass has been in a terrible slump as about a month ago they were fighting Boston College for 2nd place in the Hockey East but instead dropped 6th straight game and 8th in their last 9 games.
Hobbs had just his 6th assist on the season for his 9th overall point.
Also playing the role of "Clutch" performer was Derek Stepan who had 2 assists including setting up the game winner as 3rd ranked Wisconsin defeated Michigan Tech 5-2. Both Stepan assists were primary assists as the 2008 2nd round pick is back hot with his 30th and 31st assists on the season.
Stepan has now a 5 game scoring streak going 2-6-8 during that streak but more importantly for the Badgers is that Stepan's efforts means that they will host the first round of the WCHA playoffs.
Teammate Ryan McDonagh did not score so we will be sending our Badger photographer to go kick him in the rear as she did Stepan.
Not all of our "clutch" performers scored on Friday night as Sam Klassen once again just played an outstanding defensive gem earning a +3 as his Saskatoon Blades shut out the Prince Albert Raiders 5-0. Klassen is going to walk away as the prospect +/- winner as he is an impressive +35 which is good for 8th in the WHL.
In the OHL, Ethan Werek returned to the Kingston Frontenac lineup after missing 7 games with a twist right knee. Werek made his return count as he scored his 25th goal of the season (tops among prospects) to give Kingston a 2-0 lead in the first period as they went on to defeat the Belliville Bulls 5-2.
Werek understandably looked a bit shaky at first got better as the game went on to help Kingston to their 31st win of the season and a clinching of a playoff spot for the first time since the 2006-07 season.
On the flip side, Daniel Maggio set up Sudbury's 2nd goal but it was not enough as the Wolves lost their 2nd straight 3-2 to London and failed to earn some breathing room over idle Niagara or Oshawa who lost.
Maggio though registered his 22nd point and 31st point of the season in the loss.
Ryan Bourque missed his 3rd straight game with a neck injury as his Quebec Remparts were shut out by the Drummondville Voltigeurs 3-0. It appears that there is a chance that Bourque will return next weekend but will find out more on Tuesday when we talk to Bourque for a Blueshirt Bulletin interview.
Chris Doyle saw his 8 game scoring streak come to an end as his Victoriaville Tigres defeated the Shawinigan Cataractes 3-2 on the road. Doyle as he told us last week will always take a win over his own points as the win coupled with the Rempart's loss gave the Tigres a 3 point lead for the 4th best record in the QMJHL.
Moving out west, Tomas Kundratek had 2 assists to help his Medicine Hat Tigers to a 5-3 win over the Kootenay Ice. While Kundratek improved his season numbers to 2-30-32, the win may have come too late for the Tigers who have fallen to 6th place in the WHL's Eastern Conference.
Roman Horak and his Chilliwack Bruins continued their interesting pattern of defeating conference leaders only to lose the next game to the 2nd best team in the conference. Friday night it was the Brandon Wheat Kings who defeated the Bruins 3-0.
The loss keeps Chilliwack in the 7th seed in the WHL's Western Conference and may have cost them a chance to finish 6th.
Finally Max Campbell was scoreless as his Western Michigan Broncos went to a 2-2 overtime tie to Ferris State. Ferris State earned the extra point by winning the shoot out round.
(Kreider courtesy of Dennis Peace)
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