Friday, April 9, 2010

This One is Going to be Good

While the New York Rangers are fighting to save their season; 3 of their prospects are going to try to win themselves an NCAA Championships. For Chris Kreider or Derek Stepan; one of them is going to walk away with his 2nd major championship in the last 4 months.

But the biggest of winners here are going to be the Ranger fans as when both members of Team USA along with Ryan McDonagh show up on Broadway there will be changes happening and thankfully they will be good changes.

In Game 1 of the Frozen Four semi-final both Derek Stepan and Ryan McDonagh showed why they are going to become impact players for the Rangers.  From Stepan's 4 point effort to McDonagh's excellent work at both ends of the ice; their Wisconsin Badgers had really no problem in defeating the overmatched RIT Tigers 8-1.

It was McDonagh who got Stepan going as McDonagh had the puck at the point but rather than just firing away; McDonagh skated over to his right to open up a shooting lane. McDonagh then took the shot that Stepan who was in front was able to deflect past RIT goalie Jared Demicheil for a 2-0 Wisconsin lead in the first period.

The goal proved to be the eventual game winner as the Badgers just were no match for the Tigers at every phase of the game. Stepan earned 2 secondary assists on Wisconsin power play goals and then tallied his 2nd of the night for the 8th and final goal of the game.

Stepan finished 2-2-4 on 6 shots and a +2. McDonagh had his 1 assist and was a +1 but his steady play on the defensive end simply tells us that it is time for McDonagh to leave school and sign with the Rangers. He is ready to go without any question.

Then there was the real surprise of the night which was how Chris Kreider and his Boston College Eagles just whipped Miami of Ohio 7-1. If Wisconsin thought their 8-1 win in the first game was a message sender then what Boston College was a response with change.

Miami of Ohio had been ranked at the top of the college polls all season long and Boston College beat them even worse than what Wisconsin did to RIT. The Eagles were faster, they were smarter and then in a 6:11 span of the 3rd period just blew the Redhawks out of the water with 4 goals.

Miami has scored early in the 3rd trying to get back into the game and Boston College did what you want to see a good team do; they responded and did it in a manner that killed off any hope of a Miami comeback.

Kreider had just 1 secondary assist but he was out on the ice for 3 Boston College goals. While you do not get points for being a disruptive force in the crease; Kreider made his presence known and felt.

Which brings up to the game on Saturday for the championship; as to be honest we thought going into the Frozen Four that Wisconsin was the team to beat. But after the number that Boston College did on Miami; it is going to be hard bet against the Eagles.

In any case one team is going to give Ranger fans a player with a gold medal from the WJC and a NCAA championship in the same season. 3 great players in one game and the best news is they are the Ranger's future.

That is the real winning combination for Ranger fans.

In an unrelated move, the Rangers released Roman Horak from his ATO with the Hartford Wolfpack on Thursday. Please do not read anything into the move other than Horak has been playing hockey since early August and has earned a rest.

He remains a rock solid prospect

(Stepan courtesy of Wisconsin)

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