It was supposed to be an exciting Sunday with 2 NCAA games, 2 teams looking to close out series and 2 teams fighting to force a game 7.
It sadly starts with the news that Ethan Werek (2009 2nd) suffered a torn ACL as the result of a check from behind and is expected to be finished for the season.
Werek was checked from behind by Brampton's Matt Clark in the second period of Game 6 that Werek's Kingston Frontenacs eventually won.
Clark was assessed a 5 minute major for "checking from behind" and a game misconduct with the play under review by the OHL league offices for any possible further action. It was a really bad way for the leading goal scorer among Ranger prospects to see his season more than likely end.
Werek was 30-34-64 +14 during the regular season and 3-2-5 +3 in the playoffs.
Now if you had any doubts as to whether or not Carl Hagelin (2007 6th) is a legit Ranger prospect; then make sure you get a look at the first overtime of the Michigan/Miami NCAA Midwest Regional
Hagelin and his linemate Kevin Lynch should have ended this game at 2:37 of the first overtime with a goal but a questionable whistle blew the play dead. Hagelin during regulation was bottled up by a Miami defense that knew full well what kind of damage Hagelin could do.
Michigan has a very strong case to be upset over that blown call as Miami went on to win in the 2nd overtime 3-2
But in the first overtime, Hagelin's speed led to 4 very good scoring chances. Hagelin's speed created space and opportunity for himself and his teammates.
Hagelin has nothing to be ashamed of as he had the breakout season we had hoped for. There is nothing wrong with a 19-31-50 season that had a career high 11 game scoring streak. Now the rumors will start about Hagelin leaving school to join the Rangers and if anyone asks us; we say stay in school.
Hagelin needs to stay for his senior year to improve his finishing skills (he should have had 25 goals at the least) and to improve his body. Hagelin has had only 1 good off-season workout so he needs this year.
In the Northeast Regional Final, Chris Kreider's (2009 1st) Boston College Eagles played a wild pond hockey type of game as they outlasted Yale 9-7 to earn a trip to the Frozen Four. In a game featuring 16 goals and 78 shots; Kreider did not score and had 4 shots.
Kreider joins his Team USA teammate Derek Stepan in the Frozen Four giving the Ranger prospects 2 shots at possibly a doubleheader of winning the gold medal at the WJC and a NCAA championship. First Kreider and BC will have to get past Miami which if they do not improve on their power play they will not do.
Chris Doyle (2008 5th) and his Victoriaville Tigre had a tough fight down to the very end but finally was able to eliminate the Shawinigan Cartaractes in 6 games with a 2-1 overtime win. Doyle was scoreless but had 7 shots on goal with 4 called "dangerous shots".
Next up for Doyle and his Tigre is going to be Ryan Bourque and his Quebec Remparts. The Remparts because they won their division during the regular season will have home ice advantage even though the Tigre had the better overall record.
This will be a very good series to watch
Tomas Kundratek (2008 3rd) and his Medicine Hat Tigers are also heading to the second round of the WHL playoffs as they stormed back winning 4 straight game with a Game 6 win 4-1 over the Kootenay Ice. Kundratek played his best hockey of the season during this series and will need to repeat this if the Tigers were to win the next round.
The Tigers do not know who they will be facing until the outcome of Game 7 between Calgary and Moose Jaw. If Calgary wins then they will face Calgary, if not then it will be Sam Klassen and his Saskatoon Blades.
Roman Horak (2009 5th) and his Chilliwack Bruins came in as the 8th seed in the WHL's Western Conference. They were expected to be made short work of by the Tri-City Americans but the Bruins had other plans.
Sadly those plans fell short as the Americans finally eliminated the Bruins in 6 games after a 4-1 win. Horak who's overtime winner in game five was given to a teammate scored Chilliwack's only goal in this one but he also took a penalty that led to the American's 4th goal killing any hope of a comeback.
Still Horak has been the surprise of the 2009 draft class as for a player nobody knew anything about at the draft; we now know that this is a very good 2 way player with a potential to grow.
Horak finished his WHL rookie season 21-26-47 +15 and a 1-3-4 +2 in the playoffs. Now do not quote us on this but since the Rangers drafted Horak before he was selected in the CHL Import Draft he can go to Hartford on an ATO.
We say bring Horak in and let him work out at the Ranger's training facility rather than have him go back the Czech Republic for the summer. Keeping Horak for a couple of months of training will help give him a head start on next season, one where we believe he goes back to Chilliwack but will be expected to have a much bigger season.
(Werek courtesy of Aaron Bell/OHL Images, Hagelin courtesy of Scott Galvin/Michigan Photo Services)
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