Thursday, November 11, 2010

4 перспективности 1 игра (4 Prospects 1 Game)

The Critics say that the Subway Super Series is not worth the time or effort because the series has been so one sided in favor of Canada since Russia traditionally has not sent their best juniors. This year has been a little different as the Russians brought an entire team of 19 year olds and it paid off with 2 wins over Team QMJHL.

For us, what this game does is give us a look at the prospects under some real pressure. For the 4 prospects we follow they are trying to impress the folks at Hockey Canada trying to earn an invite that may lead to them playing in the upcoming World Under-20 championships.

For New York Islander prospect Calvin De Haan (2009 1st), he does not have to worry as unless he gets hurt, De Haan is a returning member of Team Canada.  De Haan had a quiet but steady game as the captain of Team OHL.

But for the 3 New York Ranger prospects in this game, they are fighting against the odds to be named to Team Canada but all 3 turned in good performances as Team OHL defeated Team Russia 4-0.

Ethan Werek (2009 2nd) in our eyes was the most active of the Ranger prospects and he made a strong case for a spot on Team Canada. Werek was used on the penalty kill, for defensive zone face offs and had a couple of good strong scoring chances.

Werek was one of Team OHL's assistant captains and he will also play in the second game on Monday in Sudbury.

Scott Stajcer (2009 5th) was the player that we have to admit that we were holding our breath when watching. Stajcer has been in a slump as of late with his Owen Sound Attack so we were not sure who was going to show up.

Stajcer did not start but came in midway of the second period, he was not really tested much in the second period as of the 9 shots he faced there only 1 was really a tough save. In the 3rd period though it was a different story as Stajcer facing 12 shots stopped them all and we felt that 6 were legit scoring chances.

We liked how Stajcer stayed very focused on his positioning, his vision on the ice and how calm he remained when Russia was trying to break the shut out and get back in the game. While we know Stajcer has almost no chance at Team Canada (that goes to Calvin Pickard of Seattle in the OHL), we do not see why he can not help Owen Sound go deep in the OHL playoffs.

The only one of the 4 players to register a point was also the one who struggled the most and that is Christian Thomas (2010 2nd).  Thomas did not play badly but rather we think he played too hard and for most of the game was not himself.

Thomas in our eyes fought himself rather than let the game come to him as he was a step ahead of himself here or gripping the stick too hard at other times. What actually we believe got Thomas to fix himself was taking a slashing penalty at 1:26 of the 3rd period.

In the 3rd we saw the Thomas that we expect as the prospect that so many worry about his size was going right into the slot, skating into traffic and do the things that snipers are supposed to. It paid off as Thomas as he was crossing the slot re-directed a shot by Erik Gudbranson for Team OHL's 4th goal of the game on the power play at 16:29 of the period.

Jason Wilson (2010 5th NYR) and his Niagara IceDogs took on the Saginaw Spirit in a battle of top OHL teams and gave the fans 3 games in 1 to watch. The first game a tight checking 1st period where the IceDogs scored twice including Wilson's 6th goal at 19:47 of the period which gave the IceDogs a 2-1 lead.

The 2nd period was all IceDogs as they outplayed the Spirit scoring twice to take a 4-1 lead but they forgot about the 3rd period. In the 3rd period, the IceDogs had to hang on for dear life after scoring early in the 3rd for a 5-1 lead as the Spirit scored 3 goals in a span of 3:57 to pull to 5-4.

Wilson wound up the game's 3rd star for his play as Niagara improved to 12-6-1-1 good for 2nd in the OHL's Central Division.

In the WHL, David Toews (2008 3rd NYI) had an assist as his Brandon Wheat Kings defeated the Medicine Hat Tigers 5-2. Toews set up Shayne Wiebe for Brandon's first goal at 5:52 of the first period for a 1-0 Brandon lead that they would not give up.

It was Toew's 4th assist and 8th overall point as the Wheat Kings jumped out to a 5-0 lead before Medicine Hat scored 2 third period goals to make the score look closer than it wasn't.

Brandon Manning (2010 TC NYR) did what you want to see from a team captain when the team is struggling as the game's first star scored his 8th goal of the season (8-14-22) to give his Chilliwack Bruins a 2-1 lead that jump started the Bruins to a 5-1 win over their arch-rivals the Vancouver Giants.

Manning scored at 16:08 of the second period during a Chilliwack 5 on 3 power play as this was a wild penalty filled affair that saw Manning take a double minor in the game's last minute. The 2 teams combined for 99 total PIMs on 33 penalties and we expect that 2 teams will be sending some cash to the WHL offices for some of the infractions that took place.

Not to be forgotten was Roman Horak (2009 5th NYR) who scored Chilliwack's first goal of the game to tie the game at 1-1 in the 2nd period. It was Horak's 12th of the season as he tied Christian Thomas for the Ranger prospect lead and his 25th overall point which not only leads the Ranger prospects but is good for 15th in the WHL.

(Images: De Haan, Stajcer, Thomas, Werek and Wilson/Aaron Bell and Terry Wilson of OHL Images, Toews/Brandon Wheat Kings, Manning and Horak/Chilliwack Bruins)  

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