Sunday went a long way in clearing up who is going to face who in their league playoffs (or in the case of one no playoffs at all) as we enter the last week of regular season play for the 3 CHL leagues.
For those in the college ranks, now we know who is facing who starting next weekend. Still we need to send out congrats to the 6 Ranger prospects playing in the NCAAs for all of them making at least one round of playoffs.
But Sunday had a mix of good and bad hockey for the Ranger prospects in action.
Today's Star Ethan Werek
Ah cmon Ethan Werek (2009 2nd) you can smile for the New York Ranger fans after scoring the game tying goal with just 45 seconds remaining in regulation. You can smile because you was named the game's first star after your Kingston Frontenacs defeated the Ottawa 67's 4-3 in overtime to clinch the home ice advantage in the first round of the OHL Playoffs.
Werek's goal was his 28th of the season and he added his 31st assist to help the Frontenacs win their 33rd game of the season. Last season Werek and company only won 18 games so the Frontenacs have made huge strides in rebuilding the franchise in just one season.
All kidding aside, Werek is going to see his first playoff action of his OHL career and we are going be very interested in how he plays. Werek for a big prospect (6'2 200) has some very soft hands as well as a high hockey IQ and credit the Rangers for grabbing him in the 2nd round of the 2009 draft.
Rest of the OHL
Daniel Maggio (2009 6th) and his Sudbury Wolves opened up a 3 point lead on the Oshawa Generals after escaping for their game with the Mississauga St. Michael's Majors with a 2-1 win. Maggio was scoreless but a +1 as the Wolves really should thank their goalie for this win.
Scott Stajcer (2009 5th) and his Owen Sound Attack were officially knocked out of the OHL playoffs when the Guelph Storm defeated the Kitchener Rangers 5-4 via the shoot out. Stajcer becomes the first Ranger prospect not to have his team make the playoffs since 2005.
Ryan Bourque (2009 3rd) missed his 7th straight game with his neck injury but his Quebec Remparts did not need him after an easy 6-1 win over the Chicoutimi Saguenéens. Just guessing here but since Quebec already has clinched a 1 seed in the first round of the QMJHL that Bourque will sit until the last game of the season.
Chris Doyle (2008 5th) had a very quiet game as he was held scoreless for the 2nd straight game as his Victoriaville Tigre shut out the Gatineau Olympiques 2-0. We mention that scoreless streak because Doyle has not gone more than 2 games without scoring this season.
Doyle's Tigre though know that they will be facing the Shawinigan Cataractes in the first round and they hope to go deep in the QMJHL playoffs this season.
Tomas Kundratek (2008 3rd) and his Medicine Hat Tigers have picked the right time of the year to go on a winning streak as they won their 4th straight with a 5-2 win over the Edmonton Oil Kings. Kundratek set up the Tiger's first goal and wound up the night a +1.
The Tigers jumped into 4th place of the WHL's Eastern Conference with 2 games remaining. Keep an eye on Emerson Etem who scored his 36th goal in this game as he might be the best player to ever come out of California.
Sam Klassen (2009 UFA) and his Saskatoon Blades had a chance to close the gap on the Calgary Hitmen for the Eastern Conference title but instead reduced Calgary's magic number to 1 as the Hitmen spanked the Blades 6-1. All 7 of the goals scored in this game was scored on a power play.
Calgary went 6 for 8 while the Blades were 1 for 6 but more importantly is that the Blades with just 3 games remaining are going to wind up with the 3rd seed. That would be bad news because the Red Deer Rebels would be who they faced and the Rebels are playing some pretty good hockey.
Roman Horak (2009 5th) and his Chilliwack Bruins like repeating themselves it appears. The last time they defeated the Tri-City Americans, they went out and got whipped by the Vancouver Giants in the next game.
So the Bruins defeated the Americans on Friday and got whipped by the Giants on Sunday 6-0. The Bruins should settle for the 8th seed in the WHL's Western Conference because if they finish 7th guess who they would wind up playing in the first round?
If you said the Giants you would be correct.
It really was a meaningless game and the 3rd ranked Wisconsin Badgers played like it but losing to Minnesota 6-1 could hurt them down the road. Derek Stepan (2008 2nd) had an assist but Ryan McDonagh (2009 trade) should be happy that he did not get ejected.
McDonagh got into it with Minnesota's Ryan Flynn and it was like at the last minute McDonagh realized he had best not throw any punches. Still for us it is a sure sign that McDonagh is not coming back for his senior season as his style of play is best suited for the professional ranks.
As for Stepan, we will repeat what we have been saying all along; Stepan is returning to Wisconsin for his junior year unless the Badgers win the NCAAs. He has not said it openly but the way he plays makes it very clear he has a plan for his future all mapped out including when he will jump to the Rangers.
Sadly you are going to have to be a subscriber of the Blueshirt Bulletin Plus to find out why. But then again subscribing to the Blueshirt Bulletin is one of the best moves you can make
(Werek courtesy of the Kingston Frontenacs)
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