The Hartford Wolfpack could use some healthy bodies on the blueline; only problem is that the 2 prospects who play defense and already have contracts are playing like they want no part of Hartford.
First Star: Tomas Kundratek
Tomas Kundratek (2008 3rd) did what we had thought he would have done this season with the Medicine Hat Tigers; dominate games. With his Tigers needing a win to tie their series with the Kootenay Ice, Kundratek scored his first ever WHL playoff goal and added an assist along with a +2 to help the Tigers to a 5-1 win and a 2-2 series tie.
For Kundratek who has a Ranger contract, he was not too happy about being sent back to Medicine Hat after training camp. There were concerns that Kundratek would bolt back to Europe but now he is playing as if he doesn't want to leave Medicine Hat.
Kundratek scored a power play goal just a couple of minutes after Kootenay had scored to make it a 2-1 game. It was a key goal and then Kundratek followed it up with setting up a backbreaking goal just 55 seconds later that gave the Tigers a 4-1 lead and a guarantee of at least one more home game.
Second Star Sam Klassen
As we have been telling people points do not always tell the story about the value of a player. Ask the Saskatoon Blades how important Sam Klassen (2009 UFA) has been for them in their series against the Red Deer Rebels.
The proof is in 1-0-1 that Red Deer's Willie Coetzee has in the 3 games the two teams have played. Klassen has flat out shut down a guy who was 29-52-81 during the regular season.
Every Ranger fan has been begging for that stay at home defender who clears creases and punishes people with heavy body checks that are clean. That is Sam Klassen in a nut shell and why the Saskatoon Blades are one game away from advancing in the WHL playoffs.
There were no points for Klassen just another +1 as the Blades won in overtime 2-1. Oh and the one goal that Coetzee has came when Klassen was not shadowing him.
The Rest of the Prospects
Ryan Bourque (2009 3rd) had 2 assists as his Quebec Remparts whipped on the Acadie-Bathurst Titan 7-3 to take a 3-1 series lead. It was clear that the Remparts got the message from their loss in game 3 and for the first time in this series played a good game.
Bourque had 2 primary assists on the Rempart's 2nd and 7th goals both on the power play. Bourque quietly has amassed a 2-4-6 record in the 4 playoff games which is leading Ranger prospects in the CHL playoffs.
It was the most exciting comeback we have seen in years and then it was also one of the more heartbreaking finishes we have seen. Roman Horak (2009 5th) and his Chilliwack Bruins were trailing the Tri-City Americans 3-1 with less than 30 seconds remaining in regulation.
2 goals in the last 22 seconds sent the game into overtime as the 8th seeded Bruins were so close to sending the series back to Tri-City but the American's scored at 15:09 of the first overtime to win 4-3 and that 3-1 lead.
Horak had a good game and a bad game as Horak was a +2 but took a costly elbowing penalty that led to the American's third goal.
Daniel Maggio (2009 6th) missed game 4 of the Sudbury/Barrie series and nobody is talking about why but we believe that an injury suffered in game 1 was was made worse during the post game brawl in game 3. It really does not matter as the Barrie Colts finished off the sweep of the Sudbury Wolves 6-3.
This was a dirty series which resulted in suspensions and accusations of possible racial slurs which is a shame as these 2 franchises should be way above this. For Maggio his season comes to a close with a lot of work ahead of him for the off-season.
Chris Doyle (2008 5th) missed game 4 of the Victoriaville Tigre/Shawingan Cartaractes as he had to return to Prince Edward Island for the start of his criminal trial. Doyle has pled guilty to mischief and until the other issues are resolved that is all we will say on the subject.
(Kundratek and Klassen courtesy of the WHL)
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