Last weekend was Hockey Weekend Across America but for us at Prospect Park, this weekend is going to be our own version only starring Ranger prospects and a chance to meet a Ranger great.
Thursday night got us off to a nice start as Ethan Werek (2009 5th) fresh off his All-Star appearance had an assist as his Kingston Frontenacs won a key matchup over the Petersborough Petes 5-4.
With the win the Frontenacs passed the Petes for the 4th seed in the OHL's Eastern Conference and holding a game in hand. Not bad for a team that finished 10th last season in the same conference but Werek's Frontenacs have a bigger target in mind the Ottawa 67's who have a 7 point lead for the East Division and the 2nd seed.
Werek had a secondary assist on the Frontenac's 2nd goal of the game; the assist was his 29th of the season and his 53th point of the season.
Tomas Kundratek (2008 3rd) and his Medicine Hat Tigers on the other hand suffered a bad loss to the Calgary Hitmen 4-1 in the race for the top seed in both the WHL's Eastern Conference and Central Division. Kundratek had a quiet night which was more than can be said for his teammates.
The Tigers, Hitmen, and Kootenay Ice are all tied with 72 points but the Tigers have fewer wins than the other 2 teams and have played more games which puts them at a major disadvantage. The fun is going to be watching the standings every night as the Tigers went from 2nd to 5th just because of this loss.
Chris Doyle (2008 5th) and his Victoriaville Tigres took on the Ryan Bourque-less Quebec Remparts in yet another key matchup this time in the QMJHL. Doyle had a secondary assist on his team's first goal as the Tigres held off the Remparts for a 3-2 win.
While Doyle scored his 13th point since joining the Tigres; Bourque missed his 3rd straight game with a concussion. In the confusing world of the QMJHL; on paper the Tigres lead Drummondville but have played 3 games more.
Overall the Tigres are 3rd in the QMJHL and the Remparts are 5th after the outcome of this game but like in the other leagues these standings are going to change with every game.
Scott Stajcer (2009 5th) got a great seat to watch why he has to lead his Owen Sound Attack as far away from the OHL's 8th seed in the Western Conference. Finish 8th and they get to face the defending Memorial Cup Champion Windsor Spitfires who blasted the Attack 8-2 on Thursday night.
Stajcer watched from the bench as the Spitfires fired 50 shots at his back up Jordan Binnington while holding the Attack to just 18 shots for the entire game. It was ugly and if it does not spur Stajcer to play better then one wonders what will.
Carl Hagelin (2007 6th) and his Michigan Wolverines struggled to beat a 4-19-4 Bowling Green 2-1 to keep their NCAA hopes alive. Hagelin had his 18th assist on the season on the Wolverines first goal as it was very clear that they were looking past Bowling Green.
Getting ready for a Great Weekend
This weekend is going to be full of great games to watch involving Ranger prospects as playoff seedings as well as traditional rivals battle it out. As we said about Hagelin's Wolverines looking past Bowling Green as they go from facing a very bad team to facing the Ranger's Badger Brothers (Derek Stepan and Ryan McDonagh) at the Camp Randall Hockey Classic on Saturday.
Michigan taking on 3rd ranked Wisconsin in an outdoor game at Wisconsin's Football Stadium as part of the US Hockey Hall of Fame Museum Game is expected to be a very good match up for the 123rd meeting of the traditional powers. This game will be televised on the Big Ten Network starting at 6 PM EDT and before the Ranger's game take a peek.
Friday night Chris Kreider leads his Boston College Eagles against Danny Hobbs and the UMass Minutemen in the battle for 2nd place in the Hockey East Conference. Both teams are tied with 22 points and the winner of this matchup is going to have an edge in seeding when it comes to league playoffs.
For us Friday night also means a chance to meet a Ranger Great as we are going to meet Andy Hebenton who was ranked as the 53rd Ranger Great by the authors of the book "100 Ranger Greats". If you have not read the book then check out a great look at the history of the New York Rangers.
Adam Raider, Russ Cohen and the late John Halligan worked hard to put together this book for Ranger fans (if you want a chance to get an autographed copy then head to Gerry Crosby's on Saturday night on 31st from 4:30 to 6). However for us a chance to see the history of hockey is too good to pass up.
For us a chance to see the Portland Winterhawks honoring the legendary Portland Buckaroos is too good to pass up. At age 80, Mr. Hebenton may be the oldest living Ranger player and nothing would mean more for us to honor the memory of John Halligan than to interview Andy for the Blueshirt Bulletin.
And of course we will have all the action for you right here.
(Werek courtesy of Aaron Bell/OHL Images)
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