If you need more evidence that the future of the New York Rangers is in very good hands then we have another first for you. How about the first time we have ever witnessed the first and second round picks in any Ranger draft score game winning overtime goals on back to back nights?
First Star Ethan Werek
Chris Kreider did it last night and Saturday night it was Ethan Werek's turn as Werek's 27th goal of the season at 3:01 of overtime to give his Kingston Frontenacs a 6-5 win over the Belleville Bulls and a 5th straight win.
It was Werek's 4th game winner of the season and his 3rd goal in 2 games after missing 3 weeks with a knee injury. And let us tell you something; that knee injury had to be really bad to keep Werek out of the lineup as we know for a fact that Werek played about a month with an injury and did not miss time.
Werek is going to walk away with the Prospect of the Year award which is very impressive when you see the second half charges from several other prospects. The difference is that Werek has been playing like this all season.
In addition to his OT winner, Werek also had a 2nd goal during regulation for the 14th time this season that Werek had a multi-point game. Werek leads all Ranger prospects in goals with 27 as he is 2nd overall in scoring at 27-29-56.
Now Werek and his Frontenac teammates have their sights set on catching Ottawa who lead the division by 3 points as the 2 teams will meet next Saturday and Sunday in a "home and home" series that should decide the division.
Second Star Ryan McDonagh
We was joking the other day when we suggested that our Badger photographer Melody Hasse needed to kick Ryan McDonagh in the rear like she did Derek Stepan. But if Melody whatever Melody did it worked as Ryan played one of his best games of the season as his 3rd ranked Wisconsin Badgers whipped on Michigan Tech 5-2.
McDonagh had an assist on Wisconsin's 1st goal but was also a +3 and took 4 shots to help the Badgers take control of their own destiny as they head towards the final weekend of WCHA. McDonagh has not played with the flash or numbers that teammate Derek Stepan has but his steady play all season is a huge reason why the Badgers should wind up with a 1 seed in the NCAAs.
McDonagh is now 4-11-15 in 32 games but a very responsible +17 which is why the Rangers need him in their lineup.
The Rest of the Ranger Prospects
Derek Stepan was scoreless in the Badger win but if there is one area we want to him work on during the off-season is his face-offs as he below 500 (8-13) but it is an area which is his one glaring weakness.
Scott Stajcer and his Owen Sound Attack more than likely have played their way out of an OHL playoff spot despite defeating the Peterborough Petes 7-4. Stajcer got the start but gave up 3 goals on just 6 shots before getting pulled as the Attack rallied to win.
The Attack find themselves in 9th place in the OHL's Western Conference with 5 games remaining. Of those 5, 4 will be against teams who have been beating on the Attack all season.
On the flip side Mitch Gaulton and his Erie Otters did Ethan Werek's Kingston Frontenacs a huge favor by whipping division leading Ottawa 7-1. Gaulton in just his 2nd game back from an elbow injury was scoreless but a +1.
The win gave the Otters a 3 point edge over 7th seeded Saginaw but pulled them in a points tie with 5th seeded Saulte Ste. Marie.
Ryan Bourque missed his 4th straight game as his Quebec Remparts lost to the Lewiston MAINEaics 5-4 giving up 3 unanswered goals in the 3rd period. The Remparts trail Chris Doyle's Victoriaville Tigre by 3 points for the 4th best record in the QMJHL.
In the WHL, it is a 3 team race for the best record not only in the WHL's Eastern Conference but for the entire WHL. Sam Klassen and his Saskatoon Blades have held the lead for most of the season but the Calgary Hitmen and Brandon Wheat Kings have caught up.
On Saturday, Klassen's Blades were shut out 3-0 by the Regina Pats which allowed the Calgary Hitmen to jump past the Blades for 1st place after defeating the Kelowna Rockets 2-1.
For Klassen and his Blades it was a bad time to be outplayed like they were on their home ice. Klassen was a -1 for the game and with the top seed on the line; Klassen and company only have 7 games left to overtake the Hitmen.
Tomas Kundratek and his Medicine Hat Tigers had a chance to clinch a WHL playoff spot but gave it away when they were doubled up by the Kamloops Blazers 6-3. Kundratek was a -2 as well as scoreless for the Tigers who will most likely wind up with the 6th seed in the WHL's Eastern Conference.
Roman Horak's Chilliwack Bruins spotted the Moose Jaw Warriors a 3-0 lead but their comeback fell one goal short as they lost 3-2. Horak though scored his 19th goal and 42nd point of the season to move into 3rd among prospect goal scoring and 4th in overall points.
Carl Hagelin extended his personal scoring streak to 11 games as his Michigan Wolverines ended their regular season with a 5-3 loss to Notre Dame. Hagelin had an assist for his 44th point of the season. Next up is Lake Superior State in the first round of the CCHA playoffs.
Max Campbell was scoreless as his Western Michigan Broncos ended their regular season with a 1-1 overtime tie with Ferris State but they did earn the extra point by winning the shoot out. Next up for WMU will be a trip to Alaska for the CCHA playoffs against Alaska-Fairbanks.
Finally Luke Walker had the shoot out winner as the Portland Winterhawks blew a 2-0 lead to only escape with a 3-2 shoot out win over the Seattle Thunderbirds. Watching these 2 teams play is a scout's dream as you get to see 8 players who will one day play in the NHL at the same time.
Write this name down Calvin Pickard as he is going to be one of the top goalies selected in the 2010 NHL draft. Ignore his stats but trust us when we say this is a future NHL starting goalie.
(Werek courtesy of Aaron Bell, McDonagh courtesy of Melody Hasse)
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