Not sure who or what hit the "on" switch but all of a sudden the New York Ranger prospects in the QMJHL picked the right time of the season to put on an offensive show.
While the Rangers were doing their very best to anger their fans; Chris Doyle (2008 5th) had a 3 point evening as his Victoriaville Tigre just destroyed the Baie-Comeau Drakkar 13-3. To make it harder for Ranger fans, the Tigre got goals from 9 different players and points from 15 of the 18 offensive players who dressed.
There is no question that the trade that send Chris Doyle to the Tigre was exactly what he needed to get going. Doyle has been averaging exactly a point a game since the trade as he is now 4-13-17 but more importantly Doyle is becoming more responsible at both ends of the ice.
Against the Drakkar, this game was over within the first few minutes as the Tigre had a 2-0 lead after 3:01 and by the time Doyle recorded his first point of the night (a secondary assist); it was 4-0 at 14:57 of the first period. Doyle got the primary assist on the Tigre's 8th goal at 6:47 of the 2nd period to make it 8-0.
Doyle scored his 19th goal of the season at 12:01 of the second period to give his Tigre a 10-0 lead. The goal which was a power play goal was Doyle's 6th power play goal of the season.
In addition Doyle's goal was also his 50th point of the season as he has come out of nowhere to pull into 2nd place among Ranger prospect scoring behind Ethan Werek. Doyle has a long way to go to match last season's 32 goals but we are very sure Doyle will gladly trade goals for a chance to win in the QMJHL playoffs.
With the win, Doyle's Tigres jumped past Ryan Bourque's idle Quebec Remparts for the 3rd best record in the QMJHL.
During the Ranger game, I got into a discussion with DBMaven on Twitter on why I felt Michael Del Zotto should have been sent back to London of the OHL for more development. It was only ironic that while we were having this discussion that Del Zotto's old team, the London Knights were defeating Scott Stajcer (2009 5th) and his Owen Sound Attack 5-3.
Ironic because it turns out that more people are admirers of the job that Dale Hunter has done with London (let us not leave out his brother Mark though) as the NHL veteran has done a strong job turning London into an OHL powerhouse.
While we can only guess at what kind of season Del Zotto would have had in the OHL; the one thing we are certain that Dale Hunter would have helped Del Zotto's development simply because at the OHL level the coaches have more time for hand's on training .
Quite honestly at the NHL level coaches do not have time or it seems the desire to spend teaching players. Their job is to win and win now so most do a poor job helping a prospect become a better player; it is up to the player himself.
Against Stajcer and Owen Sound, the Knights were in for a hard night that they might have expected. The Attack are trying to avoid having to play the Windsor Spitfires in the first round of the OHL playoffs while the Knights do not want to face Owen Sound because they have a more experienced goalie than either Erie or Sarina.
Stajcer had his struggles in this one as it was one of the rare times where he faced over 30 shots this season and lost. Stajcer gave up 4 goals on 31 shots as his record fell to 19-18-3-1.
In the WHL, Tomas Kundratek (2008 3rd) had an assist for his 29th point of the season and was a +2 as his Medicine Hat Tigers had no trouble with the Prince Alber Raiders 6-0. The win allowed the Tigers to keep pace with the Kootenay Ice and Calgary Hitmen.
Sam Klassen (2009 UFA) and his Saskatoon Blades had to go to the shoot out before finally being able to edge the Swift Current Broncos 2-1. Klassen was scoreless as the Blades moved back into the top spot in the WHL's Eastern Conference thanks to having an edge in game in hand on the Brandon Wheat Kings.
Finally part of the reason we are enjoying the rebirth of the Portland Winterhawks is how hard they are working to drive to regain their fans after the previous ownership just totally destroyed the fan base. Before we post their latest ad, Portland finally found a way to defeat the Tri-City Americans after going 0-forever against them.
The Winterhawks behind Luke Walker's 23rd goal and the prospect we pray becomes a Ranger Nino Neiderreiter's 32nd defeated the Americans 5-3. The win was very important because for the first time since the 2005-06 season the Winterhawks are heading to the WHL playoffs.
We are happy for the people who work behind the scenes like Andy Kemper their voice who took a ton of wrongful blame for the sins of the previous owner. We are happy for Kelly Robinette who has been such a help to us at Prospect Park over the years; Kelly never gets a chance to watch the games as he is doing something during the games so congrats to him.
But now this is how you do an ad to sell tickets here. And give the Winterhawks some kudos for having one of the coolest hats in hockey (we got one but you can get one for just 25 dollars plus S+H)
(Doyle courtesy of the Tigres, Winterhawk "Hawkeyes" courtesy of the Winterhawks)
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